The Amy H Remley Foundation  
   
     
 

Coastal River Systems

The coastal rivers of Citrus County are examples of Florida’s water resources of great economic and social worth. They extend from their inland watershedsCatchment area of a drainage basin. and springshedsThe contiguous land area which conveys groundwater or aquifer flows that surface at a particular location at a "Spring", throughout the river run into their estuarineThe region of a tidal mouth of a river areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The principal coastal river systems of Citrus County, from North to South, are: Withlacoochee River, Crystal River/Kings Bay, Homosassa River system, Chassahowitzka River.

Each possesses value functionsThe expression of an attribute conveying a sense of measurable worth by which their worth to the community may be assessed and their ecological health may be judged in relation to their need for water qualityA term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. restoration. A list of suggested value functions is given in a possible order of importance.

  1. To convey fresh water and a balance of nutrientsAny food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce. from the aquiferPorous, water-bearing layers of sand, gravel, or rock. to nourish the seagrass meadowsSeagrass Meadows consist of specialized marine flowering plants which have adapted to the environment near the shore. Some species need to be exposed at low tide or need some fresh water inflow in order to thrive, and some can thrive in a range from fresh to salt water conditions. off shore.

  2. To maintain a suitable mix of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV)The class of plants growing in water known as macrophytes in the river run, ensuring good water quality.

  3. To provide clean water habitat and food sources sufficient to maintain healthy populations of crustaceans, fish, water birds and marine mammals in the river run.

  4. To sustain professional and recreational uses of the river run for the economic and social worth such activities afford the community.

The reasons for selecting these particular functions are as follows:

  1. Sea grass meadows provide food, refuge and habitatThe place or set of environmental conditions in which a particular organism lives. for a wide variety of fin fish, shell fish, turtles, manatees, dolphins and other faunalA derivative of fauna groups, in a finely balanced ecologyThe study of the factors that influence the distribution and abundance of species. vital to those populations which sustain the economy and wellbeing of Florida’s residents and visitors alike.

  2. Aquifer waters issuing from springs contain nutrientsAny food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce. and contaminantsSomething that contaminates. from drainage into the aquifer. How these are processed and absorbed by the mix of SAV and the biomassThe total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area. in the river run determines the water qualityA term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. reaching the estuary. For example, too few broad leaf SAV speciesA taxonomic category subordinate to a genus (or subgenus) and superior to a subspecies or variety, composed of individuals possessing common characters distinguishing them from other categories of individuals of the same taxonomic level. In taxonomic nomenclature, species are designated by the genus name followed by a Latin or Latinized adjective or noun. at the expense of too many long stemmed small leaf species, absorb relatively less phosphorous allowing harmful concentrationsThe amount of a component in a given area or volume. to reach the seagrassesFlowering plants that grow and reproduce under water like eelgrass or a similar grass-like plant that grows near the sea..

    Too high levels of nutrientsAny food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce. and contaminantsSomething that contaminates. allowed into surface and underground water flows from rain water run off, cause too high levels to enter the river from springs. Consumption of nutrirents and contaminanted by SAV and biomassThe total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area. in the river run allows necessary and sufficient amounts of them to reach and nurture the seagrass beds. Too high or too low levels of nutrient and fesh water reaching the sea grass beds can be harmful to them, leading to costly management practices to reduce the pollution.

  3. Not only are the wildlife species attractive for visitors to view and enjoy, substantial revenues to the local community are created from associated boating, fishing, swimming, diving, food and accommodation ventures. Lower velocityThe speed of movement of an object in one direction. waters of poorer quality stimulate harmful algal bloomsExplosive reproduction of algae causing harm by release of toxins in the warmer weather, which impair use of the waters for such activities and adversely impact the economic benefits that would otherwise be derived.

  4. Ultimately, if allowed to persist, deterioration of water qualityA term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. leads to reduced quality of life, fewer fish to catch and to eat, lower property and business values, insufficient clean water for drinking and domestic purposes, and costly remedies.

Factors Affecting Water Quality

The pricipal factors affecting water quality stem from changes in land use over time within a given area, which for consideration here is Citrus County. Particular issues are discussed separately for each of the river systems. We cannot answer for the past nor can the clock be turned back. We can learn from the past, but it is more important to learn what we can and should not do today, and for the time to come, to conserve and restore the quality of our water resources.

At one time water qualityA term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. was universally good when the ecologyThe study of the factors that influence the distribution and abundance of species. of the region was in balance. On average, sufficient rain fell to sustain forests and fill the aquifer so that sufficient nutrientsAny food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce. were flushed from the rocks and soils to flow with fast moving waters to nourish the sea grass meadows off shore. Waters were clear, fish were in abundace, wildlife species flourished and manatees chose to live and raise their families here.

However, when man came to live here trees were cut down for buildings, land was cleared for crops to be grown and cattle reared. More trees were felled as more land was cleared for larger area fruit and sugar farming. Mines were opened up for phosphatesA salt or ester of a phosphoric acid,
an organic compound of phosphoric acid in which the acid group is bound to nitrogen or a carboxyl group in a way that permits useful energy to be released (as in metabolism),
a nutrient used in fertilizers.
, limestoneSedimentary rock composed of carbonate minerals, especially calcium carbonate. Limestone can be created by clastic and non-clastic processes. Clastic limestones are formed from the break up and deposition of shells, coral and other marine organisms by wave-action and ocean currents. Non-clastic limestones can be formed either as a precipitate or by the lithification of coral reefs, marine organism shells, or marine organism skeletons. extracted for building materials and roads. These activities upset the ecological balance as described under the Urbanization main menu item. Increasing vehicular traffic added meneral and heavy metal elements to the cocktail of nutrientsAny food, chemical element or compound an organism requires to live, grow, or reproduce. contaminating the aquifer. Wetlands were destroyed to make way for roads and buildings. People increased the imbalance by contributing invasive plants to the waters as fragments which were brought in from elsewhere in the nation on boats and trailers or simply carelessly discarded from use in decorative fish tanks.

The net result of the "development and growth" has been to impair the quality of our water resources.

News and Views
News Items

November 30, 2013
On environment, shortsightedness costs Florida big.
Scott Maxwell, Taking Names.
read more

October 9, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2013.
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September 25, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Potential for Fuel Cell Prime Power in Japan.
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August 1, 2013
Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant.
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May 22, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
Electrolysers for Renewable Energy Efficiency.
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March 13, 2013
Beyond Electricity: Using Renewables Effectively.
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September 24, 2012
Sewer Systems Legal Filing.
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February 1, 2012
Fuel Cell Today update.
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January 13, 2012
Sewer Agenda.
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December 23, 2011
Scientist: Water account overdrawn.
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Novemver 14, 2011
Submission to the Citrus County Commissioner, 14 November, 2011.
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