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N o t C e ntr F l r d R e g i n a l l a n n n g Cu n c i
FLOIO *t ^ / MAR 1? 82
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North Central Florida Regional Planning Councol
Jonathan F. Wershow, Chairman
Paul Riherd, Vice Chairman
Jerry Scarborough, Secretary-Treasurer
CITY OF ALACHUA
Edwin B. Turlington
Jr. *Jonathan F. Wershow
CITY OF GAINESVILLE
*E. W. Hodges
*Robert L. Scott
Clayton C. Curtis
B. Harold Farmer
CITY OF HIGH SPRINGS
CITY OF LAKE CITY
*L. A. Edenfield
CITY OF LIVE OAK
Rev. Ellis Fann
*S. T. McDowell
CITY OF MADISON
CITY OF MICANOPY
CITY OF PERRY
CITY OF STARKE
'Board of Directors
WHEREAS, the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council is preparing
a Regional Comprehensive Plan, the basic goal of which is to "improve our
quality of living;" and
WHEREAS, achievement of this goal is dependent upon sound comprehensive
planning addressing the problems and opportunities for future growth and
prosperity of the Region; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the Council to support the optimal use of
the Region's natural resources, prevent their further degradation and
rectify past damage; and
WHEREAS, it is an objective of the Council to plan for and promote the
wise useof both renewable and non-renewable natural resources, and, further
to promote responsible development within the tolerances of natural
WHEREAS, the adoption of the Natural Resources study will assist in the
achievement of the goals, policies and objectives of the Council;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Council adopts the Natural Resources
study to provide leadership and a workable strategy for the efficient
management of the Region's natural resources.
Jonathan F. Wershow, Chairman
February 23, 1978
Jerry Scarborough, Secretary-Treasurer
February 23, 1978
kA. ent f og h
The preparation of this report was financed in
part through a comprehensive planning grant from
the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
North Central Florida Regional Planning Council
2002 Northwest 13th Street, Suite 202
Gainesville, Florida 32601
Digitized by the Internet Archive
_T 3.'-Recipient's Accession No.
BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATA I- Report No. 2. 3.Recipient's Accession No.
SHEET I NCFRPC 77-oo4
4. iitle an. Subtitle 'I. Report Date
7. Authors) 8. Performing Organization Rept.
See ?9 Below No. NCFRPC 77-004
9. Pertormini Organization Name and Address 10. Project 'TaskWork Unit No.
North Central Florida Regional Planning Council
2002 N.W. 13th Street, Suite 202 11. Contract Granr No.
Gainesville, FL 32601
12. Sponsoring Organization Name and Address 13. Type of Report & Period
Department of Housing and Urban Development over
661 Riverside Avenue Final
Jacksonville, Fl 32204 14.
15. Supplementary Notes
This study identifies and describes the major natural resources of the North Central
Florida Region, defining their area extent as well as the relative values and limi-
tations of their components. The report utilizes a series of maps depicting the
physiographic characteristics of each resource. As well as a resource inventory,
a method is presented to determine the relative feasibility of land development
within the Region. Data and analytical techniques are shared with the Land Use
Study. Goals, objectives and policies are recommended.
17. Kvy *Vords and Document Analysis. 17a. Descriptors
Vegetation, Natural Resources, Wildlife, Water, Ecology, Forests, Physiography,
Rocks and Minerals, Soils, Climate, Environmental Impact Evaluation.
17b. lientifiers Open-Ended Terms
17c. UOSATI Field/Group
18. '. :a.: Itv StatementNorth Central Florida Regional
Planning Council, 2002 N.W. 13th Street, Suite 202
Gainesville, FL 32601
THIS FORM MAY BE REPRODUCED
:'. Ciass rh s 21. o. :; r r ,
^=, =' 7 S_.5.. : V ---.Z,--------------------------------I ---- -^ - tl.I___________
Table of Contents . . ..
List of Tables . . . .
List of Maps.. . . ..
Summary and Conclusions..
Introduction . . . .
Physiography . . . .
Introduction . . ..
Regional Overview . .
Influence of Topography .
Climate . . . . . .
Introduction . . ..
General Regional Climate.
Temperature . . .
Precipitation . . .
Other Climate Factors .
Influence of Climate. .
Geology . . . . . .
Geological Overview . .
General Geology ......
Geologic Map Preparation.
'-/ater Resources . . . .
Introduction . . . .
Surface Water Resources .
General . . . .
Drainage Basins ...
Lakes . . . . .
Groundwater Resources . .
Springs . . . . .
Water Quality Management .
Water Quality Overview. .
.Water Quality Factors .
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS Continued
Point Sources . . . .
Non-Point Sources . . .
Flood Plains . . . . .
Wetlands . . . . . .
Water Resource Projects . .
Rock and Mineral Resources . .
Introduction . . . . .
Clay Deposits . . . .
Limestone/Dolomite . . .
Phosphate Resources . . .
Hardrock Phosphate Deposits
Land Pebble Phosphate Depos
Gypsum . . . . . .
Sand . . . . . . .
Oil and Gas Resources . .
General Considerations . .
Soils . . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . .
Soils and Planning . . .
Soil Maps . . . . .
Vegetation . . . . . .
Introduction . . . . .
Agriculture . . . . .
Agriculture in North Central Florida .
Problems and Values of Agricultural Land.
Agriculture and Soils . . . . .
Forestry . . . . . . . . .
General . . . . . . . . .
Forestry in North Central Florida . ..
Measures of Forest Quality.
. . . . 109
. . . . . . . .
TABLE OF CONTENTS Continued
Forest Types .....
Forest Production .
Forest Management .
Map Preparation . .
Wildlife Resources . .
Introduction . . .
Wildlife Habitat . .
Mixed Hardwood and Pi
Hammocks . . ..
Pine Flatwoods . .
Swamp Forests . .
Wet Prairie .......
Salt Marshes .....
Submerged Lands . .
Wildlife Management . . .
Determination of Habitat Suitab
Land Use and Natural Systems . .
Introduction . . . . .
Significant Natural Areas . .
Existing Land Use . . . ..
Comparison of Natural Systems .
Goals, Objectives, Policies. . .
Appendices . . . . . .
Bibliography . . . . . .
* 1 11
. . . . .
. O . . . .
LIST OF TABLES
General Slope Use Zoning . . . . . . . . . .. 14
Average Temperature . . . . . . . . . . .. 19
Average Rainfall . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 19
Freeze Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Geologic Time and Stratagraphic Relationships of
Formations in North Central Florida ..... .............. ..26
Rivers and Tributaries in the Suwannee River Basin ....... 37
Lakes in Planning District II I. . . . . . . . . 39
Lakes Exceeding 100 Acres in Planning District III. ....... ..40
First and Second Magnitude Springs of North Central Florida 45
Freshwater Withdrawn and Consumed in North Central Florida. 50
Stream Classification in Water Quality Limited Segments 52
Summary of Point Source Discharges . . . . . . ... 56
Summary Chart of Major Point Source Discharges . . . ... 57
Nature of Non-Point Sources by County . . . . . .. .59
Water Resource Management Projects . . . . . . ... 70
Land Treatment Needs of Strip Mined Areas in North Central
Florida . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Status of Soil Surveys in North Central Florida . . . .. .87
Soil Associations in North Central Florida . . . . ... 89
County Agricultural Summary (1974) . . . . . . .. 95
Changes in Agriculture 1974-1969 . . . . o. .. . 97
Agricultural Capability Classification for Soils . . . .. . 100
Agricultural Potential of Soil Associations . . . . . 101
Forest Land by County . . . . . . . . . . 106
Area of Forest Land by Ownership and County (1970) ........ 107
Forested Land by Type and Area. ..................... .. 108
Forest Land by Stocking Class and County, 1970 . . . ... 110
Forest Land by Site Class and County, 1970 . . . . .. . 112
Wildlife and Fish Management Areas . . . . . . .. . 126
Hunting Potential by County . . . . . . . .. 127
Components of the General Wildlife Suitability Map ....... .123
LIST OF MAPS
North Central Florida Planning Region District
General Physiographic Map . . . . ..
General Geologic Map . . . . . . .
General Geologic Suitability for Development .
Drainage Basins and Basin Segments . . .
General Recharge .....................
General Basin Segment Water Quality .....
Areas Subject to 100 Year Flood . . . ..
Wetlands . . . . . . . . . .
Rock and Mineral Resources . . . . .
Soil Potential for Community Development . .
Soil Potential for Agriculture . . . .
General Vegetation . . . . . . .
General Wildlife Suitability . . . . .
Significant Natural Areas . . . . . .
Existing Land Use . . . . . . .
Composite Map of Natural Resources . . .
. . . . . XII
2 0 0
0 0 0
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Based on the information presented in this report, it is apparent that
all natural resource elements should be considered together because they
constitute a system of interdependent processes. Each of these defined
elements is affected by the others and in turn is affected by human ac-
tivities. The cause and effect relationship of these systems is far
more complex than any individual map suggests. Therefore, planners and
governmental officials will undoubtedly need the continued assistance of
specialists in a variety of fields to evaluate the advantages and dis-
advantages of specific plans and proposals.
However, the system of map comparisons utilized in this study appears to
be one viable method of summarizing natural resources data despite the
limitations imposed by utilizing subjective value judgements for map
preparation. The continued collection of data and revision of these
general maps constitutes a useful methodology for establishing general
patterns of resource values and relationships. Through this method then,
one tool is established by which the limits and distribution of future
growth may be better evaluated and planned. This and similar documents
such as the Land Use Plan may be utilized by decision-makers and planners
to continually assess the trade-offs between growth and development
versus quality of life in order to insure that future development is not
only commensurate with environmental needs but also in the best long
term interest of the citizens of the Region. A number of general con-
clusions may be reached which generally reflect a need for degree of
sophistication in natural resource considerations for local and regional
Areas of relatively high sensitivity to development are vulnerable to
abusive uses of surrounding land as well as direct developmental impact.
As evidenced in part by isolated sensitive "islands" of valuable wildlife
habitat, long term impacts affected by seemingly very low density develop-
ments may have, through time, substantial long term environmental
repercussions. Therefore, potential indirect environmental impacts must
be adequately addressed during development review and future land use
The high natural values of wetlands as described in this report are not
usually respected during development considerations, nor is their
potential fully utilized in development practices. The need for further
development policies by all local governments is therefore suggested not
only for wetlands but also for other poorly drained areas within the
Region. Similarly, developments in and around areas of environmental
concern, such as San Felasco Hammock, Paynes Prairie of Hixtown Swamp,
need to be thoroughly evaluated in order to insure that long term
environmental deterioration does not occur. A consideration of the
possible useful employment of wetlands and other valuable natural areas
for human purposes would be a useful consideration in long range land
use planning for individual counties in the Region.
Land use implications of natural resources as suggested by this study
are so varied and complex that this study cannot be considered the final
end product of a natural resources survey. It constitutes a portion
of the total work effort toward realizing and planning for the full and
beneficial use of these resources.
Undoubtedly new information on natural resources in the future will
provide data which will alter, at least to some degree, the implications
of the maps presented herein. Such revision is in the best interest
of the Region and should be encouraged as new information is available.
In essence, however, it is important to acknowledge that the inter-
relationships as expressed or implied in the text do exist, and because
of their far reaching consequences, they must play a key role in
development decisions is natural systems are to continue to effectively
function in our environment.
Therefore, the individual elements of this environmental inventory
continually need to be combined, not only with one another, but also
with information on land use, economics, transportation, population,
housing and many other items for use in preparing comprehensive land use
plans and for formulating decisions concerning specific projects and
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
The way in which our natural systems, and in particular our land
resources are planned, or in many instances not planned, has a great
influence on the quality of our environment. It is becoming apparent
that land use decisions have a direct relationship to environmental
qua I i ty.
In our efforts to promote growth and enhance the economic utilization
of natural resources it is often easy to overlook that many activities
are still closely tied to the natural resources and systems of the
earth. It is, therefor-, important to recognize that the materials and
energy resources required to support our growth originate from and are
returned to these ecological sector. Following mans utilization by-
products of these resources returned to the environment as waste are
reassimulated by natural systems. Environmental impacts result when
imbalances occur and natural systems are unable to cope with resource
Continued anticipated increases in the size of human populations will
in part serve to compound ecological problems due to mans dependence
on the products of the environment. In the long term, in order to avoid
the potential loss in individual freedoms due to environmental limit-
ations, the distribution of production and consumption activities must
be compatible with the ecological characteristics of the environment.
To place these considerations into perspective, it is important to
recognize that, as residents of north central Florida, we depend on
natural resources for many services such as water supply, flood control,
purification of waste materials, recreation, visual aesthetics, fishing
and game propagation. Moreover, if agricultural resources are included,
then we depend upon this resource for our food supply. In the past,
the spread of urban communities has often resulted in the alteration of
natural systems in preference to artificial systems which are more
expensive in terms of time, money, energy and materials. The one small
but common example is the destruction of numerous shade trees in
development areas prior to the construction of generally inefficient,
high energy consuming single family dwellings. Since 1973, continual
reports on the status of our declining energy reserves has reinforced
the need for energy conservation efforts. When placed in an economic
perspective, the stimulus for motivation has provided a powerful,
hopefully adequate incentive to plan for changes.
Many times in the past, planning projects have been based on economic,
political, engineering and other concepts that have considered natural
or environmental processes as only incidental to primary project goals ,
This has come about not so much because decision makers pay no heed to
environmental issues, but because environmental concepts are often
complex, difficult to comprehend in their entirety and potential long
term problems and system interrelations are hard to quantify and define.
It is apparent that provisions for human well being and the maintenance
of a high standard of living depend in large part on the effective
utilization of our natural resources. For north central Florida, the
evaluation of natural resources is an essential element in the overall
planning process. Their inclusion becomes particularly important when
they are viewed in terms of their intimate role in the development of
effective long range plans for managing land and water resources.
This study, therefore, presents an effort to compile basic data on
natural systems in the region for input into the comprehensive land
use planning process. The suitability maps prepared for this study
are not land use maps. They do, however, depict the distribution of
natural systems throughout the region. Their inclusion into the
comprehensive planning process, which serves to optimise the com-
patibility of different land uses, is essential in order to ensure
stable long term productivity of the land. Recognizing that the real
world possesses a very complex natural system, this report becomes a
first step for north central Florida in the search for an effective
means of rational development of the physical environment.
Because the interactions between man and his environment are numerous,
subtle and complex, there are no simple solutions to problems involving
natural resources. Due to the difficulty in envisioning these inter-
relations, it is necessary to employ a systems, or a whole-picture,
approach for comparing, visualizing and evaluating the complex assoc-
iations between the principal natural resources of the region. There-
fore, an overlay technique, similar to that promulgated by McHarg (1969),
has been utilized in this report to compare and describe the regions,
geology, water resources, soils, vegetation, wildlife and other charact-
eristic resources in terms of their capabilities or limitations.
On the basis of data summarized and presented in discussions for each
natural resource individual interpretative maps have been prepared.
Each map illustrates the basic components of each resource and by a
system of pattern intensity presents a general ranking of resource
components as they relate to the potentials or limitations imposed with
respect to increasing intensity of land uses offered by each particular
For purposes of resource comparison, each map has been limited to six
categories of pattern intensity in which the lightest (or white)
sections represent areas having the least environmental sensitivity (or
are most suited for development) and the dense (darker) patterns
represent areas that are more environmentally sensitive or have the
highest relative natural value. These patterns represent only the
relative sensitivity or suitability of each resource as it relates
to the components represented on each individual map. Because of the
large number of possible interactions between elements of each map,
no attempt was made to assign quantitative values to each category or
to adjust pattern intensity on any map to reflect the relative
importance of one resource with resources represented on other maps.
Therefore, each map is intended to illustrate the relative value of
each resource element only in respect to the particular resource map.
In order to facilitate an analysis of the recognized resource values a
clear acetate copy of each map was prepared. A visual comparison between
all or selected resources and land use systems can therefore be made by
superimposing any or all of the individual maps over a light source.
For purposes of reproduction, it is not possible to include acetate
overlays with each published document. The original maps, however,
will be available for inspection at the Council offices.
Despite the limitations imposed by qualitative rather than quantitative
data, the system of map overlays employed allows the comparison of a
variety of resources and visually defines areas having significant
limitations or suitability for growth. This comparison allows qualita-
tive decisions to be made on general trends and intensities of land use
for the region in order that the resources of the land may be used for
the highest and best interests of its inhabitants.
A consideration of earth features or physical geography is an important
element in land use planning. Topographic characteristics of the
region, reflecting variations in elevation, land forms and degree of
slope, affect the region's ecology and suitability for human use.
More specifically, land forms often greatly influence the type and cost
of development, control the rate and direction of water runoff,
contribute to landscape aesthetics, influence weather and climate
and affect the type and amount of vegetation and wildlife in the
Topographic information can be obtained from several sources and is
most commonly found in the form of maps or aerial photographs. The
United State Geological Survey (USGS), a division of the Department of
the Interior, produces standard topographic maps covering the entire
United States. Each map is bounded by parallels of latitude and
meridians of longitude. These "quadrangle" maps are produced in three
series: a 7-1/2 minute series covering 7-1/2 minutes of latitude and
longitude at a scale of 1:24,000; a 15 minute series covering 15 minutes
of latitude and longitude at a scale of 1:62,500; and a 30 minute
series covering 30 minutes of latitude and longitude at a scale of
1:125,000. The two 30 minute maps which cover the region, Gainesville,
Florida and Valdosta, Georgia, are particularly useful for defining the
major land forms of north central Florida.
The topography of the region owes its character to three primary factors.
The first involves alternating advances and recessions of the sea
during each of the major Pleistocene (10,000 to 2,000,000 years ago)
ice ages. Terraces or wave-cut beaches eroded into local land sur-
faces wherever each advance remained stationary before ultimately
retreating. As many as five terraces represented as hills or rises in
local land surface ranging to over 200 feet in elevation have been
identified in Florida, several of which including the Pamlico, Silver
Bluff, Okefenokee, and the Wicomico terraces have been identified in the
The second factor is the solution by ground and surface waters of the
relatively soft limestone formations underlying much of the area. The
term karst topography is used where such solution has served to divert
waters to underground routes or create lakes by forming depressions in
the limestone down to the ground water level. Such differential
solution has been a significant factor in creating lakes, eliminating
surface drainage by streams, and forming sinkholes in some areas.
A third factor influencing the shape of topography is erosion including
both stream erosion and sheet wash. The abundant rainfall recorded at
all stations within the region periodically enhances the potential for
erosion, particularly in sloping or transitional areas.
In general, the north central Florida region is divided between two
major physiographic provinces, the Northern Highlands and the Coastal
Lowlands. The former includes the majority of Bradford, Union, Col-
umbia, and Hamilton Counties in addition to portions of Alachua,
Suwannee, and Taylor Counties. In general, the terrain in the southern
portion of this province is maturely dissected into gently rolling
hills. The highest elevations are found northward into the flatter
undissected parts of the province where streams generally have made
little incision into the relatively flat and often swampy interior.
The Coastal Lowlands include most or all of Dixie, Taylor, Lafayette,
and Gilchrist Counties as well as the more southwestern portions of
Alachua, Suwannee, Madison, and Hamilton Counties. The Coastal Lowlands
are typified by generally flat topography, sloping gradually south-
westward to the Gulf of Mexico. The entire lowlands area is character-
ized by large, poorly drained swamps, marshes and forested lands with
a number of lakes and streams. The coast along the Gulf in Dixie and
Taylor Counties is typified by vast expanses of coastal marshes with
relatively few areas of natural beach. The General Physiographic
Map which follows illustrates the major features of the region.
The Central Highlands extends completely across the northern part of the
State and into Georgia and Alabama. It is limited to the south and
east by an erosional scarp which represents the most persistent topo-
graphic break in the State. The continuity of this scarp, known as the
Cody Scarp, is unbroken except by major stream valleys. It is thought
to represent the retreating edge of a formerly more extensive high
plain which sloped northward toward the Okefenokee Swamp.
The Northern Highlands is a remnant of a once continuous highland that
has been broken down by erosion and solution. East of the Suwannee
River and near the scarp the land is maturely dissected into a rolling
terrain. Toward the north, the terrain flattens considerably where the
Highlands remain relatively undissected by streams. The highlands are
represented in the subsurface by Miocene sands and clays and with
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limestones evident at the surface in the lowlands. Principal geo-
morphic features of the Northern Highlands include the Western Valley,
High Springs Gap and Brooksville Ridge.
The Brooksville Ridge is a linear feature approximately 110 miles in
length. Elevations on its irregular surface vary from about 70 to
200 feet. It is composed of a thick sequence of sands believed to
have been deposited as a result of the Wicomico stand of the sea at
about 100 feet in elevation. The relative insolubility of its component
sediments has allowed the Brooksville Ridge to persist as a highland while
surrounding lands have been lowered by solution of underlying lime-
stones. The Ridge itself has few continuous valleys and exhibits little
The geomorphic feature known as the High Springs Gap lies directly
north of the Brooksville Ridge. It merges with the Western Valley to
the south where limestones are noted as lying at or near the earth's
surface. The Santa Fe River flows through this erosional gap toward
the Suwannee River.
It is of note that there is a tendency for streams to go underground
in the lower part of the scarp zone west of Gainesville. Except for the
Suwannee every stream which enters the scarp zone passes underground
re-emerging again after crossing the scarp. East of Gainesville, all
streams retain a surface flow prior to crossing the scarp. The
difference in flow characteristics is attributable to exposures of the
clayey Hawthorn Formation in the eastern portion of the area, and of
soluble limestones to the west. The absence of the Hawthorn Formation
causes the piezometric surface to be lower than land surface allowing
streams such as the Santa Fe River to pass underground through solution
The southwestern portion of the region is part of the physiographic
province known as the Gulf Coastal Lowlands. Beginning at the present
coast of Dixie and Taylor Counties, this province extends inland to the
Cody Scarp bordering in Northern Highlands. Including the Wicomico,
three marine terraces, including the Silver Bluff and the Pamlico,
represent ancient shorelines in this province.
The Silver Bluff terrace is the youngest represented in the region. In
Dixie County it extends inland as far as six miles and is in part
represented by the coastal marshes. The Silver Bluff terrace is noted
as being considerably more narrow in Taylor County.
Although the Pamlico Sea did not extend inland to any great extent, it
produced a series of sand dunes parallel to the coast in Taylor County.
It is generally defined by a marine terrace lying between the 10 and
25 foot contours in both Dixie and Taylor Counties.
In western Gilchrist and eastern Dixie Counties, the relatively flat
swampy land surface is underlain by shallow limestones which represent
a continuation of the limestone shelf extending northward from Levy
County, known as the Chiefland Limestone Plain. A series of sand hills
to the east of this plain, known as Bell Ridge, is mostly likely as-
sociated with a relict barrier chain. The elevations of these hills
vary between 80 and 100 feet above sea level.
An area known as the Wacassassa Flats lies between Bell Ridge and the
Brooksville Ridge. The origin of this swampy area is not certain. Its
lithology varies from a sand to clayey sand and its sediments may be
found to be between 14 to 18 feet thick over a limestone surface.
The Western Valley of western Alachua and eastern Gilchrist Counties
serves to connect the High Springs Gap and Alachua Lake Cross Valley,
the latter named for the former Alachua Lake, now Paynes Prairie, which
occupies the basin. Each of these areas is characterized by shallow
limestones and the general absence of surface drainage systems. This
valley in Alachua and Gilchrist Counties has been called the Williston
Limestone Plain and is notable because of the absence of impermeable
sediments which permit the rapid movement of rainfall into the under-
lying limestones of the Floridan aquifer.
A notable feature of the Coastal Lowlands is the extensive system of
coastal swamps. The irregular coastline of Dixie and Taylor Counties is
characterized by rock outcroppings, oyster reefs and island clusters.
Beaches and semi-enclosed bays are rare and salt marshes line extensive
areas of its shoreline and penetrate inland up to several miles in some
places often merging with freshwater swamps. Although sand beaches are
common to Florida's coast, the general absence of beaches in this region
is attributed to its low energy shoreline which does not enhance beach
INFLUENCE OF TOPOGRAPHY
Urban development tends to follow the direction of least topographic
resistance dependent only on limitations imposed by modern technology.
It may often be observed that rivers and valleys tend to channel urban
expansion; major highways and railroads tend to follow river channel
routes because of the generally gradual continuous grades; and bridges
that often open up new areas for development tend to be constructed at
the narrowest points of rivers of where the river is shallow, exhibits a
hard bottom and easy access grades. Therefore, topography to a large
extent helps shape patterns of growth.
Topography, or landform, interacts with those physical characteristics
that help shape or form it, such as type of soils, drainage patterns,
climate and vegetation. Therefore, because of its imposition on the
natural environment, land development, whether for relatively low
intensity agricultural uses or high intensity residential use, must
insure the stability of topography during physical development by
providing adequate grading (slope stabilization), drainage and soil
structures in order to make the best use of the site within the limit-
ations set by the topography.
There are almost no areas in the region that possess topographic
limitations so great as to preclude specific types of development.
Modern engineering practices can override almost all limitations if
economics are not a problem. However, there are areas which do limit
themselves to particular uses because of topography. Examples of
such areas would include swamps and other poorly drained areas, steeply
sloping stream banks and flood plains.
One concept specifically concerned with the limitations to development
as imposed by topography is referred to as slope use zoning. This
concept revolves around the maxim which maintains that within the frame-
work of construction practices and technology, there are certain slopes,
or ranges of slopes, upon which certain types of construction can be
most economically undertaken.
It has been observed that on certain specific slopes the cost of con-
struction to meet the common needs of certain land uses will be minimized.
This cost of construction, as reflected in the consumer cost, includes
not only the cost of the structure, but also the costs of site pre-
paration, site development, utility services and the provision of necessary
drainage facilities and access roads. Some of the basic provisions of
the slope use zoning concept are outlined in Table 1.
The effects of erosion increase directly with degree and length of
slope; therefore, it is sometimes desirable to establish constraints
to development based upon slope. As exhibited on Table I low slopes
are usually highly desirable for residential development because they
are typically well drained, easier to build upon that steeper slopes, and
do not impose limitations to vehicle access. However, even on low to
moderate slopes, precautions may need to be taken to retard or prevent
serious erosion, especially during construction stages of development.
Contigent upon soil and bedrock conditions, slopes over 10% generally
impose greater construction problems and costs in order to insure slope
integrity and the stability of structures on such slopes. While steep
slopes do provide opportunities for creative architecture and site
planning and may be desirable from an aesthetic point of view, increasing
density of units often creates other potentially hazardous conditions
which must be anticipated early in the planning process.
In general, very steep slopes are unsuitable for any form of urban,
agricultural or forestry use because removal of trees and other vegeta-
tion produces rapid erosion, resulting in sedimentation in streams and
heightening of flood peaks. Such slopes are most appropriately reserved
for limited recreational uses.
GENERAL SLOPE USE ZONING
Slope Limi? tat ions
0-1% Drainage problems make many types of develop-
ment unsuitable. Limited farming and large
scale lineal production industry are often
1-5% Commercial and residential developments of
all types are feasible because of generally
good natural drainage and easy slopes. Good
general farming potential. Roads begin to
follow topographic contours.
5-12% Small scale commercial structures and in-
tensive small industry feasible. Terrace
type landscaping favors clustered single
family residences on large lots and roads
are generally parallel to contours. General
farming from 5-8%, specialized farming to
over 12% Industry and commerce usually economically
impractical. Isolated single familyy residences
on large lots are feasible. All types of
roads become expensive and only specialized
farming is practical.
In north central Florida, slopes are not generally found in extremes.
The greatest topographic problem areas in the region are those having
very low or flat slopes exhibiting poor drainage and which often appear
as wetlands or flood hazard areas on topographic maps. Only small areas
appear to have excessively steep slopes, and those primarily occur
along stream margins. Moderate to steep slopes are generally found
in those areas of the region where the topographically higher sand
terrace deposits grade westward and down to the Hawthorn Formation and
subsequently to the limestone plain of the Coastal Lowlands.
In all but a few areas, steepness of slope does not impair development
potential. Due to modern engineering technology and the desire for an
aesthetically pleasing environment, limited development often occurs in
areas of moderate to steep slopes. As long as proper development
limitations and controls are observed during development and in early
planning stages, limited areas of moderate to steep slopes in the region
pose serious threats only when located or developed in such a manner as
to create undue adverse environmental impact. Such impact could
result in part from the destruction of natural vegetation causing
increased erosion and sedimentation; the destruction of valuable areas
of unique river forest vegetation; inadequate provisions for surface
runoff in terms of both quality and quantity into natural water
courses; and site deterioration caused by a poor accounting of soil,
watertable and bedrock properties during the planning process.
Areas of very flat slopes cover significantly large areas in the region
and usually exhibit other properties which identify them as having poor
or limited development potential. These might include poor soil
suitability for development, flood plain designation, low relief with
typical low-land topographic characteristics such as a high water table
and lowland vegetative species. Therefore, physiographic limitations
must also be assessed in terms of associated natural systems or con-
ditions caused by the interaction between environmental factors.
For the purpose of this study, it was not necessary to prepare a map
illustrating the region's topography principally due to limitations
imposed by map scale. Areas in the region having steep slopes are of
such limited area extent as to make them almost indistinguishable on
the map scale utilized in this report. Large areas of relatively low
slopes on the other hand, are readily identified on available topographic
maps and in most cases, because of other characteristic features such
as their vegetative or wetland nature, otherwise reflect topographic
An overview of climate is an essential element in a consideration of
north central Florida's natural resources. The subtropical nature of
our environment is one of the region's most notable resources. Its
value lies not only in the human perception of climate but, perhaps more
importantly, for the net input of energy to natural systems due to
latitude and solar insolation. As an integral resource of the region,
it helps shape or modify virtually every other natural resource and
influence human activities.
GENERAL REGIONAL CLIMATE
Climatic conditions in the region represent a zone of transition between
temperate and humid subtropical climates generally typical of the
continental east coast below 35 of latitude. It is characterized by
long, warm and relatively humid summers and mild winters with periodic
invasions of colder northern air masses. The three principal interacting
factors which influence climate in north-central Florida include:
2) Proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and;
3) Numerous inland lakes and wetland areas.
Latitude in large part determines the intensity and durationof insolation
(solar radiation) reaching the earth's surface. During summer months,
when greatest, insolation heating the earth creates strong convective
currents which often produce summer thunderstorms. The influence and
interaction of tropical maritime air masses and continental or polar air
masses during the year, modified by local topography, greatly contribute
to climatic conditions.
Summer heat is often tempered by sea breezes in coastal areas and by
frequent afternoon and evening thundershowers in all areas. Thunder-
storms occur on the average about one-half of all summer days. They
often result in a O10-20F drop in temperature.
Gentle breezes of about 5-10 miles per hour occur over most of the
region throughout the year. Wind directions are locally influenced by
convectional forces inland and the "land and sea breeze" effect near
the coast. Prevailing wind directions in the region are sometimes
erratic but, in general, are northerly during winter months and southerly
in the summer. Such breezes serve to mitigate otherwise oppressive con-
ditions of temperature and humidity.
Little convectional rainfall occurs during winter months due to a
reduction in insolation, producing cooler earth surfaces, and frontal
winds associated with high pressure areas developing over the con-
tinent. Cold waves, generated from high pressure frontal systems
seldom last over 2-3 days or result in temperatures much below 15-20F.
The greatest recorded snowfall in Florida was recorded on February 13,
1899, when four inches were recorded at Lake Butler.
Climatic extremes represented by hurricanes, tornadoes and hailstorms
do not constitute significant events in the region's climate. Hail-
storms occasionally occur during spring and summer months associated
with thunderstorms. Tornadoes and snowstorms are also infrequent with a
probability of less than 3% for both. Hurricanes also constitute
major climatic events with winds commonly exceeding 70 miles per hour
and rainfalls over 7 inches. In north central Florida, there is
approximately a 5% chance of a hurricane passing through the area. It
is of note that a hurricane of 100-year storm intensity can be expected
to create tides up to 12-14 feet in the coastal areas of Dixie and
Specific climatic conditions occurring within the region are addressed in
The warmest months of the year in north central Florida are May through
September, when temperatures average between 75 and 80F. The coldest
winter months are November through February with temperatures averaging
55 to 60F. Table 2 presents the average monthly temperatures for
Madison, Lake City and Gainesville, The slightly cooler temperatures
for stations north of Gainesville are evident for most months of the year.
Many given summer temperatures vary little from day to day while
considerable day to day variations are evident during winter months.
Temperatures exceeding 100F are relatively infrequent in north central
Florida. Conversely, freezing temperatures at or below 32F can be
expected to occur from 48 to 56 days each year, depending on location
in the region. Table 4 illustrates the average dates between which
freezing temperatures might be expected to occur during any given year.
Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Aver.
Madison 53.9 56.0 61.6 75.8 80.3 81.3 81.3 77.9 69.7 60.2 54.5 -
Lake City 54.9 56.7 62.0 68.9 75.0 79.5 80.8 80.9 78.0 70.2 61.4 55.8 68.7
Gaines- 57.0 58.6 63.6 70.0 75.8 81.1 81.2 79.1 71.8 71.8 63.3 57.8 69.9
v ille II II IIIIIIIII
STATION PERIOD ____
______ Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. Aver.
Madison 3.43 3.94 5.36 3.88 3.34 5.61 7.19 6.03 5.48 2.61 2.39 3.37 52.6
Lake City 3.43 3.87 4.06 3.27 3.84 8.48 7.37 6.85 5.88 3.52 2.29 3.26 54.1
Gaines- 2.84 3.70 4.26 3.02 3.54 6.81 8.03 8.25 5.67 3.67 1.92 2.88 54.6
vil le III_____I
STATION AV. DATE LAST AV. DATE FIRST AV. DAYS
________SPRING OCCURRENCE FALL OCCURRENCE BETWEEN DATES
Madison Feb. 19 Dec. 2 286
Lake City Feb. 22 Dec. 1 282
Gainesville Feb. 14 Dec. 6 295
*Temperatures at or below 32*F.
Climatic data drawn from Climate of the States, Volume 1,
NOAA, 1974, and Climatological Data Annual Summary for Florida,
1976, prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra-
Prec i p i station
Rainfall in north central Florida varies greatly from year to year and
its distribution is quite uneven throughout each year. The average
annual rainfall in the region is about 52 to 54 inches, yet one year
in ten may have more than 85 inches or less than 23 inches. Even though
yearly rainfalls are relatively large, the region is not immune to
droughts. Periods of prolonged rainfall deficiency are occasionally
experienced in the region and Florida as a whole which can have sub-
stantial adverse impacts to water supplies and the agriculture industry.
The seasonal distribution of rainfall is similar throughout the region.
There is a distinct summer rainy season from June through August as
illustrated in Table 3 of average monthly rainfalls. However, the
beginning and end of the rainy season may vary considerably. A
secondary seasonal peak in rainfall occurs in the late winter months of
February and March. The fall months of October and November are notably
lower in rainfall and are typically the driest months of the year.
Monthly average precipitation values may vary considerably from year
to year with values differing considerably from given monthly rainfalls.
The greatest part of summer rainfall originates from local thunderstorms.
These are primarily local by nature therefore, large differences in
monthly and annual rainfalls between localities are common. Summer
rains lasting one or more days are usually associated with tropical
disturbances and are generally infrequent.
Other Climatic Factors
Variations in relative humidity are generally small with inland areas
with greater temperature extremes generally having lower values. On
the average, values of humidity range from 50 to 65 percent during
afternoon hours to about 85 to 95 percent during night and early
Heavy fogs may be expected to occur during night and early morning
hours of the late fall, winter and early spring months. They may be
expected to occur on the average about 25 to 30 days in any year.
Dissipation usually occurs shortly after sunrise.
Although southern Florida experiences a higher percentage of possible
sunshine hours than the northern portion of the state, records indicate
that the sun shines about two-thirds of the possible sunshine hours
in the state. On the average, the maximum possible hours of sunshine
in the region varies between 14 hours during June to 10 hours during
winter months having the shortest days. Generally clear skies,
averaging 4-7 percent cloud cover on any day, contributes to the amount
of sunshine impacting on the earth.
Air pollution in the form of vehicular emissions, products of land
clearing operations, noise and wastes from industrial centers are also
important climatic components. Fortunately, however, air pollutants in
significant concentrations constitute primarily local impacts within
Air movements over the region are usually sufficiently unstable to
discourage the potential for episodes of air pollution. The general
pattern of Trade Wind circulation and summer patterns of high convection
associated with the formation of thunderstorms generally insure the
dispersal of air pollutants in the region. This is borne out by a fore-
cast by the Department of Environmental Regulation indicating an average
of only ten high air pollution potential days for the region in any given
INFLUENCE OF CLIMATE
The influence of climate on urban structure has been all bit neglected
in the planning and design of our modern human environment. The
resulting waste in money, natural resources and fossil fuels may never
be fully realized. The "energy crisis" warnings that have deluged
the nation since 1970, predicting impending world shortages and the
need for conservation, have served to highlight deficiencies in urban
In general, there are eight determinants of climate quality that
influence urban structure and development: 1) latitude, 2) altitude,
2) landform, 4) water bodies, 5) temperature 6) wind, 7) humidity,
and 8) precipitation. In order to successfully cope with climatic
conditions in Florida, early settlers designed structures to take
advantage of these determinants to the extent materials and technology
permitted. In recent years, rapid developments in methods of climate
control within structures, coupled with an apparently limitless supply
of cheap energy, led to the development of inefficient structures and
accompanying urban forms highly dependent on outside sources of energy
for utilization. It is rapidly becoming apparent that the shape of
future structures will rely heavily on innovative energy efficient
technology if a high quality of life is to be available for our
ci ti zens.
Although the portion of the nation's energy consumption used in the
residential sector is only 19 percent, as compared to 42 percent for
industry and 25 percent in transportation, it is of major significance.
While energy users in industry and transportation consume sizeable
amounts of energy over relatively short time periods, the siting and
construction of housing establishes an energy demand which can be
expected to last through several decades of anticipated use. Clearly
climatic adaptations in structure and urban design must be undertaken
in the interest of both the individual as well as the general public.
The potential economic and resource savings will greatly influence our
future "quality of life."
The Florida Plateau, which separates the Gulf of Mexico from the
Atlantic Ocean, consists of thick layers of limestone and unconsolidated
sediment which have accumulated over a basement (the Continental Shelf)
of sandstone and igneous rock. By the intermittent submergence of this
plateau in shallow seas over the past 150 million years, and subsequent
deposition of carbonate (limestone) and clastic materials, the Florida
peninsula slowly formed and now represents the above water portion of
the Florida Plateau.
While the Plateau itself is comprised of rock formations thousands of
feet in thickness, only those few rock formations lying at or near the
earth's surface are relied upon for resources important for mans
survival, growth and development. There are many facets which must be
examined in a consideration of these resources. The relatively thin
layers of soil and low relief of Florida's topography might suggest that
geologic considerations are not important, yet they greatly influence
the type, degree and quality of many surface activities. The chemical
composition and physical characteristics of those rock strata acces-
sible from the surface often make them amendable to the hydraulic
transfer and storage of water in aquifers. These near-surface materials
also yield useful rock and mineral products such as gypsum, clay,
phosphates, limestones, and marls, all of which are useful raw materials
for a wide variety of human applications. Many such geological pro-
ducts are found beneath north central Florida, some of which have been
mined in the past and others which may be commercially valuable in the
The topography and structure of those formations at or near the earth's
surface show evidence of past geologic activity. Natural uplifts in
the earth's crust resulted in the formation of structural features such
as the Peninsular Arch and the Ocala Uplift. Both are evident in north
central Florida and have created slight regional slopes toward the Gulf
of Mexico. Subsequent erosion helped form much of the topography of
north central Florida. With respect to more recent geologic activity
one source reports that there have been numerous episodes of natural
seismic activity on the Florida platform only two of which have been
significant. Two earthquakes are cited, in 1879 and 1900, which were
of sufficient magnitude to have been recorded in the area of St. John's
River Fault Zone. Other fault zones related to Tampa Bay and Charlotte
Harbour have apparently not been active since Paleocene time (40
million years ago). Therefore, in terms of seismic or geologic
activity, the Florida Plateau appears to be regarded as a highly
stable area with very minor earthquake potential.
In general, the rock formations lying within several hundred feet of
the earth's surface in north central Florida may be described collectively
as consolidated and semi-consolidated marine and non-marine deposits of
sand, clay, marl, limestone, and dolomite (a magnesium rich limestone).
The individual rock formations discussed in succeeding paragraphs will
further describe these relatively "shallow" deposits. Those lying
deepest below the region are discussed first or in this case, oldest
to youngest. It is noted that all formations described are not con-
tinuous in the subsurface beneath the region. The aerial extent of
those formations exposed at or lying immediately beneath the surficial
soils layer are depicted on the general geology map.
In general, the surface deposits of north central Florida are mostly
limestone which resulted from marine deposition from the Eocene Epoch
(deposited from 58 to 36 million years ago), and the Oligocene Epoch
(deposited from 36 to 25 million years ago). These limestone are
generally very high in calcium carbonate content, and occasionally have
been silicified to material commonly known as chert. In the eastern
portion of north central Florida, these limestones are covered by
Miocene to recent sands and clays (deposited from 25 million years ago
to the present) of variable thickness, with the thickest sequences
being found in highland areas.
The Lake City Limestone, lying beneath the region at considerable depth,
is the oldest formation from which supplies of fresh water are obtained.
Nowhere is this formation exposed at the surface in Florida. It is
principally a dolomitic limestone which includes many beds of sulphur,
fossiliferous limestone and seams of peat or lignite. The Lake City
Limestone approaches the surface in southeastern Alachua County where it
has been found lying approximately 150 feet below mean sea level. It is
overlain in the subsurface by the Avon Park Limestone which is a dense
porous dolomite with few beds of limestone. The Avon Park is the
oldest formation exposed at the surface in the state. Overlying these
foundations are the limestone formations known collectively as the
Ocala Group. These limestones are usually considered as a unit because
of their similarity. They include the Inglis, Williston, and Crystal
River Formations. These formations lie strategraphically above the
Avon Park Formation, and are noteworthy because they comprise the bulk of
the tremendous groundwater reservoir known as the Floridan Aquifer.
Of those formations which comprise the Ocala Group, the Inglis Formation
is the oldest, and does not outcrop at the surface. The overlying
Williston Formation, as the oldest exposed formation in the region,
occurs at the surface only in the southwestern portion of Dixie County.
Both formations can be generally described as shallow, marine, fragmental
fossiliferous limestones. Both are noted as an important source of
roadstone in Florida. The Crystal River Formation lies above the
Williston and is exposed at or near the surface of the earth and has
been found near the surface in Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette
and Madison Counties. This formation was formed as a shallow marine
limestone and contains many large foraminifer and mollusks. The
Crystal River Formation is noted as an important source of high
calcium limestone and has been recognized as a chief supply or road-
stone in Florida.
The Suwannee Limestone has been found to overlie the Ocala Group in
portions of Taylor, Suwannee and Madison Counties. Due to their
similarity, there is often difficulty distinguishing between the
limestones of the Ocala Group and the Suwannee Limestone except by
characteristic fossil elements. The Ocala Group, Avon Park and Lake
City Formations, and the Suwannee Limestone and sometimes the overlying
limestone beds of the Hawthorn Formation are considered together as
the Floridan Aquifer because of their similar excellent porosity and
permeability. The value of these formations for fresh water storage
is described in the section entitled "Water Resources."
The Hawthorn Formation overlies both the Ocala Group and the Suwannee
Limestone and is exposed at the surface over much of Hamilton, Alachua,
Suwannee and Columbia Counties. The Hawthorne Formation is a marine
deposit consisting of thick beds of clay and sandy clay and continuing
beds of sandy, phosphatic limestone. It reaches a maximum thickness of
about 200 feet in the region and because of its composition and physical
characteristics, usually forms a gently rolling surface. The Choctaw-
hatchee Formation lies beneath the surface in northeastern and
eastern Alachua County and is exposed only in a few prairies or low
areas where overriding sediments have been removed. The formation is
comprised of fossiliferous clay and marl and small amounts of
phosphate pebbles. Generally equated in age and origin with the
Hawthorne Formation is the Alachua Formation. They both have a some-
what similar lithology and despite the relatively small area over which
it is exposed, the Alachua Formation is recognized on the map of general
geology because of the low grade "hard rock" phosphate deposits occurring
The Alachua Formation forms low rolling hills over the Ocala Group in
western Alachua County and small portions of Lafayette and Madison
Counties. This formation is primarily a terrestrial sand deposit
often found interbedded with phosphate pebbles and sandy clays. The
phosphate occurrences in this formation are significant and will be
further discussed in the chapter entitled "Rock and Mineral Resources."
The Miccosukee Formation, covers much of Taylor County in the northwestern
portion of the region. Deposits of the Miccosukee Formation are composed
of yellow-red, cross-bedded, silty and clayey sand that are thought to
have been deposited as deltaic sediments during Miocene time.
The fine to medium sand and silts which cover almost the entire region
are associated with Recent and Pleistocene terrace sand deposits. These
sand deposits are the youngest formations which are recognized in the
region. They are collectively comprised of several wave-formed ter-
races consisting largely of marine sediments which were deposited
during the early glacial epoch when most of Florida was under water.
Consisting predominantly of unconsolidated sand, with lesser amounts of
clay, these sands vary from 20 to 45 feet in thickness over much of the
north and eastern portions of the region. They are generally recognized
on the geologic map only where they occur in appreciable thicknesses
of at least eight to ten feet.
Table 5 that follows, illustrates the time and stratagraphic relation-
ships of these major formations generally recognized in the literature
as occurring at or near the earth's surface in north central Florida.
The general range of thickness encountered beneath the region is also
GEOLOGIC TIME AND STRATAGRAPHIC RELATIONSHIPS
OF FORMATIONS IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA
TIME PERIOD THICKNESS
(GEOLOGIC SERIES) RANGE FORMATION
Recent/Pleistocene 0-50 Sand terrace deposits
Pliocene 0-65 Miccosukee
Miocene 0-20 Choctwhatchee
Oligocene 0-100 Suwannee Limestone
Eocene 0-140 Crystal River
70-205 Williston Gcaua
205-525 Avon Park
175-560 Lake City
Source: Adapted from the Geologic Map of
Florida, Florida Bureau of
GENERAL GEOLOGIC MAP*
eologic Map of Florida, Map Series No. 18, Florida Division
)f Geology, May, 1965
GEOLOGIC MAP PREPARATION
The map entitled General Geologic Suitability for Development, rep-
resents the approximate areal distribution of rock formations that
would be exposed at the earth's surface assuming the thin veneer of
soil deposits were removed. The formations mapped are grouped according
to common rock types as shown in the legend as they occur from just
below the soil zone to depths of expected use for most purposes.
Therefore, the map is generalized, based on lithologies to facilitate
easier comparison and understanding. The map characterizes geologic
formations in terms of materials found from surface exposure, shallow
borings and other information and is drawn from the environmental
geology maps prepared by the Florida Bureau of Geology and adapted
for this comparison.
The broad generalizations relate limitations to development based upon
an overview of the physical and chemical character of each rock type.
It has been prepared with the assistance of Mr. Michael Knapp, a
geologist with the Florida Bureau of Geology.
For the purposes of this report, it is necessary to assign relative
values to each formation based upon each element's suitability or
sensitivity to a higher intensive land use. The rating scheme is
subjective in nature and is based upon a general evaluation of the over-
all limitations or sensitivity possessed by each formation with regard
to its value or potential for more intensive development.
This determination was made basically as follows. Thick sand deposits
because of the generally good bearing capacity and excellent drainage
capabilities are noted as having the least limitations or restrictions
to intensive land use. Although they cover almost the entire region,
only areas with relatively thick deposits are identified as having few
limitations for more intensive development.
The area corresponding to the areal extent of those formations, which
are, in general, the time equivalent of the Hawthorne Formation,
contain a prepondernace of sand material. They are, therefore, ranked
second only to the sand deposits with respect to suitability or develop-
Ongoing studies by the Florida Bureau of Geology have indicated that
the Suwannee Limestone is largely dolomite west of the Suwannee River.
As dolomite it is more suitable for development than other lime-
stone formations because it presents a hard base rock suitable for
foundations and is generally less porous to infiltration due to the
recrystalization of the rock making it less prone to solution by ground
water such as from septic tanks and other waste discharges.
The Alachua Formation, recognized as the terrestial equivalent of the
marine deposited Hawthorne Formation, and lithologically similar, is
grouped with the Hawthorne as having moderate development limitations.
This categorization is made largely because of the variable nature of
these formations which largely consist of interbedded sands, limestones,
clays and phosphatic pebbles. Generally, because of their succeptability
to swelling by clays and poor percolation resulting in standing water
and inadequate operation of septic tanks, they often pose distinct
limitations to intensive development.
The limestone formations of the Ocala Group, including the overlying
Suwannee Limestone, are assigned highest degree of sensitivity of those
formations represented at the surface. This evaluation is based on
the degree to which limestone occurring at the surface may restrict
construction, particularly underground utilities and, more importantly,
on the potential afforded for pollution of the subsurface Floridan
Aquifer through this soluble, porous material.
The foregoing discussion does not imply that areas with relatively
high limitations should be barred to construction and development, but
rather in many cases a greater degree of consideration and possibly
extensive investment in material and energy would need to be expended
to preclude potential problems and hazards afforded by geologic
conditions. Depth of soil overburden above each formation and soil
characteristics are )nly two examples where other factors can effect
growth and development or modify the significance of this geologic
grouping in any specific area.
GENERAL GEOLOGIC SUITABILITY
LIMESTONES & DOLOMITES
The freshwater resources of Florida include waters which are stored on
the land surface as well as those stored in underground reservoirs.
That water stored on the earth's surface in lakes, rivers, canals,
reservoirs, and swamps may collectively be termed surface water.
Water stored in the permeable rock formations or aquifers lying beneath
the earth's surface is termed groundwater. These water resources are
continually replenished by rainfall and by incoming flows such as rivers
from neighboring states. A reduction in water resources also occurs
on a continuous basis through groundwater and river discharges to the
ocean, evapotranspiration and human consumption.
Water is a renewable resource, a more accurately, a recyclable re-
source. It is neither created nor destroyed through its use or its
movement through the hydrologic cycle, rather only its character and
location are changed. Therefore, at any one time, the basic amount of
water in Florida remains relatively unchanged, although population
growth and urban and industrial development both continue to put
increasing demands on the available supply. While serious water
shortages in terms of the entire state appear unlikely, it is certain
that in future years, water will not be available in sufficient quantities
in each basin or hydrologic area to fully meet the potential demands
that will be placed on this resource. Therefore, an analysis of this
resource has become a vital function of natural resource planning. The
hydrologic problem then, is fundamentally one of water accounting so
that a balance of water quality and quantity may be maintained in
SURFACE WATER RESOURCES
From the enclosed drainage basin map, it may be seen that this north
central Florida region is divided between three major drainage basins: the
Suwannee, the St. Johns, and the Aucilla-St. Marks. Surface drainage
is by far dominated by the Suwannee River, which, with its tributaries,
remains the most significant surface water feature in the region.
Abundant lakes and springs are evident throughout the area and con-
tribute to the aesthetic and recreational values of the region. If
wetlands, i.e., swamps and marshes, etc., are included, it is apparent
that the region is rich with a diversity of surface water resources.
In order to facilitate the assessment of water quality problems,
Florida's Department of Environmental Regulation has subdivided each
major river basin into basin segments. Each segment is a discreet
hydrologic area, or sub-basin, through which water accumulates or
passes into the major drainage system. Each segment, as seen on the
drainage basin map, has been assigned an identifying number to
facilitate identification for planning and processing purposes.
Of those basins that lie wholly or partially within this eleven county
region, the Suwannee River basin is the largest. It includes an area of
11,020 square miles of which 4,127 square miles lies in peninsular
Florida. All or portions of twelve counties are found within the
basin including Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist,
Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, and Union.
The Suwannee River basin in Florida is characterized by lakes, sinks
and permeable underground limestone formations that store and regulate
much of the surface runoff before it collects in surface channels.
The permeable soils that cover much of the land area in the basin are
often underlain by clays and limestones which also affect the amount of
runoff that reaches the rivers and streams of the region.
The three largest tributaries of the Suwannee are the Alapaha, With-
lacoochee and Santa Fe Rivers. The four are similar in that their
channels are fifteen to thirty feet deep and often cut through shallow
overburden into underlying limestone formations. The flood plains of
each are highly vegetated and generally of high environmental value.
The Suwannee begins in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia where numerous
channels converge to form the river. From Georgia, it flows in a
southly direction forty-five miles to White Springs, Florida. It
then forms a wide westward loop picking up its three principal tributar-
ies before continuing southwestward toward the Gulf of Mexico, where
it empties a few miles north of Cedar Key, Florida. The average flow
for the upper Suwannee River at the farthest upstream gauging station
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RIVERS & TRIBUTARIES
IN THE SUWANNEE
BASIN STREAM NAME COUNTY LENGTH DRAINS
SEGMENT (MILES) SQ MILES
21.1 AA Alapaha River Hamilton 155.0 1,840.0
Alligator Creek Hamilton 4.3
Apalahoochee River Hamilton 30.0 283.0
Camp Branch Hamilton 4.3
Cypress Creek Hamilton 2.2
Jerry Branch Hamilton 4.0
Jumping Gully Creek Hamilton 6.7
Mill Creek Hamilton 2.2
Mitchell Creek Hamilton 3.9
Poncher Branch Hamilton 2.1
Ratlift Branch Hamilton 2.2
Rocky Creek Hamilton 6.5
Sol Marie Hamilton 2.8
Sugar Creek Hamilton 3.5
Swift Creek Hamilton 6.8 58.0
Tiger Creek Hamilton 5.4
Turkey Creek Hamilton 2.2
Withlacoochee River Hamilton 115.0 2,330.0
Camp Branch Columbia 11.5
Carrey Flat Branch Columbia 2.0
Deep Creek Columbia 13.6
Falling Creek Columbia 13.8
Robinson Branch Columbia 9.4
Tiger Branch Columbia 2.8
Rocky Creek Suwannee 8.1
21.2 BA Blocksnake Creek Madison 2.0
Norton Creek Madison 6.9
Springhead Creek Madison 1.5
Mill Creek Lafayette 4.1
21.3 AA Alligator Creek Bradford 7.8 24.3
Gum Creek Bradford 3.0
New River Bradford 29.2 292.0
Sampson River Bradford 6.3 67.8
Water Oak Creek Bradford 14.3 20.7
Butler Creek Union 5.0 8.0
Five Mile Creek Union 5.0
Olustee Creek Union 26.6 170.0
Swifts Creek Union 16.8 58.0
Cannon Creek Columbia 4.8
Clay Hole Creek Columbia 6.8
Rose Creek Columbia 6.7
______ *Santa Fe River _______ 70.0 1,440.0
21.1 AA *Suwannee River 245.0 9,900.0
"'Rivers border on several counties in the planning basin.
near White Springs is 1,807 cfs (cubic feet per second), while the
maximum flow is 28,500 cfs. Approximately thirty miles from the mouth,
flows average 10,560 cfs, with a maximum of 84,700 cfs.*
Table 6, summarized from the Suwannee River 303 Basin Plan, identifies
the principal rivers and tributaries in the Suwannee River basin.
The St. Johns River basin covers approximately 8,800 square miles of
peninsular Florida of which about 490 square miles lie in Alachua
County and perhaps five square miles in Bradford County. Drainage to
the St. Johns River in Alachua County is through Orange Creek in the
southeastern tip of the County which connects to the St. Johns River
via the Oklawaha River, its largest tributary. The average flow from
southeastern Alachua County into the St. Johns River Basin is approximately
A very small portion of the region lies within the Southwest drainage
basin of Florida or, more specifically, in the Wacassassa River Basin
which drains southwestward through Levy County to the Gulf of Mexico
at Yankeetown. This area includes approximately 65 square miles in
southeastern Gilchrist County and 20 square miles in southwestern
Alachua County. The area is not significant from a regional drainage
scheme except for the drainage relief offered the poorly drained Wacas-
sassa Flats area of Gilchrist County.
Although lakes are unimportant to the region as sources of public water
supply they must be noted as an asset that few states enjoy in more
abundance than Florida. Values to outdoor recreation, aesthetics,
wildlife propagation as well as the economic benefits afforded from
servicing these and other activities insure the continued importance of
lakes within the region.
There are 645 lakes in this eleven county region of north central Florida,
78 of which exceed 100 acres in size. These lakes have a total surface
area of about 98,821 acres o, 154 square miles. Table 7 summarizes
the distribution of lakes by county in the region.
Covering a land area of 154 square miles out of the 6,877 square miles
in the region (2.23%), lakes obviously constitute an important land use
in the region. Therefore, the need for the conservation of this
resource is important to both the economy as well as the quality of life.
*Note: A flow of 100 cfs is approximately equal to a flow of 64.6
million gallons per day (MGD).
N PLANNING DISTRICT
TOTAL NUM3ER OF LAKE
NUMBER LAKES OVER AREA LAKE AREA
COUNTY LAKES 100 ACRES (ACRES) (SQUARE MILES)
Alachua 169 40 52,068 81.356
Bradford 15 7 10,055 15.710
Columbia 38 3 1,405 2.195
Dixie 76 1 1,608 2.512
Gilchrist 9 1 437 .682
Hamilton 27 1 658 1.028
Lafayette 66 4 1,564 2.443
Madison 113 12 14,487 22.635
Suwannee 33 2 982 1.534
Taylor 96 4 13,658 21.341
Union 3 3 1,899 2.967
Total 645 78 98,821 154.408
*See Appendix 3
Source: Florida Gazetteer.
Table 8 provides tabulation of lakes exceeding 100 acres by basin
segment in the region. It is of note that these tables do not include
swamps, marshes or other wetlands in the region. As will be seen in
following sections, these variable water bodies cover vast portions
of the region and contribute greatly to the overall water-bound natural
resources of the region.
Groundwater is the principal source of water supply for industrial,
municipal, agricultural and domestic uses in the region. As such it
is probably the single most important natural resource available to
the citizens of north central Florida. Although its highest function
is as a source of potable water, it also serves to maintain water levels
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in lakes and streams. Where groundwater discharges at ground surface
through springs, recreational sites also become possible.
Groundwater is water within the soil zone in which all pore spaces are
completely filled with water. An aquifer is defined as a rock formation
or material in the zone of saturation that is permeable enough to yield
usable quantities of water to wells or springs.
Groundwater may occur under water table (unconfined) or artesian
(confined) conditions. In an unconfined aquifer, the water table is
the upper surface of the zone of saturation and is free to rise or
fall. In an artesian or confined aquifer, the water is confined under
greater than atmospheric pressure by overlying, relatively impermeable
beds. The water in a well drilled into an artesian aquifer will rise
above the base of the confining bed. If the water rises above the
land surface, it will flow naturally and may be termed a flowing
artesian well. The potentiometric surface of an artesian aquifer is
the surface to which water will rise in a tightly cased well that
penetrates the aquifer.
Potable water supplies come from two major sources: the Floridan aquifer
and what may be termed the upper or secondary aquifers. The upper
aquifers are those waters containing rock or sand formations that lie
physically above the limestones of the Floridan aquifer. These aquifers
usually consist of a water table aquifer found close to land surface in
surficial sand or soil deposits. Other secondary aquifers are often
found in thin layers of limestone or other porous material lying between
the water table aquifer and the Floridan aquifer below.
The water table aquifer is usually comprised of sands of the Pleistocene
terrace deposits and the sand and limestone layers at the top of the
Hawthorne Formation. The water table aquifer is absent in a 300 square
mile area of southwestern Alachua County and extensive areas of the coastal
zone in Dixie and Taylor Counties where the limestones of the Floridan
aquifer are very close to the surface. The aquifer is thickest in the
northern portion of the region where surficial sand beds may reach 100
feet in thickness.
The water table aquifer will generally yield less than 50 gpm (gallons
per minute) of flow which is adequate for some domestic and agricultural
uses. However, because of local concentrations of iron and tannic acid,
most users rely upon the lower aquifers for superior quality water
supplies. This aquifer is primarily recharged by rainfall and to a much
lesser extent, the movement of water upward from underlying formations.
Secondary aquifers are often artesian, i.e., the water contained within
is under pressure and sometimes flows through wells at land surface.
Although limited in occurrence, they are principally found in the limestone
or sand layers in the lower part of the Hawthorne Formation which covers
much of the higher plateau areas of the region. Probably more wells in
the region tap the secondary artesian aquifers for potable water
supplies than any other source. In most areas, wells tapping the secondary
aquifers do provide flows greater than those from the water table aquifer
(up to 200 gpm) and generally are of better quality.
The Floridan aquifer consists of a series of hydrologically connected
limestone and dolomite formations. Within this region, the aquifer is
composed of the Lake City Limestone, Avon Park Limestone, the Ocala Group
of limestones (the Crystal River, Williston and Inglis Formations), the
Suwannee Limestone and the permeable sand and limestone beds occasionally
found at the base of the Hawthorne Formation.
This aquifer, which extends beneath almost all of Florida and smaller
parts of three adjoining states, is recognized as one of the most
productive and extensive groundwater bearing formations in the United
State and easily transmits and stores more water than any other aquifer
in Florida. Depending upon the location and thickness of the aquifer
where penetrated, wells drawing from this source are capable of producing
prolific supplies of potable water.
The altitude and configuration of the top of the aquifer are controlled
by two subsurface geologic structure, the Ocala Uplift and the Peninsular
Arch. As described in the chapter on geology, both structures are
structural highs which trend northwestward through the region. The
Peninsular Arch crests in Alachua, Union, Columbia and Hamilton Counties
and the Ocala Uplift crests to the southwest of the Peninsular Arch in
Levy, Gilchrist and Alachua Counties. The aquifer is at or near the
surface approximately along the crest of both structures and dips away
from these crests toward the Atlantic Ocean on the east flank and toward
the Gulf of Mexico on the west.
The General Geology map illustrates the areas in the region where lime-
stones of this aquifer occur at or near the earth's surface. The greatest
amount of overburden overlying the aquifer appears to be in south-
eastern Alachua County where the aquifer lies at a depth of about 300
feet. The freshwater bearing zone of the aquifer ranges from about 500
to 1,000 feet in thickness.
It is not possible at this time to ascertain the quantity of recoverable
water which may be available from the aquifer in this region. The staff
of the Suwannee River Water Management District is currently preparing
both a water use plan and a water budget for the Suwannee River District.
This information will facilitate making estimates of available water in
any area of the region. Based upon observations of municipal, industrial
and agricultural uses along with stream discharges, it is apparent that
tremendous quantities of water exist beneath the region. Only a fraction
of the stored water, however, can be claimed for use. Therefore, although
not inexhaustible, the general magnitude of water volume appears to offer
few.i limitations except as might be imposed by a large industry such as
phosphate mining. In such instances, the Suwannee River Water Management
District or the St. Johns River Water Management District, charged with
regulating consumptive water use within their respective jurisdictions,
would evaluate groundwater withdrawals before issuing permits.
The Suwannee River Water Management District has also identified three
ways in which recharge to the Floridan aquifer is accomplished. As
reported (Source 25) they include:
1) By local rainfall in the central and southeast part of the
District where the aquifer is at or near land surface and the
confining beds are thin or absent.
2) By downward movement of water from shallower aquifers and from
lakes and streams where the confining beds are breached by
sinkholes. For example, in western Alachua County and southern
Columbia County, the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers and Olustee
Creek recharge the aquifer through sinkholes when the river
levels are above the potentiometric surface of the Floridan
3) By downward infiltration of water from the shallower aquifers
through the relatively impermeable confining beds where the
water levels in the shallower aquifers stand higher than the
potentiometric surface of the Floridan aquifer. This type of
recharge occurs over wide areas on the higher terraces in the
northern part of the District.
The movement of water laterally through the aquifer is generally in a
southwesterly direction toward the Gulf and away from areas of recharge.
Water recharge areas are under a higher relative potential than in
discharge areas, or those of lower potential. Flow, thereby, occurs
from one area to another by gravity based upon differences in hydraulic
Areas of high potential or recharge in the region include the areas
enclosed by the sixty-foot potentiometric contour lines west of the
Suwannee River in Madison and Lafayette Counties and the area partially
enclosed by the eighty-foot potentiometric contour lines in northeastern
Alachua and southeastern Bradford Counties. Additional recharge to the
Floridan aquifer occurs in western Alachua County, eastern Gilchrist
County and in areas west of the Suwannee River where the lack of over-
burden permits direct recharge by rainfall. The numerous sinkholes and
sinkhole lakes of the region also permit direct recharge to the aquifer.
A General Recharge map has been prepared to illustrate the major areas
of recharge in the region. These areas are broadly ranked according to
the relative recharge capacities of each area.
Because of the importance of this resource the recharge capabilities of
the region must be considered during the land use planning process to
insure the compatibility of future land uses with recharge potential.
From the General Recharge map it may be observed that the highest
recharge in the region occurs in areas where the potentiometric levels
or pressure heads offer the greatest potential for rapid movement of
water from the surface into the aquifer. PerhM's more important, due to
area size are recharge areas where the limestones of the Floridan
aquifer are nearest the surface and through sinkholes directly charging
into the aquifer. Areas with poorest recharge potential correspond to
the area extent ot the Hawthorne and similar formations which because
of their clayey nature almost preclude the flow of water downward to the
S p r i n gs
Florida's springs represent the natural overflow from the state's
tremendous groundwater storage and circulation system. Their combined
flow has been estimated to be about 7 BGD (billion gallons per day) or
over nine times the amount of water delivered by public water systems in
1971. Although used to a very limited degree for industry and agriculture,
their primary use is recreational. Their abundance in North Central
Florida greatly contributes to the natural beauty of the area.
A spring is a natural fountain or supply of water upwelling at the earth's
surface through cracks, fissures or caverns whose flow may range from a
wet seep to a sizeable stream. Groundwater is discharged from under-
lying aquifers to springs where the potentiometric surface or pressure
head stands higher than the surface water level.
Springs may be classified by the average quantity of water they discharge
First magnitude springs discharge flows of 100 cfs (64.6 MGD) or greater,
second magnitude springs have flows between 10 and 100 cfs and third
magnitude springs less than 10 cfs.
In a recent report, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that there were
a total of 27 first magnitude springs and spring groups in Florida, seven
of which are located in this eleven county region. In addition, the
region also possesses twenty-six second magnitude springs. Table 9
is provided to illustrate the distribution of springs within the region.
Average flows in CFS are given for first magnitude springs.
In addition to those noted, there remain a number of unlisted third
magnitude springs in north central Florida. Viewed as whole, the region
possesses an impressive number and diversity of springs which constitute
one of its most important natural assets.
FIRST AND SECOND MAGNITUDE SPRINGS OF NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA
COUNTY NAME FLOW*
Alachua Hornsby Spring 163
Columbia Ichnatucknee Springs 358
Dixie Copper Springs
Gilchrist Blue Springs
Rock Bluff Springs
Hamilton Morgan's Spring
Alapaha Rise 608
Holton Spring 288
Lafayette Allen Mill Pond Spring
Troy Spring 166
Madison Blue Spring 123
Suwannee Branford Spring
Falmouth Spring 157
Little River Springs
*Flow: Average values given for first magnitude springs
Source: Index to Springs of Florida, Florida Bureau of Geoloqy,
USGS Spring Tabulation, December, 1975.
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WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT
Water Quality Overview
Water in the Floridan aquifer is usually higher in hardness and has low
values of turbidity and color. Iron concentrations are often high as are
bicarbonates and sulphate concentrations, although the two latter values
may vary greatly. Variations in water quality wihtin the aquifer are
due primarily to natural factors with the concentration of dissolved
substances generally increasing progressively with depth. The chemical
quality of the upper aquifers is generally more variable with the most
objectionable quality characteristics being iron, calcium and magnesium
hardness and nitrate in some localities. Color is not usually a problem
in the upper aquifers; however, it may be significant locally.
In terms of water quality, groundwater in the region is generally con-
sidered to be excellent. In only a few areas has groundwater been found
to be of an objectionable quality because of excessive mineral concentra-
tion or bacteriological contamination. In broad overview, groundwater
has been found to be suitable for municipal, agricultural and most in-
dustrial uses of the region. The only area in the region where the
water in the upper part of the aquifer has been found to be relatively
high in mineral concentration is at the mouth of the Aucilla River in
southern Jefferson and Taylor Counties. In this area, dissolved solids
concentrations of the water has exceeded 1,000 milligrams per liter,
chloride has reached 1,000 milligrams per liter and the sulphate con-
centrations lie between 50 and 100 milligrams per liter. This relatively
high concentration of minerals indicates the presence of saltwater in-
trusion to the aquifer at this locality.
Table 10 is included in order to summarize the utilization of fresh water
by the counties in the region. It is noted that virtually all the public
and industrial supplies of water tap groundwater sources and most of that
is from the Floridan aquifer. The large quantities of groundwater utilized
for industrial purposes in Taylor and Hamilton Counties are primarily
used in the manufacturing of cellulose and for the mining and processing
of phosphate, respectively. Other major industrial uses include thermo-
electric generation plants in Suwannee County.
Water Quality Factors
Although the region remains rich in high quality waters, it is important
to recognize that the continuing existence of such surface and ground-
water resources is not necessarily assured with growth and development.
FRESHWATER WITHDRAWN AND CONSUMED IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA
MUNICIPAL INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURAL GENERATION ALL USES
WITH- CON- WITH- CON- WITH- CON- WITH- CON- WITH- CON-
COUNTY DRAWAL SUMED DRAWAL SUMED DRAWAL SUMED DRAWAL SUMED DRAWAL SUMED
Alachua 22.3 12.2 1.4 .3 3.4 2.5 1.0 .8 28.1 15.8
Bradford .7 .4 1.4 .14 .1 .2 .2 2.44 .7
Clay 1.6 .5 1.5 .2 4.1 3.0 7.2 3.7
Columbia 1.7 .4 .2 .2 1.9 .6
Dixie .4 .1 .9 .3 .09 .1 1.39 .5
Gilchrist .1 .1 .2 .1 .3 .2
Hamilton .5 .2 18.4 6.1 .7 .5 19.6 6.8
Lafayette .1 .1 1.1 .9 1.2 1.0
Madison .6 .1 1.7 1.3 2.3 1.4
Suwannee .6 .2 7.1 .3 4.1 3.0 173 1.5 184.8 5.0
Taylor 1.2 .3 53.7 5.4 .1 .1 55.0 5.8
Union .1 .1 .6 .3 .11 .1 .81 .5
TOTALS 29.9 14.7 85.0 12.9 16.34 11.4 174.2 2.5 305.98 42.0
Source: Adapted from Water Resource Information Needs, Information
Circular No. 1, Suwannee River Water Management District,
The application of water quality and management programs is, therefore,
essential if the region's potential is to be achieved.
With respect to assessing the quality status of waters within the region
it has been recognized that very little documented information is
available concerning the region's existing and potential water quality
problems. The 303(e) Basin Plans prepared by Florida's Department of
Environmental Regulation appear to summarize the most up-to-date and complete
information available. This and other available information suggests
that there does exist a high potential for water pollution in large
areas of the region and that the existing and/or potential problems are
complicated by the type and variety of natural environments present.
Both the ground and surface waters of the region presently receive waste
products from a variety of sources including domestic waste from municipal
and private dischargers, industrial wastes and non-point sources. The
Florida Department of Environmental Regulation has analyzed available
water quality data for major lakes and streams of the region and documented
this data in their St. Johns River, Suwannee River, and Aucilla-St.
Marks 303(e) River Basin Plans, according to requirements outlined by
the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (PL 92-500).
Illustrated by the following Basin Segment-water Quality Map are those
segments in the northwest and southeast portions of the region designated
as Water Quality Limited, or those areas which, on the application of
the best practical treatment for industrial point sources and secondary
treatment for municipal point sources, will not achieve the established
water quality goals. All other segments in the region have been designated
in the 303(e) basin plans as Effluent Limited, or those segments in which,
upon the levels of treatment mentioned above are expected to meet water
Problems in Water Quality Limited segments as indicated by Table 11,
Stream Classification in Water Quality Limited Segments, are due to
both point and non-point sources. Water bodies in the southeastern portion
of the region having water quality problems include New River, Santa
Fe River, Alligator Creek, Newmans Lake, Orange Lake and many others.
Many of these have been noted in the past as having high scenic and
recreational values. In the northwest portion of the region, Water
Quality Limited segments include problems associated with the Aucilla
River and the Fenholloway River; the former highly scenic with primarily
non-point problems, the latter receiving large amount of industrial wastes
which ultimately flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
The north central portions of the region, segments 21.1AA and 21.2BA,
have been designated Effluent Limited. This area, drained entirely by
the Suwannee River and its tributaries, has been noted by the District
Conservation ;ts of the Soil Conservation Service as having potential
for non-point sources of Dollution. The potential for impacts to ground-
wdter recharge in this area and subsequent downstream impacts throughout
the Suwannee River Basin have wide implications with respect to water
quality and land use.
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Coastal areas in segments 22.5BA and 21.2AA, likewise, are reported to
have non-point sources of pollution though none have yet been specifically
identified or quantified. In this area having minimal overburden above
the aquifer, there is a close interaction between ground and surface
waters, a condition common throughout much of the region. In addition,
relatively undeveloped and ecologically valuable coastal marshes and
attendant Class II waters are present, all of which would suggest and
emphasize the need for water quality management and planning.
The following discussion expands upon point and non-point pollution
problems within the region.
The Florida Department of Pollution Control classified the bulk of the
region's surface waters as Class III (recreational-propagation and manage-
ment of fish and wildlife) and Class II (shellfish harvesting) for coastal
waters. The only exception is the Fenholloway River, which is noted as
Class V (navigation, utility and industrial uses). Water quality standards
for each class of water are identified in Chapter 17-3 of the Rules of the
Department of Air and Water Pollution Control. In addition, Federal
regulations, i.e. PL 92-500, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
Amendments of 1972, also state as their goal swimmable and fishable waters
throughout the nation by 1985 and require through more specific state
compiled 303(e) plans more specific goals designed to achieve these
Stream segments which are in violation of water quality standards and
which would not meet water quality standards with the application of
best practical treatment to point sources are classified as Water Quality
Limited. Table 11 summarizes the Water Quality Limited segments within
the north central Florida region and notes the probable causes of
deteriorated stream quality as suggested by the 303(e) Basin Plans.
In order to document the number and nature of point discharges within the
region, Tables 12 and 13 are also provided. It is apparent that only
in segments 20.2BA, 21.3AA, and 21.1AA are point source discharges
notably significant. There are 35 point source discharges of domestic
waste within the region. These sources contribute approximately 13 MGD
of effluent to surface waters and are by volume concentrated in segments
20.2BA, 22.5 AA, and 21.3AA. It is of note that several domestic point
sources discharge directly into groundwaters and others, notable in and
around Alachua County, ultimately flow through surface streams into
groundwater bearing formations through solution features.
Industrial point source dischargers are less notable in numbers but
perhaps more significant in terms of waste volumes produced. Over 70 MGD
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SUMMARY CHART OF
MAJOR POINT SOURCE DISCHARGERS
SEGMENT NAME LOCATION WASTE (AVERAGE)
20.2 BA General Electric
Battery Plant Alachua Alkaline 0.5
Copeland Sausage Alachua Meat Processing 0.879
Board (3) Gainesville Domestic 7.8
Florida Gainesville Domestic 2.4
Center Gainesville Domestic 0.3
21.1 AA Owens-Illinois Clyattville, Pulp & Paper
Georgia Processing 11.7
City of Jasper Jasper Domestic 0.311
Chemical White Springs Processing
21.2 BA City of Live Oak Live Oak Domestic 0.4
Fla. Power Corp. Live Oak Cooling water 175.6
Gold Kist Poultry Ellaville Processing 0.8
21.3 AA E.I. Dupont Starke Heavy mineral 3.4
Fla. State Prison Raiford Domestic 1.27
City of Lake City Lake City Domestic 2.0
City of Lake
Butler Lake Butler Domestic 0.22
City of Starke Starke Domestic 0.8
22.5 AA City of Perry Perry Domestic 1.0
Buckeye Cellulose Foley Pulp Processing 55.8
Southern Dolomite Perry Groundwater and 15.0
Source: Suwannee River, St. Johns River
(e) Basin Plans prepared by the
and Aucilla-St. Marks 303
Department of Environmental
of wood pulp processing and dolomite mining wastes flow into the Fenholloway
River and another 12 MGD from a paper processing source flows into the
Suwannee River via the Withlacoochee River in Hamilton and Madison
Counties. Both contribute to water quality problems in their respective
receiving waters. Less significant is an additional 176 MGD of effluent
flowing into the Suwannee River from an electrical power generation
Table 13 presents a summary of the major point source dischargers in
the region and notes their general location, waste type and volume.
However, this information may not present a factual picture of actual
point source problem areas. It must be recognized that even relatively
small point source dischargers can significantly aggravate a pollution
problem. Consequently, in the absence of a regional water quality
assessment, it is only possible to represent major point sources which
may or may not necessarily include all significant point sources.
Very limited information is available on non-point sources of pollution
for areas within north central Florida except for those identified in
the Department of Environmental Regulation 303(e) Basin Plans. Additional
information has been compiled by the District Conservationists of the
Soil Conservation Service for each county in Florida. This information
consists of a tabulation of land uses that could contribute to potential
non-point sources of pollution in each county. Although compiled on a
county by county basis and not by basin segment, the information presents
data from which it is possible to assess potential or undocumented non-
point problems within the region. County maps have also been prepared by
District Conservationists which identify potential sources of non-point
Table 14 suggests that potential non-point pollution from urban runoff
may be most significant in Alachua and Suwannee Counties which have the
largest urban concentrations. The potential for the majority of non-
point problems, as suggested by Table 14, appears perhaps greatest from
agriculture and forest land uses. The use of fertilizers, pesticides and
other supplementary material as well as the often large scale land
alterations associated with these activities occupy an extensive area in
the region. This suggests that significant non-point pollution sources
may exist. Documentation of such sources is difficult owing not only
to the rural nature of the region but also to the relative absence of
surface drainage systems in large areas of karst topography which permits
the rapid movement of surface waters into groundwater systems. In
summary, in areas such as north central Florida, typified by Karst
topography and dotted by solution features, surface and groundwater
interactions are an exceptionally important consideration in assessing
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water quality. Any solution feature that receives runoff becomes a
potential source of pollution and, as most surface water bodies within the
region terminate or interact with solution features, thepotential for
deterioration of groundwater supplies is almost always present.
Potable water supplies in north central Florida draw almost exclusively
upon groundwater resources. Anticipated growth and development in the
region, and in particular, areas of aquifer recharge having minimal
overburden, require a continually high water quality from the Floridan
and upper aquifers. Complete reliance on point source control cannot,
therefore, be expected to fully achieve the maintenance or enhancement
of desirable water quality in the region. It is, therefore, in the
best interest of present and future citizens of the region for the North
Central Florida Regional Planning Council to pursue funding for programs
such as 208 Areawide Waste Water Management Planning program provided
for in PL 92-500, to insure local preparation of plans vitally important
to water supplies of the region.
Flood plains, although perhaps not easily identifiable as natural re-
sources, are an important if not indivisible part of our natural surface
water systems. They often correspond to a broad belt surrounding the
existing stream channels or isolated depressions and are shaped in
part by topography, storm water volume, vegetation and other natural
and manmade forces.
Flood plains commonly include all those areas, including depressions
that are inundated following a storm whose severity is often judged
by the water levels which could be expected following a storm of a
certain stated rainfall intensity. They are usually defined as that
area which is inundated as a result of a rainfall whose magnitude and
duration occurs on the average only once in each one hundred years. For
comparison, stream channels are often defined by that area which is
inundated by a storm which occurs on the average once in every ten year
Flood plains provide valuable services if left in a natural state. They
not only provide flood ways to remove storm waters, but when not
satisfying this prime function, they may also provide useful open space
areas near urban centers. In addition, wildlife may find refuge in
vegetation often naturally abundant near well watered areas, groundwater
recharge occurs through soils during high water levels, and recreation is
often enhanced in naturally viable settings.
Due to the relative infrequency of major storms and the benefits afforded
by a gently sloping topography, development in and around flood plains
often appears highly feasible. However, the potential for human and
economic loss is usually increased. Areas with a naturally high flood
potential cannot tolerate continued development which in effect would
retard the ability of the flood plain to absorb water and restrict the
flow of water from the land. Flood volume and velocity-are increased
downstream by development within flood plains causing downstream flood
hazards to increase. The construction of storm sewers, canals and other
stream channel improvements may greatly alleviate potential flooding
problems in urban areas. However, as evidenced by recent drainage
studies for the Gainesville Urban Area, downstream flooding problems
may be intensified by increasing the amount and rate of flood waters
flowing into stream channels. Therefore, proper management of flood
plain areas is particularly important in urbanizing areas to insure
against serious property damage and loss of life.
It has been reported that the most severe floods in the Suwannee River
Basin are associated with storms or sequences of storms which produce
widespread rainfall over a period of several days. Although flooding may
occur in any season, the maximum annual flood stages most frequently
occur during the period from February to April as a result of frontal
type rainfall events. Major storms may also occur during the summer and
fall months associated with tropical disturbances such as hurricanes.
The coastal area of Dixie and Taylor counties is notably susceptible to
tidal flooding as a result of such storms.
The largest storm of record for the Suwannee River Basin occurred in
March and April, 1948. A series of storms in the basin coupled with high
groundwater conditions served to maximize runoff to the river. During
peak stages of the resulting flood, the Suwannee flowed out of its banks
from the Gulf north beyond the Florida state line. The flooded area
covered almost 500 square miles along the river and its tributaries
and damaged many homes and commercial establishments within the flood
plain. More recently, another flood occurred in April, 1973, which
produced flood stages as high or higher than the 1948 flood in the upper
reaches of the Suwannee. Stages on the lower reaches were about three
feet lower than in 1948. There was an estimated eight million dollars
in damages to homes, businesses and roads from this more recent storm.
Tidal flooding also has the potential of doing extensive damage,
particularly along coastal areas in the region. Most of this type of
flooding is the result of hurricanes near the coast in such a direction
as to cause on-shore winds for several hours. The Corps of Engineers
has projected tides as high as fourteen feet above mean sea level for a
100-year frequency storm for coastal areas in Dixie and Taylor counties.
Certainly flood plain planning is not to be neglected in terms of the
extent of flooding that may occur during a major storm event.
An estimate of the extent of flood prone areas within the Suwannee River
Water Management District is furnished in Volume I of the Northeast
Gulf River Basin Study for Florida, Alabama and Georgia prepared by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture in cooperation with state agencies. Of
the 4,403,398 acres in the basin, approximately 45.4% or 2,000,000 acres
lie within flood prone areas. It is noteworthy that of this amount
10,142 acres or 0.5% consist of urban and built up areas.
To help define such areas, generalized flood plain maps have been prepared
by the U.S. Geological Survey on the 7-1/2 minute topographic quadrangle
maps for all counties of the region. In addition, the Federal Flood
Insurance Administration of the Department of Housing and Urban Develop-
ment has prepared Flood Hazard Boundary Maps for many communities within
the region. This series is being continually updated as new areas elect
to participate in the Federal Flood Insurance Program which offers low
cost flood insurance to those communities which make at least modest
efforts toward establishing flood plain and development regulations.
A general flood prone area map has been prepared and is included in this
report. This map has been compiled from the over 200 U.S. GS 7-1/2
minute flood prone area maps of the Region. It shows only those areas
identified as lying completely within the boundaries of the statistical
100-year flood. It is readily apparent that such areas possess at the
least moderate limitations to development. In addition to these flood
prone areas idenfitied, the region also contains lands having numerous
indistinct flood prone and dry areas where it was estimated that up to
one half of the land area under consideration could be defined as flood
prone. These areas are not defined on the general flood prone area map
but could be important to development in specific areas. Notable occur-
rances of such areas may be seen in the coastal areas of Dixie and Taylor
Counties, the swamp areas of northern Columbia and eastern Hamilton Counties,
and the low lying areas of central Bradford County.
Wetlands may be identified as those areas where the water table is at,
near, or above the land surface for a significant part of most years.
They may be broadly classified as either marine or non-marine environ-
ments and include springs, rivers, flood plains, swamps, meadows, ponds,
lakes, salt marshes, estuarines, bays, coral reefs, submarine meadows,
and a variety of other environments.
All to often in past years, wetlands, typifed by swamps and coastal
marshes of either fresh or salt water, were regarded as worthless land
suitable only for land filling or if properly channelized and drained,
for agricultural uses. In recent years, the natural values of these
wetlands have been investigated by a number of researchers and found to
be tremendously important to the maintenance of natural systems.
One product of the 1972 Florida Wildlife Federation Legislative Conference
as~f oiMins VIMs Uqmliul PInm~in Oceuidl
AREAS SUBJECT TO
100 YEAR FLOOD
FLOOD HAZARD AREAS
was a statement recognizing the value and importance of the state's
wetlands. Wetlands were recognized as important for:
1) The protection of aquatically dependent vegetation and wildlife;
2) The propagation of food supplies.
3) The maintenance of protective barriers against floods, hurri-
canes, and other storms and for the prevention of erosion of
shorelines and shores;
4) The assimilation of pollutants;
5) The prevention of salt water intrusion in coastal areas;
6) Their value of surface water storage and recharge areas;
7) The moderation of local climate;
8) Their potential to provide present and future citizens with an
acceptable quality of life including historic and recreational
values and aesthetic enjoyment.
In addition, the conference concluded that the protection and proper
management of wetlands is necessary to ensure the economic well being
of the state and the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
Many valuable wetland areas have been identified in north central Florida.
Examples include Gumroot Swamp in Alachua County, Santa Fe Headwater
Swamp in Bradford County, Hixtown Swamp in Madison County, California
Swamp in Dixie County and Tide Swamp in Taylor County. Like many other
wetlands, these serve as valuable natural filters for urban runoff,
reservoirs of abundant vegetation and wildlife and serve many valuable
natural functions. The environmental quality analysis for the coastal
zone of Dixie and Taylor County prepared by the Council also identified
the extensive coastal marshes and estuary areas along the Gulf Coast of
Dixie and Taylor Counties also as being of considerable natural signifi-
In order to incorporate such areas into the planning process, wetland
systems within the region have been identified by a General Wetlands
Map. The information contained on this map is generalized because of
data limitations and the broad scale at which the map was prepared. While
specific systems are named in the environmental inventory section of this
report, it is noted that the basic information was drawn from the 1:125,000
scale maps of land use prepared on behalf of the Division of State Planning
by NASA personnel utilizing satellite imagery techniques. Land use maps
for the region were prepared or modified for in-house use utilizing
aerial photographs of the region for comparison. Wetland areas were
identified and transferred to a regional map at a scale of 1:250,000
to achieve a common basis for comparison with other maps of natural
Areas not identified as wetlands on the map may be assumed to be generally
dry land. Because of the nature of the region with its many small swamp
areas it is not possible to indicate every discreet wetland parcel.
Therefore, the map must be considered general in nature.
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Based upon an evaluation of wetland importance and potential it has
become apparent that land use planning and subsequent development should
consider such concepts of wetland ecology and resources as a viable
element in the planning process. Local governments may find it desirable
to communicate with the Florida Freshwater Fish and Game Commission as
well as other environment related agencies in order to provide themselves
with the ability to fully access each wetland system with respect to
its natural attributes and importance to other related systems.
Water Resource Projects
The Soil Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and
private power companies have ongoing water resource projects throughout
the state, a number of which exist within this planning region. Some
of these projects are complete while others are in various stages of
planning and construction.
Since 1894, the major part of the Corps of Engineers' activities has
been with navigation and harbor projects. The USDA, Soil Conservation
Service, is actively participating in water resource projects through
the PL 566 Small Watershed Program. Twenty-nine projects of this type
have been applied for in Florida. In addition, Resource Conservation
and Development (RC&D) projects are also the work of the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. Such projects are usually
smaller than PL 566 projects and attempt to solve more localized problems.
Table 15 summarizes the name, responsible agency and location of these
projects and is presented to describe the number and type of water
related project activities occurring in the region.
WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROJECTS
PROJECT NAME COUNTY STATUS
SCS PL 566 California Lake Dixie Plan approved
San Pedro Bay Taylor Active approved
Cherry Lake Madison Active approved
Big Alligator Lake Columbia Inactive
Water Oak Creek Bradford Project not active
Source: NE Gulf River Basin Study
SCS RC & D Mayo Calf Creek Lafayette Ongoing
Pickett Lake Lafayette Ongoing
Live Oak Suwannee Ongoing
Greenville Water Mgt. Proj. Madison Ongoing
Desoto Lake Columbia Ongoing
Source: NE Gulf River Basin Study
Corps of Eng. Gulf Intercoastal Water- Dixie & Active
way St. Marks to Taylor
Suwannee R. Navigation Proj. 25% completed
Suwannee Sound to
Suwannee R. Nay. Study Dixie & Active
Steinhatchee River Channel Taylor Continuous
Hogtown Creek (Clear Lake) Alachua Inactive
303(e) Basin Plans
ROCK & MINERAL RESOURCES
The rock and mineral resources of Florida are singular in the respect
that they are essentially non-renewable resources. That is, reserves of
these non-metallic materials, commonly found in the State such as:
phosphates, oil and gas do not normally accumulate in nature over short
intervals of time. Natural recovery of deposits must take place through
geologic time and are not to be measured within a meaningful time frame
such as human life spans.
Because of the tremendous demands placed upon our mineral resources by
our complex agricultural and industrial industry, many of our proven
mineral reserves can last no longer than a few decades. It is painfully
obvious that once high grade deposits are depleted, ever increasing amounts
of time and energy will be required to obtain and refine lower grade
reserves. The high quality phosphate resources of Florida are an excellent
example of this.
Impetus must be applied to the conservation of resources because of their
non-renewable nature emphasizing the need to prevent waste, useless dis-
sipation and needless loss of natural materials especially where known
reserves are rapidly diminishing. It is recognized that future needs will
have to be met through utilization and recovery of "waste" materials, and
replacement by alternate resources where available and both combined with
continual research into resource utilization.
Along with these considerations, an environmental awareness of the effects
of extractions of such resources from the earth demands attention.
Proper restoration of worked out areas is important to proper land
utilization, resource planning and environmental quality.
Therefore, inasmuch as our economy depends on a balanced input from all
resources, it is apparent that potential limitations imposed by deterior-
ating reserves of high quality, non-renewable resources are a key consi-
deration in planning for the future. Understanding this central role with
respect to the location and values of such resources existing in the
region is an important element in the comprehensive planning program.
Certain rock and mineral deposits in north central Florida are noteworthy
and significant as natural resources. The objective of this section is to
describe their occurrence, potential for economic utilization and some
related development considerations. The deposits to be considered include:
limestone and dolomite, phosphate, clay, sand, gypsum, oil and natural
Clay is one of the common products of the decomposition of rocks. It is
usually made up of a number of different minerals in varying proportions
and is often defined as a very fine grain, earthy material which becomes
plastic (workable) when wet. More specifically, clays are hydrous alum-
inum silicates mixed with varying proportions of impurities. These
silicates occur in many mineral forms each of which has distinctive
properties that give rise to the suitability of the different clays to
particular industrial uses.
The State of Florida has been an active clay producer for many years.
Until 1923, Florida produced more Fuller's earth type clay than any
other state. By 1922, as many as twenty-three different companies were
operating in Florida. Since that time, the number of working clay
operations has decreased and in 1965, there were only two operating brick
plants. However, rapid increases in the population of Florida in the
past decade has stimulated the building industry tremendously creating
a market for additional materials. At the present time, there are eight
companies in the State producing clay for a variety of products. None
of these, however, are located in this eleven county region.
Primary clay varieties include: kaolin or China clay, fire clay, bento-
nite, Fuller's earth and miscellaneous or common clay. The majority of
all clay that is produced is utilized in the manufacture of ceramic
products. Ball clays and fire clays are used by the ceramic industry.
Bentonite and Fuller's earth are used in processing petroleum products,
foundry facings, drilling muds, insecticide bases and other non-ceramic
purposes. The miscellaneous clays include those materials generally
referred to as common clays and are used to manufacture heavy clay pro-
ducts such as brick, tile and portland cement.
There are three basic types of clay which are or have been important to
Florida, Fuller's earth, kaolin end the common clays. Fuller's earth
is a type of clay with little plasticity. Its properties as a natural
active beaching agent were utilized during the middle ages for removing
grease and fat from woolen cloth, and later aided in refining mineral and
vegetable oils. Presently, it is used to de-ink newsprint and as an
additive to concrete, soaps, insecticides, cosmetics, adhesives, ceramic
glazes and many other products. Fuller's earth is an inexact term applied
to clays that are by nature highly absorptive. Montmorillonite is the
dominant clay mineral constituent.
In recent years, all the Florida production has come from mines located in
Gadsden County, but Fuller's earth was formerly mined in Marion and Manatee
counties with isolated but not economically valuable deposits also reported
from Alachua County.
Kaolin is another clay product important to Florida. Kaolin is a high
grade clay often called China clay. It has many uses in addition to the
manufacturing of China clay. Its largest use is a filler in paper, but
it is also used in the rubber industry and in the manufacture of re-
Kaolin, or China clay, is admixture of clays that has the mineral kaolinite
as an important part of its composition. Commercial deposits have been
mined in Putnam and Lake County where large deposits reportedly occur.
In addition, Kaolin has been found in Suwannee, Lafayette and Alachua
Counties, although not in commercial quantities.
Perhaps of more importance of Florida are the clays utilized for common
brick manufacture. These clays are usually of an inpure, often sandy
composition, they have a medium degree of plasticity and varying strength,
color and other properties. These clays are widely distributed in Florida
and appear to be the most common variety found in the region.
These common, or structural clays, are utilized in building bricks,
sewer pipes, roofing tile, lightweight aggregate, and portland cement.
Although mined in the past and utilized in the manufacture of common brick,
the use of such clays had declined due to the sandy nature of clay
deposits which along with other impurities hindered their usefulness and
economic value. Common clays in particular have been found to occur
throughout most of the region associated with natural accumulations in the
Hawthorne Formation as well as with residual clay deposits attributed
to the decomposition of underlying limestones of the Ocala Group.
In general, although Florida's Fullers' earth production was second in
the nation in 1972, none of this material was produced in north central
Florida. However, because of the extent of the various clay deposits in
the region, there may be future potential for clay production contingent
upon further exploration and refinement of methods to wash inpurities
from clays as they are removed from the earth.
LIMESTONE AND DOLOMITE
Limestone (calcium carbonate), including also in a broad sense dolomite
(magnesium calcium carbonate), are the most widely used of all rock mined
in Florida. Almost the entire production of rock or stone in Florida is
some variety of limestone.
Blocks or slabs cut from natural stone suitable for utilization in build-
ings or for construction are called dimensional stone. Difficulties
associated with the variable composition of limestone, production methods
and competition with newer construction materials such as architectural
concrete, glass and aluminum have almost eliminated production of such
materials in Florida.
By far the greatest use of these resources is in the form of crushed or
broken stone. The use to which such products are put include: concrete,
road metal, riprap, railroad ballast, agricultural limestone (including
dolomite), portland cement, lime, fuel oil additives and other mis-
cellaneous uses. The major limiting factor to limestone mining, in
addition to composition and depth to the rock body, is the availability
of inexpensive transportation. Therefore, the product is usually mined
near adequate roads or railway transportation in order to be economically
In this region of north central Florida, the Ocala Group of limestones,
in particular, the Crystal River and Williston Formations as well as
the Suwannee Limestone, lend themselves to mining largely because of
their location at or near land surface over large areas of the region.
In general, the limestones of the OcalaGroup that are quarried in the
region and around the central and northern portion of the State have a
uniform texture that allow ready crushing and pulverizing. They are
generally free from grit and in some areas the rock approaches the purity
of 100% calcium carbonate. Dolomites and dolomitic limestone portions
of the formations in the Ocala Group as well as the Suwannee Limestone
occur near the surface in Taylor and Dixie Counties. The hardness of
crushed dolomite makes it especially desirable for roadstone and other
uses where such hardness is desirable. In addition, its chemical com-
position makes it especially useful for agricultural purposes.
According to Information Circular Number 88 (1972) of the Florida Bureau
of Geology, this region has three counties which produce crushed lime-
stone: Alachua, Suwannee and Taylor. In that year, production was reported
from seventy-five mines in sixteen Florida counties. At that time,
Alachua County reported four quarries supplying crushed limestone and
dolomite. Production in 1971 totaled 2,035,040 short tons for a value of
$1,596,000 and in 1972, production totaled 2,166,000 short tons for a
value of $1,741,000. This represents only about 4.3% of the State's total
production by volume in 1972. Similar information for Suwannee and
Taylor Counties was withheld from publication to avoid disclosing
individual company confidential data.
A better perspective of the potential for limestone production in this
eleven county region can be obtained from Information Circular Number
66 (1968) of the Florida Bureau of Geology. This publication reports
seventeen active quarries in five counties of the region: Alachua (7),
Suwannee (4), Taylor (3), Lafayette (2), and Columbia (1). Unfortunately,
statistics on production were not included in that publication. From
the map of General Geology, it may be observed that other counties in this
region notably Dixie, Madison and Gilchrist also have the potential for
limestone production based upon an abundance of near surface exposures.
Therefore, because of the large volume of naturally available limestone,
the region will probably continue to produce crushed limestone and dolo-
mite for many years.
As with abandoned phosphate mines, limestone quarries are not easily
reclaimed and become both a nuisance and liability to owners. Re-
clamation is often possible to a limited extent by such measures as
filling with non-putrescible waste, such as construction debris, or
conversion of sites into managed recreational areas. Viewed as resources
or liabilities, they represent a land use which requires attention during
the land use planning process.
The principal use of phosphate rock is in the production of superphos-
phate for use as a fertilizer. In nature, phosphorus is taken up by
vegetation and returned to the soil upon a plants subsequent death and
decay. The quality of the soil !s thereby maintained. During crop
cultivation, phosphorus is removed with each harvest and, if the pro-
ductivity of the soil is to be maintained, the phosphorus must be replaced
in the form of super-phosphate or alternate soil supplement containing
other soluble phosphate. In fertilizers, such as superphosphate, which
is made by treating phosphate rock with sulphuric acid, the phosphorus
is available to plants in a much more soluble form than in untreated
phosphate rock which was frequently utilized in earlier soil benefaction
efforts. Therefore, the value to modern agriculture of this artificial
enrichment cannot be underestimated.
Phosphate deposits of northern Florida consists primarily of marine
phosphatic sedimentary rocks made up of clays, sand, dolomite and a
variety of alterations of this material formed by weathering processes.
Phosphate rock is neither constant in composition nor occurrence and
consists of a variable mixture of calcium phosphates and other minerals.
The phosphate-bearing rocks and minerals of Florida have been classified
into four very general categories: land pebble, river pebble, hard rock
and soft rock. Of these, only the land pebble, or grandular phosphate
is being mined in Florida. River pebble, or stream placer deposits, are
relatively unimportant in this area. The "soft rock" deposits clayeyy
sands with phosphate particles) are normally associated with hard rock
deposits and are not differentiated in this discussion. Due to dif-
ferences in occurrences, the two categories, hard rock phosphates and
pebble phosphates, are considered individually.
Hard Rock Phosphate Deposits
Hard rock phosphate was apparently first mined in Florida and utilized on
a local scale in Hawthorne in 1883, after it was discovered that sandstone
being quarried there contained considerable amounts of phosphate. In
1888, phosphate was discovered in what is now part of the hard rock
phosphate district near Dunnellon in Marion County. Following the
discovery of these extensive hard rock phosphate deposits in Marion
County, commercial mining developed rapidly until 1907, when the production
of hard rock phosphate in north central Florida reached a peak. At that
time, there were forty-five companies producing hard rock phosphate in
central and northern Florida including twenty-two in Alachua County,
three in Columbia County and one in Suwannee. After a brief revival
following World War I, production declined until 1977, when all hard rock
phosphate production in Florida ceased.
The hard rock phosphate deposits of Florida are roughly confined to a
north to south trending linear belt along the west of the peninsula.
This concentration is largely controlled by the Ocala Uplift. The
Ocala Uplift is an elongated anticlinal fold or arch stretching some two
hundred miles long and seventy miles wide. The axis lies a few miles
west of Alachua County. The hard rock phosphate concentration occurs
primarily on the central portion of this Uplift in an area one hundred
miles long and thirty miles wide covering the total area of some 15,000
square miles. These hard rock deposits are found in fifteen counties
including Alachua, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy and Suwannee in this
reg i on.
The deposits are highly irregular in shape and size and range from several
feet to over one hundred feet in thickness. In the Newberry area of
western Alachua County, where it was once mined, the maximum thickness
is about fifty feet and the average less than thirty feet. It is reported
that gray, phosphatic, sandy clay, as much as eighty feet thick, covers
most hard rock deposits.
The geology of the hard rock deposits is very complex. These deposits
have been described as irregular mixtures of quartz, sand, chert, clay
minerals and carbonate flourapatite, principally in the form of cellophane
(Ca5F(P04) 3), an amphorous phosphate-rich mineral. In general, these
deposits correspond in area extent with outcropping of the Alachua
Formation. Similarly, a degree of coincidence with the physiographic
feature known as the Brooksville Ridge is also apparent from topographic
studies. The Rock and Mineral Resource map illustrates the approximate
extent of hard rock deposits in the subsurface of the region.
In the 1890's and early 1900's, hard rock phosphate production flourished
because, with naturally occurring high phosphate percentages, it was
ideal for export as washed and screened rock. As benefaction techniques
were improved for the large deposits of land pebble phosphate, hard rock
production declined. Neither the production of hard rock nor soft rock
phosphates since 1942, has contributed a significant amount to the
phosphate industry. Under changed economic conditions, the hard rock
phosphate reserves of the state may again be mined. Renewed activity in
hard rock deposits depends upon several factors which includes:
1) Depletion of present premium grades (74% BPL* and above) and
quantities of land pebble deposits.
2) Reduced transportation costs.
3) Minimum competition from other sources of phosphates.
Land Pebble Phosphate Deposits
Most of the phosphate produced in Florida comes from the Bone Valley
Field in Polk and Hillsborough Counties. These rich phosporite (phosphatic,
clayey sand) beds of south Florida are termed "land pebble" phosphate
deposits. This term has also been applied to deposits in the rich
phosphate beds of the Hawthorne Formation in northern Florida.
In north central Florida, pebbles and grains of phosphate minerals occur
throughout the sediments of the Hawthorne Formation and also occur as
concentrations in lenses or other irregular bodies. Pirkle (1967)
reported on important occurrences of pebble phosphate in the upper part
of Hawthorne Formation near Gainesville in Alachua County. This zone of
phosphatic materials varies in thickness from a few feet to 30 or 40
feet and consists largely of pebbles and grains of phosphate embedded
with varying combinations of sand, clay, and carbonate materials.
Reserves between 30 and 50 million tons are cited for Alachua County with
a grade exceeding 50% BPL in recoverable phosphorous.
Other existing or potentially valuable deposits in the region recognized
by Mansfield (1942) include an area of about 16,000 acres in Bradford
County between Brooker and Hampton and along Olustee Creek in Columbia
and Union Counties. In addition, Hamilton County is reported to have
an extensive area (about 62,000 acres) of pebble bearing phosphate extend-
ing from the Withlacoochee to Alapaha Rivers. Available literature
suggests that the quality of these reserves varies from about 55 to
70% JPL and are generally amendable to benefaction techniques.
Additional areas have attracted particular interest as evidenced by
actual mining activities. Information Circular Number 6 of the Florida
Bureau of Geology (1978) reports two phosphate mining operations in the
region. The Loncala Phosphate Company operated one mine in Gilchrist
County in 1968. However, Information Circular Number 88 (1972) does
*1.0 percent BPL (Bone Phosphate of Lime or tricalcium phosphate)
equals 0.458 percent P205, or BPL equals P205 times 2.185.
not record production by this mine. Both references, however, recognize
the continual operation of the Occidental Chemical Corporation mine
near White Springs in Hamilton County. No production figures are
available for either area.
In addition to these activities, information is available which suggests
continued interest by mining companies in areas having phosphate reserves
in Alachua, Bradford and Union Counties and, perhaps move significantly,
in and around the Osceola National Forest of Columbia County where
mining leases are held by various companies. Such continued interest
is indeed warranted. It must be recognized that phosphate producers
must eventually mine lower grade materials because it is a nonrenewable
resource, and although there is a great quantity of low grade phosphate
in the Bone Valley District, there is also a tremendous potential for the
development of additional phosphate deposits in areas of north central
In summary, the pebble phosphate deposits which occur near the top of the
Hawthorne Formation in the plateau area of north central Florida do
contain significant amounts of low grade phosphate reserves. Therefore,
the potential for economic development of phosphate reserves in the
future, particularly in light of rising population and increased demand
or food production, is a reality which must be considered in regional
plans and programs.
Although the United States has huge reserves of gypsum, the mineral is
only known for minor occurrences in Florida. In general, gypsum (a
hydrous calcium sulfate) is a common mineral thought to have been
formed by the evaporation of sea water. Many gypsum beds were originally
deposited as anhydrite (anhydrous calcium sulfate) which was changed to
gypsum in alteration processes associated with weathering. Occur-
rences of gypsum in Florida are associated with areas having sulfur
waters which have encountered shell or limestone fragments. Several
gypsum localities are known in the state but none has enough reported
reserves to be economically extracted. No natural accumulations are
reported in this region of north central Florida and most of the raw
gypsum consumed in Florida is imported.
Of minor importance, but worthy of note is the calcium sulphate waste
product obtained from the preparation of superphosphate fertilizer. This
"gypsum" could be recovered. However, from a commercial point of
view, the quantity of such material is small. The possibility of a by-
product use with this gypsum product presents an interesting problem in
industrial chemistry because of its potential conversion into ammonium
sulfate fertilizer, or other industrial chemicals. Perhaps even more
importantly it may be utilized as a soil additive in areas of depleted
soil quality or inferior character.
As evidenced by the preceding section on geology, sand is one of the most
abundant surface materials in the region, with the thickest sequences
occurring in the northern and eastern portions of the region. Here,
sand deposits may be found to exceed 100 feet in some localities.
Sand is an unconsolidated granular material composed of a mixture of
many minerals. However, with the exception of the shell and carbonate
content of the coastal sands, the dominant mineral in the sand deposit
is quartz (silicon dioxide). The quartz sands of Florida have had a
complicated history. All have been transported to the state and are
found in fluvial, deltaic, marine and aeolian deposits. The Pleistocene
terrace deposits are a prime example of marine shoreline accumulation.
Examples of all forms of accumulation may be found in the region.
Although many sites in the region have been mined in the past and new
sites utilized as demand requires, the sand remains a common variety
useful as building material and to suitother general purpose require-
ments. It has not been found to have a high degree of purity or constant
composition such as those suitable for glass manufacture or for similar
special products requiring a high grade material. Such a sand product
suitable for glass production is generated as a by-product of clay mining
in nearby Putnam County, however.
Sand deposits in the region, although abundant, are useful only for
general purposes but apparently not significant in terms of economic
potential. Adequate supplies may be found in most counties of the region
to meet local construction needs. In part, owing to its abundance, sand
remains a low value material which cannot tolerate high cost trans-
portation over long distances to be economically competitive.
OIL AND GAS RESOURCES
It appears that there has always been an interest in the possibility of
producing oil and gas in Florida. Since the establishment of the Florida
Geological Survey in 1907, attempts have been made to record details of
all exploratory drilling and to gather historical data on previous
exploration wherever possible. In June, 1945, the Florida Legislature
enacted a law regulating the drilling of oil and gas. This law required
that information collected be kept on file with the Florida Geological
Survey. This promoted more accurate data acquisition as well as the
creation of a filing system to be used for future reference and utilization
in exploration surveys.
Wells drilled prior to 1939 were based largely on general geologic
evidence or hunches, such as topographic and physiographic resemblance
to oil fields located in other areas. From 1940 to the present, the
exploration of oil and gas has been rather extensively conducted by the
major oil companies. Although wells have been drilled all over Florida,
including a number in Alachua County, no more than traces of oil were
found in this region.
During 1972, nine oil fields were producing in Florida six of which are
located in the Sunnyland Limestone of Collier, Hendry and Lee
Counties. The other three are located in Santa Rosa County. At the
present time, although explorations are continually being carried in the
state, there appears to be little evidence to suggest that oil or gas
reserves will be found beneath north central Florida except perhaps on
the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico where explorations have not
yet proven fruitful.
Within the region, there most likely are mineral deposits which have
not yet been found and others, such as phosphate resources, that are not
commercially mineable at this time. Continual advances in prospecting
and benefaction techniques along with the changes demands for rock and
mineral resources will undoubtly enhance the extraction potential of
many deposits in the region in future years. Essential elements of
land use planning must, therefore, consider in realistic terms, resource
management concepts such as conservation and preservation, renewable and
non-renewable resources, and environmental impacts, balancing all issues
with human requirements.
With respect to resource management, of particular concern are impacts on
land resources from extractive operations. Mined areas are usually highly
erosive and unless remedial actions are employed, will not recover
naturally for many years if at all. Limestone quarries, sand and phos-
phate strip mines and other historical evidences of open pit mining which
have not yet been reclaimed exist within the region.
Information has been presented in the USDA Cooperative Survey of the
Northeast Gulf River Basins in Florida, Alabama, and Georaia relative
to surface mining activities in Florida. Drawing from that publication,
information for Florida counties includes an estimate of total acres
needing reclamation, acres in which there is a legal obligation for
reclamation and "orphan" acres, i.e., land which no one has an obligation
to reclaim. The figures presented in Table 16 are noted as being current
only through January, 1974, because as mining and reclamation operations
continue, it is not possible to remain current.
It is evident that reclamation of disturbed areas will continue to be
a problem in the general absence of mining regulations within the
region. Of all the counties in the region, only Alachua at the time of
writing, possess an ordinance which gives local government some measure
of control over land resources with their jurisdiction. Bradford County
has considered but rejected such a proposition, while Columbia County is
developing mining regulations at the present time. The need will become
more acute in future years. The development and implementation of effective
mining and reclamation ordinances region-wide is encouraged.
A map has been included illustrating the arial distribution of potentially
recoverable rock and mineral resources in the region. The general ranking
or value of each resource is subjective in nature and based upon an eval-
uation of current mining efforts, estimates of available reserves and
economic potential as well as a consideration of potential future utili-
zation. The ranking as represented was developed with the assistance of
Mr. Michael Knapp, Geologist, with the Florida Bureau of Geology. Mapping
was accomplished utilizing unpublished surface lithology maps prepared
by that agency for the thirty minute sectional maps entitled, "Valdosta,
Georgia and Gainesville, Florida." The sequence of relative values to
the region is as follows:
Phosphate Greatest relative value
Sand Least relative value
LAND TREATMENT NEEDS ON STRIP MINED
AREAS IN NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA '
RECLAIMED TOTAL [
MINED RECLAIMED ACCORDING "ORPHAN" NEEDING
COUNTY ACRES ACRES TO LAW ACRES TREATMENT
Alachua 9200 0 0 9200 9200
Bradford 340 340 0 0 0
Columbia 525 201 0 324 324
Dixie 75 0 0 75 75 !
Gilchrist 30 0 0 30 30
Hamilton 340 0 340 0 340 I
Lafayette 11 0 0 11 11
Madison 400 80 0 320 320
Suwannee 1850 0 0 1850 1850
Taylor 14 0 0 14 14
Union 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 12770 621 340 11824 12164
Source: Volume 1, Northeast Gulf River Basin Study for Florida,
Alabama, and Georgia. USDA Cooperative Survey, November,