Save the Homosassa River Alliance
I’ve posted a few times (maybe more than a few) about the activities of the Old Homosassa Heritage Council and their mission to protect and enhance Old Homosassa’s heritage for present and future generations. Today I’d like to tell you about another 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Old Homosassa–Save the Homosassa River Alliance (HRA).
The mission of HRA is to be the “Voice of the River” by helping to restore, protect and perpetuate the native ecological integrity of the Homosassa River System.
The Homosassa River System includes the river, several tributaries which flow through a network of coastal wetlands and lowlands to the Gulf of Mexico. The river system begins with Homosassa Springs and several other smaller springs. The lower river is a river estuary in which saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico mixes with the freshwater outflow from the springs. It is vitally important to protect this habitat with its rare ecological qualities.
With the goal of being the “Voice of the River”, HRA educates the community and monitors county and state governmental actions that could impact the river’s health. By reacting and responding to both the positive and negative situations brought on by the continued development and use of the river, they are assuring its restoration, health and protection for the benefit of future generations.
When the members of HRA learned of a proposed development on the north side of the river that would have negatively affected the health of the river, they sprang into action and successfully halted the project.
More recently, HRA has been educating the public about the proper disposal of scallop shells. The amount of scallop shells that were being discarded into the river were having a negative effect on the health of the river. One boat’s ten gallon limit of scallop shells dumped into the river covers twelve square feet of river bottom resulting in the smothering of native aquatic plants and depleting the river of oxygen needed to sustain a healthy environment. Each season thousands of scallopers come through the Homosassa River, often discarding their shells into the fresh water. HRA’s educational program includes county approved signs made of the latest DOT approved material for posting on private waterfront property, marinas, dive shops and resorts; rack cards developed with the help of SWIFTMUD placed in locations along the river and U.S.19; posters highlighting the effects of dumping of scallop shells; and a scallop shell display showing scallop shells covering 12 square feet of river bottom.
HRA has also partnered with the Homosassa River Restoration Project, providing support, advocacy and donations.
You can join HRA and be a “Voice of the River”. The tax-deductible membership dues are $10 per person or $20 per family per calendar year. HRA meets at the Homosassa Civic Center monthly on the second Thursday at 7:00 pm except in July and August. The April meeting is the annual picnic and awards presentation at Bluebird Springs Park. Their website is https://www.homosassariveralliance.org/. You will find additional information about the Save the Homosassa River Alliance, membership forms and a pay-pal button for donations.