Title: Save Our Rivers celebrating five years of progress
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/NF00000186/00001
 Material Information
Title: Save Our Rivers celebrating five years of progress
Physical Description: Photograph
Publisher: The Governor's Office
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: NF00000186
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of North Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA7973

Full Text


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FRONT & BACK COVERS The Peace River near Wauchula, Florida
(Florida Department of Commerce)

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Q fntroductlon

O he time: Some day in the not too The time: The same day.
distant future. The place: Hundreds of miles south.
The place: An oxbow in a seemingly un- The event: Again, nothing special.
spoiled river that meanders slowly through a The sound is most noticeable a steady
marshy floodplain just north of Lake throb from several huge pumps that suck
Okeechobee. water from the ground and into pipes that
The event: Nothing special, lead to the teeming city just over the horizon.
A lone canoe ripples silently through the The land 'round-about is flat and a summer
quiet, brown water, disturbing the faint sun beats down on it.
wavering reflections of the palm trees that And the pumps throb.
line the low banks and the late afternoon
thunderclouds that hang overhead. Why take notch e of two events that are
Just overhead, a pair of white egrets "nothing special"? There can be no possible
swoops gracefully down to land somewhere connection between the canoe gliding
out of sight around a bend in the oxbow. In through the quiet, brown water so many
the distance, angry crows are arguing with a miles to the north and the ceaseless pulsing
blue jay; and above, a pair of red-tailed of the pumps in the south. Or can there?
hawks soars lazily, caoiing to each other Could it be that without the water that the
across the breeze. canoe glides across, these pumps might be
On the marshy bank of the river, a great silent? Yes.
blue heron watches the canoe pass without much interest. It is a common event The water, the canoe, the egrets, the great blue heron, the frog, and, to a
these days, and the heron is not afraid. A frog, startled by the ripples as they lesser extent, even the hawks, the crows, and the blue jay are there at least in
touch the bank, leaps into the river with a splash and the heron's slight attention part because of an innovative Florida program called Save Our Rivers.
is diverted. Announced in 1981 by Governor Bob Graham, the Save Our Rivers program aims
Frogs are important, canoes are not. to protect Florida's natural waterways, wetlands and the state's drinking water.

ABOVE Lily pads dot Florida's lakes and rivers.
(Florida Department of Commerce)
OPPOSITE Trees are mirrored in the calm waters of Blue Springs.
(Florida Department of Commerce)


Florida is blessed with water and rivers. From its largest river, the Apalachicola, of the water that eventually flows through the Everglades, and through the
in the north to the Everglades in the south, Florida is a land of water. Much of its canals man has dug through the Everglades, to recharge the shallow aquifers
past is tied to water. In Florida's roadless days, rivers were its interstates, its local that feed those pumps that send the water to theteeming cityjust overthe hori-
roads, and its streets. The Apalachicola, the Suwannee, the St. Johns, the Kissim- zon. The lake and the river are especially important when the Everglades
mee, the Caloosahatchee, and the St. Lucie Rivers were important highways themselves are dry.
during the heyday of river navigation in Florida. Hence the Save Our Rivers program, and hence the canoe, and the heron,
and the frog.
Over the years, we have mistreated Florida's waters. The Everglades, and river
swamps, and marshes, and other wetlands throughout the state, were drained Would you pay a nickel to protect your drinking water? Chances are you
by developers intent on opening this new frontier to homesteading, agriculture, already have. Every person who has purchased a home or land in Florida over
and tourism. the last five years has helped to protect the water he or she drinks.

Rivers, including the Apalachicola, were dredged and dammed; the St. A nickel five cents may not sound like much, but add each and every
Johns River headwaters dwindle to almost nothing in dry years, diverted else- five cents collected for the Water Management Lands Trust Fund over five years
where by agriculture and development. The Kissimmee, the Caloosohatchee, and you have have $111,580,930 for Florida's innovative Save Our Rivers pro-
and the St. Lucie Rivers are canals, built to carry floodwaters and navigation. The gram.
Everglades were channelized, diked, and ditched, and changed from a slow
butfree-flowing "River of Grass" toa series of gigantic holding ponds that began The five cents add up. They are a small part of the money (50 cents) col-
to slowly change the ecology of a vast area of south Florida. elected under the state's Documentary Stamp Tax for each $100worthof property
sold; the other 45 cents buy environmental and coastal lands or are sent to the
Even the serene Suwannee River in remote North Central Florida is affected, General Revenue fund to help operate Florida's government. New growth in
as man encroaches upon its floodplain with homes, camps, and mines. Florida at least helps pay for itself.

Some of these rivers were and are important sources of water. Afew sup- The purchaser of a $50,000 home pays $250 in documentary stamptaxes. Of
ply water directly to people living nearby. Others supply water more indirectly, that, about $25 goes to the Water Management Lands Trust Fund under Save
Their marshyfloodplains filter pollutants brought from upstream; they store flood- Our Rivers to be used only to buy land "necessary forwater management, water
waters, hold the water back for use during drought, and let it filter slowly down supply, and the conservation and protection of water resources...."
into Florida's underground reservoirs the aquifers that hold the drinking water
of almost every Floridian. Each of Florida's five water management districts buys land it thinks is most
important for the water resources of its area. The South Florida Water Manage-
On one river, the Kissimmee, hundreds of miles from the wellfields that serve ment District, for example, has purchased land along the Kissimmee River as
Florida's crowded east coast, a canoe floats, a heron patiently awaitsthe return part of its massive restoration program for the remainder of the canalized
of a frightened frog, and two hawks soar overhead, stream.

The Kissimmee, a major tributary to Lake Okeechobee, delivers both water This booklet will tell you and show you how and where the districts are
and pollutants to Florida's largest lake. And Lake Okeechobee is a major source using your money to protect your water.


Northwest Florida -.St Jhrs 'r.er
District 'a l ist t

Water aloanagernaenr'

c-utrhiveSt ForlonO
WJater .1onogernent
'istric t


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She Apalachicola River is formed by The varied bottomland hardwood habi-
the convergence at the Florida border of the tats in the floodplain of the Apalachicola
Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, which origi- River are known to be immensely important
nate in Northern Georgia. Approximately as sources of nutrients for the highly produc-
three-fourths of the Apalachicola-Chatta- tive Apalachicola Bay. The Save Our Rivers
hoochee-Flint River Basin is in Georgia and purchase of over 35,000 acres, in conjunction
Alabama. The Apalachicola flows south 107 with the Apalachicola National Estuarine Re-
miles from the Jim Woodruff Dam to Apa- search Reserve, provides an unusual amount
lachicola Bay. It has the largest flow of any of protection to this great resource. Georgia,
river in Florida an average discharge of Alabama, and Florida are working with the
more than 25,000 cubic feet a second. Corps of Engineers and navigation interests
to develop a navigation plan for the river
The Apalachicola River was described in that will protect its environmental integrity.
glowing terms to the 1825 Florida Legislative
Council, meeting for the first time in Tallahas- Four of Florida's five largest rivers originate
see. Governor '.ihlam P. Duvall compared out of state, and three of the four are in the
the lands around the river with the Mississippi Northwest Florida Water Management Dis-
Riverfloodplain and insisted tocouncil mem- trict: the Escambia, the Choctawhatchee,
bers that the climate was even better for production of Save Our Rivers Purchases and the Apalachicola. Only the Apalachicola is a part
sugar cane and cotton, The bold and navigable rivers of an organized interstate river management program.
which run through our territory will be of more value Each of the three rivers has had Save Our Rivers pur-
"-r,,.r, mines of gold," he exclaimed.' Selected Parcels chases in its floodplain.


ABOVE The Wakulla River glides through North Florida's woodlands.
(Florida Department of Commerce)

PAGE 4 Alum bluff on the Apalachicola River.
(Northwest Florida Water Management District)

PAGE 5 River flow is important to Apalachicola Bay oysters.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)


ABOVE Cypress knees line banks along Florida's rivers.
(Northwest Florida Water Management District)


I, .:

QL uwanu c66EPer

Water Management District

(__e ay down upon the Suwannee River" with water "almost as transparent as the air
- those words are known around the world, we breathe."' The Suwannee is still relatively
wherever Stephen Foster's Old Folks at Home unspoiled. With the exception of a few local-
is sung. But few know that Fosters song ized problems, the Suwannee River's water
immortalizes a river the composer never saw. quality is among the best in the state.
The Suwannee River is born deep in the The major problem today along the Su-
Okefenokee Swamp in Southeastern Geor- wannee River is encroachment along its
gia. It ends in the Gulf of Mexico at the town floodplain. The water management district
of Suwannee after a meandering, 265-mile has worked closely with the counties the
journey through Florida. The Suwannee, the Suwannee flows through to develop flood-
second largest river in Florida, changes char- plain ordinances that, if properly imple-
acter as it flows southwestward through the mented, will keep development off the
state, floodplains.
When it first crosses the Georgia-Florida At one time its future as a river was in
line, the Suwannee is a slow, brown-water doubt. The Suwannee became tied up in
swamp stream. A few miles farther down- dreams of a canal linking the Mississippi, the
stream, the Suwannee cuts through steep, limestone Save Our Rivers Purchases Gulf of Mexico, and Florida's Atlantic coast to the popu-
banks and for a while even provides Floridians with an Acres Purchased 16,925" lated cities of the northeastern seaboard. "Lake Okee-
example of a whitewater river as it cascades through Cost $5.438 650' chobee and the Caloosahatchee River were too far
shallows such as Big Shoals and others near the town of Selected parcels south to provide the most promising route....More excit-
White Springs. Still further downstream, spring waters Santa F-e Swamp (donated). 5,358 acres ing was a route that would link the Suwannee
begin to dilute the tea-colored tannic Suwannee River, Andrews Tract 576 acres River...with either the St. Marys River or the St. Johns
and the pools where the springs discharge into the river Baynard-Zeisse Tract 1.003 acres River...."2
are crystal clear. Sunbelt Tract 578 acres
Brown Tract 600 acres The idea did not go away; but it did change
Explorer William Bartram described the Suwan- Crstan Tract 327 acres Florida's rivers.
nee River as "the cleanest and purest of any river" Crotlner Tract (donated) 63 acres

03iuwayrnJ 1rc'r

ABOVE Sunlight dapples the clear waters of the Aucilla River.
(Suwannee River Water Management District)
PAGE 8 Explorer William Bartram described the Suwannee River as "the cleanest and purest of any river."
(Florida Department of Commerce)
PAGE 9 The mouth of the Suwannee River is a haven for manatees.
(Florida Department of Natural Resources)


ABOVE Big Shoals, on the Suwannee River, offers a taste of white water,
(Suwannee River Water Management District)




Water Ma.. gyement Di' tict

Ehe St. Johns River is the largest river In the 1870s, large steamboats could eas-
system that is entirely in Florida. It is one of the ily navigate the river as far south as Palatka,
very few rivers in North America that flows and the more adventurous could travel
north. It is Florida's longest river; its 300-mile much further south. Holidays on the river
length drains 9,100 square miles, almost a became a favored pastime. The river wildlife
"sixth of the state. Its largest tributary, the Okla- its bird life, but especially the alligators -
waha River, was once the route of part of the was a major attraction and as the river nar-
long-proposed and now-defunct Cross Flor- rowed in the middle and upper reaches,
ida Barge Canal. steamboat captains soon were forced to
prohibit the shooting of alligators from the
The St. Johns was an aquatic highway decks.
from the earliest days. It was a path into and
through Eastern Florida and was part of innu- One result of travel on this water highway
merable schemes for an intracoastal water- was the opening up of the eastern interior
way to the south, as well as for the water pas- and the upper river to agriculture.
sage across Florida to the Gulf of Mexico.
Today's problems on the river stem in
Early travelers in Florida used the St. Johns large part from agricultural drainage of the
River as a safe route to St. Augustine and the interior of Save Our Rivers Purchases upper reaches of the river where more than 60 per-
Florida. The alternative was the perilous trip by sea. St. Acres Purchaseid 48 325 cent of the floodplain has been lost, including 42
Augustine travellers would complete their journey by Cr,.sl 53.5 m, (r* blna;r percent of the annual floodplain. This loss, along
horse from Picolata on the river. Selected Parcels with channelization of the river and drainage to the
$e-rninoie Rfc-r"h 400 a.res coast, creates a water supply problem during dry
"Here on the St. Johns," wrote author and river resi- arI M iX :. v 0 D0'arfes periods. These are the areas where Save Our Rivers
dent Harriett Beecher Stowe, "a water coach is more to Lake MF iarrach. 2. 80( accres purchases are attempting to restore a more normal
the purpose, in the present state of our wood roads, Greenbourn 3.9_ acres hydroperiod.
than any land carriage...,"' D C Scott '4 0 l ac re,-
Sivuer 1 ver 0? ; acres


ABOVE Clear water bubbles from the earth at Silver Springs.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)

PAGE 12 The St. Johns is Florida's longest river.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)

PAGE 13 ira t-,:.r. bask in the sun along the St. Johns River.
(Florida Department of Commerce)


ABOVE The Oklawaha is a major tributary of the St. Johns.
(Florida Department of Commerce)


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southh ^Frya

S... t T

he Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Ever- .... of the more than 50,000 acres of floodplain
glades system is a highly managed imitation have been acquired so far under the Sve
of the natural system that once allowed m th S..e Ou _, Our Rivers program. Some 19,000 acres of
water to flow from the upper reaches of the "' Kissimmee River floodplain now are under
Kissimmee River, through the lake, and then .- public ownership.
to filter slowly through the Florida Everglades '
to sal ; Florida Bay. The District's Save Our Rivers purchases in
the Kissimmee are integral parts of the state's
Today, the same water races down the Save Our Everglades program, which intends
Kissimmee River Canal gathering pollu- to make the Everglades system of the year
tants from dairies, beef cattle operations, 2000 look more like it did in 1900 than it does
and other agricu J tural activities as it flows by today.
- into the lake. Inside Lake Okeechobee,
the water is held, then is released to the St. The District's Save Our Rivers purchases
Lucie or Caloosahatchee Rivers, or into along the Loxahatchee River are to assure
canals that deliver it to the three water con- the continued protection of one of the
servation areas where it is stored before nation's newestWild and Scenic Rivers, When
being parceled out to replenish Broward and the Save Our Rivers purchases along the
Dade counties' water supplies or to help meet the Save Our Rivers Purchases Loxahatchee are complete, some 1,500 acres of flood-
water needs of the Everglades National Park where, plain will be protected from development, helping to
briefly, it resumes its former natural flow to Florida Bay. .: assure the base flow and the water quality of the river.
Selected Parcels
As part of the overall effort to restore the Kissimmee .... District acquisitions in the vast water conservation
River an effort that currently includes adoption and .. areas are designed to protect the storage areas for the
use of best management practices by agriculture South Florida and Everglades National Park water sup-
throughout the Kissimmee Basin, and a demonstration plies as well as to protect Florida's largest wilderness
project to restore marshlands along the river the haven for fish and wildlife. The District is acquiring
South Florida Water Management District is using Save selected parcels in fee and is purchasing mineral rights
Our Rivers money augmented by bond funds to pur- on other lands.
chase marshland along the river. Nearly 9,000 acres


Q3outhchr a

ABOVE Cypress trees are an integral part of the South Florida landscape,
(South Florida Water Management District)
PAGE 16 Restoration of the Kissimmee's gentle meanders began in 1984.
(South Florida Water Management District)
PAGE 17 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas described the Everglades as a "River of Grass."
(Florida Department of Commerce)


G3outh cC61

ABOVE Drought sometimes plagues the Everglades system.
(South Florida Water Management District)


Water strict

ABOVE The Roseate Spoonbill is tied closely to the Everglades water cycle.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)


6outhc rloi9&
atpr ... Listrct
upt."- '' 7 .

;A .,-.0.,

(South Florid Water Management District)

ABOVE Treilnsaehaesfrwllf i h vrlds
(South, Flrd Wate Maaemn itrct


L t' .. VunoQ g: rrt lnt District

our rivers radiate outward from the Management Act to protect its valuable
Green Swamp in West Central Florida. Al- recharge functions.
though the Green Swamp iswhollywithinthe
Southwest Florida Water Management Dis- Land acquisition programs of the South-
trict, one of the four, the Oklawaha River, is a west Florida Water Management District are
major tributary to the St. Johns River. aimed largely at protecting the drinking
water supplies for a fast-growing area of the
In addition to being the headwaters of state. The Cypress Creek, the Anclote water
four of Florida's major rivers the Oklawaha, storage lands, and the Green Swamp land
the Withlacoochee, the Hillsborough, and acquisitions all include protection of water
the Peace the Green Swamp is Central supplies. Of course these acquisitions and
Florida's major groundwater recharge area. others also save important environmental
The swamp and the river system it gives birth habitats pine flatlands and wetlands of
to are essential to the preservation of the pot- various types including cypress domes and
able groundwater supplies of West Central the hardwood floodplains of the river head-
Florida. waters in an area in which natural lands
are rapidly disappearing.
Geographically it is between Tampa Bay
and Orlando (home of Disney World), two of the Save Our Rivers Purchases The Save Our Rivers acquisitions along the Withla-
fastest-growing areas of the state. The building of Dis- .Acres %urc;asc 2,42d: coochee River join 50,000 acres already purchased
ney World set off a land boom in Central Florida that Cost. Si, ,7 84871 under other District programs. The goal is to eventually
threatened to spill over into the Green Swamp. As a Selected Parcels have a large part of the river's five-year floodplain
result, it was made an "Area of Critical State Concern" H,den Lake 89 aroc, under public ownership and protection.
under the state's Environmental Land and Water ross o. res

c,. te 5',, r c r! A r River )


ABOVE The Peace River near Wauchula, Florida.
(Florida Department of Commerce)

PAGE 22 Snowy egrets are a common sight in west-central Florida.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)

PAGE 23 Agriculture and natural systems co-exist in southwest Florida.
(Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission)


Northwest Florida Water Management District
1. Land Into Water Water Into Land: A History of Water Management in Florida.
Nelson A Blake, University Presses of Florida. 1980. p. 10.

Suwannee River Water Management District
1. Land Into Water Water Into Land. op. cit. p. 10.
2. IBID. p. 23.

St. Johns River Water Management District
1. Land Into Water Water Into Land. op. cit. p. 64.

Southwest Florida Water Management District
1. Report to the Governor: Florida Rivers Study Committee. January 31, 1985.









W 1 5 2000
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