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Our Issues

Friends of the Wekiva River work to protect our treasured waterway by gathering data, analyzing problems that affect the river and proposing solutions, writing letters and documents to help people understand river issues, attending meetings, writing letters and working with decision makers, among other things. Please email us at friendswekivariver@gmail.com if you’d like to help us. These are some of the issues we address:

  • Water Quality: We work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and local governments on guidelines for improving water quality in springs and rivers in the Wekiva basin.
  • Water Quantity: We work with the St. Johns River Water Management District on guidelines for maintaining adequate flows in springs and rivers in the Wekiva basin.
  • Environmental Impacts from Land Use Changes from Inappropriate Development: We are consistently involved with issues related to development projects in areas designated for protection in the Wekiva basin.
  • Data Collection: We participate in events such as annual Christmas Bird Counts, BioBlitz events and other efforts to capture data about biological diversity in the basin and monitor water quality and quantity.
  • Land Acquisition in the Wekiva to Ocala Greenway: We have obtained a grant for $600,000 to acquire parcels of scrub habitat in the corridor and need help shoring up the acquisition (or conservation easements) on 20,000+ acres of land left to acquire.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization and make a huge contribution to protecting the Wekiva River. We need people willing to pitch in on occasion and those who would like to dig into bigger and longer-lasting projects. If you aren’t an expert in some area, we’re willing to teach you. We also especially welcome experts in real estate, environment, land use, engineering, politics and communications. If you’d like to join us, email us at friendswekivariver@gmail.com We cannot do our important work without you!

On occasion:

  • Float the river in a canoe or kayak and pick up trash
  • Pick up trash at the source in Wekiwa Springs State Park or Kelly Park/Rock Springs
  • Assist in marking hiking trails throughout the basin, and/or create trail maps and guides for comprehensive pedestrian eco-touring in the 75,000 acres of public lands
  • Participate in the annual Wekiva basin Christmas Bird Count in December
  • Help with logistics of field trips (and go along)
  • Take on an assignment to upgrade the FOWR website’s content
  • Assist in recruiting and maintaining membership and volunteers

Longer Term:

  • Assist with the identification and purchase of a river access point to the Little Wekiva River
  • Assist with removal of the bridge across the channel in the Little Wekiva River
  • Develop a comprehensive approach to volunteer efforts for the removal of invasive exotic species of plants so that assignments are regularly available for volunteers as part of a larger plan
  • Study removal ideas for the “bridge to nowhere” over the Wekiva River near Wekiva Island
  • Assist with data collection and/or the actual acquisition of parcels in the Wekiva-to-Ocala corridor
  • Lead an effort towards springs protection that is aimed at converting septic tanks to sewer in locations most important to springs health
  • Create and organize a strategy for outreach to your homeowner association and others in the area; assist in communications about spring and river health
  • Create an effective fertilizer communication program for your homeowner association or neighborhood and in areas with the greatest potential effects on the basin’s springs
  • Compile and organize the technical literature on water quality and springs protection so that there is a database for assisting with decision-making related to the health of the basin’s springs and surface waters
  • Create an effective package to communicate to state legislators to fund appropriate springs restoration.
  • Help get a Wekiva club started at every high school in the basin.
  • Help recruit a great speaker for a fall banquet – someone who can bring in hundreds of people and inspire a movement.
  • Help keep the FOWR website current, including maintaining an issues page
  • Prepare a quarterly newsletter
  • Assist with social media, website