Whether you were a scientist, diver or photographer, water quality was the hot topic at the recent Your Water, Your World workshop held in Brooksville.
The event, organized by the Hernando County Groundwater Guardian Committee, brought together community leaders such as District Governing Board members Tommy Bronson and George Mann to discuss issues affecting area water quality and ways to restore and protect local water resources. Presenters from various disciplines discussed how their work is achieving that goal.
Jeff Petersen and Brett Hemphill from Karst Underwater Research talked about how they collect data during dives in various water bodies, which is studied by area researchers. Petersen explained the area’s springsheds and common myths about the springs such as that they are bottomless.
“You see water spring out of the ground, but does that tell the whole story?” Petersen asked.
Chris Anastasiou, a senior environmental scientist at the District, talked about the challenges facing the springs and how the District is addressing those challenges. He discussed the various restoration projects for the springs and the new techniques being developed and implemented.
“We are out there leading the charge, trying new things,” he said.
John Burnett, stormwater inspector for Hernando County, led participants in a hands-on activity that showed how the aquifer works by using a model to recreate the hydrologic cycle.
Marty Wanielista, director of the Stormwater Management Academy at the University of Central Florida, discussed roof gardens and how they can help water quality. He explained they can reduce water pollution in runoff water and help replace potable water used for irrigation.
Photographer John Moran showed some of his collection of photographs of springs around the state. Moran has been capturing the springs in photos for about 30 years and documented the changes he has seen in the springs over the last few decades.
Eric Livingston, from Watershed Management Services, talked about the causes of water pollution and how people can reduce pollution. Some examples he gave included using Florida-friendly fertilizing techniques and maintaining septic tanks.
Toby Brewer, park manager for Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, wrapped up the day by explaining how responsible recreation on the water ways near the park will help protect the Weeki Wachee Spring.
“Protection comes from those areas adjacent to the spring and it could be for many miles depending on the underground flow which is our aquifer,” Brewer said. “This puts the task of protecting the spring and river on all of us. Education is our most important tool.”