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Florida Struggles to Overcome Threats to Freshwater Springs
Of Florida’s 700 artesian springs, Silver Springs is by far one of the most beautiful. Glass-bottomed boats grew famous as did underwater photography. Tourists arrived in droves to these springs, just outside Ocala.

That was then. Now, except for a few patches, the bottom of Silver Springs and Silver River are no longer visible, covered by invasive weeds coated with algae. The springs scarcely bubble up. Its flow rate has dropped by a third. The current is nearly nonexistent.
Environmental experts say a recent drought in north-central Florida and decades of pumping groundwater out of the aquifer to meet the demands of Florida’s population boom, its sprinklers and its agricultural industry are to blame.

Sudden attention to the distress of Silver Springs is the result of an application for a permit to use 13 million gallons of water a day. The permit is being sought by a Canadian auto parts magnate who is building a 25,000-acre cattle ranch and slaughterhouse.

 
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Watercraft Inspectors Protecting Against Aquatic Invasive Species - Lake goers can expect to see a larger presence of watercraft inspectors this summer. The Otter Tail County Board approved the hiring of 30 positions for watercraft inspectors for 2018. The Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force will be doing what they can to fill these positions and prevent the spread of invasive species in the county lakes and rivers.


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