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. 

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  • Tuesday, October 22, 2013 5:24 PM | Deleted user
    Springs Enthusiasts - This Thursday is our monthly Springs Fest meeting.  We will meet at CF at 4:00 pm in room 101 of the Ewer Center.  (Lois - if this has changed please let us all know.)  Hope to see you there!


    Deborah Wilson, AA
    Silver Springs State Park
    1425 NE 58th Ave
    Ocala FL 34470
    Voice: 352-236-7148
    Fax: 352-236-7150
  • Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:13 PM | Deleted user
     The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board has voted to begin the process to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for Silver Springs and Silver River in Marion County to help prevent significant harm to those important water resources.

    Establishing MFLs is an important step in continuing to plan for adequate water supplies in the region while also protecting water resources. During the consumptive use permitting regulatory process, MFLs are used as a basis for ensuring the protection of water resources in the area where withdrawals are being made.

    "This marks the beginning of the rulemaking process but it is the culmination of years of scientific work by District staff," said Hal Wilkening, director of strategic deliverables. "Nothing is etched in stone yet, and there will be multiple opportunities for public comment."

    In addition to setting MFLs for the two Marion County water bodies, prevention strategies are anticipated to be needed for each of the MFLs. If it is determined during the rulemaking process that MFLs are currently not being met, then recovery strategies will be needed.

    Prevention and recovery strategies are measures that are undertaken to ensure MFLs will not go below their minimum levels (prevention) or will recover to their required levels (recovery). These measures include water conservation, alternative water supply projects, and regulatory changes that, when combined, will protect the water resources of the area.

    Silver River will be the seventh river and Silver Springs the tenth spring in the District to have MFLs established since 1992. During that time, the District has set 123 MFLs. The District plans to establish MFLs on a total of 16 water bodies in 2014.

    Workshops will be held in 2014 to obtain public input. The public will also have opportunities to provide input throughout the process and when the Governing Board considers adopting the MFLs.

  • Monday, October 14, 2013 4:27 PM | Deleted user
     Thank you for your questionnaire regarding Silver Springs.  Below are my responses.

    1 - What is YOUR vision for Silver Springs State Park once the State of Florida takes over management on October 1st.

    I would envision a vibrant beautiful state park that is in keeping with the other state parks in Florida.  My family enjoys camping and the Florida State Park system does a great job at providing facilities and recreation as a means of enjoying the natural beauty of the state, and I believe Silver Springs State Park can become the crown jewel in the state park system.

    2 - What do YOU believe is the biggest issue that faces Silver Springs and what would be your solution.

    I believe there are two issues that need to be dealt with.  First the springs itself needs to be cleaned.  I am not an expert in environmental contamination, but in order to attract visitors the Springs itself needs to be restored to it's natural beauty.  Secondly, because of recent events, the public seems to be gun shy when it comes to private concessionaires working in and around the park.  However, it is very typical for the state to contract private companies to provide services in the state parks, and I believe a communication and education program would work wonders to alleviate fears.

    3 - How do you see the City of Ocala being able to help slow down water withdraws from the Floridan Aquifer?

    The expanded utilization of Re-use water.  Currently the city's re-use water supply is distributed primarily on spray fields and golf courses.  Anytime there is new development and new water lines being installed, I would like to see accompanying re-use lines that may be used in the future for irrigation and other non-potable uses.  This would insure that the water we draw from the aquifer is thoroughly put to use and not wasted. 

    In addition, I believe we can do better in teaching our citizens effective means of conservation.  Many people believe that turning off the water while you brush your teeth makes a big impact, but I believe the biggest impact can be made with residential irrigation.  The city has rain barrels that can be bought and used for residential irrigation, and we should probably do a better job of advertising and education.

    4 - Do you believe that the City of Ocala can implement policies that could reduce nitrate runoff that impacts the water clarity of the River, and what would those policies be?

    The City of Ocala is currently working to lower the nitrate levels from the Water Treatment Plant #2 to the Advanced standards.  WRF #2 is located most closely to the Silver Springs on the east side of town.  We can also continue working with residents who live closest to the Springs to have them connect to the City's water and sewer system and help eliminate septic systems.

    5 - How can the City of Ocala contribute to the revitalization of the Silver Springs State Park and the surrounding areas?

    I am a firm believer that when one area of our city or county succeeds, we all become better.  The City and the City Council all want to see the Silver Springs State Park become a successful beautiful place to go and take our guests and visitors, and I believe the City stands willing to assist the Silver Springs Alliance whenever possible.

    Suzy Heinbockel
  • Saturday, October 05, 2013 6:32 PM | Deleted user
    Great article by Bill Thompson staff writer at Ocala Star Banner.

    Photo by Jo Ann Hemelrick

    With Silver Springs now a part of the state park system, some see a chance to reverse the degradation of the historic waterway, while others see an opportunity to revitalize the economic lethargy of the neighboring community.

    The group formed to brainstorm the future of the newest asset in Florida’s park system came away from its inaugural meeting on Friday appearing to believe the waterway can be a confluence for environmentalism and economics.

    But, based on its members’ comments, the task ahead for the Silver Springs Advisory Group will be striking the appropriate balance between the two.

    The 21-member panel of government officials, scientists and representatives of various interest groups gathered at the park to start crafting a long-range plan for Silver Springs.

    Incorporating the springs into the adjacent Silver River State Park, which occurred on Tuesday under a deal that Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet approved back in January, forced state parks managers to update the plan written for the park in 2010.

    At periodic meetings over the next few months, the advisory group will hammer out a strategy for the Silver Springs State Park, as the whole 4,760-acre site is now known, based on consideration of hydrological, cultural and historical factors.

    Lew Scruggs, chief of the park planning office for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, told the group that the plan must be finished within a year.

    Once approved by the state’s Acquisition and Restoration Council, the document would guide the management of “the birthplace of Florida tourism,” as he referred to Silver Springs, for the next decade. Click the link to read the entire article

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