Experts Educate Public About Water Issues

Community leaders recently gathered with water experts to discuss the needs to protect and restore springs. It was part of Hernando County’s “Water You Doing?” workshop educating the public about watersheds, springs and groundwater.

Several District staff participated in the event. Dr. Chris Anastasiou, a chief environmental scientist at the District, opened the day-long event with an overview of the water challenges the community faces.

Sky Notestein, a senior environmental scientist at the District, expanded on those remarks with a detailed look at what affects watersheds, specifically Weeki Wachee Springs. 

“We’ve got to take a look at the big picture,” Notestein said.

He explained how many factors affect a watershed including the hydrologic cycle and human activity on land.

“Everything we do on land affects the health of our springs,” he said. 

Matt Vinzant, an environmental scientist at the District, gave workshop participants a rare look at the underwater views of the aquifer. Vinzant is a member of Karst Underwater Research and spends much of his free time diving in underwater caves to explore the aquifer.

Other presenters discussed management plans, karst topography and septic systems, all factors affecting our water. Finally, Dave DeWitt, a chief professional geologist at the District, was one of the experts who led participants on a tour of Peck Sink Preserve in Brooksville. 

The tour was a culmination of the day’s topics allowing participants to see where water and pollutants that travel through this watershed would end if it weren’t for projects to prevent stormwater runoff from entering the sinkhole and eventually the aquifer.