Our Mission


It is the intent of the ASA to acquire land through acquisition and stewardship programs to be held in public trust for conservation and protection of natural resources. With the managed lands we are able to conduct extensive scientific research and exploration to further the knowledge of our staff who provide direct community support with educational programs and conservation initiatives.

 

January 19 2013

Edd Sorenson Award Ceremony

Sorenson AwardThe Aquatic Science Association (ASA) held its first annual awards ceremony on Saturday January 19, 2013 in Marianna, Florida. The ceremony was attended by well over 200 people many cave divers and citizens were there to honor their hometown hero. ASA introduced and awarded the Edd Sorenson Outstanding Achievement award to Edd Sorenson for his brave and heroic efforts that saved the lives of four divers in 2012 along with his many contributions to the sport of cave diving. This award will be given each year to the person who exhibits those traits that demonstrate outstanding achievements in the field of conservation, cave diving and community service. Also awarded were Frank Gonzalez and Jay Phelps of Cave Adventurers dive shop which is owned by Sorenson for their management and contributions in aiding Sorenson in his efforts.

Ferrell Project Announced

February 2013

ASA was recently contacted and awarded a contract to begin the exploration and mapping of a 756-acre tract in Wakulla County containing over 70 sinks, springs and karst features. ASA will produce overlay maps, video footage and a comprehensive development plan for the property. During preliminary dives, depths of over 300’ were reached. A dive plan including the installation and use of decompression habitats is well under way.

Raffle Winners

Congratulations To:

Rick Riley - UWLD Light, Donna Raleigh - HOG Mask, Joseph Bays - HOG Mask, Nathan Spray - HOG Mask, Kasey Irons - HOG BP2 Reg set, Dan Weyant - Bare 5mm Wetsuit, Michael Turek - HOG Wing

 

Board of Directors

Chair

Steve Cushman

Vice Chair

Colin Irons

Secretary

Chris Wickman

Treasurer

Open Position

Program Director

Nathan Spray

Program Director

David Serafine

Director at Large

Open Position

Administrative Assistant to Board
Open Position

Committee Heads

Publications

Open Position

Awards

Colin Irons

Grants

Steve Cushman

Accident Investigation

Open Position

Education

Charlotte Irons

Cave Diving

Nathan Spray

Caving

Open Position

Land Acquisition

Steve Cushman

Workshop

Open Position

Finance

Open Position

Cartography & Survey

Open Position

Conservation

Open Position

Safety

Colin Irons

Web Site

Lesley Rankin

Legal

Open Position

Scientific Research

Open Position

Committee Applications

Nominations Now Open

Would you like to help out more? That's great! Have you considered volunteering your time as a Committee Chair? All of the above posted committees posted with an 'Open Position' are in need of a Committee Chair. As a Committee Chair you are responsible for organizing and carrying out your team projects. (Please review the committee description for the above open positions posted; candidates must complete the attached committee chair application(s) and email back to the ASA.) The BoD will review all applications and select the candidate with the best matched qualifications and/or experience in the field(s) chosen. Candidates must be 18-years of age or older and be a current member of the Aquatic Science Association.

Candidates whom aren't selected as a Committee Chair are still invited to work on committee projects as committee involvement is open to all Aquatic Science Association members.

 

ASA Board Meetings

Upcoming BoD Meeting

Board Meeting: January 18, 2015 5:30PM
Location: 2017 Bloxham Cutoff Road, Crawfordville, FL 32327

Agenda:
Board Member Status
Elections
Chairman Report
Treasurer’s Report
Committee Positions
Sally Ward
Award Ceremony
Additional Site Permits
Old Business
New Business

ASA History

How We Began

The Aquatic Science Association, Inc. was founded by two avid cavers and cave diving instructors, Colin Irons and Steve Cushman. After years of diving together and countless months of Texas expeditions to discover new caves and springs throughout Texas, the two came to the conclusion there was a great need for an organized effort to seek out and explore the natural wonders within the State of Texas. ASA was formed in 2008 with the idea of research and conservation of our underground water resources through exploration and continued education of the communities surrounding the vast lands in which all these caves were located.

Through the years, ASA has conducted research in several cave systems which connect directly to the Edwards Aquifer and the Trinity Aquifer located in the Texas Hill Country. Most notably were the efforts to protect the Jacob’s Well Natural Area from rapid expansion and development. Jacob’s Well Nature center was a small parcel of land that was rediscovered by David Baker and soon fell under the control and ownership of the Wimberly Valley Watershed Association (WVWA) of which Baker was an executive board member and co-founder. In January of 2009, ASA through private donations began the renovation of the old office building of the vacant RV Park that sits over Jacob’s Well. Construction efforts transformed the boarded up abandoned old building into what is now the Jacob’s Well Nature Center. An educational center focusing on education and the master naturalist certifications it helps participants obtain while volunteering in the centers many outreach programs. The center has educational programs for all age classes. ASA was invited to create a documentary of Jacob’s Well for educational purposes. The team of divers under direction of the ASA’s mission of conservation has been conducting dives into Jacob’s Well gathering video footage each time. Through the past few years the team was able to collect nearly 40 hours of raw video footage and is currently researching archives and interviewing the local community for history of the well. The project was hampered by the cessation of flow in the well that led to lower visibility and impossible conditions for video production.

During the 2010 fiscal year, ASA became involved in studies of the Hypostomus Plecostomus or better known as the “armored catfish.” This invasive species is usually sold at aquarium stores and too often dumped into the rivers, ponds and lakes by owners who no longer have use of them but want to do the noble thing to save their lives. Being a sub-tropical fish, these creatures seem to be thriving in at least a dozen waterways throughout Texas but most notably the San Antonio, Comal, San Marcos and San Felipe Rivers, all of which are watersheds of natural springs. The temperature of the waterways ranging from 69 to 72 degrees has proven to be a perfect habitant for the species. Their numbers have been known to accelerate at alarming rates with growth rates 10 times that of the same species held in captivity. One specimen ASA was able to capture and tag was noted to be 31 inches in length and weighed 6.6 pounds. It is the species abilities that make them popular and a nuisance at the same time. Plecostomus are often purchased for the aquarium cleaning ability they possess. It is this same ability that we have found has been directly responsible for the loss of vegetation resulting in native species decline in Texas waterways. Through our continued efforts along with those of the Nature Conservatory, Texas Parks and Wildlife and other volunteer organizations and individuals, we hope to see this species eradicated from Texas and now Florida waterways.

ASA having its roots in cave and cave diving, soon expanded to Florida in 2012 where it now offices in Crawfordville. The ASA has taken a priority effort to start a reversal of centuries of dumping in sinkholes and springs with the removal of trash and debris that was left behind. Working in conjunction with Keep Wakulla County Beautiful, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, Jacob's Well Nature Center/Hays County, Texas, National Forest Service/USDA and ongoing partnership formations with other organizations and individual citizens, we all can achieve the goal of returning our most precious natural resource back to its natural state.

ASA Bylaws

Download the Aquatic Science Association Bylaws

The ASA Bylaws is a large file and therefore must be downloaded. You will need the free Adobe® Reader® to view. You can download the Adobe® Reader® using the link below.

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Wakulla Tract Project

Land Acquisition

All too often, property containing vital natural resources falls into unsuspecting hands. The ASA is committed to acquisition of these vital lands for conservation and development into parks for education and enjoyment for all. Wakulla County consists of 735 square miles; of this, 606 miles is land and 73-percent of this land is federal and state park land. While this may present what appears to be ample park space for the community, much of this land is not accessible due to conservation efforts or lack of funding to render them safe.

Marine Project

Aquaculture Research

In December of 2012 ASA members began water sampling, surveying and research for the potential aquaculture industry in the gulf waters of the state of Florida. Targeting Wakulla County area ASA members have high hopes in restoring what once was a prominent seafood industry by establishing seafood cultivation using innovative methodologies.

Indian Springs Project

Exploration & Mapping

This project focuses on the continued exploration of the Indian Springs cave system. From its early years some 22-years ago to more recent times, Indian Springs has still yet to be completely explored. Recent dives in February 2013 by the ASA Cave Diving Team opened new leads beyond the Wakulla Room located at 4,200' of penetration from the spring basin. ASA Cave Diving Team members, Steve Cushman and Allen Beard, pushed into the system some 6,400' from the cave entrance at a depth of over 260'.

Ferrell Project

Exploration & Mapping

The ASA was recently contacted and awarded a contract to begin exploration and mapping of a 756-acre tract in Wakulla County containing over 70 sinks, springs and karst features. Exploration of the Ferrell property began in the late 1990’s with efforts becoming stagnant in the last 10 years. The ASA Cave Diving Team is excited to renew the exploration of the Ferrell property and to produce overlay maps, video footage and a comprehensive development plan for the property.

Notable caves on the property include Ferrell Cave, Meetinghouse Cave, and Greyhound Sink. Greyhound Sink has a known connection to the upstream Turner tunnel in the Leon Sinks Cave System. Meetinghouse exploration is well underway with new leads being discovered and lined in the downstream section at depths exceeding 285’. Possible connections to other systems in the Woodville Karst Plain are a promising possibility.

Conservation

Through education and research, the ASA is paving a new path to conservation of our natural resources. With cutting edge technology, new methods are transpiring which enable conservation efforts to achieve goals which were not possible a few years ago. The continued sustainability of our resources have become paramount and the ASA is now a leader in the standards of conservation.

Community Education

Understanding how and why are the fundamental concepts of education. It is our goal to bring forth the educational value of our research to aid in community awareness and involvement of conservation initiatives.

The ASA produces many tools for the use through multiple distribution methods such as presentations, brochures, photography and video, social media and the internet web site. Our commitment to community outreach and service is paramount in our membership. Education is key to the success of the ASA mission.

Cave Diving Team

The Cave Diving Team (CDT) consists of ASA members who meet the standards and skills required for the project they seek to participate in. ASA has the need for divers of various skill levels. The CDT also relies heavily on non divers who wish to support the highly qualified divers of the ASA-CDT. ASA divers have undertaken diving projects around the world and are highly sought after for their skills and abilities in scientific diving and research. The CDT continues to explore and survey caves in the most remote reaching areas known to man. Through advancements in technologies, ASA divers will continue to forge ahead in exploration, research and education of our underwater aquifer resources.

The ASA is looking for certified divers to build the ASA CDT to assist with our current projects. Divers of all levels of experience in cave and technical diving are encouraged to apply. Applications can be found below. Please email your completed application along with requested documentation to steve@aquaticscienceassociation.org. Please note: Applicants will not be considered unless all supporting documentation is provided.

DIVER APPLICATION

 

 

Caving Team

In the physical demanding world of cave spelunking, ASA has assembled a team of cavers consisting of scientists and explorers who travel to the dark underground world to assist in research projects so we may gain a better understanding of our karst resources. ASA cavers have participated in biological and geological studies as well as explored and mapped many new caves and karst features. ASA continues to create opportunities to introduce young people to the world of caving by hosting beginner trips to caves where youth can learn and experience caving in a hands on laboratory.

Marine

The ASA conducts marine research for public and private industries alike. It's main focus is marine environment conservation. Its goals are to discover new methods in which we can continue our dependency on our marine ecosystems. Creating a sustainable way of cultivation through aquaculture, the ASA hopes to lead the way to a healthier marine environment.

Events 2012

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May 132010

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June 212010

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