Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida
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Protect Florida Springs Tag Grants


The non-profit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc. is dedicated to the conservation, management, and sustainable enjoyment of Florida’s outstanding lands, waters, and wildlife.  Since 1994, the Foundation has raised and given away more than $50 million for conservation and outdoor recreation and education programs for adults, children, and families.

The Foundation is now accepting applications for grants from the proceeds of sales of the “Protect Florida Springs” specialty license plates. Grant requests will be accepted between June 16th and August 8th, 2021.

Focus of Grants 

The Foundation is seeking freshwater springs-focused projects in two areas; several needs within each area are noted.

  1. Research projects that lead to better understanding of Florida’s springs and how to restore and maintain their long-term ecological health, including development of effective strategies for addressing one or more principal threats facing Florida’s springs. Preference is given to research and adaptive management projects with the potential to benefit multiple springs. (Examples: projects that identify the sources of stress for a particular spring; an innovative method of reducing nutrient pollution or controlling invasive species in one or more springs; research to ensure the continued survival of imperiled or declining spring species.)

Current priorities:

  • Development of local and regional watershed maps for springs to foster better land-use planning and guide springs and aquifer-related environmental policy.
  • Development and testing of strategies to improve water quality of springs.
  • Funding for communities and organizations working to preserve or restore springs.
  • Research on control and removal of non-native or otherwise invasive plants and animals that further degrade springs ecosystems.
  • Research on native Florida species dependent on the spring’s ecosystem.
  • Restoration projects that contribute to our understanding of springs ecosystems and their conservation.
  1. Community education and other outreach activities that foster adoption of best practices in the restoration, management, and conservation of freshwater springs or alter public attitudes and practices detrimental to spring conservation. Examples: community education projects that encourage landowners to reduce non-point nutrient flow into springs via vegetative buffers, improved septic systems or sewage treatment, fostering and organizing community or interest-group (e.g., divers) springs clean ups, bank stabilization, exotic species removal, and similar on-the-ground stewardship work.

Current priorities:

  • Quantification of the long-term economic benefits of springs preservation and restoration; e. g., nature tourism, ecosystem services (health of aquifer/clean drinking water, water for wildlife, and agriculture, etc.).
  • Proposals that address the disconnect between an individual’s actions and the large-scale impacts on springs and the aquifer (for example, that dumping chemicals on the ground can show up in surrounding waters within weeks with little filtration and consequent impacts on human and wildlife health).
  • Creation of a best-practices manual of restoration and conservation strategies that have worked well at one or more springs.
  • Effective strategies based on current understanding of social behavior to change behaviors by Florida residents and tourists that degrade Florida’s springs.

The potential conservation impact of each proposal and its possible applicability to multiple springs will have strong bearing on the possibility of being funded. Questions to be answered in the springs grant application include:

  • Does the project have broad applicability? Could agencies and other communities take the results and apply them elsewhere?
  • Does the project have the potential to change minds and behaviors?
  • Are the anticipated results measurable or quantifiable? What is the grantee’s plan for publicizing the findings and having them influence work elsewhere?
  • Does the project or its anticipated results have the potential to attract new funding, partners, or on-the-ground conservation agreements?

Eligible Applicants and Projects

Eligible applicants include federal, state, or local government agencies; public and private colleges and universities; and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, including all-volunteer organizations (e.g., “Friends of…” groups). The Foundation may also, at its sole discretion, consider proposals that benefit the public from private, for-profit organizations.


The Florida Legislature established the Protect Florida Springs specialty license plate in 2007 to fund competitive grants for community-based springs research and conservation not currently available for state funding, as well as funding of community outreach programs aimed at implementing such research findings. The competitive grants are administered and approved by the board of directors of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, with input from a Springs Advisory Committee made up of springs experts and community members.  A list of past grants can be found below for guidance.

“Protect Florida Springs” Grant Size

Grant requests up to $75,000 will be considered. The applicant’s ability to procure matching funds from other sources may have bearing on the possibility of being funded but is not a prerequisite. Multi-year projects will be considered, but funding is generally awarded for 12-month intervals. The project period will be from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022 (12 months).

Important Dates

  • June 16 – August 8, 2021: Applications Accepted
  • September – October 4, 2021: Review Process
  • October 18 – 22, 2021: Applicants Notified
  • January 1, 2022: Project Begin
  • December 31, 2022: Project End
  • March 31, 2023: Final Reporting Due

For More Information

Contact Ms. Anita Forester.

Grant applicants can log in here to access application status and assigned follow-up forms.

Past Grants

Project NameGrant Amount
All Accessible Glass Bottom Boat for Silver Springs State Park$20,000
Simple Things For Our Springs Phase II$10,000
Springs Protection Behavior Change Videos$12,000
Ecological Health Assessment at Seven Outstanding Florida Springs on the Suwannee River$40,000
W. Panhandle SPRINGSWATCH TAG Grant Propoal FSI_2021_22$10,200
Creating a Better Santa Fe BMAP$4,940
The Story of Florida Water: A permanent exhibition at the state's natural history museum$20,000
Interactive Florida Springs Atlas Tag Grant Proposal FSI_2021_22$10,000
Healthy Underwater Forest signage at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park$3,500
Florida Springs Summit 2021$9,000
Jackson Blue Springswatch Tag Grant Proposal FSI_2021_22$10,200
Santa Fe River Springs Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Project$14,000
Year II: Evaluation of Thermal Refuge Habitat for Fish in Springs of the Lower Suwannee River$35,880
Determining Habitat Preference, Seasonal Use Trends and the Resighting Frequency of Manatees in the Silver River $16,351
Assessing Manatee Use of Regional Springs and Habitat Selection Utilizing GPS Telemetry in the Ocklawaha River System$23,619
Simple Things for Our Springs$22,000
Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater of the Santa Fe River Basin and Outreach$9,400
Florida’s Magic Waters$40,000
Determining Annual Use Trends, Return Rates, and Habitat Preferences of Manatees in the Silver River$17,098
Irrigation-free residential landscapes in Florida’s springs region: Making the Case$49,900
Herbivory and Recreational Exclusion Device Study$8,400
Aquifer Awareness Education Campaign$10,000
Modeling Nutrient Transport in Karst Aquifer for Florida Springs Water Quality Management$59,441
Springs Field School$10,555
Florida Springs Conservation Prioritization Tool and Web Application$29,740
Blue Spring Alliance Community Plan for Springshed Resilience$10,000
Surveying for Endemic Cave Crayfish Species at Alexander and Silver Glen Springs$4,300
Evaluation of Thermal Refuge Habitat for Snook in Springs of the Lower Suwannee River$37,078
Sediment history of Florida springs: determining baseline spring state and subsequent human impacts$17,667
Monitoring the Silver River for Manatees While Increasing Public Awareness on Best Practices for Viewing$15,952
Movement Patterns of the Florida Peninsula Cooter and the Florida Red-Bellied Turtle in Wekiwa Springs$9,052
Assessing temporal and spatial trends in fish assemblages within spring runs of the St. Johns River Basin$42,500
Wakulla SPRINGSWATCH$10,695
Wekiva River SPRINGSWATCH$10,695
Investigating Drivers of Winter Shifts in Fish Abundance in the Homosassa River System$75,000
Poe Springs Aquatic Habitat Enhancement & Outreach$12,500
Do the sediments of St. Johns River springs contain higher organic content than springs on other river systems?$18,377
Santa Fe River Springs Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Project$12,000
Florida Springs Conservation Plan and Executive Summary$16,500
Monitoring the Silver River and Characterizing Springs in the Upper Ocklawaha River for Manatee Utilization$15,015
Hornsby Springs Dissolved Oxygen and Faunal Study$14,000
Why is flow in Silver Springs declining?$49,369
Lower Santa Fe River SPRINGSWATCH$10,000
Weeki Wachee SPRINGSWATCH$10,000
Wakulla Spring Dark Waters: Pinpointing Sources$33,912
Protect Weeki Wachee Spring / Lyngbya Removal$40,000
Inspiring Behavior Change through Experiencing the Santa Fe River and Springs$5,700
Fish Identification Guide for Florida Springs$7,500
Florida Springs Restoration Summit$12,000
Santa Fe River and Springs Signage Project$11,230
Out of sight but not out of mind: Developing a septic systems education toolbox for homeowners in Florida’s springsheds$28,509
Blue Water Audit Interactive Website$15,000
Rainbow Springs SPRINGSWATCH$10,215.00
Volusia Blue Spring Restoration Action Plan and Executive Summary$16,500.00
Wakulla Springs Water Quality Restoration$15,000.00
Hernando County Fertilizer Ordinance Survey and Results Outreach$14,511.00
Springs Protection Outreach Campaign$9,000.00
Characterizing and Monitoring Environmental Parameters as Springs in the Lower Oklawaha River$20,000.00
The Water Festival: Celebrating Water Through Art$17,000.00
Wakulla Spring Dark Waters: Causes and Sources Phase II$32,900.00
Following the Water to Wakulla Spring Video$6,900
Lake and Sinkhole Seepage Nitrogen Loading to Wakulla Springs$4,500
Monitoring Environmental Parameters and Use by a Keystone Species in Central Florida’s Salt and Silver Glen Springs$12,924
Ichetucknee Springs Baseline Assessment - A Citizen-Science Project$15,000
Wakulla Spring Dark Water: Causes and Sources$6,200
Agriculture and Springs Protection High School Curriculum, Field Trip, and Educator Short Course.$5,000
Wekiwa Springs and River Restoration Plan$16,000
Rainbow Springs Baseline Assessment - A Citizen-Science Project$15,000
Wakulla Spring Baseline Assessment - A Citizen-Science Project$15,000
Trophic Dynamics in Blue Spring, Volusia County, Florida$4,290
Blue Spring Adventurers Program$10,000
Monitoring Re-colonization at Ulele Spring Post-Restoration$13,528
Septic to Sewer Conversion Study$45,000
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