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Forum To Address Threats To Silver Springs, St. Johns River

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Fresh water springs all over the state are facing  an increasing number of problems, from over-use of the aquifer to over-fertilizing.

Silver Springs is arguably in the worst condition and activists are concerned a permit to allow pumping from the springs for a nearby cattle ranch could be a breaking point if it is approved. 

Silver Springs is located in Marion County, but the springs have a direct impact on the St. Johns River.  Silver Springs is part of the Silver River, which runs into the Ocklawaha River which in turn feeds into the St. Johns River.  Silver Springs provides a fresh water resource to the St. Johns and it's health is tied to Silver Springs.  

A permit for a cattle ranch to withdraw 5.3 million gallons of water per day is pending and environmentalists worry that the amount of manure the proposed 15,000 cattle would produce could push Silver Springs to it's breaking point.  The springs would have an increase of pollutants, such as manure and fertilizer, and a decrease in water feeding into it.  

"If we can't save Silver Springs what can we save?" St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said.  "It could be the straw that breaks the camel's back that would push it into a state that would be unrecoverable."

Silver Springs was once Florida's main attraction, long before Disney World.  Silver Springs once attracted over a million people to the park and has been featured in movies such as Tarzan and Creature From the Black Lagoon.  

The St. Johns Riverkeeper is trying to help Silver Springs by hosting a free forum to spread awareness of the conditions and potential threats to it's survival.  The forum will be held Monday, June 17, at 6:00pm at the Wyndham on the Southbank Riverwalk in downtown Jacksonville.  Guest speakers will feature Robert Knight with the Florida Springs Institute and Sister Patricia Seiman from the Center for Earth Jurisprudence. They are also raising money for a legal and awareness fund to challenge the ruling if it is approved.

For more information on the forum or St. Johns Riverkeeper visit stjohnsriverkeeper.com.