Preserving Florida’s Springs
By: Kyle Grammatica
In a recent ceremony held at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis committed $3.7 million to improve the spring’s water quality. The funds will be used for enhancements at the nearby Glen Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce nutrients like nitrogen in the water supply.
“The springs of Florida are a huge part of what makes Florida, Florida,” DeSantis said. “It’s an iconic part of our natural resources. One of our top priorities in our administration has been to improve water quality in Florida, and there’s no way you can do that effectively without also devoting resources to springs restoration.”
Once the enhancements to the water treatment plant are added, nitrogen levels are expected to fall from 14 mg per liter down to 3mg per liter. This substantial decrease will improve the region’s water quality and ensure freshwater spring ecosystems thrive. An additional $46.3 million has been set aside by Florida lawmakers in 2020 to fund 20 more springs conservation projects, including:
- Purchasing nearly 3,700 acres around Suwannee River to protect three different spring heads.
- $1.1 million for the Apopka West Reuse Storage Facility and Reclaimed Water Extension project that will provide nearly 3.5 million gallons daily of reclaimed water, benefitting both Wekiwa and Rock Springs.
- More than $8.3 million for Marion County projects to help protect Rainbow Springs.
Importance of Florida’s Springs
Florida’s freshwater springs support an incredible amount of biodiversity, from the animals that call the springs home to black bears that benefit from the ecosystem. They also provide critical habitat for manatees, who rely on spring’s warm water during winter months. Springs provide critical groundwater to rivers and estuaries, offer unique recreation opportunities, and provide freshwater for drinking. The loss of a freshwater spring can send ripples throughout the ecosystem, impacting plants, animals, and people. To support our work preserving Florida’s springs, purchase our “Protect Florida Springs” license plate from your local tax collector’s office.