1000 Friends of Florida

Springs and Springsheds

Photo Courtesy of John Moran. Mystic Springs.

With more than 700 freshwater springs, Florida is blessed with perhaps the largest concentration of these natural features in the world. Most of Florida’s springs are located in the region stretching from Hillsborough, Orange Seminole and Volusia counties in central Florida, northwest to Walton County in the Florida Panhandle. For thousands of years, humans have been drawn to their crystalline waters for both sustenance and recreation.

These springs derive from the Floridan aquifer, the source of drinking and most fresh water supply for much of Florida. The aquifer in turn draws much of its waters from the region’s rainfall upon the landscape, and many years of surface water percolating into the ground.

Development, roads, agriculture and other byproducts of human development in the region’s springsheds are negatively impacting the quality of Florida’s springs. Recognizing the significance of Florida’s springs, 1000 Friends has been in the forefront of efforts to develop workable land use strategies to protect Florida’s springsheds—and springs—from the impacts of human activity.

Recent releases:

Initiative to protect Florida’s springs and significant water resources (September 2013) — The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) released this white paper highlighting the urgent need to move forward in removing nutrient contamination and restoring flow to these damaged natural resources.  Also check out the PowerPoint Presentation on FCC priorities for 2014.

Watershed Planning:  Lessons learned from Florida’s springsheds(September 2013) — See the Broadcast and  PowerPoint from 1000 Friends of Florida’s September 18, 2013 webinar featuring former director of the Florida Springs Task Force Jim Stevenson and Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute director Bob Knight.  They cover challenges facing Florida’s springs, workable planning strategies to address those challenges, and how springshed planning approaches can applied to other watersheds throughout Florida.  The presentation includes case studies on Wakulla and Rainbow Springs.  For additional information, please see 1000 Friends’ manual, Protecting Florida’s springs: Land use strategies and best management practices.

Responsible Nutrient Management Entities (RNMEs) — 1000 Friends of Florida prepared this white paper which focuses on creation of RNMEs to address septic tanks in springsheds.

Florida’s Suffocating Springs:  Providing a locally-based management solution to nutrient pollution from septic systems — This paper was produced for 1000 Friends of Florida By the Barry University School of Law, Environmental and Earth Law Clinic, David Deganian, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law with student support of Ms. Jackie Smith and Candace Lafontaine.

Land use strategies:

Protecting Florida’s springs: Land use strategies and best management practices (2002) – 1000 Friends of Florida prepared this award-winning publication on behalf of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Community Affairs. Use disk version.

Protecting Florida’s springs: An implementation guidebook (2008) – Prepared by the former Florida Department of Community Affairs, this guidebook provides technical assistance to local governments in Florida that wish to improve local protection to the springs within their jurisdictions.

Springshed protection actions at the local level (2009) – This 1000 Friends of Florida PowerPoint outlines the major steps that can be taken at the local level to protect Florida’s springs.

Location of springs:

Florida’s springs: Protecting nature’s gems – Hosted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Springs Initiative, this site includes general information on Florida’s springs initiative, as well as information on springs protection, educating children and more.

Florida springs database – This site includes information on over 750 Florida springs, with maps, weather and additional information for recreation and casual research.

Springs fever: A field and recreation guide to 500 Florida springs – This website includes extensive information on Florida springs.

Springs of Florida (2004) – The Florida Geological Survey worked to update and complete the state’s inventory of freshwater spring resources to further Florida’s ability to conserve and protect these valuable resources. It has been published and posted on-line as FGS Bulletin No. 66.

Florida Spring classification system and spring glossary (2003) – This report was published by the Florida Geological Survey to update earlier studies on Florida’s springs.

Wakulla Springs:

Photo courtesy of John Moran. What Lurks Beneath.

Solving water pollution problems in the Wakulla Springshed (2006) – In 2005, the Hydrogeology Consortium and 1000 Friends of Florida conducted a three-day symposium to identify solutions to pollution problems in the Wakulla springshed. The peer-reviewed report was published by the Florida Geological Survey as Special Publication 58 and is available at this site.

Saving Wakulla Springs starts with you (2006) – The Tallahassee Democrat ran a special section on Wakulla Springs. The Tallahassee Democrat charges to access this information.

Useful links:

Florida Department of Environmental Protection “Florida Springs”

Florida Geological Survey Springs Information

Florida Geological Survey Hydrogeology Information

Friends of Wakulla Springs

H. T. Odum Florida Springs Institute

Hydrogeology Consortium

TAPP – Think About Personal Pollution


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