Morrison Spring, Walton County

Morrison is still clear! Enjoy it while it lasts, as rain is expected this weekend and the river is already a bit high. It’s so clear, in fact, that you can see the picnic table some jerks decided to sink near the training platform (see pics below).

Morrison Spring, Walton County

The visibility at Morrison is 30’+! It may not stay that way, as there was almost an inch of rain last night and other area waterways are showing elevated water levels. Morrison is clear down the run to about the lily patch, past the boat launch. The safety buoy is still not reinstalled in the main spring basin. Lots of little fish in evidence, a few turtles, damsel flies, and a big bass.

I took this leaning out of my kayak, don’t judge!
I also took this by sticking my arm in the water!

Morrison Spring, Walton County

After a night of thunderstorms it is blustery and cool at the spring. However, the visibility is the best I’ve seen in awhile! The water is a nice turquoise color because it is possible to see all the way to the white sandy bottom in all the shallower parts of the spring! Without getting in the water I estimate 15-20’+ for visibility and the water is clear all the way down the run to the boat launch. However, due to all the rain, the river level may come up and back up into the spring at some point this weekend. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t!

Morrison Springs, Walton County

Reader MG reports: “Morrison is clear with at least 12′ of viz. I was down there around 9am on Friday. I saw a ~3′ gar and a school of mullet. There is a fair amount of pollen/dirt/debris/oil slick in the shallow areas and an algae bloom in the swamp. Dock SCUBA entry is probably the best bet. The county hasn’t yet replaced the safety buoy that Hurricane Michael ripped up, so be mindful of power boats in the spring basin if diving. There currently isn’t any sign from the health department about high bacterua levels.”

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Morrison Springs, Walton County

The visibility at Morrison is at least 12′ and the county health department has re-posted the high bacteria warning. There are a lot of leaves on the bottom and floating on the surface.

Morrison Springs, Walton County

It was nice to see Morrison clear today and a diversity of folks enjoying lots of different outdoor activities: swimming, fishing, boating, having a barbecue. That’s how the spring was meant to be enjoyed. The water coming out of the cavern was a cold 68F, as usual, and shoots straight at the SCUBA dock. You can feel a distinct change in the water temperature as you get onto the downstream side of the basin, where the warmer water mixes with the cold spring water. This is a bit of a different pattern from about ten years back when I used to spend a lot of time in this spring.

Not the best photo (my phone is old & in a waterproof case) but it was clear all the way to the cavern entrance

There was a lot of debris on the surface from the storm a couple of days ago, but nothing gross, aside from a few oil blobs. There was a really strange smell, not coming from the water, but kind of hanging in the air around the swimming dock and cypresses on that side of the spring. It reminded me of paint thinner. My first thought was of course “shake-n-bake meth lab”, but I hope there was a more mundane (and non-water-polluting) explanation. In my opinion it would be really dumb for anybody to have their meth-making stuff in this heavily-used area that has a decent county law enforcement presence and a lot of security cameras. This is obviously a nice park for families, so I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression, the smell was weird though.

I saw a shellcracker about the size of my head near the buoy on the downstream side of the swimming area. There were a few other smaller sunfish, a couple of suckers, and the usual small fish in the shallows.

At first I thought kids had been being jerks by submerging this picnic table. Then I had sandy shoes and found that it was a great place to sit and get clean feet before getting out. It would also be ideal for divers donning heavy gear and cumbersome fins in waist-deep water.

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After I cleaned my shoes and was leaving the water I found this mature Florida apple snail. Check this out if you don’t already know why Florida applesnails are awesome! This is the first live large FL applesnail I have ever found.