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Welcome

Since 1982 the Friends of the Wekiva River have worked to protect, preserve, and restore the natural functions and beauty of the Wekiva River system. As a result of our leadership and the cooperation of our river partners, the Wekiva is designated a Florida Outstanding Water, a Florida Canoe Trail, an Aquatic Preserve, and a National Wild and Scenic River with over 70,000 acres of state-protected lands in the basin.
Despite this ample recognition, the Wekiva River and its fragile ecosystem face numerous threats. These include the fragmentation and loss of habitat, declines in spring flow, degradation in water quality, and wildlife mortality on the roads. Our members work on issues that affect the Wekiva, ranging from pollution to smart growth to the welfare of wildlife, including bears. Learn more about what we are doing. Read more on our issues page.
Need to reach us?
E- mail: FriendsWekivaRiver@gmail.com
Mail: P.O.Box 916196
Longwood FL 32791- 6196

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The River

The Wekiva River is one of the few remaining near-pristine river systems in central Florida. Over 110 square miles of its basin are protected as parks, preserves, and state forests. Its headwaters begin at the confluence of Wekiwa Spring Run and Rock Spring Run. Waters creating the Wekiva arise from the Floridan aquifer as clear, freshwater springs and from drainage of its watershed, including adjacent hardwood swamps. Climatic zones of warm temperate and subtropical meet here, and biological diversity of plants and animals is very high as a result.

Blog

State’s Plan to Protect Wekiwa & Rock Springs Won’t Work!

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July 21, 2019

Wekiwa and Rock Springs have a pollution problem. Too much nitrogen and phosphorous are causing excessive growth of algae and other undesirable plant species, such as hydrilla, in the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run, threatening food sources and habitat for fish. 

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) developed a plan to reduce the nitrogen load to Wekiwa and Rock Springs. However, the Friends of the Wekiva River (FOWR) believes that the state’s plan does not fully address the sources of this pollution, and has challenged the plan. Plans for other springs are also under scrutiny. So FOWR, along with a number of other environmental groups across the state, are taking their case to a state hearing in September. We’ll keep you updated on our website (www.FriendsofWekiva.org) and Facebook page and let you know how you can help. Details about donations are below.  

The Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act of 2016 required FDEP to develop plans known as Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) for first order magnitude springs and springs of regional significance, which include Wekiwa and Rock Springs.  The BMAP for Wekiwa and Rock Springs was adopted by FDEP in June 2018. 

The BMAP estimated that about a million pounds of nitrogen enter the groundwater in the Wekiwa and Rock Springs springshed each year. The major sources include septic tanks (29%), urban turfgrass fertilizers (26 %), wastewater treatment facilities (17%), farm fertilizer (11 %), and sports turf fertilizer (7 %). 

The nitrogen concentrations in the springs range from 0.8 to 1.4 milligrams per liter – about four times higher than is considered safe. And phosphorous concentrations are about two to three times higher than the limit. In 2008, because of these high nutrient levels, FDEP designated the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run as “impaired.” 

During development of the BMAP, FOWR provided numerous comments to FDEP to address the plan’s weaknesses. FOWR’s main concern is that the BMAP does not address the entire nitrogen load to the springshed.   Instead the plan proposes to only reduce nitrogen loads by about 200,000 pounds per year, which is only about 20% of the total nitrogen load to the springshed.  

Also, the BMAP does not account for future nitrogen loads from new residential and commercial development in the springshed.  The plan will also allow new septic tanks to be installed during at least the next five years.  And the plan only recommends reducing nitrogen from fertilizers by 6-10%!

FOWR believes that the BMAP must identify strategies to reduce the entire nitrogen load to reduce the nitrogen concentrations in the groundwater that reaches Wekiwa and Rock Springs.

As we approach the September hearing, FOWR is working hard and incurring expenses, including for experts who can show the need for improving the plans. As you can imagine, this is a costly effort.  We would appreciate any support you could give us.  Just go to the home page of our website (www.FriendsofWekiva.org) and click on the “DONATE” button.  

We cannot afford to let these precious jewels become over-run with algae!  Please help today! 

Announcements

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

We'd love your help with some upcoming events. In most cases, no experience necessary!

Saturday, March 14: Lake Norris Field Trip: Paddle from Blackwater Creek into the lake to see the dwarf cypress and nesting osprey. (Skilled paddlers are need to assist the group.)

Saturday, March 14: Volunteer Wekiva Event (FOWR will have a booth to inform people of our work and offer opportunities to volunteer. We need volunteers to man the booth for specified time slots)

April is Earth Day Month!

We would like to participate at several of these events and can use volunteers to fill time slots.

Thursday April 2, 11:00-2:00 Earth Day at Valencia College, East Campus

Saturday April 18 9:00-2:00 Earth Fest at Lake concord Park, sponsored by the City of Casselberry

Sunday April 19 10:00-2:00 Earth Day at Lotus Park, Sponsored by the City of Altamonte Springs

Saturday April 25 10:00-6:00 Central Florida Earth Day at Lake Eola

Thursday & Friday May 7-8 Friends of Silver Springs State Park, Ocala, FL

We are also in need of volunteers for our Membership Committee. Tasks include maintenance of an Excel file, email renewal notices to members, welcome letters to new members, and member recruitment.

Please contact Weegie Henry at FriendsWekivaRiver@gmail.com for more information and to volunteer.

 

 

State hearing on Wekiva's Future 

 
Note: We're awaiting ruling from the state hearing in November
 
Wekiva Springs and Rock Springs are facing their biggest challenge in decades. A state plan that is supposed to protect the health of these springs plus Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River instead leaves these treasures vulnerable to pollution and the resulting algae that is choking these waterways and threatening plants and wildlife. We need help challenging this plan in a legal hearing and are asking for donations to help fund this vital effort.
 
The 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act requires a Basin Management Action Plan, known as a BMAP, for 30 Florida outstanding springs. These plans are meant to restore ailing springs and reduce pollutants. But many of the plans, including the one for Wekiva and Rock Springs, fall far short. The Friends of the Wekiva River and other conservation organizations are gearing up for a fight to force the state Department of Environmental Protection to include strong measures to reduce pollution.
We are asking for your help in this battle for the future of our springs and quality of life. Any amount will help. Just  make your tax-deductible donation via the PayPal button on this website with the notation “Legal Fund.” Thank you so much.
 
You can read more about the Wekiva and Rock Springs BMAP on our website and also in the media, such as this recent op-ed in The Orlando Sentinel https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-op-florida-plan-to-save-springs-lacking-20181226-story.html  Conservationists around the state are similarly standing up for their springs. Together, we can ensure these jewels are protected now and for future generations.
 

PLEASE JOIN OR RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP

FOWR membership is invaluable because you help keep us strong. Your support helps us defend the Wekiva and educate future generations who will need to take up the work of ensuring this remains one of Central Florida's environmental jewels.

Please click on the following link and renew your membership for 2018-2019. The Wekiva River and the wildlife who live within the basin are depending on you!!!

www.friendsofwekiva.org/membership/