The Suwannee River is so iconic and revered, not just in Florida but the world over. People everywhere know the song and the image of trees laden with moss and cypress roots comes to mind to many when envisioning this river. Sadly, yet another pipeline threatens this landscape. This post will focus on the incredible beauty of this river, which has been recognized for generations. Enjoy the images from the most visited side of the State Park shown below. Go visit before any disasters occur and speak out for its preservation if you are moved to do so.
The State Park has a beautiful sink, which is shown above, and also many active sinkholes. This is one of the many reasons why installing a pipeline here, or anywhere in North Florida or Southern Georgia is highly risky.
This third magnitude spring flows into the river. The depth of the pool behind it is estimated at 12 feet. Though the sprig is small it is pristine and quite lovely. According to John Quarterman of the WWALS Watershed Coalition, the Sabal Trail Pipeline will cross the river far enough away not to be of any danger to this spring or others.
Another spring located within the park is the Suwanacoochee Spring, which is a second magnitude spring reachable by boat on the Upper Withlacoochee right by the confluence with the Suwannee River. According to floridasprings.org, several thousand feet of passage within the Suwanacochee Spring Cave System and the Cathedral-Falmouth Cave system have been mapped. There are connections between these springs and several karst windows outside the park. It would seem likely that any polluted water from pipeline leaks could easily infiltrate the karst and spread to the aquifer through these windows. An image of the Suwanacochee Spring is included in this previous blog: http://www.lynnebuchanan.com/blog/2016/7/18/the-suwannee-and-the-upper-withlacoochee-beautiful-and-troubled).
While I was walking along the banks of the river, I came to this spot where a tiny trickle of water was bubbling up through a rock. I noticed that oil was trapped in the limestone rocks, as well as fallen leaves. There was also a lot of sludge, some here and a larger concentration just beyond the frame. What gets caught in the karst is a combination of natural elements and human byproducts. There is enough pollution already from boats and runoff. For more information on nonpoint source pollution, see the article reprinted in WWALS (http://www.wwals.net/2013/03/29/nonpoint-source-pollution-biggest-water-quality-problem-epa/) in which the EPA reports that more than half the rivers in the United States are unfit for aquatic life. The Suwannee is known for its bass fish, which are appropriately named Suwannee Bass, but it is also a great area to catch largemouth bass. I suspect the fisherman.don't want to see the water further compromised either.
My dog Takoda loved walking along the river and taking in all the sights and smells. When he sat on a big rock for a rest, he could not take his eyes off the flowing river. He and I both hope this iconic waterway is preserved, so he and other creatures can continue to enjoy the landscape and the river water and our drinking water do not become more unsafe than they are already.