Joe Guthrie snorkels with a young Florida manatee at Manatee Springs State Park on Day 20 of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. Leaving the spring, the team continues to move north towards Steinhatchee as we approach the end of Week 3 on this corridor adventure!. Photo by Carlton Ward Jr./ Carlton Ward Photography
Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition Dives into Florida's Springs
 
The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is three weeks into their 70 day journey. The team is now traversing springs country near the Gulf of Mexico. Florida is said to have the highest concentration of freshwater springs on Earth. 

The team plunged into the headsprings of the Chassahowitzka River and followed the river's five mile journey downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, the Southwest Florida Water Management District led a restoration of the headspring that pumped out truckloads of sediment and sand. 

A few miles inland, the team ventured into the crystal clear Rainbow River in Rainbow River State Park where the river meets with the Withlacoochee River near the town of Dunnellon. While paddling, the team observed the relatively healthy eel grass which provided a glimpse of what has been lost to algae in the majority of Florida's springs. 

The Expedition also visited Manatee Springs State Park. The springs produce an average of 100 million gallons of water daily and helps to provide water water for manatees during the cold winter months. The loss of eel grass is evident in Manatee Springs where the algae is seeming to choke out all other botanical life. 

The team had the privilege to swim with manatees at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, where record numbers of manatees have been congregating to seek refuge from the cold winter waters of the Gulf. Last week, 797 manatees were observed in the region -- an increase of 200 manatees from the previous record in 2012.


Be sure to follow more of the Expedition and where the team heads next with the ways to follow on the right-hand column. 




WUSF Public Media is a proud supporter of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. WUSF will brings its audiences reporting on the ten week trek and produce a documentary film which will air on WUSF TV and be distributed nationally to all public broadcasting stations. 

WUSF's Steve Newborn will be leading the news coverage for WUSF on the expedition. Steve will follow the trio throughout the ten week expedition providing radio interviews from the field and by phone. 
UPCOMING EVENTS
Trail Mixer #4

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Hike 

February 7, 2015

9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Trail Mixer has max capacity of 75 people.

RSVP by calling the Refuge at 850-925-6121
How to Follow the Expedition!
To learn more about the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, please visit www.floridawildlifecorridor.org or follow us on social media!
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The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Copyright © 2014 Florida Wildlife Corridor. All rights reserved.

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