Title: "Restoring the Headwater Marshes of the Upper St. Johns River Basin" and "Now What are They Digging up in the Wetlands?"
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004515/00001
 Material Information
Title: "Restoring the Headwater Marshes of the Upper St. Johns River Basin" and "Now What are They Digging up in the Wetlands?"
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: StreamLines Feb. 1994
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - "Restoring the Headwater Marshes of the Upper St. Johns River Basin" and "Now What are They Digging up in the Wetlands?" (JDV Box 91)
General Note: Box 23, Folder 1 ( Miscellaneous Water Papers, Studies, Reports, Newsletters, Booklets, Annual Reports, etc. - 1973 -1992 ), Item 18
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00004515
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text






StreamLines


n s i d e
2 Moss Bluff station is
"heart" of District's
operations


2 District offers eight new
technical reports



3 Stormwater policies
checked in the field



6 Wetlands hold secrets
to our heritage


f e b r u a r v


1 9 9 4


Carlos Rodriguez
Snail kite researchers Brian Toland (left) and Robert Bennetts attach a radio-tracking device on one of the endangered birds in
the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project area. The devices, and studies conducted by these two, have revealed much information
on the lives and habits of snail kites. In recent years the endangered birds are often seen in the upper basin.


~--ZZa~3 "TT~ ~CI-- ---- g -


- I ---






Consumptive Use
Permitting changes go
into effect


Restoring the St. Johns River's headwater marshes

Upper basin: more than a flood control project


By Lynette L. Walther
The Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project is many things to many peo-
ple. Their work and their lives are
intertwined with the vast, watery
plain.
It would be impossible to tell this
story without telling it through
their voices. These are some of the
people who will be most affected by
this enormous project designed to


repair large parts of the uppermost
reaches of Florida's longest river. In
some ways, almost the entire state
will eventually be touched by this
project which is considered to be
the third largest environmental
restoration effort of its kind in the
world. Among public water pro-
jects in America, the upper basin fix
is next in size only to repairs
planned for Florida's Everglades.
The project will restore or enhance
more than 150,000 acres of land (195
square miles). The spongy marshes
and shallow lakes, where the river
is reborn everyday, are fed by rain-
fall and surface runoff from a 2,000-
square mile watershed an area
the size of the state of Delaware.
Located in Indian River and
southern Brevard counties, the pro-
ject area is separate from, but sits
atop the headwaters of its more
famous cousin, the Kissimmee
River-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades
system.
Much of the upper basin's marsh-
lands were diked and drained for
agricultural use in the mid 1900s.
Now scientists and engineers from
the District and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers are reconnect-
ing thousands of acres of this valu-


able floodplain to the marshes and
sloughs in the upper St. Johns
River. Already three-fourths com-
plete, the Upper St. Johns River
Basin Project is semi-structural in
design, allowing water to be man-
aged more by nature than by artifi-
cial manipulation. Still, the project
relies on a 100-mile-long system of
levees, spillways, weirs and cul-
verts to restore sheetflow through
recreated marshes and provide
flood protection.
The plan will also divert nutrient-
laden agricultural runoff into large
retention reservoirs, called water
management areas. Then, agricul-
tural waters will be segregated
from the higher quality wetlands in
the adjacent marsh conservation
areas.
When complete in 1997, the
Upper St. Johns River Basin Project
will provide flood protection,
improve the water quality of the
St. Johns River, restore fish and
wildlife habitat, increase public
recreational opportunities and cur-
tail freshwater flows to the Indian
River Lagoon, according to District
project manager Maurice Sterling.

See UPPER BASIN on Page 9


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Proposed flood detection systems
for the Black Creek drainage
basin, northeast Florida, by
William L. Osburn (SJ93-4)

Volutm 5 of the Lower St. Johns
River Basin reconnaissance:
sndrsmtctrCti er stranded



o Bighsin ecoenfaissane e
S --t.oae Johts R i hns

1f4singeelsgy, by David Toth
In93-7)

Special reports:

Assessment of the potential for
HySpfrla wrtkiJWate to affect the
usecfLake Washington as a
potabe water suppWy soewe, by
A. Pno, W.-. tfleer rd J.C.


ofstow" fatr eCent


and recommended hydro-


St.


Industp rat,

Fish assemblages inhibiting an
oligohaline segment of the lower
St. Johns River, Florida, by
Continental Shelf Associates,
Inc. (SJ93-SP11)

Treatment efficiencies of deten-
tion filtration systems, by H.H.
Harper and J.L. Herr of
Environmental Research &
Design, Inc. (SJ93-SP12)

Proceedings and conclusions of
workshops on: Submerged aquat-
ic vegetation initiative and pho-
tosynthetically active radiation,
by L.J. Morris and D.A.
Tomasko (eds.) (SJ93-SP13)


othnd N
restoration of the Indian River


Lagoon could start appearing on
car and truck bumpers sometime
this summer.
About 11,500 Florida residents
have signed petitions indicating
they would pay the extra $15 cost
on the annual registration fees for
the plate. State officials require
8,500 signatures as a show of wide-
spread support for specialty tags.
Eighty percent of the money
raised from the license plates will
be devoted to restoration and pro-
tection of the 156-mile Indian River
Lagoon along Florida's east coast.
The remaining money will fund
environmental education in the
area.
District graphics coordinator
Debra Myers designed the license
plate, which shows a snook swim-
ming through eel grass.

Orange Creek Basin
advisory panel named
A broad-based 13-member panel
has been named to advise the
District's governing board on issues
involving Newnans, Lochloosa and
Orange lakes and the Payne's
Prairie State Preserve southeast of
Gainesville.
The council's members will serve
for two years without pay and will
focus on surface water issues in the
350-square mile watershed of
southeast Alachua and northeast
Marion counties. The District will
provide administrative support for
the Orange Creek Basin Advisory
Council.
The council's members are:
Robert Hutchinson, executive
director of Alachua Conservation
Trust representing Newnans Lake


District officials unclog a culvert allow
acres of District property, formerly the I
include water quality improvement and
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Cot
(Inset) District engineer John Richmond
area and demonstrates to assembled staff


land owners;
Ed Tanner, a retired industrial
engineer living on Cross Creek rep-
resenting Lochloosa Lake land own-
ers;
Crawford Solomon, a fishing
guide and Orange Lake land owner;
Sid Martin, an insurance agent
from Hawthorne and former state
legislator representing Alachua
County businesses; _
Wallace Wimberly, a fisha g-
guide and store owner from Citra
representing Marion County busi- '
nesses;
Gary Appleon,
the Sierra Club and Florida
Defenders of the Environment;
Jerry Harris, owner of
Sportsman's Cover fish camp on
Orange Lake representing the recre-


Moss Bluff station key to flow-


Although more functional than
flashy, the hands-on work per-
formed by District employees at the
Moss Bluff Field Station in Marion
County ranks among the most
important at the District.
Trades workers, lock tenders and
equipment operators form the back-
bone of the Moss Bluff office, which
was transferred to the District in
1977 from the Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control District.
Under the daily direction of Field
Office Supervisor Louie Streetman,
the 25 employees stationed at the
Moss Bluff office, located on the


adjacent lakes.
The Lake Apopka Marsh
Flow-way Demonstration
Project in Lake County has
been hailed as one of the most inno-
vative water quality projects in the
world. The Moss Bluff crew is also
working to restore the channelized
Ocklawaha River and associated
natural wetlands at Sunnyhill Farm,
a former muck farm in southern
Marion County. Workers are clear-
ing out the old river channel and
breaching interior levees to allow
water passing through the Moss
Bluff lock and dam to re-establish






























Toth












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iower

pcdates,








OL

pht-
|^9uf


Lawmakers weigh snook
plate for IRL restoration
If state lawmakers give their
approval this spring, a specialty
license plate to help fund the
restoration of the Indian River
Lagoon could start appearing on
car and truck bumpers sometime
this summer.
About 11,500 Florida residents
have signed petitions indicating
they would pay the extra $15 cost
on the annual registration fees for
the plate. State officials require
8,500 signatures as a show of wide-
spread support for specialty tags.
Eighty percent of the money
raised from the license plates will
be devoted to restoration and pro-
tection of the 156-mile Indian River
Lagoon along Florida's east coast.
The remaining money will fund
environmental education in the
area.
District graphics coordinator
Debra Myers designed the license
plate, which shows a snook swim-
ming through eel grass.

Orange Creek Basin
advisory panel named
A broad-based 13-member panel
has been named to advise the
District's governing board on issues
involving Newnans, Lochloosa and
Orange lakes and the Payne's
Prairie State Preserve southeast of
Gainesville.
The council's members will serve
for two years without pay and will
focus on surface water issues in the
350-square mile watershed of
southeast Alachua and northeast
Marion counties. The District will
provide administrative support for
the Orange Creek Basin Advisory
Council.
The council's members are:
Robert Hutchinson, executive
director of Alachua Conservation
Trust representing Newnans Lake


land owners;
Ed Tanner, a retired industrial
engineer living on Cross Creek rep-
resenting Lochloosa Lake land own-
ers;
Crawford Solomon, a fishing
guide and Orange Lake land owner;
Sid Martin, an insurance agent
from Hawthorne and former state
legislator representing Alachua
County businesses;
Wallace Wimberly, a fishing
guide and store owner from Citra
representing Marion County busi-
nesses;
Gary Appleson, representing
the Sierra Club and Florida
Defenders of the Environment;
Jerry Harris, owner of
Sportsman's Cover fish camp on
Orange Lake representing the recre-


national fishing industry;
David Richardson, senior engi-
neer in the water and wastewater
department of Gainesville Regional
Utilities;
Leveda Brown, Alachua
County commissioner;
Norm Perry, Marion County
commissioner;
Richard Hamann, Center for
Responsible Government at the
University of Florida representing
the District;
Pam McVety, chief of intergov-
ernmental programs for the Florida
Department of Environmental
Protection;
Jim Estes, a biologist for
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission.


Moss Bluff station key to flow-way projects


Although more functional than
flashy, the hands-on work per-
formed by District employees at the
Moss Bluff Field Station in Marion
County ranks among the most
important at the District.
Trades workers, lock tenders and
equipment operators form the back-
bone of the Moss Bluff office, which
was transferred to the District in


adjacent lakes.
The Lake Apopka Marsh
Flow-way Demonstration
Project in Lake County has
been hailed as one of the most inno-
vative water quality projects in the
world. The Moss Bluff crew is also
working to restore the channelized
Ocklawaha River and associated
natural wetlands at Sunnyhill Farm,


District officials unclog a culvert allowing water from Lake Harris to flood 404
acres of District property, formerly the S.N. Knight Farm in Leesburg. Benefits
include water quality improvement and improved fish and wildlife habitat. The
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission plans to stock the flooded area.
(Inset) District engineer John Richmond (kneeling) displays an aerial map of the
area and demonstrates to assembled staff and reporters how the system works.







oligohaline segment of the lower
St. Johns River, Florida, by
Continental Shelf Associates,
Inc. (SJ93-SP11)

Treatment efficiencies of deten-
tion filtration systems, by H.H.
Harper and J.L. Herr of
Environmental Research &
Design, Inc. (SJ93-SP12)

Proceedings and conclusions of
workshops on: Submerged aquat-
ic vegetation initiative and pho-
tosynthetically active radiation,
by L.J. Morris and D.A.
Tomasko (eds.) (SJ93-SP13)


I iie cotmcii ~ m~iiiu~r~ ~


ITne council s MIerneir ate:
Robert Hutchinson, executive
director of Alachua Conservation
Trust representing Newnans Lake


L.,erna~ tn LL IC._ 1_. flI.fl. ~:., .fltS


Jerry Harris, owner of
Sportsman's Cover fish camp on
Orange Lake representing the recre-


Sim Estes, a iologist for
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission.


Moss Bluff station key to flow-way projects


Although more functional than
flashy, the hands-on work per-
formed by District employees at the
Moss Bluff Field Station in Marion
County ranks among the most
important at the District.
Trades workers, lock tenders and
equipment operators form the back-
bone of the Moss Bluff office, which
was transferred to the District in
1977 from the Central and Southern
Florida Flood Control District.
Under the daily direction of Field
Office Supervisor Louie Streetman,
the 25 employees stationed at the
Moss Bluff office, located on the
Ocklawaha River, provide support
and maintenance for equipment
and structures involving dozens of
District projects.
"One of the most important parts
of our job is the work we do to
build and maintain the flow-way
projects in the Ocklawaha basin,"
said Jim Harrison, the Moss Bluff
field office director. Flow-way pro-
jects involve restoring muck farms
purchased by the District back to
naturally-filtering marsh systems
that help cleanse and protect


adjacent lakes.
The Lake Apopka Marsh
Flow-way Demonstration
Project in Lake County has
been hailed as one of the most inno-
vative water quality projects in the
world. The Moss Bluff crew is also MOSS BLUFF
working to restore the channelized
Ocklawaha River and associated
natural wetlands at Sunnyhill Farm,
a former muck farm in southern
Marion County. Workers are clear-
ing out the old river channel and and Buckman
breaching interior levees to allow locks, mow levees,
water passing through the Moss repair vehicles,
Bluff lock and dam to re-establish refurbish culverts,
the flow of the river. The design for mend fences, lay mason-
another flow-way project is under- ry and concrete, and maintain
way for Lake Griffin in Lake pump stations and equipment used
County. in restoration projects. The crew
In addition to maintaining flow- also tends to land management
way projects, Moss Bluff employees duties, such as posting roads and
perform facilities maintenance on creating access to hunting areas on
dozens of structures stretching the District's wildlife management
from the upper Ocklawaha River areas.
basin in Lake and Orange counties "The scope of our work at Moss
to the St. Mary conservation area at Bluff is large and continues to
the Florida-Georgia border. They grow. We're working to meet the
operate and maintain the Moss challenge," Harrison said.
Bluff, Apopka-Beauclair, Burrell -Robert Peek


u i vwains I


I


I I I









Water quality

Double-checking stormwater policies in the field


By Jodi Rodgers
Rain has long been considered
cathartic, a natural pressure-cleaner
washing dust and grime away from
every surface it touches.
But those same cleansing quali-
ties can actually dirty Florida's sur-
face waters bodies. Stormwater -
the runoff resulting from rain -
carries into lakes and rivers the
same dust and grime it washes
from sidewalks and roads. This
dust and grime features a wide
array of pollutants, from nutrients
to metals to chemicals, making it
one of the greatest pollution threats
to surface waters.
The District has managed
stormwater quantity for flood con-
trol purposes since its inception in
the 1970s. But in 1986, the District
adopted a new stormwater manage-
ment rule to regulate the water
quality effects of stormwater runoff
on surrounding water bodies.
District staff are now in the
process of evaluating the rule's
effectiveness. Using a two-part
strategy, they are looking for the
connection between the design of
the stormwater treatment systems
the District permits and the water
quality in the lakes, rivers and
streams that receive the treated
stormwater.
"We believe it is critical to moni-
tor the effectiveness of permitted
stormwater systems under real-life
field conditions to make sure their
discharges don't harm receiving
water bodies. And if they do, we
-,n nln.I--nA In arn n-rA 4.


pond's discharge as well as from
the receiving water body both
immediately downstream and
upstream of the discharge.
Scientists sample for a variety of
parameters, including pH,
turbidity, phosphorus,
nitrates and metals.
While initial results show that
permitted stormwater treatment
ponds are working well, violations
of state water quality standards
were found in some receiving water


A PWe believe
it is critical
to monitor the
effectiveness of
permitted
stormwater systems under
real-life field conditions to
make sure their dis-
charges don't harm
receiving water bodies.

-Hal Wilkening

bodies. Urban land uses most often
exceeded standards for copper, and
areas frequented by cars exceeded
standards for zinc.
Environmental Engineer Janis
Nepshinsky attributes some of the


violations to fertilizer and pesticide
application in areas that drain into
the ponds. Copper sulfate, a herbi-
cide used to kill algae in the ponds,
may also contribute to violations.
But, Nepshinsky said at this point
she doesn't foresee a major rule
revision to correct these problems.
"It's primarily a matter of changing
management practices through edu-
cation. Every homeowner can play
an important part in reducing
stormwater pollution through sim-
ple, day-to-day practices," she
explained.
While currently in the assessment
phase of sampling, scientists hope
to use sampling data in the coming
year to determine the relationship
between the various types of treat-
ment systems and their efficiency in
removing pollutants.
"We have just begun to examine
the water quality data. We'll need
all these numbers in the future to
determine which system designs
are best for meeting water quality
standards," Nepshinsky explained.
The information will also be used
in a cooperative data base between
the District and its Southwest
Florida and South Florida counter-
parts in order to combine results for
statistical analysis and to prevent
duplication between districts. Those
districts are conducting similar
studies and finding similar prelimi-
nary results.


~__~ __1__ __I~ ~1_ ~ __I __ _____ ~___~___1 ~1_~*11_ ____1~_1_ _____ ___~~ ~_ 1


,-,ga





mre Lnstncrpermrts-ana te water
quality in the lakes, rivers and
streams that receive the treated
stormwater.
"We believe it is critical to moni-
tor the effectiveness of permitted
stormwater systems under real-life
field conditions to make sure their
discharges don't harm receiving
water bodies. And if they do, we
are committed to amending our
rules as we learn more," explained
Harold Wilkening, assistant
resource management director.
The first strategy is to determine
through inspections whether
stormwater treatment systems the
District approves are being built
and operated according to their per-
mits. A 1989 District study showed
that 73 percent of sites inspected
after nine months were in compli-
ance, while 88 percent of sites
inspected after 18 months were in
compliance. Most violations were a
result of improper construction.
"It's encouraging to see that in
the majority of cases our stormwa-
ter permitting program is working.
Our challenge is to help the
minority with the construction of
these systems," Wilkening said,
adding that the District has recently
increased its field staff to inspect
the systems and resolve pond
construction problems.
The second strategy is to deter-
mine through sampling whether
discharges from stormwater treat-
ment systems have impacted receiv-
ing water bodies. Each month, certi-
fied staff take samples from 24
stormwater treatment ponds. The
ponds are a cross-section of those
used throughout the region they
service multiple land uses and vary
in design and treatment processes.
The samples are taken from each


bodies. Urban land uses most often
exceeded standards for copper, and
areas frequented by cars exceeded
standards for zinc.
Environmental Engineer Janis
Nepshinsky attributes some of the


i~onaa ana z roum onraa counter-
parts in order to combine results for
statistical analysis and to prevent
duplication between districts. Those
districts are conducting similar
studies and finding similar prelimi-
nary results.







- -. -. 1 ~ ~ A


T e i r u r i y


I Y Y


opinion line


StreamLines

Produced by the Division of Public
Information, St. Johns River Water
Management District.
Published six times a year and
mailed bulk-rate postage paid at
Palatka, Florida. Send address
change to StreamLines,
c/o Marie Radtke or Cheryl Bryan
St. Johns River
Water Management District,
P.O. Box 1429,
Palatka, Florida 32178-1429.
Phone: (904) 329-4500

Lynette L. Walther, Editor
Editorial
Ed Albanesi, Robert Peek,
Raquel Gonzalez,
Patrick McSweeney, Connie Philips
and Dan Hayes

Graphics/photography
Debra Myers, Pat Klaus,
Nancy Sawyer,
Dave Webb and Carlos Rodriguez

Circulation
Marie Radtke/Cheryl Bryan

The St. Johns River Water
Management District is one of five
such regional districts in Florida and
covers 21 percent of the state's total
area. Through research, planning
and regulation the District is
responsible for managing all the
ground and surface water resources
,. ;+l^! H..In .-4-, ^, ^ :_ + /N


Editorial


A retrofit, by any other name is...


Our dictionary notes that the
word "retrofit" has been in use
since 1953. It is defined this way:
"to furnish with new parts or
equipment not available at the time
of manufacture."
We often use the word "retrofit"
when we talk about replacing
plumbing components with ones
which will consume less water. To
the extent that water-saving fixtures
weren't available when the plumb-
ing systems were installed in our
homes, then "retrofit" is a good
term. But even today you can buy
kitchen faucets, shower heads and
toilets which dispense or utilize
more water than is necessary.
So maybe we are not being pre-
cise when we use the word "retro-
fit" but lexicographers will tell you
that our language evolves accord-
ing to usage. All of which is sec-
ondary to the message which we
hope to impart but felt was too pro-
saic to dump on the reader in our
lead sentence. So, open wide, and
let us give it to you here:
Now (this month) is the time for
all good men (and good women) to
come to the aid of their country
(and Florida) by installing (perhaps
retrofitting) water-conserving
plumbing fixtures in their homes.
The October 1993 issue of


StreamLines contained some inter-
esting information on retrofitting
home plumbing fixtures.
A low-flow shower head costing
between $6 and $30 could cut water
use in half. Savings for a family of
three would amount to about 25,000
gallons per year. Families who get
their water from a utility would
recover the cost of the fixture
in less than one year.
They would also save
an additional $40 per
year in water heating
costs.
A kitchen faucet aera-
tor with an on/off control
valve can be easily installed in
less than five minutes and can
be purchased for as little as $2.
Water savings would vary widely
according to use, but it's estimat-
ed that the flow could be reduced
by 20 to 40 percent.
Ultra-low-flow toilets are
available and can save up to 90
percent of the water consumed
by a conventional-flow toilet.
Prices, like water use, vary
widely but if nothing else,
these "water-pinchers" merit
serious consideration when
toilets have to be replaced.
We have always maintained
that if we wait until we have no


choice but to conserve water, before
we actually start conserving, then
we've waited too long. Let's not.
Retrofit; replace; whatever. Do it
now.
One final note: a recent water
audit at District headquarters indi-
cated that we could be doing a bet-
ter job of conserving water. A retro-
fit program is currently in the
works.


District losing one to the big leagues





I


area. inrougn researon, planning
and regulation the District is
responsible for managing all the
ground and surface water resources
within its 19-county area in Northeast
and East Central Florida.

Henry Dean, Executive Director
John R. Wehle, Asst. Exec. Director

GOVERNING BOARD
Patricia T. Harden, Chairman
Lenore N. McCullagh, Vice Chairman
William Segal, Secretary
Jesse J. Parrish, Treasurer
Reid Hughes, Member
Denise Prescod, Member
Dan Roach, Member
Joe E. Hill, Member
James H. Williams, Member

StreamLines is dedicated to the
memory of Elmer L. Rounds,
1931-1991



StreamLines
1993 IABC Silver Quill
Award of Excellence for writing,
design and photography
Award of Merit for design
and layout
Award of Merit for editorial writing
1993 FPRA Jacksonville Image
Best 4-color tabloid
1992 IABC Silver Quill
Award of Merit for writing, design
and photography
1992 Editor's Workshop
One of Nation's 10 Best
organizational periodicals
1991 FPRA Jacksonville Image
Best 4-color tabloid
Judges Award for excellence on a
minimum budget


We normally don't use this space
to talk about current or former
District employees. This issue we're
making an exception.
In early December, President
Clinton announced that he was
appointing John H. Hankinson, Jr.
as administrator of EPA's Region
IV, which covers eight southeastern
states including Florida.
Hankinson had been employed
by the District since March 1986,
first as director of the Office of
Land Acquisition and then (since
July 1988) as the director of the
Department of Planning and
Acquisition.
You would be hard pressed to
find anyone in Florida (and perhaps


the entire
United States)
who has a bet-
ter reputation
than
Hankinson
when it comes
to the acquisi-
tion of envi-
ronmentally- '
valuable land.
His work has John Hankinson
been widely
recognized by the Nature
Conservancy, the National Wildlife
Federation and countless others.
.When the White House
announced that Hankinson would
be accepting the post which is


headquartered in Atlanta, there
was almost universal praise for his
selection. It was one of those
unusual circumstances where
politicians, the business com-
munity, other regulated public,
environmental groups and the
media all agreed that the President
had made a good choice.
Many Floridians felt a tinge of
pride when Janet Reno and Carol
Browner were selected to serve in
President Clinton's Cabinet.
We feel considerably more than
just a tinge about Hankinson's
appointment and know he will dis-
tinguish himself in service to his
country. Good luck, John.


letterline


Dear Editor:
Please allow me to congratulate
you and your staff on the excellent
article, "Our Water Bank, The
Aquifer," which was published in
your October 1993 issue of
StreamLines.
The text was informative and
easy to read and the illustrations
made this piece a "keeper" for this
subscriber.
May I suggest that the article be
produced in a booklet form for dis-
tribution to educators and others
upon request?


It would be helpful to those who,
like myself, make presentations to
civic groups and gatherings to pro-
mote potable water conservation.
I have found all of the issues of
StreamLines to be interesting and
they give me a greater understand-
ing of the role of the SJRWMD in
safeguarding our precious water
and of the hard work and dedica-
tion of its employees.

Victor W. Harrold
Jacksonville


ml 1 --- __---~~ -- -.-- ..-- ----- -


District losing one to the big leagues


--


I ca a -= I III -I--I -- --i~-






s t r e a m I i n e s 5


Last summer, the District asked 200 employees to install water saving devices in their homes,
including low-flow faucet aerators and shower heads, dye tablets that detect toilet leaks
and toilet water displacement devices. The purpose of this pilot project was to educate
employees in the same way the District requires large water use businesses to do as part of
their water conservation plans. Here's what some of our employees think about the
retrofit devices:


'?4~'


r,'
>1.

:1 i


Jim Conner
Lake Apopka Program
Manager

"I like this shower head
better than my previous
one. I've had water-sav-
ing devices before
where you weren't sure
if you were getting
water. You're saving
water, but it's not
uncomfortable to use."


Tom Hindes
Printing Services
Supervisor

"I like the more misty
stream the shower
head gives. It's more
comfortable."


Pat Klaus
Graphics Specialist

"I live in an older
house, so the aerators
and toilet devices
would not fit my fix-
tures. The older homes
are the ones that need
retrofitting the most,
so retrofits should
have adapters for their
fixtures."


F



Gene Caputo
Intergovernmental
Coordinator

"I'm anxiously await-
ing my bill because I
have a big family that
uses a lot of water. I'm
looking forward to a
substantial savings."


Gwendolyn Lockhart
Governing Board
Assistant

"I can see a big differ-
ence in the shower
flow. We don't use as
much water, and it's a
lot more comfortable."


",
*.
., :.:1






boardnews


Board agrees to purchase
Georgia-Pacific parcels
Two significant land purchases
were approved by the Governing
Board at its December meeting.
Both involved property owned by
Georgia-Pacific.
One parcel includes 3,529 acres
in Volusia and Putnam counties. It
is located at the southern end of
Crescent Lake and is adjacent to
the Haw Creek State Preserve.
Consisting mostly of wetlands,
the property will serve as an excel-
lent buffer to Crescent Lake and
provide for considerable floodwa-
ter storage.
The second parcel includes
10,333 acres in Alachua County. It
partially surrounds Lake Lochloosa
southeast of Gainesville and is
located within the boundaries of
the 31,000 acre Lochloosa Wildlife
C.A.R.L. project.
The property is evenly split
between wetlands and uplands
with a good portion of the wet-
lands classified as potential sover-
eign lands. This acquisition will
provide for the protection of water
resources through the preservation
of the floodplain forest and the
restoration of the adjacent transi-
tional and upland areas.
Both of these parcels are part of
the District's Five-year Land


Acquisition Plan and will be pur-
chased by utilizing Preservation
2000 funding.
The purchase price for the
Crescent Lake property is $1.6 mil-
lion or about $450 per acre. The
purchase price for the Lake
Lochloosa property is $9.0 million
or about $870 per acre. As with all
District land purchases, the agree-
ment is contingent upon a success-
ful closing.

District and Palatka
collaborate on reuse
The Governing Board has autho-
rized staff to develop a proposal for
a cooperative pilot wastewater
reuse project with the city of
Palatka.
The project would involve the
city's wastewater treatment plant
and adjacent land which the
District has targeted for purchase.
A conceptual plan has already
been formulated which calls for the
diversion of wastewater effluent
away from the St. Johns River. The
plan would also provide the oppor-
tunity to study the effects caused
by irrigation of crops with waste-
water effluent.
The Palatka wastewater treat-
ment facility produces 2.5 million
gallons of secondary treatment
effluent per day. This effluent can


be used for irrigating commercial-
scale non-edible crops.
A preliminary investigation indi-
cates that a container nursery is the
most feasible irrigation option.
Other alternatives include a wet-
land flow-way, hydroponic crops
in a constructed flow-way, or a
combination of agricultural irriga-
tion and flow-way technology.

Minimum levels to be set
on six more District lakes
The Governing Board has given
conceptual approval for District
staff to proceed with the establish-
ment of minimum levels for six
lakes in Volusia and Putnam coun-
ties.
The setting of minimum levels
for Florida's water bodies has been
mandated by the Legislature in
order to maximize the environmen-
tal and economic benefits of
Florida's water resources. The
District will also use minimum lev-
els as a regulatory tool to deter-
mine the need for water shortage
declarations and as a factor in the
issuance of consumptive use per-
mits.
Work will proceed in the estab-
lishment of minimum levels for
lakes Shaw, Daugharty, Pierson,
Emporia, Bell and Como. All of
these lakes are located in an area


where frequent water resource
problems have occurred.
Approval for the publication of a
draft rule is expected in February,
with minimum levels for one or
more of the lakes being brought
before the Board for consideration
on a continuing basis.

Lower Econ parcels
approved for purchase
More than one mile of lower
Econlockhatchee riverfront will
come under District ownership as a
result of a purchase agreement
approved by the Governing Board
in January.
The Board approved the acquisi-
tion of two parcels consisting of
530 acres located within the Lower
Econlockhatchee C.A.R.L. project
in Seminole County. The property
will help buffer the Lower Econ
River as well as provide flood con-
veyance and water storage benefits.
Purchase price for what is
referred to as the "Jones property"
is $2.15 million or about $4,000 per
acre. The property is adjacent to the
"Demetree property" which is
already owned by the District.
It is anticipated that Preservation
2000 funds will be used for this
purchase which is contingent upon
a successful closing.


17 6 6 I A J D n J q e 1


-








f e b r u a r y


1 9 9 4


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-7


Borme past in tneir mu eana-peat
soils, according to Dr. Barbara
Purdy, a University of Florida pro-
fessor of anthropology who has led
many wetland digs.
"We should learn and recover
what we can about these areas
before they pour concrete on them
forever. Years from now, when
some fifth grader asks his teacher,
'How do you know for certain what
SFlorida was like so long ago?' We
can provide answers to that ques-
tion," said Dr. Purdy.
Digging in wet areas, archaeolo-
gists have found bones of animals
and remains of seeds that Florida's
first Native Americans ate, broken
tools they wielded, pieces of wood
they carved and shards of pottery
they crafted. Scientists are also find-
ing fossils of shell, plants and ani-
mals that lived millions of years
before humans appeared on the
peninsula: all clues to help open the
window to the past a little wider.
Purdy said that scientists in
Florida will never find mind-bog-
gling art or architecture. But along
with treasures such as human skele-
tal remains, they will find impres-
sive wooden artifacts in wetlands.
Florida's prehistoric Native
American artists often crafted with
wood, which survives due to its
entombment in the moist organic
environment devoid of the oxygen
needed by bacteria to cause decom-
position.
This century, wooden artifacts
unearthed in wetlands across the
state include practical and ceremo-
nial objects such as carving tools,
bowls, masks, paddles, cypress


This was the case in May 1993,
when District scientists were alert-
ed to fossils uncovered by contrac-
tors working at an 80-acre borrow
pit on the District's Upper St. Johns
River Basin Project in Brevard
County. The site, known as the
Tucker borrow pit, revealed objects
from the Pleistocene-epoch
(between 1.6 million and 10,000
years ago). The shell beds contained
large samples of marine mollusks
and land mammals, such as horse,
camel, llama, bison, ground sloth
and three types of elephants.
"The Tucker site is significant
because it is unusual to find verte-
brate fossils along Florida's south-
eastern coast. Also, sites containing
both land and marine animals in
the same stratigraphic sequence of
sediments are extremely rare in the
fossil record," said Gary Morgan, a
vertebrate paleontologist with the
Florida Museum of Natural History
in Gainesville.
Paleontologists were joined by
members of the Orlando Fossil
Hunter's Club and the Indian River
Historical Society to recover items
from the site. Although most of the
fossils are quite small, paleontolo-
gists have been reconstructing them
for display at the Gainesville muse-
um and for a future exhibit at
District headquarters in Palatka.
The Tucker site has since been cov-
ered and will eventually be flooded
as part of a marsh restoration pro-
ject.
Dozens of other finds have been
documented throughout wet areas
of Florida. Many of these wetland
finds include simple but valuable


separate the mud and water from
the preserved items. Purdy and he ;
staff picked througweflwA1 at 'to
find ancient food samples that pro-
vide a glimpse into 6,000-year-old
diets: shells, fish, hickory puts,
acorns, bottle gourd seeds, squash
and plants. The presence of fish and
nuts, combined with the scarceness
of animal bones found et the site,
has helped to document the evolu-
tion of early Native Americans from
nomadic hunters to sedentary fish-
ermen and gatherers. The site also
yielded pieces of pottery, beads and
bone points used for fishing and
hunting.
Two of the most notable wetland
archaeological sites located within
the 19-county St. Johns River Water
Management District include
Hontoon Island in Volusia County
and the Windover site near
Titusville in Brevard Count'.
At Hontoon Island, located along
the St. Johns River, wooden car\ -
ings of animals were recovered, as
were ceramic, stone and shell arti-
facts, and leaves so well preserved
that they were still green. The
Windover site, discovered in 1982,
revealed one of the most significant
finds of human remains in Florida.
Construction workers uncovered
the remains of some 160 people
buried for about 8,000 years. The
crania of 91 of the individuals con-
tained brain tissue.
"When wetland sites are dis-
turbed, people should realize that
we are affecting more than just
modem flora and fauna. We may be
disturbing a heritage that is 10,000
years old," Dr. Purdy said.



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May I dig here?


Digging for artifacts and fossils
may sound like fun, but amateur
archaeologists should be aware that
laws govern the removal or distur-
bance of items found on public
land.
According to Gary Morgan, a ver-
tebrate paleontologist with the
Florida Museum of Natural
History, amateur fossil hunters
have proven valuable in their
efforts to locate important sites. But
actual excavation is best left to the
supervision of professionals who
are trained and equipped for the
proper removal of any items. This is
true even on private property,
where digging is subject to permis-
sion from the property owner.
Permission to search on land
owned or controlled by the state is
normally reserved for institutions
or professionals trained in archaeol-
ogy or related fields, according to


Jim Miller, a state archaeological
supervisor in the Division of
Historical Resources (DHR). Before
digging on state lands, you must
obtain an Archaeological Research
permit from DHR in Tallahassee.
Any artifact discovered on state
lands including lands owned by
the water management district -
will fall into public ownership. All
fossils found on public lands
become property of the state under
the auspices of the Florida Museum
of Natural History in Gainesville.
Always avoid digging near
known burial sites. But if you find
human remains anywhere, you are
required by law to contact your
local law enforcement office. If you
discover fossils or artifacts any-
where, Morgan suggests that you
leave the site intact and contact the
Museum in Gainesville.
-Robert A. Peek


A


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-













































































































































I











New Year ushers in CUP


By Patrick McSweeney
Jennifer Burdick, an attorney for
the District, had freezing tempera-
tures on her mind long before it
actually turned cold. Burdick
helped draft an emergency rule
adopted by the District last August
mandating that more people in the
fern-growing area of northwest
Volusia-southeast Putnam counties
would have to seek District permits
for water wells.
The emergency rule expired
January 1, after a permanent rule
had been adopted by the District's
governing board a month earlier.
Burdick spoke with StreamLines
editors about the need for the new
rule whether the temperature
was in the 30s or near 100.


Delineated Area
09--- ; ORtfe


StreamLines: What does water
use have to do with hot and cold air
temperatures?
Burdick: "For example, when it's
hot and dry, homeowners irrigate
their lawns and farmers irrigate
their crops. When we have freezing
weather, farmers, citrus growers
and nursery owners need to water
their crops in order to protect them
from the freezing temperatures. The
way this is done, the plants are
coated with water which forms a
thin layer of ice, and that protects
the plant from the freezing tempera-
tures and the damage that can
result from that."

StreamLines: So what kind of
problems can this freeze protection
- this water use cause?
Burdick: "As far as resource
problems, it can cause some severe
drawdowns in the groundwater
table. That in turn causes home-
owners' wells nearby to dry up to
the point where the homeowners
cannot get the water from their
wells and it has also resulted in the
development of sinkholes. This has
occurred mainly in the fern growing
area of Putnam and Volusia coun-
ties."

StreamLines: So this is why the
District created a new rule mandat-
ing that more people get District
permits for their water wells? What
is the criteria outlining who needs a
permit?


changes
StreamLines: And that area's
boundaries are where?
Burdick: "That area is the
extreme southwest portion of St.
Johns County where the potato
farms are located. It also includes
the southeast portion of Putnam
County were we have potato farms,
cabbage farms and some ferns, and
it also includes the northwest por-
tion of Volusia County which is
predominantly a fern growing
area."

StreamLines: What prompted the
need for the emergency measure
and the permanent rule adopted
after public hearings last autumn?
Burdick: "The emergency rule
resulted from the problems we've
experienced in the past from the
cumulative effects of water use
within this area those are prob-
lems I mentioned before like sink-
hole development and wells going
dry. We're mostly concerned about
water use during freeze events but
we're also concerned about the
cumulative effects of smaller with-
drawals of water during regular
water use times."

StreamLines: So this is more of a
pre-emptory measure to try to head
off a problem, right?
Burdick: "That's right. We went
ahead and adopted the emergency
rule in August so that persons who
were desiring to use water for
freeze protection purposes this


------ -- -- I I a~-----. --F--~-~T- J .-II -1 -- -1
~Y1I1~-- -- -- I lg I IIC I~--F-lsPls~ ~ll~-C s I --CI~-B -II --




District created a new rule mandat-
ing that more people get District
permits for their water wells? What
is the criteria outlining who needs a
permit?
Burdick: "The District adopted an
emergency rule stating that persons
withdrawing groundwater from
wells from 3.5 to 6 inches in diame-
ter must obtain an individual water
use permit from the District. The
emergency rule also required that
anyone using water for freeze pro-
tection purposes must obtain a
water use permit from the District.
The people that were affected by the
emergency rule were those within
the area designated by the District
last January as the "delineated
area." (Map at left)


Burdick: "That's right. We went
ahead and adopted the emergency
rule in August so that persons who
were desiring to use water for
freeze protection purposes this
winter would have an opportunity
and enough time to obtain the nec-
essary permit. At the same time, we
proposed a permanent regulation
that consisted of the same change."

StreamLines: To clarify all of this,
these rules don't affect the people
who have a private well just for
watering their own yard, right?
Burdick: "Right. It doesn't affect
people who are irrigating residential
landscape of less than one acre."


caros Koanguez


40


19



42
u-^ ^ @\^-
-"^^P "


Dave Webb


Jennifer Burdick




s t r e a m I i n e s 9


UPPER BASIN, continuedfrom I

This vast project will impact
farmers and ranchers, biologists,
hunters and fishermen, naturalists
and environmentalists, concerned
citizens and others. In more than
one instance these interests have
opposed each other on various
decisions concerning the project.
Today, most are pleased with
what they see. Many are still con-
cerned with certain aspects that
directly relate to them or their
interests, or the myriad of wildlife
species that call the basin home.
Corps engineers point out that no
system is failsafe, even though this
system is designed for very large
flood events. But overall, all are
optimistic that this enormous flood
control and marsh restoration pro-
ject will work. That optimism
didn't happen overnight and it
didn't happen by accident. It took
years and many compromises for
the plan to evolve. (See Basin
chronology, this page.) It is a flood
control project that is designed to
balance the needs of the environ-
ment with flood protection while
serving the needs of those who will
be affected by the project.
Here are some of those people:

Tom Lawton
When looking at the history of
the Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project, it would
be difficult to
ignore Tom
Lawton of
Indialantic.
"I really don't


'age I


Mike Omella, upper basin project
coordinator for the Corps.
"Traditionally, the way the Corps
did things was we'd identify a pro-
ject and we'd come in and build it.
"This project is so large and has
so many impacts on so many inter-
ests in that part of the state. It's a
dynamic system we are working in.
Since the project began so much has
changed, the snail kites came in, a
fishery developed in Farm 13..."
said Ornella. "Our challenge has
been to balance what's right for the
environment and all the interests in
the area."
More recently, Lawton has
remained active in the upper basin
issue and has served on the
Recreational Advisory Committee
which was directed to help develop
a recreational plan for the basin.
Looking back over the 20 years
since his work began, Lawton is
amazed at how far the basin has
come.
"To me it was a miracle we got
done, what we did," Lawton said.
"The St. Johns (District) was way
ahead of the rest in buying land and
it's as close to a miracle as anything
I'm going to see in my lifetime."

Patrick Leary and
Doug Bournique
The Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project marked the very beginning
of the District's
land buying pro-
gram. In fact, the
District's part-
nership with the


"They were taking 20 percent of
Indian River County and flooding
it," Bournique said. "But as we
worked with the District, a lot of
our concerns have waned. We've
found that the project has provided
us with more flood storage and a
better quality of water than we've
ever had.
"I think this has been a win-win
situation for agriculture and the
environment and (now agricultural
runoff is segregated from the rest of
the marsh) it provides Lake
Washington with more abundant,
clean water," Boumique added.
In addition, the vast marsh
restoration project recently provid-
ed the citrus growers with an unex-
pected bonus.
"During the big freeze of '89,
when the cold air came across the
marsh, it (the marsh) warmed it up
and helped us quite a bit. It
provided a warming effect and
saved thousands and thousands of
acres (of citrus) from freezing,"
Bournique said.
However, growers in the area are
not without their concerns, even
now. There are two issues in the
upper basin which they are follow-
ing closely with a good deal of con-
cern.
First, the growers want assurance
that they'll still be able to pump
their fields and groves to keep them
protected during periods of
extreme high water. Likewise, they
want assurance they'll have the
water for irrigation when there is
little rain.





wnen looming at the history ot
the Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project, it would
be difficult to
ignore Tom
Lawton of
Indialantic.
"I really don't
know why I got
in this fight,"
Lawton mused.
His involvement
as a concerned Tom Lawton
citizen began
shortly after he came to Florida in
1968. "When I got into this we were
fighting the Corps. They were plan-
ning to do to it (the upper basin)
what they did to the Kissimmee:
channelize it.
"They were going to drain the
whole thing and turn it into agri-
culture," Lawton said.
Lawton said opposing the Corps
was not easy then, and he readily
admits that the current Corps
administration is easier to deal
with today. The one factor that
worked in his side's favor during
those early years was the passage
of the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) in 1969. In
essence, NEPA called for environ-
mental impact studies for all feder-
ally-funded projects.
"We fought hard to get the pro-
ject stopped, but the thing that was
critical was the timing. When the
environmental impact statement
was required in 1970...everybody
came in and said it (that early basin
project) was unsatisfactory," he
said. "You know, 1970 was a great
year for the environment in
Florida."
"This project was unique and
before its time from the standpoint
of the District sponsorship," said


I M


uoug Dournique
The Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project marked the very beginning
of the District's
land buying pro-
gram. In fact, the "
District's part-
nership with the
Corps involves
the District's
purchase of the
land for the pro-
ject, along with
the project Patrick Leary
design. The
Corps is respon-
sible for the con-
struction.
It was the buy-
ing of the land
which, at first,
had the agricul-
tural interests so
concerned about
the success of Doug Bournique
this project.
"One of our fears was they'd get
the land bought and the money
wouldn't be available to turn it into
marshes," said Patrick Leary, man-
ager of the 24,000-acre Fellsmere
Farms. "We sold about 6,000 acres
and, you know, farmers are always
nervous about taking land out of
cultivation.
"But the turning point for us was
Henry Dean (Executive Director of
the District). He came on board and
we were one half to two-thirds
through negotiations and he
brought a lot of credibility and we
went ahead and signed off on it,"
Leary said. "Then our skepticism
turned to optimism."
For Doug Bournique, executive
director of the Indian River Citrus
League, the massive project was
just plain intimidating.


See BASIN on Page 10


First, the growers want assurance
that they'll still be able to pump
their fields and groves to keep them
protected during periods of
extreme high water. Likewise, they
want assurance they'll have the
water for irrigation when there is
little rain.
Second, is snail kites, and they
are connected to the first issue.


I




10 fe ru r 1994___ ~ ___


BASIN, continued from Page 9


Rob Bennetts and
Brian Toland
If there are two words that have
struck terror in the hearts of the
agricultural
interests, those
words would
have to be -
snail kites.
Snail kites,
also called the
Everglades kites,
are unique birds
in every sense of
the word. They Robert Bennetts
are the most
finicky of eaters, sne e
dining almost
entirely on one
particular vari- 0
ety of snails -
apple snails. The
kites are particu- r
lar about their
habitat and if
water levels or Brian Toland
food availability
become unsuitable while the birds
are nesting, they are likely to aban-
don their nests entirely. Their nests
may be susceptible to land-based
predators: raccoons, snakes, even
fire ants. And the kites are highly
nomadic, traveling from wetland to
wetland throughout their range,
depending on a number of environ-
mental conditions, often within
short periods of time.
They are also an endangered
species.
Federal law requires that no
federal project can have an adverse


project," or in this case, a project
which is funded, in part, federally
through the Corps.
In short, this means that by fed-
eral law, water levels or any other
conditions which are manageable,
cannot be detrimental to the snail
kites. That means that agricultural
interests could be restricted from
using water from the project's
water management areas in times
of very low water probably the
exact times when they would need
to use the water.
Then again, they could also be
restricted from pumping their
groves or fields in times of very
high water, if it was deemed to be
harmful to the snail kites.
"It's (the snail kite) creating
quite a controversy. There are
some decisions that are going to
have to be made on how this pro-
ject will be managed," said Robert
Bennetts, a researcher who is work-
ing on a broad study of the sur-
vival rates and dispersal of snail
kites in Florida for the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and National
Park Service. "Increased consump-
tive uses are going to be associated
with some costs."
Those costs could be failure of
snail kite nests or habitat degrada-
tion.
The District is working with
Bennetts and Brian Toland (a
Florida Game and Fresh Water
Fish Commission (FGFWFC)
researcher looking at nesting activ-
ity and reproduction rates of snail
kites) to protect the snail kite's


long periods of adequate water
with periodic dry downs," Bennetts
explained. "We are starting to get a
whole new idea about the snail
kites. Historically it was believed
that many birds died during the
dry periods (because they couldn't
feed)."
Instead, researchers have found
that the birds seek suitable habitat
elsewhere. At times the upper
basin has provided food and refuge
for up to 25 percent of the state's
total population of snail kites.
"With our radio-tagging of the
birds, we have been following
them all over the state. The birds
move about the state to find their
critical habitat areas," Bennetts
said. "We found that we didn't lose
a single radio-tagged bird during
Hurricane Andrew. When the
Everglades are dry, the birds may
be in the St. Johns because it's
hydrologically disjunct."
It is this proximity to, but hydro-
logic separation from, the
Everglades and the St. Johns
systems that makes them so valu-
able to the snail kites.
"The unique thing about the
upper basin is that it is hydrologi-
cally unconnected to the
Everglades and this is so critical to
the survival of this species," said
Steve Miller, an environmental spe-
cialist for the District, who is in
charge of biological monitoring
for the project. "We will have to
take a much more region-wide
approach. We've already devel-
oped an emergency water manage-


than makes up for in its fishing.
The Stick Marsh and Farm 13 is
one reason Jerry Austin moved his
fishing bait and tackle and fishing
guide business south from the
Harris Chain to Fellsmere. The fish-
ing is indeed good there and that's
good for business. Just ask the folks
in Fellsmere. There are plenty of
out-of-town license tags there these
days.
"The fishing has had a tremen-
dous impact here. People come
from all over. I get calls everyday
from Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky,
New York, Wyoming,
Colorado...you name it," said
Austin. "The fish all died up in
Tavares, that's why I moved here.
Business is good here."
Being a fishing guide, someone
who feeds his family from how
good the largemouth bass are bit-
ing, Austin keeps close tabs on the
fish and their appetites. These days
he's concerned because he's caught
some of what he calls "low weight"
bass. Austin is convinced that the
aquatic weed control program in
the upper basin is to blame.
"The spray is killing the fish. I
know the Game and Fish people
say it's bladder infections, but this
always happens after they spray the
weeds," Austin contends.
Steve Miller agrees that there is a
connection between the hydrilla of
the upper basin and the skinny
bass, but says it's not what Austin
thinks it is. Miller cites a number of
studies that show extremely dense
hydrilla hinders the bass from feed-


1 0


f e b r u a r y 1 9 9 4




species.
Federal law requires that no
federal project can have an adverse
impact on an endangered species.
The Upper St. Johns River Basin
Project, because of the Corps
involvement, qualifies as a "federal


researcher looking at nesting activ-
ity and reproduction rates of snail
kites) to protect the snail kite's
habitat and fulfill other project
functions in the Upper St. Johns
River Basin Project.
"The snail kite actually needs


take a much more region-wide
approach. We've already devel-
oped an emergency water manage-
ment plan for the area, if water lev-
els in Water Conservation Area 3A
and Lake Okeechobee are critically
low going into the nesting season.
This plan would be enacted to
ensure that, if possible, some quali-
ty habitat would be available in the
St. Johns basin."
The apple snails the kites need to
survive must be available to the
birds in a certain habitat open
water with the correct amount and
kind of emergent vegetation for
them to be able to hunt successful-
ly. This brings another aspect of the
upper basin into consideration -
aquatic weed control.

Jerry Austin
One component of the Upper St.
Johns River Basin Project that has
received national, and even inter-
national, atten-
tion is the 6,300- q.,I
acre
St. Johns Water
Management
Area. This cor-
ner of the pro-
ject area -
locally known as
Farm 13 and the
Stick Marsh Jerry Austin
is, as its name
would suggest, not exactly a pretty
portion of the marsh. It's punctuat-
ed by thousands of bare sticks,
small tree trunks that jut out of the
three to four-foot deep water. But
what it lacks in beauty, it more


thinks it is. Miller cites a number of
studies that show extremely dense
hydrilla hinders the bass from feed-
ing by offering their prey too good
a hiding place, one that the much
larger bass cannot penetrate to pur-
sue their prey. The result: the bass
can't eat and they get thin.
"We are developing an integrated
plan to keep on top of the aquatic
weeds," said Miller. "Nobody
wants to put chemicals in the water,
but the options are worse. If people
want quality fishing, we need to
control t4e weeds. If we don't con-
trol the weeds, we won't have boat
access or be able to maintain quality
fish populations in an area."
Miller feels strongly that good
bass fishing indicates an overall
healthy fish population because the
bass are so high up on the food
chain that all other components of
the system must be working for the
bass to do well.
In addition, the hydrilla (a nui-
sance exotic) threatens more than
just fishing.
In some areas of the basin, the
aquatic weeds are so thick that they
restrict the flow of water necessary
to the function of the project. When
flows increase, hydrilla can begin
tumbling along, much like a snow-
ball rolling down a hill, ripping out
more hydrilla and any other aquatic
plants in its path and ultimately
creating a dam out of a structure
such as the bridge across U.S. 192,
as it did last summer. The hydrilla
threatened to undermine the struc-
ture, said Maurice Sterling.
"It's a tightrope," Sterling admit-


I





s t r e a m I I n e s


1 1


ted. "But with the proper use of the
chemicals we hope to keep the
vegetation under control. If left
unchecked...well, we've seen the
results of uncontrolled aquatic
weeds in places such as Lake Hell'n
Blazes, Sawgrass, Lake Washington
and Lake Winder."
Within a couple of years fisher-
men will have even more to cele-
brate in the upper basin with the
completion of the Three Forks
Marsh Conservation Area, which
will be more than double the size of
Farm 13. It holds the promise of
even better bass fishing. But fishing
isn't the only recreational pursuit
offered by this unique part of
Florida. There's more.

Sue and David Strickland


to improve wildlife habitats.
In addition to the snail kite
research being done in the upper
basin, Toland is looking at a num-
ber of other birds in the system,
including ibis, spoonbills, white
pelicans, wood storks and more.
The National Audubon Society has
worked under contract with the
District on a wading bird popula-
tion and rookery survey. The
University of Florida and the
FGFWFC are surveying fish popu-
lations and District staff are con-
ducting a vegetation monitoring
program, among others. One recent
study showed some 67,000 wading
birds in the basin.
"The management of the basin
needs to be based on sound
scientific facts, not intuitive deci-


sions," said Miller. "Three years
from now we can sit back and
assess what information we have
and correlate it with the system's
operation and then we can reassess
where we are. This is a critical
process to determine whether we
are achieving the environmental
goals of the project."
For the Stricklands, the upper
basin is a place of good times and
good memories. It's a place they
know will remain the way it is,
even though that means it will
sometimes change according to the
whims of nature and even though it
will remain a bit inaccessible. But
that's the way they, and many oth-
ers want to see it.
"Don't tell anybody about it,"
Sue said in parting.


L ___ ___L_





Sue and David Strickland
"It's a part of our lives," stated
David Strickland of Cocoa. "It's a
deep place for me. When we heard
about the pro-
ject, we were
very apprehen-
sive about it.
"We are
always going
there to camp, to
hunt, to fish and
my wife is an
artist and she
paints there," he Sue Strickland
added. "We wor-
ried that it
would be
changed and
that we wouldn't
have access to it,
but we were con-
tacted early on
and were given a
chance to
express our feel- David Strickland
ings."
David's and Sue's emotional
involvement, their many years of
appreciation of the upper basin and
hopes for many more are assured as
the project nears completion.
"It's a one-of-a-kind habitat out
there and I'd like to see all develop-
ment kept away from it," David
said.
"We have almost lived out there
at times, stayed in a tent with a roll
of tin foil and a bottle of barbecue
sauce," said Sue. "It's such a wild
place, but I always feel safe there.
It's a little inaccessible and it's a
comfort to us just to know it's there
and will be there.
"It's like a concentration of what
Florida is. It's everything that
makes Florida's woods unique -
it's there the big old oaks, the
palms, foxes, bobcats, deer and
snail kites. The place is just bursting
with life."
Just how much life is out there is
something the District is trying to
determine. While good bass fishing
can indicate many other favorable
factors, successful wading bird
colonies and populations of other
birds can help demonstrate other
environmental factors. But first, a
basin baseline must be established
to know if a few years down the
road the project is actually working


needs to be based on sound
scientific facts, not intuitive deci-


"Don't tell anybody about it,"
Sue said in parting.


W ater
Management
Area


" I 1


C-54
- Retention
Area


Area

RIVE F


Dae Webb


LEGEND
Marsh Conser- Water Manage-
vation Area ment Area
:.;: DisinaProine
City limits ..; Lands

-- County line Water bodies
SRoads L.- Watercourses











events

FEBRUARY
Governing Board, Feb. 8, 1 p.m. and
Feb. 9, 8:30 a.m., District headquarters,
Palatka

MARCH
Governing Board, March 8, 1 p.m.
and March 9, 8:30 a.m., District head-
quarters, Palatka

APRIL
Interagency Basic Prescribed Fire
Course, contact Jim Brenner, Fire
Management Administrator,
Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services at (904) 488-6480

Governing Board, April 12, 1 p.m.
and April 13, 8:30 a.m., District head-
quarters, Palatka

Florida Lake Management Society
meeting, Ramada Hotel, International Special Sue and David Strickla?
Drive, Orlando, April 27-29. Call Carla In addition to providing flood protection and restoring more than 150,000 acres, the
Palmer at 1-800-284-5182 Upper St. Johns River Basin Project area's restored marshes provide a varied habitat for
NOTE: Dates, times and places of meetings and wildlife, such as this handsome white-tailed deer. The basin also supports a large populatic
events are subject to change or cancellation. of resident and migratory waterfowl and the endangered snail kite hunts and nests there.
Please contact phone numbers listed or the
District if confirmation is necessary.







E BULK RATE
n in SUt. Johns River SE 4 6 U.S. POSTAG
Wtern MR, JAC PAID
M rnCgent AR LACOB c3 VARN Palatka, Florid.
RLTO FIELDS* WARD ET AL Third Class
P*O* DRAWER 190 PermitNo. 18-
RO. Box 1429 TALLAHASS ; E F L
Palatka, Florida
32178-1429


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