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Rainbow Springs, Dunnellon

Primitive Tunnel, Rainbow Springs

Primitive Tunnel, Rainbow Springs

Recently, I went to Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon. The pipeline goes dangerously close to Rainbow River and Springs, with only a field and a row of trees separating it from the tubing and camping entrances on 180th Road in Dunnellon. Rainbow Springs is a First Magnitude Spring rated fourth in Florida for volume, producing 462 million gallons daily to form the 5.6 mile river. The springs are made up of four major vents and numerous smaller vents and spring boils. It is a beautiful park with natural landscaping and lots of wildlife.  The State Park is also a National Landmark. (http://www.floridasprings.org/protecting/featured/rainbowsprings/)

Underwater Sand Boils, Rainbow River

Underwater Sand Boils, Rainbow River

These images were taken on the walk to the left of the main spring, which was filled with people swimming since it was such a warm day. It greatly worries me that this dangerous pipeline to be filled with fracked methane gas will pass through such a pristine area with conduits to the aquifer and an important source of water for our state.  The image above shows sand boils.  The whole bottom of this run was bubbling and fish were swimming nearby.

Rainbow Springs Vegetation

Rainbow Springs Vegetation

There is both natural vegetation and invasive vegetation in the river and springs due to nitrogen loads of almost 100 times what is natural, according to the Florida Springs Institute.  The springs are already in trouble from horse ranching operations  and residential runoff, as well as popular usage.  Instead of exposing the springs to further threats of methane gas spills, it would be beneficial to all the creatures and ecosystems that co-exist here if we cleaned up the waterways instead.

Turtle, Rainbow Springs

Turtle, Rainbow Springs