Woodville Karst Plain Project

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The Woodville Karst Plain Project or WKPP, is a project and organization that maps the underwater cave systems underlying the Woodville Karst Plain. This plain is a 450-square-mile (1,200 km2) area that runs from Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico and includes numerous first magnitude springs, including Wakulla Springs, and the Leon Sinks Cave System, the longest underwater cave in the United States. [1] [2] [3] The project grew out of a cave diving research and exploration group established in 1985 and incorporated in 1990 (by Bill Gavin and Bill Main, later joined by Parker Turner, Lamar English and Bill McFaden, at the time the chairman of the NACD Exploration and Survey Committee).

The Woodville Karst Plain is a 450-square-mile (1,200 km2) karst area that runs from Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico separated by the Cody Scarp.

Florida U.S. state in the United States

Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.


WKPP is the only organization currently allowed to dive some of these caves – which are all on State, Federal, or private land – due to the extreme nature of the systems and the discipline required to safely explore them, although these caves were explored extensively prior to the establishment of the WKPP. This is a controversial issue, as many people think these caves should be open to the public or, at the least, to other qualified cave diving groups and individuals. Recently, during 2007, one state-owned entrance of the Leon Sinks cave system has been reopened to other qualified cave divers.

WKPP divers hold every deep (below −190 feet (−58 m)) distance record in underwater cave diving. WKPP director Casey McKinlay and Jarrod Jablonski hold the world's record for the greatest distance below −190 feet (−58 m)) from air in a cave dive - 25,789 feet (7,860 m) each way at Wakulla Spring at an average depth of −275 feet (−84 m). This record dive required more than 29 hours submersion including 16 hours of decompression (also a record). The WKPP also hold the world's record for the longest traverse between two known entry points - 35,791 feet (10,909 m) one way between Turner Sink and Wakulla Spring at an average depth of −275 feet (−84 m). The WKPP is also responsible for exploring and mapping more cave passageway below 190ft than any other organization in the world - 108,584 feet (33,096 m). In total, WKPP explorers have mapped and explored 144,192 feet (43,950 m) as of June, 2018.

Jarrod Michael Jablonski is a pioneering technical diver and record setting cave diver. Jablonski is one of the main architects behind the 'Doing It Right' system of diving.

The data gathered by WKPP divers has allowed planners a better definition of what to expect from the underground aquifer system and how best to handle issues relating to such things as surface water runoff and other nonpoint source pollution issues. [4] WKPP mapping has resulted in the State of Florida and the U.S. Department of Agriculture establishing a "greenway" surrounding the Leon Sinks cave system and a "protection zone" for Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, as well as numerous improvements in water management district operations, DOT road-building, and development planning. WKPP data has been the basis for multi-million dollar land purchase decisions to protect critical "below the surface" resources requiring protection.

Aquifer Underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials. Groundwater can be extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology. Related terms include aquitard, which is a bed of low permeability along an aquifer, and aquiclude, which is a solid, impermeable area underlying or overlying an aquifer. If the impermeable area overlies the aquifer, pressure could cause it to become a confined aquifer.

Nonpoint source pollution

Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is pollution resulting from many diffuse sources, in direct contrast to point source pollution which results from a single source. Nonpoint source pollution generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage, or hydrological modification where tracing pollution back to a single source is difficult.

United States Department of Agriculture department of United States government responsible policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, and food

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and internationally.

DIR diving

The WKPP is notable for its part in the development of cave diving techniques and team diving protocols, the DIR method of scuba diving (which is the basis for the teaching methodology of Global Underwater Explorers) and the use of the Halcyon PVR-BASC and RB80 rebreathers. DIR, an acronym for Doing It Right, is a holistic approach to scuba diving. According to the DIR approach fundamental skills, teamwork, environmental awareness, and the use of highly optimized and streamlined equipment configuration are the primary fundamentals of diving. DIR proponents argue that through these essential elements, safety is improved by standardizing equipment configuration and procedures for preventing and dealing with emergencies, and out-of-air emergencies in particular. [5]

Scuba diving Using bottled air to swim underwater

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a new mixture called enriched air (Nitrox) has been gaining popularity due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Global Underwater Explorers Recreational/technical scuba training and certification agency

Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) is a scuba diving organization that provides education within recreational, technical, and cave diving. It is a nonprofit membership organization based in High Springs, Florida, United States.

An acronym is a word or name formed as a type of abbreviation formed from the initial components of the words of a longer content such as of a name or phrase:

Current research

On May 20, 2007, divers set off from Turner Sink to try to find a connection but were unable to when the cave became impassable after 3 miles (4.8 km). [6] On July 28, 2007, divers explored 1,220 feet (370 m) of new passage before discovering an exploration line from Wakulla Springs. On December 15, 2007, WKPP divers Casey McKinlay and Jarrod Jablonski completed a traverse from Turner Sink to Wakulla Springs, covering a distance of nearly 35,791 feet (10.909 km). [1] This traverse took approximately 7 hours, followed by 14 hours of decompression. [4]

Current projects include exploring, surveying, and mapping of the Wakulla-Leon Sinks Cave system, as well as coordinating between private, state, and federal agencies to help protect the flooded caves of the Woodville Karst Plain. Current WKPP exploration efforts in the Chip's Hole and Falmouth Cave Systems are also generating significant discoveries.

In 2011, the Florida House of Representatives adopted "A resolution recognizing the Woodville Karst Plain Project for its outstanding contributions to the State of Florida through scientific research and its dedication and tireless efforts to promote the protection of the state's precious natural water resources" (HR9053). [7]

State legislature (United States) legislature of a U.S. state

A state legislature in the United States is the legislative body of any of the 50 U.S. states. The formal name varies from state to state. In 25 states, the legislature is simply called the Legislature, or the State Legislature, while in 19 states, the legislature is called the General Assembly. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the legislature is called the General Court, while North Dakota and Oregon designate the legislature the Legislative Assembly.

In law, resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion. For long or important motions, though, it is often better to have them written out so that discussion is easier or so that it can be distributed outside the body after its adoption. An alternate term for a resolution is a resolve.

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Cave diving Underwater diving in water-filled caves

Cave diving is underwater diving in water-filled caves. It may be done as an extreme sport, a way of exploring flooded caves for scientific investigation, or for the search for and recovery of divers lost while diving for one of these reasons. The equipment used varies depending on the circumstances, and ranges from breath hold to surface supplied, but almost all cave diving is done using scuba equipment, often in specialised configurations with redundancies such as sidemount or backmounted twinset. Recreational cave diving is generally considered to be a type of technical diving due to the lack of a free surface during large parts of the dive, and often involves decompression.

Forest Hill Community High School (FHCHS) also known as Forest Hill or The Hill, is a coeducational public high school in West Palm Beach, Florida with an enrollment of 2,463 students. The school is a part of the School District of Palm Beach County.

Manatee Springs State Park

Manatee Springs State Park is a Florida State Park located six miles west of Chiefland on SR 320, off US 19. Manatee Spring is a first magnitude spring that flows directly into the Suwannee River by way of a short run. Present also are swamps and hardwood wetlands along the Suwannee, along with many sinkhole ponds, including one with a cave 90 feet below the ground that connects to a popular divers' destination known as the catfish hotel.

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park is a 733-acre (297 ha) Florida State Park located on Peacock Springs Road, two miles (3 km) east of Luraville and on State Road 51, 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Live Oak, Florida. Activities include picnicking, swimming and diving, and wildlife viewing. Among the wildlife of the park are deer, bobcats, raccoon, squirrels, beaver and otters, as well as turkey, blue heron and barred owls. The park name commemorates the work of diver and explorer Wes Skiles. Prior to 2010 the park was known as Peacock Springs State Park. Amenities include a nature trail, six sinkholes, and Peacock and Bonnet Springs, with miles of underwater caves popular with cave divers. The two springs are tributaries of the Suwannee River. The park is open from 8:00 am till sundown year round.

Marc Singer is an English documentary filmmaker. He was born and raised in London, England and moved to Florida, United States, when he was 16. After graduating from high school, he moved to New York City.

Wakulla Springs A spring and cave in the Floridan Aquifer under the Woodville Karst Plain of north Florida

Wakulla Springs is located 14 miles (23 km) south of Tallahassee, Florida and 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Crawfordville in Wakulla County, Florida at the crossroads of State Road 61 and State Road 267. It is protected in the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

Leon Sinks Geological Area

The Leon Sinks Geological Area is located on the Woodville Karst Plain in southern and southwestern Leon County, Florida, United States. It is a mature karstic area on the Upper Floridan Aquifer. It is one of the most extensive underwater cave systems in the world and connects to Wakulla Springs.

Harrison Spring spring in Indiana, United States of America

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Karst Underwater Research Non-profit organization that specializes in the research and documentation of karst aquifers

Karst Underwater Research (KUR) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in the research and documentation of karst aquifers and their corresponding surface features. KUR members perform a variety of scientific processes, including mapping and cartography, radio location, photography, videography, YSI water analysis and sampling.

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is a Florida State Park in Wakulla County, Florida, United States. This 6,000 acre (24 km2) wildlife sanctuary, located south of Tallahassee, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated a National Natural Landmark. It has three nature trail systems which lead the visitor through pine forests, bald cypress wetlands and hardwood hammock. Hikers, bicyclists and horse riders are welcome. The wildlife found in the forest includes white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and many other bird species, while American alligators, bass, gar, various snakes, and West Indian manatee populate the springs, swamps, and river.

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Doing It Right (scuba diving) Technical diving safety philosophy

Doing It Right (DIR) is a holistic approach to scuba diving that encompasses several essential elements, including fundamental diving skills, teamwork, physical fitness, and streamlined and minimalistic equipment configurations. DIR proponents maintain that through these elements, safety is improved by standardizing equipment configuration and dive-team procedures for preventing and dealing with emergencies.

Diver organisations are membership based organisations where the membership is wholly, or at least in large part, underwater divers, and the organisation is intended to further a mutual interest related to underwater diving or the aquatic environment as it affects divers or diving activity. Some organisations have more than one focus of interest.


  1. 1 2 Kernagis DN, McKinlay C, Kincaid TR (2008). "Dive Logistics of the Turner to Wakulla Cave Traverse". In: Brueggeman P, Pollock NW, eds. Diving for Science 2008. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 27th Symposium. Dauphin Island, AL: AAUS;. Retrieved 2009-04-22.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  2. Handwerk, Brian (December 17, 2007). "Divers Break Record for Longest Cave Passage". National Geographic News. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  3. Bob Gulden; Jim Coke (May 13, 2013). "World longest underwater caves". Geo2 Committee on Long and Deep Caves. National Speleological Society (NSS). Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  4. 1 2 Valencia, Jorge (April 19, 2013). "Swimming The Sinkholes". NPR: The Story. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  5. Jablonski, Jarrod (2006). "DIR Philosophy". Doing it Right: The Fundamentals of Better Diving. Global Underwater Explorers. p. 54. ISBN   0-9713267-0-3.
  6. Pulver, Dinah Voyles (August 1, 2007). "Underwater cave systems proves longest in N. America". News-Journal Corporation. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  7. Florida House of Representatives. "House Resolution 9053" . Retrieved 2011-04-06.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)