Lake Santa Fe

Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association - News and Events

News Links

Best wishes for the New Year to you all!   

 Please see Terry Brant's excellent letter from the SFLDA on Florida water issues that leads the G'ville Sun Readers Page in the Gainesville Sun. 
Please share with your contacts!

SFLDA LakeFest and Clean-up event suspended indefinitely

Just as many of us have learned that change is constant, the SFLDA Board voted at its last meeting to suspend sponsoring the annual spring LakeFest and Clean-up.  It was decided that due to the small number of actual lake residents coming to take advantage of the day's activities, the association would be better served by focusing our energy and resources on our other two annual events, the General Membership Meeting and the Winter Social/Chili Supper.

The inaugural Lake Santa Fe Festival and Clean-Up was held in 2000, after Fritzi Olsen of Adopt-A-River suggested it to the Board.  The clean-up was a huge success, as nearly a ton of trash and recyclables, and a ton of water hyacinths were hauled out of the lake by many dedicated volunteers that first year.  We had a few more years of excellent participation, but recently collection numbers have slowed to a trickle.  We are hopeful that our past clean-ups and residents ongoing efforts have really made the annual event unnecessary.

Our LakeFest gathering has been a popular event, as many folks from our area came to Melrose Beach Park to welcome spring on the lake.  The educational exhibits, focused on lake ecology and stewardship, along with water activities, good food and great music made this a different kind of spring festival; many people said it was their favorite of all the festivals.  We are forever grateful to the generous folks who gave us their Saturday, year after year, as they sat tables and exhibits, cooked food, and made beautiful music.

Since the purpose of the LakeFest was to educate and celebrate the unique and important place of Lake Santa Fe in North Florida, it was agreed that we should spend our energies to engage a wider audience.  With the conservation of our water resources at the forefront of our efforts and particularly the protection of the lake areas of our region, we will continue to participate and support the events of like-minded groups. Perhaps at a later date we will resume this event with the help of additional members of Santa Fe Lake Dwellers and the area communities and organizations, but for the time being the LakeFest will not take place in 2014.  Do look for us at other events as the protection of our lake and our water supply is still our mission and our priority.

Marihelen Wheeler and Jill McGuire




On Friday, January 24th we held our 12th Annual Winter Social at Trinity Episcopal Parrish Hall, where your Board of Directors again prepared our famous chili-cornbread supper. In addition to the fellowship and good food, we presented vital information on the Association’s areas of activity including the Plum Creek development plan that covers 65,000 acres and 10, 500 homes; efforts to create a Special Area Plan for Melrose to preserve our lake life and surrounding community; and the status of our efforts with the Water Management Districts and Alachua County.


We also had a special guest, Rick Copeland, Director of AquiferWatch.  AquiferWatch is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to using citizen volunteers to obtain groundwater data and to educate the citizens of Florida about groundwater issues in our state.  They are searching for volunteers to obtain groundwater levels at no cost to the citizens.  Aquifer Watch staff will gladly visit you, check out your well, and train you in the science of taking water levels.  For more info, go to  or contact Rick Copeland at (850) 559-7199,


2013 SFLDA Annual Meeting

Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Annual Membership Meeting
7 PM on August 16th, 2013
at the Yerkes Parrish Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church
Melrose, FL

Summer is the time for your lake community to come together for the Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Annual Membership Meeting, where we elect our Board of Directors for the upcoming year and catch up on the latest news in our area. We convened on August 16th, at the Yerkes Parrish Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church in Melrose, our traditional meeting place for many years. Our speaker this year was local biologist and world-renowned cave diver Tom Morris. His presentation was of interest to all in our area who love our lakes and like to learn more about them . Tom's knowledge of Florida's aquifer system has been gained by many years of exploring and documenting what to the rest of us remains the great unknown.

Tom's talk focused on: “A look at the physiographic setting (geology and geography) of Lake Santa Fe in comparison of the physiography of the sandhill lakes of the nearby trail ridge. It will include a discussion of the origins and the hydrology of the lake.”

By trade Tom is a biologist whose career has been concentrated in Florida. He is also very interested in the geological aspects of the state. Tom is one of the world’s top cave divers, diving places like the Bahama's Blue Holes, Mexico’s cenotes, and most, if not all, of the springs of North Florida. This has allowed him to see and study a part of the world most of us will never see and can ony imagine. Tom will share slides with us of some of his many dive experiences.


More info in the August 2013  SFLDA Newsletter  - click for more Santa Fe Lake Dwellers info, and an invitation to send in your annual membership.


2012 SFLDA Annual Meeting

Our 2012 annual meeting was held at Trinity Parrish Hall on 24 August 2012, 7:00-9:00pm, Melrose, FL.

Renowned Springs Ecologist Bob Knight spoke on ...

A New Approach to Water Management in Northeast Florida:
More than fifty years of ineffective water management in northeast Florida has resulted in low lake and aquifer levels, reduced spring flows, increased flooding, and water shortages. A North Florida Water War is looming on the horizon with organization of FLOW – Florida Leaders Organized for Water and their interest in challenging JEA’s consumptive use permit. This presentation will highlight a variety of environmental impacts that have resulted from water mis-management and suggest a path forward to avoid the water war mine field that lies close at hand. A good first step in correcting these problems would be to construct a regional water balance to estimate how much water can be utilized by society after all environmental needs are met. This sustainable yield would result in stable lake and aquifer levels within normal climatic bounds and would insure adequate spring and river flows even during foreseeable droughts. It is likely that implementation of this new strategy would require a significant reduction and redistribution of existing consumptive use permits and the development of new and sustainable surface water supplies. The total amount of water that humans are currently using will need to be reduced through conservation, appropriate pricing, and shared sacrifice.

Dr. Robert Knight is an environmental scientist with more than 35 years of professional experience in Florida. He is the founder and director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, a nonprofit program dedicated to supporting science and education necessary for restoration and wise management of Florida’s artesian springs. Dr. Knight is an adjunct professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences at the University of Florida where he teaches a graduate-level course on the ecology of springs. Dr. Knight is also currently active on springs restoration efforts throughout North Flroida, and is on the Board of Directors for both the Silver River Alliance and the Wakulla Springs Alliance, two citizen advocacy organizations.

More details in the SFLDA August 2012 Newsletter.

Fourth of July Float Boat Parade

The Fourth of July Float Boat Parade for 2012 was held at 11:00 AM. 
Boats gathered at the entrance to the Lake Santa Fe Boat Ramp, Alachua County, at the south end of Big Lake Santa Fe. Volunteers in kayaks were on hand directing traffic. The circumnavigation goes counter-clockwise along the shore of both lakes. Dock are great for viewing the brightly decorated boats go by. Or when the red, white and blue boats motor by, feel free to jump in your own vessel and come along!

Thanks toMBCA for organizing this event this year!

Annual Santa Fe LakeFest and Clean-up
Melrose Bay Park

Santa Fe Lake Clean-up - Fritzi Olson of Current Problems, originator of our LakeFest event, again managed the Clean-up at the Trout Street Boat Ramp (Melrose Bay). Many residents brought lakeside harvested collections of exotics, recyclables, refuse, or evidence thereof, to the ramp.

The 13th Annual Santa Fe LakeFest was held at the Melrose Bay Park on 31 March 2012. Our lakeside event is a fun day of hands-on activities and nature oriented displays, kayaks to try out on the Bay, gardening and composting advice, and free pontoon boat rides. Some of our area's most talented singer-songwriters, including David Beede and Whitey Markle, entertained with their original music celebrating our unique part of Florida. As always, we had face painting and art activities for the kids' enjoyment. We were also pleased to have Keystone Heights Culinary Arts students cooking up burgers and hot dogs again this year, with their luscious strawberry shortcake for dessert! This is always a fun event, so please invite your friends and neighbors for next years LakeFest!

Last year we chose the threat of exotic plants as the theme for our LakeFest. This year we focused on our endangered water supply, and on much needed water conservation initiatives. As always, a great opportunity to come out and talk to some of the folks who have been working to protect this most basic of our natural resources, and learn how you can stay current on the latest developments on this issue.

Details in the March 2012 Newsletter

For additional information, please call Jill McGuire at 352-475-1567. 

SFLDA Annual Meetings

Each summer the Santa Fe Lake Dwellers Association has its annual business meeting in Melrose. The 2011 Annual Meeting was held on Friday, August 26th, at the Trinity Episcopal Church on S.R. 26 in Melrose. This is always a fun and informative meeting for local lake issues. We had informative talks from Ryan Hamm, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's Biologist in charge of Aquatic Plant Management and Permitting, who educate us about problem plants such as torpedo grass and some beneficial native grasses. Ryan also explained about some methods to tackle invasive plants, and let us know how to get a removal permit (it is easy and free!) through his department. Our second speaker was Wendy Wilbur, Alachua County Extension Agent. She is known to many of you through her many gardening clumns in the Gainesville Sun and through the Master Gardener's program whih she runs for the county. Please join her for a Free Tour of Local Landscapes, presented by the UF/IFAS Alachua County Extension Office and guided by Alachua County Master Gardener Volunteers. Saturday, September 24, 2011 9:30am & 10am (choose one); Call 352-955-2402 to pre-register (required)!

Winter Social

 Every winter we have a Winter Social with less business and more time for interaction among members. On January 18, 2013, we held our 11th Annual Winter Social. Your Board of Directors again prepared our famous chili-cornbread supper at Trinity Episcopal Parrish Hall in Melrose, for an evening of fellowship and good food.