Trip leader: Jill Lingard, email@example.com, 352-665-1776
Description: Join SpringsWatch volunteer Jill Lingard on a citizen science paddling trip down the Weeki Wachee River. From the launch at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to the take-out at Rogers County Park 6 miles downstream, the group will stop at 15 stations to take measurements of water temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, light attenuation, and submerged aquatic vegetation. Paddlers who would also enjoy a swim (and know a little bit about fish) can bring mask/snorkel/fins and participate in a fish count from station 2 to 3. Trip participants will learn more about the SpringsWatch program coordinated by the Florida Springs Institute and Jill will provide on-the-job training on the various meters used for water monitoring.
The Weeki Wachee is a beautifully clear, meandering, spring-fed stream, offering paddlers opportunities to see manatees, a colorful diversity of fish, underwater eelgrasses, and lots of water birds like ibis, ducks, anhingas, and herons. There are sandbars along the route to stop at for breaks or lunch. A notorious raccoon named “Bandit” may also make an appearance…hang onto your snacks!
IMPORTANT NOTE: This trip is limited to 6 paddlers. If it fills up, Jill will consider repeating the opportunity later this year.
Location: Launch from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, located at 6131 Commercial Way in Spring Hill. Meet at the picnic tables in front of the paddling concessionaire. A park shuttle bus will return us to our vehicles at trip’s end.
Schedule: Sunday, February 9. 8 a.m.: Meet to calibrate instruments, ready boats/boards, and receive pre-trip briefing. 9 a.m.: Launch. 2 p.m.: Reach Rogers Park take-out and ride shuttle back to collect our vehicles at the state park.
Additional information: Access a map of the river here. Participants should bring lunch snacks and plenty of water to drink. NOTE: Do NOT bring any disposable bottles, food containers, or wrappers. State park staff checks bags and will require you to remove these items.
Difficulty: This is a Level 1 trip. The paddling is easy, sheltered, and all downstream. Time-wise though, it will be a longer-than-usual 6-mile paddle due to the need to stop at 15 stations to take water measurements.Required gear: Any kayak, canoe, or paddleboard will do. Wear a PFD and bring sun/insect protection. Refer to TBSK’s Skills Self Assessment Chart and contact the leader with any questions. Please register (or cancel) on the website or RSVP to the trip leader to allow notification of any changes.