Alachua rezoning will harm cave system

On July 9, the SSJ Executive Committee heard Vice Chair of the National Speleological Society, TJ Muller, explain the position of the NSS in their fight against the city of Alachua over the rezoning ordinance involving 154.5 acres in Alachua. To support their case, Mr. Muller asked the Suwannee St John for assistance to help pay for the necessary geological survey that would bring more information on the cave formation that is running under the said property. The SSJ Excom voted to support this group with a financial donation.

Two excellent articles on the subject were published in the Alachua County Today paper recently. Unfortunately, these article are not on the paper’s website. We are hoping to get the right to link a copy to this site. Until that time, if you would like to get a copy of the paper, please contact us.

Here is our statement to the reporter:

The Suwannee St. Johns Group Sierra Club (SSJ) believes that the recent re-zoning of the property located behind McDonalds at US Hwy 441 and I-75 in Alachua will have a negative impact on the underlying cave system, the rare species that live in that system, and on our local water supply. This belief is based on science provided by the 2005 Mill Creek/Lee Sink Dye Trace study and on documented reports by world-class cave divers.

 When the National Speleological Society (NSS) contacted us about their proposed legal action and associated geological study, SSJ decided to support their efforts both materially and financially. We believe this study will provide additional proof of the sensitive nature of the Mill Creek Sink/cave system and the adverse effects of intensive development on top of this system.

 It is Sierra Club’s policy to advocate for land and water conservation, and we support organizations who work for the same. The protection of this hydro-geologic system is critical in the effort to protect Alachua County’s drinking water and the region’s springs and we fully support NSS’s efforts to do so.

Please consider making a donation to the NSS for this cause. You may mail a check made out to National Speleological Society with a memo of “Alachua Geo Study” and mail to Cave Diving Section of the National Speleological Society, 295 NW Commons Loop Suite 115-317, Lake City, FL 32055.