silver springs alliance

SSA Blog

Welcome to the SSA Blog! This is a place to view current news and events concerning Silver Springs. SSA members are encouraged to join in the conversation by submitting comments below the main posts. 

  • Tuesday, December 03, 2013 10:48 AM | Deleted user
    Forest thinning has been done in our forests each year. Thinning the trees actually helps to provide more water, helps the habitat, and helps maintain the forest land. To read more CLICK HERE Tell us what you think!
  • Monday, December 02, 2013 11:30 AM | Deleted user
    A great article on the fragile state of the springs. The article talks about the diminishing water supply and the polluted water caused by increased nitrates found in fertilizers and animal waste. If you have ever wondered why you keep seeing articles and blogs regarding our precious resource, this article will help you to understand the urgency that is needed to protect our beloved springs and the water that helps to sustain life. CLIK HERE to read the article, view the great photography and watch the informative video. Then, leave a comment and tell us what you think!
  • Saturday, November 23, 2013 10:38 AM | Deleted user
    Ocala Star-Banner 11/23/2013, Page A01

    Feds to report Silver Springs is ‘threatened’

    By Bill Thompson

    Staff writer 

    Silver Springs’ plight has long been recognized by environmental regulators, water managers, geologists and engineers at all levels of government. 

    Now add parks officials to the list. 

    The National Park Service is set to label the iconic waterway as threatened because of its depleted flow and its elevated level of contaminants, according to an agency spokesman. 

    That came about after a federal parks official visited Silver Springs earlier this year as part of Washington’s monitoring of geographic treasures designated under the National Natural Landmarks, or NNL, program. 

    The government launched the initiative in 1962 as a way to encourage the preservation of unique natural features. Silver Springs and Rainbow Springs were both added to that list in 1971.  

    SPRINGS:Overpumping and drought linked to decline 

    Mike Litterst, spokesman for the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees federal parks, said Silver Springs’ downgraded status will be reflected in the agency’s next biennial report. 

    Part of that report documents the peril faced by some of the nearly 600 wonders identified as a natural landmark. The next edition will update the NNL program for 2013 and 2014. 

    That document will be the first time the Park Service has needed to call attention to the decline of Silver Springs, Litterst added. 

    Carolyn Davis, the Pennsylvania- based NNL regional coordinator who visited Silver Springs in February, said identifying the springs as threatened was no surprise. 

    Davis’ report on her tour details problems that are well known to locals: decreased water quality because nitrate levels are up 20-fold over the decades, and a drop-off in water quantity that, she wrote, is “likely linked” to a combination of overpumping of groundwater for a variety of uses and an extended drought. 

    Davis, in her report, points out that when Silver Springs was named to the NNL list, its water volume ranked it as the largest artesian spring group in the country, and it was considered “one of the great groups in the world.” 

    Today, it’s not even the biggest spring in Florida. 

    Davis, in an interview, said the designation, while not guaranteeing more aid in reversing the issues at Silver Springs, could rally high-ranking officials, if they take note. 

    “It’s more of a public awareness tool that the site manager can use to improve the situation,” she said of the downgrade. 

    “Its national significance is the spring itself. It (the designation) says you’ve got something very important, so let’s see if we can turn this around.” 

    But the National Park Service faces challenges in garnering attention for Silver Springs and other at-risk sites. 

    For one thing, lawmakers don’t read about them as often as in the past. 

    The Park Service once was required to report annually to Congress about the status of damaged or threatened natural landmarks. 

    That report was also shipped to other government agencies, the landmarks’ owners and managers, and environmental groups. 

    The requirement for submitting that annual report ended in 2000. 

    Now, those places are mentioned in the report that parks managers release every two years. 

    Public knowledge about the condition of landmarks like Silver Springs undefined and Paynes Prairie in Alachua County, which was designated as threatened last year undefined is also limited by the fact that inspectors like Davis, and their visits, are fewer and far between. 

    Davis said she is one of only four inspectors for the entire country, down from a dozen or so a few years ago. 

    As such, she is responsible for 120 landmarks spread across 13 states in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. And she only works at that part time, she said. 

    The NNL report covering 2011-12 notes that ideally an inspector would visit a designated landmark every two years. 

    Because of budget cuts, though, the on-site inspections are now three years apart, if that soon. 

    Silver Springs had not been visited since the early 1990s, said Davis. 

    She added that was the responsibility of a previous inspector, and the reason for that lengthy lag between trips was unclear. 

    If the inspectors cannot appear in person, they try to keep tabs on a landmark by contacting the owner by phone, or by requesting a site visit by another Park Service employee nearby. 

    Either way, the inspectors just cannot make the rounds as frequently as in the past. 

    Nationally, in 2011 and 2012, the Park Service gathered input, either in person or through some other method, on 113 and 111 landmarks, respectively, the report adds. 

    In comparison, inspectors checked the conditions at 166 sites a year, on average, between 2008 and 2010. 

    In 2002, they reviewed 270 landmarks, or half the program’s inventory at the time. 

    The impact of the change for Silver Springs remains to be seen. After all, for example, the state has lauded the Silver River, which flows from Silver Springs, with two conservation- minded designations. 

    The river is both an Outstanding Florida Water and part of the Ocklawaha River Aquatic Preserve. 

    Yet only in the past few years has the state, with financial and infrastructure help from Marion County, taken forceful and expensive steps to protect the river and the springs through land purchases and anti-pollution projects. 

    Davis wants the new listing for Silver Springs to boost awareness of the risk outside the community. 

    “That’s kind of my hope, that it will let people know about these issues,” she said. 

    “People should be proud this is in your county. It’s a nationally significant landmark, and I’ve got my fingers crossed.” Contact Bill Thompson at 8674117. 
  • Friday, November 22, 2013 7:04 PM | Deleted user
    The Citizens Clean Water Summit held in Orlando Florida on November 16, 2013, was an exciting and educational place to be this year with 119 Organizations in attendance. 

    These organizations came together to gather thoughts and share ideas that would protect and preserve the main watersheds of the state as well as the region.

    The Citizens Water Summit was an historical event, as representatives from well known statewide and local organizations along with their volunteers came together to share ideas and explore ways to work together to promote and take action for clean water that flows through our natural water sources.

    The list of organizations that attended the Citizens Clean Water Summit in Orlando 11/16/2013.

    1000 Friends of Florida
    Agrarian Land and Pond, LLC                              
    Alatchua County
    Anglers for Conservation
    Audubon Florida
    Awake Pinellas
    Awake Marion
    Barry Law School Environmental Law Society
    Biospere Consulting, Inc.
    Brevard County
    C4 Architecture
    Canin Associates
    Congress for New Urbanism - Orlando
    Center for Biological Diversity
    Center for Earth Jurisprudence
    Central Florida Democratic Environment Caucus
    Central Florida Herpetological Society
    Central Florida Surfrider
    Chassahowitzka River Restoration Committee
    Citrus County Council ENR Committee and
    Citrus County Audubon Society Conservation Committee
    City of Sanibel
    Clean Water Action
    Community Business Association of Central Florida
    Main Street Alliance
    Conservancy of Southwest Florida                                 
    Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County
    Laklas Mint Chapter, Native Plant Society
    Deland Beacon Newspaper
    Earth Justice
    Earth Web
    Environmental Youth Council of St. Augustine
    Environment Florida
    Federation of Congregations United to Serev (FOCUS)
    Fin and Fluke
    First green Bank
    Florida Coastal & Oceans Coalition
    Florida Conservation Coalition
    Florida Defenders of the Environment
    Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.
    Florida Gateway College
    Florida Institute of Technology
    Florida Water and Land Legacy
    Florida Wildflower Foundation
    Friends of the Wekiva River
    Friends of Warm Mineral Springs
    Green Drinks - Orlando
    Ground Water Solutions Inc.
    Gulf Restoration Network
    Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute
    Itchetucknee Alliance
    Ideas for Us
    Indian RiverKeeper
    IRL Paddle Adventure
    Kings Bay Springs Alliance
    League of Woman Voters - Seminole County
    League of Woman Voters - Florida
    League of Woman Voters - Volusia County
    League of Woman Voters - Orange County
    Leaque of Woman Voters - Volusia Co.
    Marion County Springs Festival
    Marine Cleanup Initiative, Inc.
    Marine Discovery Center
    Marine Resources Council
    MetroPlan Orlando
    Mother Ocean
    North Florida Land Trust
    Ocean Conservancy
    Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA)
    Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society
    Orange County Environmental Protection Division (EPD)
    Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District
    Orlando Nerd Nite
    Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
    Paul G. Johnson & Associates
    Pelican Island Audubon Society
    Pine Island Consulting Inc.
    Polk State
    Preserve Brevard
    Progressive News Network (PNN)
    Putman County Environmental Council Inc.
    Reef Relief
    River Kidz
    Rivers Coalition
    Save Our Lakes
    Save Our Suwannee, Inc.
    Save the Caloosahatchee River
    Save the Indian River Lagoon
    Save the Manatee Club
    Sea Turtle Oversight Protection
    Seminole Audubon Society
    Seminole Water & Soil Conservation District
    Sierra Club - Florida Chapter
    Sierra Club - Central Florida Group
    Sierra Club - Manatee Sarasota Group
    Sierra Club - Suncoast Group
    Sierra Club - Suwannee - St Johns 
    Sierra Club - Tampa Bay Group
    Sierra Club - Turtle Coast group
    Sierra Club - Volusia - Flagler Group
    Silver Springs Alliance
    Space Coast Audubon
    Space Coast Kayaking
    Space Coast Progressive Alliance
    Springs Eternal Project
    St. John Riverkeeper
    St. Lucie County
    Suncoast Waterkeeper
    Sunshine State Interfaith Power & Light
    The Ambersand School
    The Byrd Law Group, P.A.
    The Guardians of Martin County
    Treasure Coast Progressive Alliance
    University of Central Florida, Earth Advocates
    USGBC Central Florida Chapter
    UU Church of Brevard
    Wakulla Springs Alliance

    * Names in bold were either involved in the planning , provided speakers, and/or  provided workshop leaders. 

  • Friday, November 15, 2013 11:57 AM | Deleted user
      Senator Nan Rich is coming to Silver Springs State Park on November 20th at 2:30 pm. She will tour the grounds and take a glass bottom boat ride with Guy Marwick of the Felburn Foundation; Tom Morris, biologist and cave diver with Karst Environmental; Lisa Saupp, environmental chemist at Aqua Pure Laboratory; Karen Chadwick, PCEC advocate and artist; and Margaret Tolbert, international artist and author of Aquiferious.  Following the Silver Springs park tour she will visit the Silver River Museum for a personal guided tour with Scott Mitchell, director.
      If you would like to meet Nan Rich and talk with her about what is happening at Silver Springs be at the Glass bottom boat dock at 2:30 on November 20th. Regular park entry and boat fees will apply.  Entrance to the park - $8 per vehicle 2-8 people, or $4 per single occupant vehicle and Glass Bottom Boat rides - $9.99 per person, children under 6 are free.
      Kayak rentals are available at Silver Springs from Discovery Kayak Tours if you want to get there early and make a day adventure out of your trip. Allow for about two hours to paddle the loop. Call Discovery for more information, 352-789-4959.  Or bring your own kayak, launch fee $4 per privately owned kayak.
  • Friday, November 08, 2013 10:21 AM | Deleted user
    The Silver River Museum is pleased to announce the official designation of the area surrounding Silver Springs as an archaeological district that is eligible for inclusion on the NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES (NRHP). The district has been named the "Silver Springs Head Springs Site Complex." This area includes the land around Silver Springs and the north and south banks of the river extending southeast away from the main springs for approximately three miles downstream.

    Evidence of human settlement is this district dates from the late Pleistocene (the last ice age) 12,000 to 15,000 years all the up to the present. The archaeological sites located within the district contain important information relating to prehistoric populations, broad environmental and how people have adapted to them, the riverboat and railroad era, early commerce and tourism, the early film industry, early tourism ventures pursued by Seminole and Miccosukee people, segregation and the local African American community (re: Paradise Park).

    The designation of Silver Springs Head Springs Site Complex as an NRHP eligible district recognizes the importance of these archaeological sites as a group on the national level. In terms of historical significance this puts Silver Springs in the category as places like Mount Rushmore!

    The Silver River Museum initiated the project, which was completed by the cultural resources management company SEARCH, Inc. of Gainesville, FL. Funding for the project was provided by private local resources. The information has been reviewed and included into the official files of historic places by the Florida Division of Historic Places (DHR). This means the archaeological district is now official.

    A second phase of archaeological research will take place during the summer of 2014 to reevaluate known archaeological sites within the Silver Springs State Park and identify additional sites that have not yet been found. USF archaeologists in coordination with the Florida DHR will complete the second phase of research and several grants have already been secured to finance the project.

    Any questions about this exciting development should be directed to Scott Mitchell at the Silver River Museum. 

  • Saturday, October 26, 2013 8:19 PM | Deleted user
     SSA In Action:   Volunteer Opportunities at Silver Springs State Park 

    The Silver Springs Alliance is looking for volunteers to help with a number of jobs during November, 2013.  Do you have a couple of hours to meet at the Park with other SSA Members and do some meaningful work together?  Here's what one SSA member says about his volunteer experience:

      "Silver Springs is so important to me.  This is my way of making a difference and I get to work with people who feel the same way."

    These are the current opportunities available for you to make a contribution to SSA and the Park's success: 

    1.  SSA Educational Display: 
     Did you know that SSA has its own outdoor display at the Silver Springs State Park?  The display is important because it provides education to the public on the various factors that impact both water quantity and quality at Silver Springs.  Park Rangers are asking for our help to keep it weed free.

    Volunteers are needed for:  Weeding garden beds around the display.  

    The first Saturday of every month starting on November 2, 2013, 
    Time: 10:00 am until Noon. (1 -2 hours per month)

    Pick the month or months that fit your schedule.

    2.  SSA Member Survey Orientation:  
    SSA will be reaching out to its members past and present by phone to ask them how SSA can be better.  The survey is important because it will help SSA to carry out it's mission to protect, restore and preserve Silver Springs and serve its members more effectively.

    Volunteers are needed for:  Interviewing other SSA members by phone before Thanksgiving and recording their answers to survey questions.

    When:  SURVEY TRAINING - Monday November 4, 2013.  
    Timet: 10:00 am to 11:30 am (Each survey interview will take about 10 minutes)
    Where: Silver River Museum.

    3.  Ocali Days - SSA Booth and Educational Activities
    SSA is an integral part of the wonderful educational and recreational benefits of Ocali Days at Silver Springs State Park.  SSA's presence at Ocali Days is important because it provides SSA with a large audience to enhance the public's awareness of issues impacting Silver Springs, to enhance SSA's visibility and to recruit new members.

    Volunteers are needed for:  
    Supporting SSA educational and booth activities

    Where: Silver Springs State Park Cracker Village
    When: November 10, 2013
    Time: 9:00 am to 12:30 pm  and/or  12:30 pm to 4:00 pm 
    Half-day and full-day shifts available both days.)

    For more details and to sign up for one or more of these volunteer assignments, please contact Natalie Lyons at or call (352) 229-3292.
    Please become a part of SSA In Action.  With you, we're stronger.....
  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:02 PM | Deleted user

    As a kayaker, I don't mean to be sticking my nose into hikers business, but my familiarity with the area might be of help.


    The path I discussed with you could be the best way to keep all parties involved happy.  I researched the website for Marion county property appraiser, as well as aerial photos.  I was very surprised to find that there is a 95 acre private parcel on both sides of the Oklawaha on the southeast side of the confluence with the Silver river, just across the Silver where the Ray canal meets the Silver.I wonder if DEP or Florida Trails even knows about this.  This split parcel is owned bySauternes V LLC;parcel #31778-000-00.  You can look it up on the pa website and click Map-it.


    If the greenway trail were to go the route of Marshall trailhead-to-Ray's on the west side of the Oklawaha, it would involve buying the private portion wedge from Sauternes (they paid $700,000 whole parcel and it's mostly swamp).  There is also a slough thru the middle of it: sloughs are often knee deep during normal times, and chest deep in wet times.  The terrain would be considerably altered to construct a long boardwalk and foot bridge over the Silver, and bridge pilings in swamp won't be cheap.  And Sauternes might not want to sell.

    My suggested route would cross Sharpes ferry road ( same as first route) and then arc around the park property, back out to Sharpes road near the new bridge which has a walkway to the forest side of the Ocklawaha.


    Hiking trail (s) could follow some of the east bank of the Oklawaha, as some of this distance is dry much of the year, and if need be, shift east to the edge of the state property where the flood plain rises.  The old canal right-of-way is usually 300 yards or more from the river bank.


    The trail would then head north until it encounters Sauternes parcel about 3/4 mile south of Hwy 40.  Then, the state owns a wide parcel on the east side of Sauternes  (BTW, George Albright tax collector owns several parcels bordering the east of state land.).  The trail would continue thru here and join the gravel service road for the Hwy40 bridge that fishermen use.

    The Hwy 40 bridge should have plenty of safety factor to hang a pedestrian walkway beneath it. It would need to be enclosed with chain link material, as I have seen teenagers jumping/diving from the maintenance towers at the bridge.  Tree debris would also be kept out.


    The first route is approx 3 miles; 4 miles for the eastern route.


    I believe construction would be simpler, faster, less disturbing, and much less cost (which frees funds for other needed projects).  If a non-attached footbridge is necessary at Hwy40, both river banks there are solid ground.

    Anonymous Kayaker


  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:51 PM | Deleted user
    Operations and Planning Accomplishments
     • Interim Park Facilities and Operations Plan (completed January 2013)
     • Executed asset transfer agreement with Palace Entertainment
     • Advertised, selected and executed contract with concessionaire, Joel Wiessner, Silver Springs Management, to provide visitor services
     • Food service provided
     • Canoe and kayak rentals provided
     • Glass bottom boat tours of the springs and river provided
     • Concerts and special events being scheduled 
    • Interpretive programs being implemented
     • Wild Waters park to open Spring 2014
     • Initiated removal of accumulated trash and debris
     • New office and communications systems being established
     • Held four public workshops to gather public input on lease termination, develop an Interim Plan and begin development of long- term management plan

     • Held first of four advisory group meetings on October 4 for development of management plan
    Public Workshop Dates:  December 12, 2012, January 14, 2013, March 7, 2013, August 7, 2013

    Advisory Group Meeting Dates: October 4, 2013, November 8, 2013, December 6, 2013, January 10, 2014

    Recreational Opportunities at Silver Springs State Park

     • The park currently provides the following recreational opportunities:
    Camping, Cabins, Trails, Canoeing and Kayaking rentals, and livery services,Canoe and Kayak public launch
    Boating access from outside of park, Food and beverage servic,e Concert Series to be scheduled, Special Events, Equestrian rides, and Picnicking
  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:46 PM | Deleted user
    Silver Springs State Park Status October 21, 2013
    Background • Silver Springs Attraction was acquired by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund (Trustees) in 1993
     • Governor and Cabinet amended Palace Entertainment lease in January 23, 2013, allowing early termination. Palace to fund critical repairs and renovations to facilities and transfer selected assets to the state
     • Effective October 1, 2013, the 247.84-acre property was combined with Silver River State Park to create 4,760-acre Silver Springs State Park
     • Total attendance was 12,697 visitors October 1 through October 16
     • Over 80 volunteers on National Public Lands Day, many more over the last two weeks of September helping get park ready for opening
    Facilities Improvement Projects Completed
     • Rebuilt main entrance boardwalk and Spring deck
     • Demolished Pearl Pavilion and bleachers
     • Town Center Complex and other buildings wood rot repair, painting and pressure washing
     • Twin Oaks Mansion repair (partial)
     • Demolition for restroom conversion
     • Four glass bottom boats refurbished
     • Water retention areas maintenance conducted; pumping of stormwater discharge into river stopped
     • Exotic plant removal and treatment initiated
     • Asbestos and lead paint survey completed
     • ADA report completed
     • Archaeological survey completed 
    • Canoe/kayak launch renovated and opened
     • Rides and captive animals removed
     • Fencing along river removed and lighting cleaned/painted
     • Interpretive exhibits upgraded
     • Signage upgraded
    Design and Permitting Projects Completed
     • Boat terminal repair - design/permitting completed and materials purchased 
    • Ross Allen Island boardwalk and two bridges designed and permitted 
    • Demolition permitting completed for upland and wetland sites
     • Stormwater management improvements designed and permitted
     • Water Distribution system designed and permitted
     • Sanitary sewer systems designed and permitted
     • Spring bulkhead designed and permitted

The Silver Springs Alliance, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit. All or a portion of your donation may be tax-deductible. 

FEIN 90-0801723

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 153, Silver Springs, FL 34489-0153

Email Address:

FDACS Registration #CH44276, Expiration Date: 6/1/2018

A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800-435-7352) within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

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