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An Overview of Florida's Natural Water System

florida water systemFlorida and natural water go hand in hand, and it should be no surprise Florida has amazing natural water systems to keep everything crystal clear and beneficial to the environment and humans alike. What exactly is a natural water system in Florida, and how do they work? Here we will dig down deep enough to hit limestone to get to what keeps Florida's water so famously beautiful.

To start with the cut and dry definition, a natural water system is a big filter for the water supply. It takes rainwater/stormwater/other variations of natural water and filters it into something useful, like running water in a home or drinking water. It protects any bodies of freshwater in Florida, keeping them safe and clear of bacteria, amoebas, and the like. 

The Florida Aquifer is the most notable example of this since it covers the ENTIRE state of Florida. If you're reading this in Florida, you're standing right on top of it and don't even know it. It also branches into parts of Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia. The Florida Aquifer consists of two main parts, the upper and lower aquifers. The upper aquifer gets the most action with water seeing as it gets ahold of it first. Groundwater makes its way through the highly permeable upper aquifer, and the thickness of this layer varies throughout the state. The lower aquifer is much less porous, and the water coming out of this layer can be very mineralized and salty due to saline. The high amount of springs located in Florida also helps with the intake of groundwater, taking the combination of carbonate rocks and sand, it forms massive reservoirs!

This system makes it so that over 10 million people can have clean and sustainable drinking water and not have to worry about getting ill because of their water intake. It's an incredibly important part of Florida's natural water systems and keeps Floridians and transplants alike safe and enjoying all the beautiful water Florida has to offer.

SOURCES: 1,2

 

Brief History of Hydrilla in Florida.

Florida is home to many different walks of life and vegetation. What is Hydrilla? History of Hydrilla in Florida.  Though sometimes it inherits something it never intended to, and it eventually becomes an invasive issue. One of the most significant examples of this is the hydrilla plant. This plant is native to southeastern Asia and made its way into Florida's waters, becoming the most aggressive submersed invasive species of plant found in Florida to this day. Here you will see a brief history of the hydrilla plant in Florida and how it affects the state today.

The existence of hydrilla dates back centuries but has only been introduced to Florida back in the 1950s. If you've ever swum in a local fresh body of water, there's a good chance that "seaweed" you see in the water is the hydrilla plant. It's considered to be the most invasive weed to have found its home in Florida waters. The source of the exposure comes from an aquatic plant trader who disposed of several bundles of Hydrilla into a canal in Tampa Bay. The weed wasn't discovered until almost a decade later as it made its presence known in Crystal River.

The problem that soon came to be was the overabundance of Hydrilla began to clog dams, damage power plants, and cause issues with various water control structures. To this day it's still a big issue with these as well as blocking other native vegetation with its dense nature. This prevents any light that is typically retrieved by the native plants and they eventually die off.

Indeed the only benefit Hydrilla brings is food and shelter/habitat for aquatic wildlife in the same lake/pond/etc. The weed offers home and nourishment for largemouth bass especially and acts as a deterrent for predators. Unfortunately for fishers, the predators Hydrilla keeps out are humans since the weed causes problems for anyone looking to cast their line out.

This invasive plant species won't be going anywhere any time soon, but there are various ways to get rid of the weeds in private ponds and lakes on your property. Different herbicides can do the trick in making sure your share of the invasive Hydrilla dies off and doesn't come back. The best way to fight the sneaky weed is to detect it early and get rid of it just as fast. The longer it's ignored, the bigger the problem will be!

What are Dredge Spoils?

Dredging can unearth all kinds of various rock, soil, and shell materials and it's what they call dredge spoils. What are dredge spoils? These dredge spoils set unconformably on uninterrupted soil and have the potential to form anthropogenic landforms such as lynchets and undulations. Unfortunately, the main dumping spot for dredging spoils is in the middle of the ocean and it can cause a bevy of issues.

Dredge spoils can be dumped elsewhere, such as on land for things like local land reclamation but the vast majority ends up in our oceans. This was initially started because it was thought that the ocean was vast enough to be able to hand the mixture and disbursement of soil and mineral waste. The size of the ocean kept those at ease for anything possibly going wrong, but it is now being paid more attention to as it has caused issues with fishers and disrupted the ecosystem.

This has prompted environmental organizations to regulate where these dredge soils are dumped. These types of regulations started at an event called the London Convention back in 1972. It has since been updated in 2014 which utilizes the best environmental options for dumping dredge soils and allows it to be more manageable and not so damaging to parts of the ecosystem.

In the short of it, dredge soils don't cause a health threat or life-threatening issues to humanity, but they will affect the world around us even if it may be ever so slightly.

What created the red tide and algae bloom in the first place?

red tide FloridaFlorida is no stranger to weird things happening inside and along the coasts. This time an odd occurrence has raised a lot of concern with those closest to our sunny beaches. Red tide has been in the news frequently as the toxic killer of many types of marine life, their carcasses littering the shores of beaches along the Gulf Coast. 

Red tide is a harmful algae bloom, and it's basically an overabundance of algae that lets out toxins. These toxins kill many types of fish and make shellfish inedible. This causes enormous problems for Florida's fishers as they can't obtain any of their catches during red tide.

The actual cause for a red tide has been stated as the effect of nutrients being pushed up from the sea floor during storms. Although this is a naturally occurring thing, lately it has been realized that humans play a hand in accelerating these effects. The most prominent example of this being the red tide crisis that happened earlier this year along the Gulf Coast. The more nutrients pushed to the surface, the more algae. And the red means lousy news; it's toxic to animals and humans alike. 

Besides the loss of jobs for Florida's fishers and shrimpers, the state has seen a decline in the state economy due to fewer people visiting and enjoying these once beautiful beaches. Local businesses and restaurants are suffering thanks to the accelerated and advanced effects of this harmful algae bloom.

There is no known cure for red tide, as stated before it is a natural occurrence. Scientists are working on understanding this type of algae and when/where it blooms as to give those living near the outbreaks enough time to prepare.

Source 1, 2

Why canal dredging in Florida is most important to our waterways

canal dredging floridaProper hydraulic dredging of canals is vital to the maintenance of the canal’s health, quality, and recreational enjoyment. The long-term benefits of proper canal dredging are crucial to the survival of a canal.

Carefully navigating through canal waters is something many boat owners are familiar with. Sediment builds up at the bottom of the canal creating muck, which lowers the water quality and usability. 

Alligators, turtles, catfish, carp, squirrels, rabbits, deer, an abundance of spectacular birds and even the occasional bobcat love to sun on the banks of a good canal and find life in it’s flowing waters. But if a canal becomes too overgrown, or unkempt, these naturally wonderful “friends” seek solemn elsewhere, in easier to navigate water bodies.

Proper hydraulic dredging of canals encourages the growth of rare aquatic plants while weeding out unneeded “junk.” Overgrowth of reeds, for example, dominates a canal and suffocates essential marine plant life. A properly hydraulically dredged, clean canal gives ideal conditions for critical aquatic plants to thrive.

An Overview of Florida's Natural Water System

Monday, June 24, 2019

Florida and natural water go hand in hand, and it should be no surprise Florida has amazing natural water systems to keep everything crystal clear and beneficial to the environment and humans alike. What exactly is a natural water system in Florida, and how do they work? Here we will dig down deep enough to hit limestone to get to what keeps Florida's water so famously beautiful.

Read more...

Brief History of Hydrilla in Florida.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Florida is home to many different walks of life and vegetation.  Though sometimes it inherits something it never intended to, and it eventually becomes an invasive issue. One of the most significant examples of this is the hydrilla plant. This plant is native to southeastern Asia and made its way into Florida's waters, becoming the most aggressive submersed invasive species of plant found in Florida to this day. Here you will see a brief history of the hydrilla plant in Florida and how it affects the state today.

Read more...

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