The Amy H Remley Foundation  


Three Sisters, a Phantasmagoria or a Jewel ?

Three Sisters springs together with others issuing fresh water into Crystal River/Kings Bay – Magnolia, Idiots Delight, Hunter, and Catfish – are free from the general salt water intrusion welling up from below suffered elsewhere. The origin of that fresh water would seem to be from the northeast where the potentiometric gradients are greater (Lake Rousseau/Rainbow River). Aquifer flows from the east seem to have been reduced by drought and domestic uptakes causing many vents to cease altogether or succumb to the salty, mineral up–wellings.

For the present, rains falling upon the Three Sisters property drain down into a karst system of porous limestone, with its associated channels and larger conduits. The rains keep the water honest. No excess nutrient loading or toxic chemicals are applied there, nor do automotive or industrial effluents escape onto the land. The area was draglined clear of vegetation decades ago and left essentially as barren land. Very poor quality soil overlays the karst. It does no harm. Over the decades the water flowing within the underground karst hydrologic systems has settled into a state of relative equilibrium.

However, as soon as any road works or infrastructure installation begins the situation will begin to change dramatically.

Heavy machinery cuts up the soil, and disturbs the equilibrium of the karst. Laying down impervious roads and driveways introduces fast flowing lateral rain run off, as opposed to simple vertical penetration. The poor soil flows laterally too. Runnels collapse, making things worse. Rivulets home onto surface waters bringing erosion and sedimentation. Eventually springs, and lakes are compromized as underground channels and conduits convey silt into water bodies as turbidity.

Adding building slabs or piled foundations, and eventually roofing, increases impervious areas to speed lateral flows, and create pollution pathways to the once clear fresh waters. Adding people adds a complex of excess fertilizer and household chemicals to the run off toxic mix. Their vehicles contribute further byproducts of engine combustion and leaked mineral pollutants.

Unchecked, progressive eutrophication of the cleanest of waters follows, compromizing the Outstanding Florida Waters of Crystal River/Kings Bay. The waters that do much for the beauty that invited us to live here. The waters that sustain the aquatic habitat of the wildlife we enjoy so much. The waters we enjoy resting on and relaxing in. The waters that attract visitors from far and wide to come and share, contributing to the economic purse. The adulterated waters, allowing increased algae formations and invasive exotic aquatic plants, clogging, clouding and degrading water quality. Destroying waters upon which the economy of the region depends.

Once destroyed by buildings, for the dream of riches and pleasures, there is no going back.

Is it a practicable proposition to restore that land and improve the water quality and general public amenity? Sure it is. It can be made better for a whole community of people as opposed to only a few occupants. Trading a potential tax roll for all the benefit is not an option.

Programs exist to prevent water degradation, especially where springs are involved.

Before any disturbance of the land can occur, every development, as that proposed for Three Sisters, has to be granted an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP). Whenever land is waterfront it is assumed that owners of any dwelling on it will want access to those waters, either as soon as can be or in the future. Particular State rules of law are then applied. Such issues as artificial accretion ( extending the land into a water body), erosion and sedimentation into the waters are considered. Proposed measures to prevent it happening are examined. Guidelines, design standards and criteria are specified in the law. Certain activities within given distances of the water are prohibited, to prevent water quality being degraded, such as application of fertilizers and disposal of waste – even trampling or removing vegetation that effective binds the soils.

If the stipulations of the rule of law are not fulfilled, a permit is not issued.

The cardinal principals upon which conflicts of interest are resolved is the public interest and the supremacy of law. Nevertheless, concerned citizens must express their voice to ensure their interests are heard and heeded.

So, if there is this hope of an alternative to destroying such crucial water resources, let us focus upon the jewel that well might come into being.

Decades ago the land in question was forested wetlands. Some recall their joy of paddling along creeks, among the trees and dense foliage to penetrate far into the property. Birds, animals and plants of many species could be observed there. Wetland plants and even hardwood hammock can be encouraged to return, given time and expert care. Such areas still exist as small wonderlands in the vicinity today, if you know where to find them.

Perhaps it will be many years before water access is again possible. However, raised board walks and passage for the physically challenged can be provided, so that everyone can experience and enjoy the heritage that Florida once was in this locality. An observation tower or two would afford that awesome experience of rising above everything to look down on manatees or an osprey or bald eagle nest with young.

When this experience of wildlife on or under the waters of the region, or fishing, swimming, kayak or other boating is enjoyed, in the knowledge of the environment and its interdependency of ecosystems, learned at a nearby public education center; that truly becomes living enriched.

The jewel, in reality, is the transforming of people by knowledge and experience of the heritage that is theirs. A jewel in a glorious setting.

"Phantasmagoria" – a constantly changing medley of real or imagined images (as in a dream).

"Jewel" – something to be treasured or esteemed precious and admired.

News and Views
News Items

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