25 projects under way to improve spring health, protect flows
PALATKA – Through partnerships among the St. Johns River Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and more than a dozen local governments, 25 projects are currently under way to protect the springsheds of Silver Springs in Marion County, Blue Spring in Volusia County and the springs of the Wekiva River in Lake, Orange and Seminole counties.
More than $80 million in total project costs has been dedicated over the past two years to springs protection within the District.
Projects include reclaimed water projects that decrease nutrient pollution by reducing or eliminating direct wastewater discharges and using this water to replace other irrigation sources, so that reductions in nutrient pollution can occur. Also, reclaimed projects protect spring flows by reducing demand for surface and groundwater withdrawals. Together, the 25 projects will reduce 804,126 pounds of nutrient pollution from entering our waters and will reduce withdrawals by 27.4 million gallons of water per day from the aquifers feeding Florida's springs.
"Projects to protect springs and other water bodies are among the District's cost-share funding priorities. The legislative funding and support of Governor Scott that we have received over the past couple of years have enabled these collaborative partnerships so projects can move forward successfully," said Ann Shortelle, District executive director. "These 25 projects will help restore the ecological balance of our springs' systems, which supports our quality of life as well as our regional economy."
"Restoring the health of Florida's springs requires a collective effort," says DEP Deputy Secretary for Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett. "We, at the department, are committed to working with the District and local governments as they spearhead these important projects that will improve and protect our springs."
Springs projects are coordinated through the District's Springs Protection Initiative, which combines construction projects, science, planning and regulatory programs to reduce nutrient pollution and protect spring flows.
Details about the springs projects can be found on the District's website at floridaswater.com/springs/projects.html.
Additional projects to improve water quality and quantity through the District's cost-share program are scheduled for consideration by the District's Governing Board later this summer.