All posts by Van Williams

2013 Formula H2O Races Return to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

H2ORace0The 3rd Annual Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge will be held this September in the Weeki Wachee Spring, where spectators can watch the races in addition to the regularly scheduled mermaid shows from the underwater theater of the State Park.

The Wreck Racing League organizes the event, in honor of our wounded veterans. Formula H2O® is the exciting underwater sport which features scuba divers racing on diver propulsion vehicle’s (DPV). The Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge will combines this thrilling new sport with specialized SCUBA training and competitive underwater events created specifically for veterans who have been injured while serving in the United States armed forces.

A: Front Gate - B: Tank Drop Off/Pick Up Area - C: Exhibition Area - D: Theater - E: Pits
A: Front Gate – B: Tank Drop Off/Pick Up Area – C: Exhibition Area – D: Theater – E: Pits
This three day event provides specialized SCUBA training and benefits the non-profit organization SOF Bionic Warriors, which provides assistance to wounded veterans and families of U.S. Special Operations forces. SCUBA diving exhibitors, equipment manufacturers, and veterans all come out for this event.

It all happens from September 20th thru 22nd, 2013, with the first day dedicated to specialized dive training followed by a full day of race practice. Sunday 22nd is the final race day, when all the divers will compete in their own class.

h2o raceh2o race

Weeki Wachee Springs Algae Removal

SWFWMD Partners with Local Rotary Clubs to Remove Algae from Weeki Wachee Springs

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is partnering with the Rotary Clubs of Spring Hill Central and Brooksville to remove Lyngbya algae from the waters of Weeki Wachee Springs.

lyngbya algaeThis coordinated effort will take place on Saturday, July 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, located at the intersection of State Road 50 and Highway 19 in Spring Hill.

Volunteers using special rakes will stand in water up to waist deep and remove the algae. The algae will then be placed onto kayaks and a pontoon boat and taken to land to be used for fertilizer at other locations.

“This project is important for the District to maintain prior restoration efforts and ensure those restored areas continue to grow and thrive,” said Chris Anastasiou Ph.D., senior scientist with the District. “This effort is also important because it gives ownership of this world-class resource to the local community.”

In 2009, the District completed a restoration project at Weeki Wachee, where divers removed approximately 6,130 cubic yards of sediment from the spring vent to the vicinity of the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park’s boat dock. Divers used hand vacuums created specifically for this project to remove everything from muck, Lyngbya and trash.

Lyngbya is an invasive algae that grows and spreads rapidly. It attaches itself to plants and the bottoms of water bodies, forming large mats. These mats grow and then break off, spreading to other areas. Lyngbya crowds out native vegetation and disrupts the natural filtration process as well as decreases the amount of good habitat for fish nurseries.

Source: Southwest Florida Water Management District News Release

Another Florida Black Bear killed.

black bear
Florida Black Bear – FWC
The area mostly West of US-19 in Hernando and Citrus counties is the habitat of the endangered Florida Black Bear.

Fortunately, they have adapted themselves to their human counterparts by being active, mostly at night thus they remain quite elusive.

Not this July 8th, 2013, when a male bear was hit by a car and died on Cortez Blvd., west of US-19 as was reported by Tampa Bay Times.

In the same general area a female bear was killed by a car approximately 6 years earlier and another two twin cubs in September 2001.

Weeki Wachee River choked by slimy algae.

Weeki Wachee Spring and the Weeki Wachee River support a complex freshwater aquatic ecosystem that is vitally important as both a cultural and economic resource for Florida.

Unfortunately, Florida’s iconic Mermaid Spring and its river to the Gulf are being choked by slimy algae. Take action now to protect Florida’s rivers and streams. High levels of nitrogen pollution are to blame for the explosion of algae blooms.

As it stands now, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) does not require major sources of this pollution to reduce their spring-killing effluent. It is beyond time for a mandate to preserve and protect these critical resources for all Floridians and to reverse the degradation of our most iconic treasures.

The DEP is accepting public comments through Friday, July 5th, on a draft plan to restore the Spring and River (this plan, required under the Clean Water Act, is known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, or “TMDL”). As it is written, this plan is not adequate, as it does not require pollution reduction from surrounding polluters, or even set a protective goal.

Please take action now to let DEP and the Governor know you expect them to do their jobs and protect Florida’s resources! Once you have taken action, forward and share this message with your friends and family. Together, we can help keep Florida flowing.

Cathy Harrelson,
Gulf Restoration Network
[email protected]

Weeki Wachee area prescribed burns

400 Acres of land managed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District will be burnt as part of a program to prevent out-of-control wildfires. During the next month, small parcels will be set on fire close to Hernando Beach, a few miles west of the US-19.

At times, smoke could cause reduced visibility on the roads, but every effort will be made to minimize any inconvenience to the general public.