The Amy H Remley Foundation  

Black Spring Cove

The following report is made by Norman Hopkins, after having closely observed the situation in the cove over a period of more than ten years.

Black Spring CoveTo the north of Kings Creek lies the Black Spring Cove area and the run of North Crescent Drive, N. Crescent Pt., and N. Kings Circle Pt.. Of the four spring outlets originally feeding southern Kings Bay from this area, two have since been blocked as residences have been built on the land. Only the easterly Black Spring, from which the cove takes its name, still flows. Previously, both the east and west springs of Black Spring Cove contributed good flows to south Kings Bay. An additional fifth spring vent originally located some fifty feet west of Warden Key is included.

A land bridge allegedly linked Woodward Park area with what is now North Crescent Drive. Allegedly, cattle driving south to Tampa stopped on their way south to refresh themselves from the aquifer discharges mentioned, using the land bridge.

Following the blockage of the west spring with siltMineral particle with a size between 0.004 and 0.06 millimeters in diameter. Also see clay and sand. eroded from the bank of the adjacent south shore of Black Spring Cove, in or about 2001/2002, which reduced the volume and rates of counter flow into south Kings Bay, changes became manifest.

Harvesting to maintain navigation by cutting SAV from defined paths in southern Kings Bay, left floating plant detritusShed tissues, dead body parts, and waste products of organisms. In most ecosystems, detritus accumulates at the soil surface and other types of surface sediments. to move from place to place as moved by wind and tide.

By 2004, large areas of south Kings Bay were covered in season with floating algal mats. Particularly, mats moved by wind and tide into Black Spring Cove, to congregate there where outflows were no longer sufficient to flush the cove clear. Moreover, in March 2006, an aggressive bloomA rapid growth of microscopic algae or cyanobacteria in water often resulting in a coloured scum on the surface. of an unidentified marinerefers to sea water, to sediments deposited in sea water, or to animals that live in the sea, as opposed to fresh water. algae penetrated the west section of the cove, which was accompanied by blooms of Lyngbya, Spirogyra and Enteromorpha intestinalis. A second aggressive bloom of this marine algae occurred in March 2007, which was even more extensive than that of 2006. This time it was identified at the University of Florida as Chaetomorpha. It appeared to hold back the extent of Lyngbya and Enteromorpha blooms until May 2007, after the harvesting of the Chaetomorpha.


At first, both the east and west springs along the south shore of the cove operated with good flow rates evidenced by surface boil at all states of tide. Flows ran along well defined deeper channels near the eastern and western sea walls around the cove. Notwithstanding that the floor of the east spring was covered with muck several inches thick, outflow from both springs followed their defined routes to join at the narrow entrance to the cove and on out into south Kings Bay. TidalRelating to or affected by tides. ranges also entered and ebbed from the cove twice each day. Spring water current flows and ebbing tides flushed the cove regularly and kept the cove relatively clean.

Although floating pieces of cut SAV and detritusShed tissues, dead body parts, and waste products of organisms. In most ecosystems, detritus accumulates at the soil surface and other types of surface sediments. came in and out under influence of tides, currents and wind, for several years no algae was seen in the cove or adjacent areas of the Bay. Wildlife bred, fed and otherwise visited the cove habitatThe place or set of environmental conditions in which a particular organism lives. as listed below. Much of which can be evidenced by photographs and writings made during that period. Throughout the cove many rocky areas were clean and elsewhere hydrilla abounded among patches of grasses and nyad.

The east spring was protected by a good tree canopy which kept SAV and algae in check. A simple sealed PVC tube barrier was put across the entrance to that spring area to keep it free of floating detritus, dead fish and rubbish, which tended not to leave once it had found its way in. The west spring was more open. Both shores by the springs over this initial period exhibited significant erosionTo wear away by the action of water, wind, or glacial ice. Removal of vegetation and trees can increase erosion of topsoil. inland of waterside plat lines.

After four or five years changes began to be seen, (although fewer observations were made during that time owing to a period of ill health). The west spring flows gradually reduced and eventually stopped altogether in about 2001/2.

The immediate effect of siltMineral particle with a size between 0.004 and 0.06 millimeters in diameter. Also see clay and sand. blockage was to stop flow from the west spring and silt up the west deeper water channel of the cove. This in turn allowed silt to encroach upon the entrance to the cove, and caused the covered boat dock adjacent to plot 32 to completely silt up preventing its use, except in high tide conditions when it had sufficient water over the silt. Furthermore, consequent upon the reduced volumes and velocityThe speed of movement of an object in one direction. of flow, algae were enabled to take hold more easily in the cove itself which contributed to the proliferation of algae in south Kings Bay when surface mats were moved there by wind and tide.

From that time floating algae mats came into the cove on wind and tide and fewer wild life was seen, possibly the result of reduced dissolved oxygenMeasures the amount of gaseous oxygen dissolved in an aqueous solution. Oxygen gets into water by diffusion from the surrounding air, by aeration (rapid movement), and as a waste product of photosynthesis.. (Visitors to the cove described it as stagnant). Following heavy rains the floating mats would sink, to bloom from there in subsequent seasons, especially during 2005, 2006 and 2007.

It was during the years 2003/2006 that practically all SAV succumbed under benthic algal mats or the result of algae harvesting. Fish 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. ceased to use the cove, possibly due to disturbance of the ecosystema community of organisms, including humans, interacting with one another and the environment in which they live. or lack of dissolved oxygen, except for small numbers of mullet and young gar. Fishing in the cove by seabirds stopped. Otters, dolphin and alligator were seen no more. Just the odd manatee came into the east spring to keep warm or shelter after a boat strike (one reported to the USFWS subsequently died).

The situation worsened in 2005/2006 following the positioning of two floating boat docks in the cove which served to retard surface water stream flows and promote benthic algae (Lyngbya) to form in the eddies around their supporting posts.

In Black Spring Cove Chaetomorpha to this day occupies the west area of the cove known as Rocky Top, and, since the harvesting, has continued benthic spread into the east section of the cove near its south shore. The west and north parts of the east section of the cove are dominated by blooms of Lyngbya and Enteromorpha at the time of writing (May, 2007).

It is interesting to note that left alone for years, the mucky floor of the protected east spring has washed clean down to the sand in the stream flow.

Restoration of Black Spring Cove (excluding the Warden Key vent)

Although the east spring area appears to be relatively stable following significant erosionTo wear away by the action of water, wind, or glacial ice. Removal of vegetation and trees can increase erosion of topsoil., being contained by exposed tree roots on one side and a seawall on the other, this is not the case with the west spring area. This is clearly a candidate for restoration to contribute increased fresh waterWater that is relatively free of salts. flows into southern Kings Bay, and to reduce the incidence of algal blooms both in the Bay and the cove itself and restore wildlife habitatThe place or set of environmental conditions in which a particular organism lives..

Apart from a boat slip constructed long ago and recently refurbished on plot 15B and part of plot 14B, plots 12B through 20B, and plot 31B have all suffered serious erosion of several feet inside the waterside plat line.

The longer term threat from this continued erosion is to undermine the roadway and the utilities waterside of the road, in addition to rendering navigation in and out of the cove unsafe and eventually impossible. The entire area is completely inundated by any storm surgeWind induced build up of waves and water in a storm giving rise to higher than usual tide on reaching shore similar to that experienced from TS Alphonso in 2006.

Moreover, properties situated on the cove will likely seriously decline in market value over time as navigation to and from them is constantly impaired, and odors from rotting algae become a health hazard and, an unsightly deterrent to potential purchasers.

A remedy is clearly needed to address the erosion and reduced water flow from the cove out into the Bay, in order to reduce the County expense of clearing algal impediments from the Bay and the cove, and to restore freshwater balance to counter salinityConcentration of dissolved salts found in a sample of water. Measured as the total amount of dissolved salts in parts per thousand. Seawater has an average salinity of about 34 parts per thousand (ppt), alternatively, measured as Specific Conductance or Specific Conductivity expressed in microSiemens per centimeter (µS/cm) normalized to a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Pure water is reckoned to be 0 µS/cm, and ocean seawater at 50,000 µS/cm. levels which encourage marine algae to form and spread.

Remedial Plan for Black Spring Cove

The outline concept to effect a remedy is as follows:

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