WUFT News

Bill Nelson visits Silver Springs

By on March 26th, 2013
Sen. Bill Nelson talks to the media and Marion County commissioners at Silver Springs on Tuesday afternoon.

Jessica Kegu / WUFT News

Sen. Bill Nelson talks to the media and Marion County commissioners at Silver Springs on Tuesday afternoon.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson remembers when Silver Springs was crystal clear to its silver, sandy bottom. Now, it’s not.

Nelson spent Tuesday afternoon at Silver Springs with representatives from Marion County to bring attention to a problem that is literally growing every day. That problem is algae.

A few weeks ago, commissioners from Marion County traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with Nelson about the problem. With an upcoming trip to Tallahassee already planned, he decided to make a stop at Silver Springs to see the issue firsthand.


Leah Harding reported for WUFT-FM.

Nelson, casual and friendly throughout the visit, wore blue jeans, a red jacket and boots. At one point during the tour he did a convincing imitation of a female alligator call.

“Florida and its springs need help,” Nelson said after finishing a tour on one of the glass bottom boats that thousands of tourists have rode in over the years. The purpose of the glass bottom is to give people a chance to see the natural beauty of Florida springs from wildlife, vegetation and the underwater landscape. Now, the view is often shrouded in green.

One of the main reasons for this algae, though there are multiple reasons and theories, is nitrate runoff, according to Marion County Commissioner David Moore.

Some of the algae that has been growing in the springs, obscuring the view of the water.

Jessica Kegu / WUFT News

Some of the algae that has been growing in the springs, obscuring the view of the water.

Moore said they are looking for ways and funding to begin addressing this issue now before it gets worse.

James Couillard is a landscape architect with the Marion County Parks and Recreation Department. He explained that thousands of acres of water and land are connected to the spring ecologically. Couillard said the issue isn’t just an environmental one but is also related to tourism, which the Florida springs attract a lot of every year.

Nelson explained his appreciation and concern for environmental issues stems from his experience as an astronaut. Seeing the Earth from afar gave him a broader perspective of environmental damage.

He said he plans to continue working with Marion county to solve the issue.

A map of the Marion County springs protection zones.

Jessica Kegu / WUFT News

A map of the Marion County springs protection zones.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Florida Forever Program Confirms 2015 Priority List

The Florida Forever Program, a land acquisition program, hopes to obtain 119 new properties, many of which located in North Central Florida. The lands are assessed based on several criteria to determine their environmental value.


Although the grove is currently closed to visitors, signs and maps still stand to display the historic site.

Historic Orange Grove’s Fate Undecided

The historic Carney Island orange grove has switched caretakers’ hands many times, but the Marion County Board of Commissioners now must face a decision on its future owners and use.


The redbay ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, killed by a fungus founded by a team of UF researchers in order to stop the spread of laurel wilt, a disease that kills several tree species.

Solution Found For Disease Threatening Avocado Production

UF Researchers and researchers from the Tropical Research and Education Center, USDA and the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce have found an alternate way to control the spread of Laurel wilt, a disease that threatens Florida’s avocado industry.


This octagon-based receptacle, which looks as if its been opened, sits in front of Dragonfly Sushi in downtown Gainesville. Morgan Kalish, a downtown worker, smokes a cigarette as he walks by it on Monday morning.

Cigarette Receptacles Making Impact Downtown

The local Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is seeing success after the installation of more than two dozen cigarette receptacles in the downtown area. The program hopes to expand into midtown, despite vandalization by the homeless.


Skeletonization of a Gainesville air potato leaf shows why the air potato beetle is considered one of the most successful biocontrol approaches in recent decades compared to other projects — current or past.

Plant-Eating Beetle: Cheapest Way To Kill Weeds

The FWC has seen recent success in controlling invasive plants that overrun Florida with the use of air potato beetles, and other beetle species.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments