Morrison Springs, Walton County

Morrison is of course flooded after Hurricane Michael but there doesn’t appear to be any damage to the facilities or even the trees around the park and basin. The county health department has the “no swimming” sign up. I saw a flock of turkeys when I pulled into the parking lot and a kingfisher in the spring basin. There was a fisherman and this guy , although he wasn’t in the water.

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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

Morrison is still very clear, despite the rain. The water level is up a bit. There is a bit of oil and gross stuff on the surface in the shallows but the spring basin has good visibility. There is a large (3′) dead stinky carp floating by the swimming dock. The turtles are having a buffet.

PSA: If you throw a dead/dying fish back don’t do it in the swimming area!

Additional PSA: Since last Saturday somebody moved that submerged picnic table into 6-7′ of water which makes me think they were firmly in the jerk category and not the diver-donning-gear category. Cut it out!

Other than that the spring should be really nice for folks to enjoy on the 4th of July holiday!

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.