Field Trip to the Lochloosa Creek Watershed-October 19, 2013

This field trip differs from the typical SSJ outing because its goal is to educate members of our Group about the potential impact on the environment of Plum Creek’s Envision Alachua project.  This massive development includes most of the land east of Newnans Lake, north of Route 26 (Hawthorne Road), west of Route 301, and south of Route 26.  Since we are concerned about the impact of the project on Lochloosa Creek and Lochloosa Lake watersheds, we will visit both of these sites.    Along the way we will drive on back country roads, peak into the woods, and point out stands of pond cypress, elevated septic tanks, and other indicators that water is going to be a problem for this project.  We note that Lochloosa Lake was designated an Outstanding Florida Water in 1987.  In 2005 the EPA declared the Lake impaired because of its high nitrate levels.  Since Lochloosa Creek is the main tributary of the Lake and splits the Envision property into two pieces, any impacts to Lochloosa Creek will be immediately felt by Lake Lochloosa.    Once again Tom Morris has agreed to educate us on the biology and ecology of the watershed.

The Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club Group has adopted the following position concerning the proposed development of Plum Creek property in Alachua County:

1. The current Alachua County Comprehensive Plan endorses growth from within municipalities.

2. The current Alachua County Comprehensive Plan prohibits development in wetlands.

3. The already stressed water resources will be further depleted and contaminated by the Plum Creek development .

4. The wildlife corridor between the Ocala National Forest and the Osceola National Forest will be seriously restricted by the proposed Plum Creek development.

Therefore, the Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club Group opposes any amendments to the Comprehensive Plan that would allow Plum Creek to further develop their Alachua County properties.

Contact person:  Dave Wilson (1-352-377-5250)

Meeting Place:  The abandoned grocery store on Hawthorne Road (i.e. Route 20) in Grove Park

Date:  Saturday October 19, 2013

Time:  9:00AM

Difficulty level:  Easy