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Our History 

a timeline of W.A.R. milestones

1984

W.A.R. (d/b/a Withlacoochee Aquatic Restoration) was organized in 1984 in response to quality of life threats to residents along the lower Withlacoochee River from unrestrained, deep lime rock mining operations in the coastal zone. The young organization successfully took action that led to agreements limiting the conduct and scope of mining operations.

1987-9

W.A.R. successfully petitioned the state to designate the lower Withlacoochee River an "Outstanding Florida Waterway." The petition for this designation was filed in April, 1987 and adopted by the State in 1989.  A component of the petition presented ambient water quality analytical data which was likewise adopted.  Florida Administrative Code Division 62-302.700

1990 - 2000

In the wake of their own success, during the early 1990s, W.A.R. assisted the Heatherwood Home Owners Association in removing the threats of mining adjacent to their community.

2000 - 2010

In 2007 and 2008 residents along the Withlacoochee below Lake Rousseau noted significant kills of native plants, invertebrates, and declines in fish activity, and through W.A.R. created a committee to address the problem. Noting the ongoing herbicide applications in Lake Rousseau (managed by the Bureau of Invasive Plant Management), the group expressed their deep concern to local, State and Federal officials in a document entitled "Lake Rousseau Herbicide Impact on the Lower Withlacoochee River and Estuary." The group questioned the advisability and legality of introducing toxic herbicides into the tidal reaches of the lower river and the apparent non-compliance with EPA restrictions on such activities. In 2010 the 6th District Federal Court ruled in a suit brought by another party that herbicides were a pollutant and thus regulated by the Clean Water Act, a ruling which stands after the Supreme Court refused to review the case. To this day, applications of herbicides require an NPDES permit, and state regulators must develop Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) criteria for each herbicide used in its waters. Review of this issue is ongoing.

2011-present day

Our primary focus through 2021 was a multi-year water quality monitoring study, conducted in partnership with: Inglis; Yankeetown; the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Wetland Solutions, to precisely identify the issues affecting the Lower River, and to implement a remediation plan. The project identified numerous issues and made recommendations for remediation. INCREASE FLOW W.A.R. focused upon the recommendations with the greatest potential for impact, those that restore historic flows to the lower river. In 2022, W.A.R. worked with the Town of Inglis to secure a $75,000 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DOE). This grant would pay for an engineering analysis of flow issues related to the Inglis dam and the spillway to the Barge Canal. With engineering input from this grant, we would then seek the funds from the appropriate federal and state agencies to make necessary repairs or modifications to the Inglis Dam and associated structures to restore badly needed flow. The grant was transferred to Levy County in February of 2023, with only four months remaining in the grant cycle. The county determined it would be best to reapply in June of 2023, to allow a full year to perform this important work. IMPROVE WATER QUALITY Today the Lower River is on the Integrated Water Quality Assessment (305b) list of Impaired Waters (303d) as are an additional 26 segments of the Withlacoochee River. We are involved with numerous organizations in a struggle to correct this matter, among them is Florida Defenders of the Environment and the University of Florida Conservation Clinic and Water Clinic.

May 2023

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