Will Wal Mart destroy an NSS Owned Cave???

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Postby ken hill » May 30, 2006 3:05 pm

Wayne,

Terrific article that makes the term NIMBY "Not in my back yard " only appear to produce results when WalMart hears the popular outcry from their prospective neighbors.

/Ken
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Postby Cindy Butler » Jun 7, 2006 9:49 am

A REMINDER: You can still send letters, comments and messages on the Alachua/Mill Creek situation to Suwannee River Water Management before the end of the week. I know several people who are and several people who are going to the meeting. I can't get off work but have a friend who will keep me informed and carry my concerns to the board.

Send emails to district@srwmd.state.fl.us and say it is about ERP05-0518

Please don't let it discourage you that the staff has recommended passing this permit. The have recommended that on every permit up for discussion that day. The local district people stay within the rules and it is the Governing Board who can make exceptions and or decide yes or no based on extraordinary situations. SRWM has publicly admitted their rules are out of date and are in the process of revising them. The Governing BOD has made several rulings of late that show they are able to do that and are interested in protecting springs and underwater caves. Please don't give up and send those comments in to them. Thank You, Cindy Butler
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Public meeting set over planned Wal-Mart

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jun 9, 2006 6:24 am

ALACHUA — The proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Alachua has been recommended for approval by the staff of the Suwannee River Water Management District, and the matter will be discussed by the governing board Tuesday, June 13.

The 9 a.m. meeting at the district’s headquarters in Live Oak is shaping up to be a battle over how to deal with an underwater cave system under the property at the corner of U.S. 441 and Interstate 75.

Numerous tests show that the cave system there has relatively fast flowing water that feeds into Hornsby Spring 12 miles away in Camp Kulaqua outside High Springs. In fact, a recent movie by local filmmaker Wes Skiles shows scuba divers swimming in the cave system under where Wal-Mart plans the store’s entrance.

The National Speleological Society (NSS), which owns the Mill Creek Sink Nature Preserve behind Sonny’s Restaurant across U.S. 441 from the proposed Wal-Mart site, is asking the Suwannee River Water Management District to make a key change to Wal-Mart’s proposal.

Full Story:
http://www.highspringsherald.com/articl ... news03.txt
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Postby Cindy Butler » Jun 14, 2006 12:45 pm

I just heard that WalMart did get the permit from Suwannee River Management. I know everyone is busy but at some point could the NSS please post a summery of this decision along what will be taking place in the future and if there is anything that any of us can do to help. I am hopeful that Buford Pruits request for the change in the type of retention ponds was at least passed. This is a sad day for a NSS preserve. Cindy Butler
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Opinion: Let’s protect ‘Big Dan.’ Let’s protect ours

Postby Wayne Harrison » Jul 20, 2006 9:16 am

by the High Springs (Fla) Herald

When Christ was born in 4 B.C., Big Dan was already 680 years old.

He had lived in Florida for hundreds of years when the Spanish created the first European settlement in St. Augustine. Big Dan stood tall and proud as Confederate soldiers marched through the woods to fight courageously in two Gainesville battles during 1864.

In 1896, he weathered a giant storm as wind ravaged his home in High Springs, demolishing the town in its path. He even survived the hurricanes that rocked Florida over the past few years, mourning his dozens of neighbors that did not make it through the seasons.

But within the next few years, Big Dan may be killed.

By Wal-Mart.


The retail giant is planning to build a Supercenter in Alachua next to a cave system whose water feeds directly into Camp Kulaqua’s Hornsby Spring.

That’s where Big Dan lives. The bald cypress is 2,690 years old and has a girth 10 times larger than those of his neighbors. He’s 80 feet tall.


<a href="http://www.highspringsherald.com/articles/2006/07/20/editorial/editorial072006.txt">Read Full Story</a>
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Postby Tom Gilleland » Sep 6, 2006 7:29 pm

Years ago I dove Hornsby spring and it is a beautiful place as well a paleontolgical wonderland. The Walmart project will certainly affect this system. But speaking pragmatically I think there is very little you can do to stop Walmart in moving forward. It's like trying to dam the colorado river with a 2by4, you may divert the water right in front of the board, but it's just going to go around and continue the way it really wants to go.

Maybe the best opportunity is to try to get some of the Walmart Land Conservation money to purchase cave/spring properties. Just make sure you buy a large buffer of land around the cave/spring to limit later development. Has anyone contacted Walmart to get some money for cave preserves? Recently Walmart has donated 1 Million for conserving land in House Rock Valley along the Grand Canyon. (http://www.organicconsumers.org/BTC/greenwash041505.cfm) In fact, this purchase has protected some significant caves in the area. One million dollars would go a long way in the hands of one of the cave conservancies. And since the Gainesville project will be impacting a cave, maybe this would open the door for some cave conservany donations.
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Postby Cindy Butler » Sep 8, 2006 8:27 pm

See the new Alachua County Managers blog for more information:
http://www.co.alachua.fl.us/government/ ... ?blog=4041 for more information. Tuesday Sept 12th I was invited to give the presentation on the cave and it should be on their local station. We still do not have any resolution on the issue of protection around the large sink on the land Wal Mart plans to build on. This 80 by 300 foot sink has no protection and is directly over a fragile room in the cave. It was my area of concern over two years ago and still remains there. Wal Mart reps. the City of ALachua and the County of Alachua have all been told about this area and the problems but obviously need more help in that decision process.

There are two upcoming educational workshop on this issue. One put on by the Santa Fe Springs working group is mentioned by on the Alachua County Manager Blog, it is for elected officials and a few other Government people. The other is a talk that will be on Sept 26th to provide the general public with information on the issues and suggestions on how they can help effect change. I have posted that talk already. Even if WalMart was negotiating to protect this sink (which they are not to my knowledge) we still have the issue of protecting several underground rivers that feed our Florida springs. If you live in Florida I strongly suggest attending one of the talks.

I don't know who in WalMart directs company policy as to what land is protected and what land is developed over. I know that Alachua County is genuinely trying to protect our caves and is trying to place into law the new Best Management Practices developed in Wakulla County for use in this area. We still need a lot of work in the City of Alachua, the State of Florida and finally the National level where we hope to protect all caves and underground rivers. Not all of our decisions will be wise and we are grossly underfunded but there is a small group of people working very hard in this area to see this as a reality. We cannot rely on Corporations to police themselves fairly.

No one has quit on this issue and no one is going too. Cindy Butler :patriotic2:
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Postby kelly » Sep 12, 2006 5:24 am

Thanks for the update Cindy
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Postby Cindy Butler » Sep 12, 2006 11:31 am

Just back from presenting on the Mill Creek Nature preserve to the Alachua County Commission. They were very receptive to the information and most plan to be at the workshops. Alachua County plans on taking a leadership role in guiding the cities toward improved Karst Protection laws as well as impliment laws that will protect caves on County lands. Hopefully we will have better news for the future of caves in this area anyway.

For now I had another opportunity to speak publicly and get the news out about the need to protect the sink over the cave. Maybe this will do some good. All any of us can do is try. Again please come to the public talk if you live in this area.

Cindy :)
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Postby kelly » Sep 13, 2006 5:35 am

Cindy Butler wrote:Just back from presenting on the Mill Creek Nature preserve to the Alachua County Commission. They were very receptive to the information and most plan to be at the workshops. Alachua County plans on taking a leadership role in guiding the cities toward improved Karst Protection laws as well as impliment laws that will protect caves on County lands. Hopefully we will have better news for the future of caves in this area anyway.

For now I had another opportunity to speak publicly and get the news out about the need to protect the sink over the cave. Maybe this will do some good. All any of us can do is try. Again please come to the public talk if you live in this area.

Cindy :)


Cindy
I wish I could make it to the meeting,I know you've worked very hard with some valuable information. Any chance you'll have your presentation on a power point that we could view. I appreciate your dedication and hard work on this project,I can empathize
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Postby wendy » Sep 13, 2006 9:07 am

This was in today's paper:

http://gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar ... /1078/news

County looks to take steps to protect springs

By CINDY SWIRKO

Sun staff writer

Threatened springs
Hornsby Spring: Off U.S. 441 about 1 1/2 miles north of High Springs at Camp Kulaqua. The spring pool is about 100 by 200 feet. It has a run of almost a mile to the Santa Fe River.

Poe Spring: An Alachua County park about three miles west of High Springs off County Road 340. The pool is about 80 feet in diameter and about 18 feet deep. It has a run of about 200 feet to the Santa Fe.



Stricter regulations on development in parts of Alachua County will likely be needed to curb pollution of springs and groundwater after dye testing showed how quickly water travels underground to the Santa Fe River, county officials said Tuesday.

County commissioners heard a presentation from the county's Environmental Protection Department on the results of dye testing at Mill Sink and Lee Sink in the city of Alachua. The dye moved northwest and was detected - sometimes within two weeks - at various points, including the Santa Fe River and Hornsby Spring.

Officials fear that a growing volume of contaminants in runoff will flow into springs and wells, endangering the health of people and the natural systems.

"Water in Florida is like global climate change - it's a really big problem that we all know is there and is going to get worse," Commissioner Mike Byerly said. "We do studies that describe in ever more compelling detail the nature of the problem but policy always seems to lag behind our knowledge. What can Alachua County do about the problem, will the (environmental protection department) be making policy recommendations and, if so, what is the time frame?"

Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird said it is likely regulations will be sought eventually. Bird said a first step will be taken next week with a multi-county summit on spring protection that will bring together scientists, public officials and others to discuss worsening water quality.

The summit is set for Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs.

"We are going to have to come up with some kind of a code that ties into land development," Bird said. "We have to choose our battles when we are looking at future land use and development. We know the springshed for the Santa Fe River is the northwestern quadrant of the county and we also know there is going to be a lot of growth there. This kind of study lets us target where we need to make the tough decisions."

Spring pollution is a growing worry statewide. The spring-fed Ichetucknee River bordering Columbia County and Silver Springs in Marion County have increasing nitrate contamination. Wakulla Springs -one of Florida's largest and deepest - is threatened by Tallahassee's sewage spray field, urban runoff and septic tanks.

Alachua County fears the same fate may await Hornsby and Poe Springs on the Santa Fe River unless protective measures are taken.

The county recently threatened to challenge a Suwannee River Water Management District stormwater permit at an Alachua Wal-Mart Supercenter, believing it could allow contamination. The county and Wal-Mart agreed to design changes to avert the challenge.

Such designs to better treat stormwater before it enters the aquifer could be among the future requirements, Bird said.

"Part of it may be what we call low-impact development - it doesn't mean you can't have development but it does mean you may have to put in a stormwater treatment basin that has to be better than the standard variety because of the geology it's sitting on," Bird said. "There are buffers that can be worked in. But frankly, we have a lot of work to do. And it doesn't matter what Alachua County does if we don't get High Springs and Alachua to be part of that."

Much of the area of concern is in Alachua and High Springs city limits.

Fay Baird of the Santa Fe Springs Working Group - part of a state Department of Environmental Protection initiative - said the summit is geared toward alerting officials to the threat and what could be done.

"The target audience is local elected officials in Gilchrist and Alachua County and then High Springs, Alachua and Newberry," Baird said. "It's an opportunity for them to hear about some issues before they have to confront them when they are doing land-use decisions."
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Postby Cindy Butler » Sep 13, 2006 1:48 pm

The DEP asked me to present at the above meeting. I'm just not famous enough to get mentioned. I did a power point for them and can adapt it by putting my notes on the photos. We have the Kulaqua talk on the 20th I am going to and the Karst talk on the 26th where I am using an expanded version of the power point. I can put it together then. Do you just want me to send it to you? Cindy :)
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Postby kelly » Sep 14, 2006 6:18 am

Cindy Butler wrote:The DEP asked me to present at the above meeting. I'm just not famous enough to get mentioned. I did a power point for them and can adapt it by putting my notes on the photos. We have the Kulaqua talk on the 20th I am going to and the Karst talk on the 26th where I am using an expanded version of the power point. I can put it together then. Do you just want me to send it to you? Cindy :)

I would love to look at it for personnal use only. Thanks a lot! Kelly
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Postby wendy » Sep 22, 2006 5:43 pm

Hey Cindy,

I saw you on the local cable access TV channel the other night when you were speaking at the Alachua County Commision meeting about Mill creek sink, et al. Good work! And its good that it is on TV as well so you reach a lot more people.
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UPDATE!

Postby wendy » Mar 3, 2007 2:26 am

Just an update on this (cross-posted with permission from Cindy Butler)

Lets see, quick update. Wal Mart is not being built over the cave. The land is being sold to another company and the store is being built closer to I-75 however the permit is on hold in the DOT for a study that should take around a year. Wal Mart is going to build a "green" store there and it should be OK. The actual land that runs over the cave has been broken into three sites that will each have to be permitted seperately. The City of High Springs, the Santa Fe Springs working group, the NSS and a few individuals are monitoring the type of stores, permitting etc. Hopefully it will all come out all right. My main deal was to make sure everyone was aware of the cave, and took added precautions to protect the cave and Hornsby Springs. We have been successful in that and I am confident that we can work this out now. As a aside we have a better informed local governments, the public is more educated and some new laws are being voted in. A study is planned of the entire cave system that should be done prior to any building going on. A real win-win so far. A lot of people have worked very hard on this. I am writting an article for the UWS to update eveyone. Pardon my spelling but I am on my second beer.

Is Walmart happy with the outcome?

Actually they seem pretty excited about it now. It was a real fight for a while. We had so much science and videos behind us thanks to Karst Environmental and my friends (who busted their butts getting data, video and maps for us) that they really couldn't win without some sort of agreement. Now they hired the attorney who sued Tallahassee over the spray fields that were polluting Wakulla and have completely changed their attitude toward the environmental groups in the area. The new Walmart will have drive in garden center with displays on how to make your yard environmentally safe and a display about the cave system. They are collecting roof water to irrigate plants, skimming water before it goes into the retention ponds and a lot of other really new things. They are also paying for part of the cave study that is being funded by the County. If you really want to speed things along now the elections are over a nice thank you letter to the county for their intervention would help. The goal now is to make this the gold standard for development in the area.
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