Ichetucknee Springs Land Donated (FL)

Tallahassee, 8/12/02—The Trust for Public Land on Friday, August 9 donated two acres in Columbia County that contain Rose Sink to the State of Florida. Rose Sink is a sinkhole that connects directly to Ichetucknee Springs and the aquifer that provides central Florida’s drinking water.

“This is the first in what we hope will be a series of acquisitions in the watershed of the Ichetucknee,” said Greg Chelius, TPL’s state director. “This area is under constant threat of development and we hope to join with the state to move quickly to further preserve this environmental jewel for all Floridians.”

The state asked TPL to help secure property from landowners to provide increased protection following the development of a cement manufacturing plant not far from Rose Sink.

“This acquisition provides yet one more piece in completing the puzzle to further protect the Ichetucknee basin and Florida’s rivers and springs,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary David B. Struhs. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with TPL and to continue the Governor’s commitment to safeguard Florida’s natural resources.”

The relationship between the watershed and the springs has been well documented at Rose Sink, located just six miles north of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. Following significant rains, oil and agricultural chemicals from the roads and fields around Lake City eventually find their way into the sink, via nearby creeks that wind for miles through adjacent woods.

Stormwater also sends trash and other refuse flowing into Rose Sink, which then becomes little more than a drain directly into the aquifer. Two scientific hydrologic dye studies revealed that pollution entering Rose Sink eventually emerges eight miles downstream at Ichetucknee Springs within a matter of days. The photo, right, shows divers preparing to enter the sink as part of an A&E/Discovery documentary exploring the relationship of the sink to the Ichetucknee. Dye released in Rose Sink showed up in Ichetucknee Springs several days later.

The state has been working since 1996 to purchase properties along the Ichetucknee. In order to assist TPL with their efforts, the state helped secure a $1.25 million gift for land acquisition along Ichetucknee Springs.

About TPL: Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities. Operating in Florida since 1975, TPL has helped save more than 240 sites as community parks, waterfronts, historic sites, greenways and trails. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs. For more information, please visit our web site at www.tpl.org.