I met Jodi Lanier a few years ago. At the time she was the leader of a 4-H group that focused on ecological issues and they volunteered at the Homosassa Arts, Crafts, and Seafood Festival.
Since then, I discovered that Jodi is EVERYWHERE and involved in EVERYTHING to do with the Chassahowitzka and Homosassa Rivers. Besides the 4-H group, she also started the new organization Chassahowitzka River Keepers, and is member of the Save the Homosassa River Alliance, Homosassa Civic Club, and Homosassa River One-Rake-at-a-Time. She volunteers at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park (if you take the tour boat on Thursday, you’ll meet Jodi!) She’s also a member of the Florida Native Plant Society and gives a talk at the Wildlife Park every year about native Florida flowers. Oh wait, there’s more–she’s also the mother of 12-year-old daughter, Karma.
I asked Jodi to send me info about the Chassahowitzka RiverKeepers and she sent the following letter from the vice president of the new organization, Ben Beuer, and Jodi provided all the photos.
Thanks for the info Jodi and Ben!
Chassahowitzka River Keepers and Homosassa River One-Rake-at-a-Time Working Together to Protect and Restore our Rivers
River and spring protection and restoration are becoming the norm in Citrus County. For decades those that have lived on our coastal spring fed rivers have watched as our once pristine waterways have gone down hill. Algae blooms have degraded our waters, and sandy bottoms and aquatic plants have become covered with layers of algae and muck. We can no longer see down 30 and more feet to see the sandy bottoms of our springs and their runs. But hope is not gone that we may yet again see better times.
Efforts like One Rake at a Time are underway to remove Lyngbya from our springs and rivers, and these are making a difference where they are being done. Efforts are now underway in the Kings Bay / Crystal River area, at the head of the Homosassa River, and are about to get started on the Chassahowitzka. Volunteers are needed by the organizations that are doing these efforts, and they have been advertised in the Chronicle, as well as via social media and other means of publicity. Being personally involved in these efforts, I invite others to volunteer in any way they can to help.
In Homosassa the Rotary Club of Homosassa Springs has conducted a number of Lyngbya algae and muck cleanups. They usually occur on Saturday mornings. Rotarians urge the public to support the initiative by volunteering just a few hours in the morning, and efforts have already shown a reduction in muck and algae as well as water quality. Participants don’t need anything but clothes they don’t mind getting dirty, and some closed-toed shoes. Water, gloves and all else will be provided by the Rotary Club of Homosassa Springs. This Rotary is also supporting the newer Chassahowitzka River Keepers started this summer, which is also gearing up to do similar work restoring the Chass. Until they spin up activities on the Chass they have been supporting Homosassa River Cleanups, and building its volunteer base. The Chassahowitzka River Keepers is growing and has been holding monthly educational meetings to educate the public on water issues. It normally meets in the evening on the third Tuesday of the month at the Chassahowitzka Community Center.
So volunteer and do your part with the organizations orchestrating the restoration projects like One Rake at a Time in Crystal River and Homosassa, and the Chassahowitzka River Keepers when they schedule meetings and clean-ups in Crystal River, Homosassa, and Chassahowitzka, respectively. We all need to do more to fix the real root cause of our problem, and that is nitrogen pollution, and support private and governmental efforts to restore our water quality to the natural and pristine state it once was. These actions are the most significant and cost effective in the long run, but YOU can start by pitching in right here locally in Citrus County by volunteering with these groups when you can.
To volunteer to help with Homosassa River cleanups you can contact Tom Feeney, [email protected], 352-563-3275, to be put on his event notification list. You can also visit http://www.homosassaspringsrotary.org/RotaryRiverRake.cfm. To volunteer with the Chassahowitzka River Keepers contact Jodi Lanier, [email protected], 352-422-1122, or visit their website at https://www.chazriverkeepers.org.