Eleanor K. Sommer

As she approached 60 years old, Eleanor K. Sommer decided to dump her nine-to-five job and embark on an adventure. Rather than retire, she chose to attend graduate school and turn her 40 years of writing, editing, and publishing experience into an environmental journalism career. Her first effort on this path has been to enroll in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Florida. Having previously eschewed the snow-covered hills of northwest New Jersey, Ms. Sommer had fled to the Florida sunshine to attend the University of South Florida in 1970. Subsequently, worked as a reporter and editor, and eventually published a monthly business magazine. She moved to Gainesville in 1994 and settled on 10 acres of “real” Florida near Paynes Prairie with her husband and 100-pound yellow Lab.

State Buys Land to Protect Wakulla Springs

TALLAHASSEE – To enhance water quality protection and restoration efforts for Wakulla Springs, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet today approved a $1,525,000 acquisition of 678.67 acres within the Wakulla Springs Protection Zone Florida Forever project.

Wakulla Springs, located south of Tallahassee, is one of the largest and deepest artesian springs in the world. This parcel will help to close the conservation lands gap between the Apalachicola National Forest and the Wakulla State Forest and will also provide valuable aquifer recharge and surface water quality protection.

“The Department continues to focus on acquisitions that address water quality and quantity needs and this land purchase will help to buffer and protect Wakulla Springs,” said department Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “This is another piece necessary for protecting our state’s springs, which staff has been so committed to doing under the leadership of Governor Scott.”

Wakulla Springs is protected by Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park and Wakulla State Forest. However, enormous caverns that feed the spring spread far to the north and west of the park. The land will be managed by the Florida Forest Service as an addition to the state forest. The site is also designated within the “primary range” for movement and reproduction of the state-threatened Florida black bear and will provide a travel corridor from the Big Bend to St. Marks.

“This acquisition represents an important next step in the protection of Wakulla Springs, one of northwest Florida’s most treasured water resources,” said Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member Jon Costello. “As the Governing Board member representing the St. Marks River Basin, I look forward to seeing the District continue to work with state and local agencies to improve water quality in Wakulla Springs.”

The property is located within the Upper Wakulla River Basin, and this area exceeds the total maximum daily load for nitrate, adopted in 2012. The Basin Management Action Plan, or restoration plan for the basin, is being developed, and acquisition of this property will help protect the spring and lead to its restoration.

“It is outstanding that this land is going to be protected by the state,” said Wakulla County District 3 Commissioner Howard Kessler. “Adding the purchased lands to the larger environmental protection effort will enhance the quality of the greater Wakulla area.”

The total Wakulla Springs Protection Zone Florida Forever project contains 7,438 acres, of which 4,158 acres have been acquired or are under agreement to be acquired. Upon today’s approval of this agreement, 3,280 acres, or 44 percent of the project, will remain to be acquired.

For more information, contact Florida Department of Environmental Protection Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us

“Despite Heavy Rain, Drought Continues to Affect Florida Springs and Rivers”

While Florida has had renewed rainfall this summer and even flooding due to Tropical Storm Debby, groundwater stores are not nearly replenished according to the experts.

Despite Heavy Rain, Drought Continues to Affect Florida Springs and Rivers Continued draining of wetlands, lakes, and the aquifer for public utilities, agriculture, and industry are making conditions worse The summers have been dry for years. And quiet. No chorus of frogs. No dragonflies. No mosquitoes. No rain. Mowers have been silent.

Read more at: www.earthisland.org

“Council tackles water use”

Texas city has 13 months of water left.

Owners of local businesses that rely heavily on water painted a grim picture during Tuesday’s City Council meeting of what drought level 3 restrictions might look like for their businesses and for residents with pools: green waters filled with mosquito larvae if the pool keeps water, and possibly crumbling pool walls if the pool is drained.

Read more at: www.gosanangelo.com

Recycled Waste Water On Tap

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Cleaned-up sewage is nobody’s first choice for drinking water. But some parts of the world may not have much choice, especially if they have large or growing populations and limited fresh water. Parched communities from Singapore to the United States are coming to terms with the “toilet to tap” idea, aided by educational campaigns and careful marketing.

Read more at: www.nytimes.com