DEP Adopts Restoration Goals for Springs Coast Basin

May 19, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted site-specific, water-quality restoration goals for the Homosassa and Chassahowitzka Spring systems to reduce nutrient pollution, specifically nitrogen, to a healthy and functional level. The restoration goals, known as a Total Maximum Daily Loads or TMDLs, identify the reductions necessary to bring water quality up to the state standards which protect human health and aquatic life. The Homosassa Springs TMDL includes the Homosassa-Trotter-Pumphouse Springs Group, Bluebird Springs and Hidden River Springs. The Chassahowitzka Springs TMDL includes the Chassahowitzka Springs Group, Crab Creek Spring, Chassahowitzka River-Baird Creek, Baird Springs, Ruth Spring and Beeteejay Springs.

The restoration goals will act as the target for long-term restoration plans to be developed by DEP in cooperation with stakeholders and the public.

“We are grateful for the contributions of our stakeholders and the public,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Collaboration is an essential part of developing effective, informed restoration goals.”

Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous naturally exist in the water and are necessary for the normal growth of aquatic plant and animal life. When too much nitrogen and phosphorous are present, however, it can lead to rapid algal growth or algal blooms, which can cause other water quality complications such as habitat smothering or oxygen depletion in the water. The impending restoration plans will attempt to identify and diminish or eliminate sources of nutrient pollution to the spring systems.

The TMDLs require a 50 to 75 percent reduction in total nitrogen. Necessary reductions vary depending on the specific springhead.

The Homosassa Springs system forms the headwaters of the Homosassa River, an Outstanding Florida Water. The spring system supports the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where visitors can see the endangered West Indian manatees.

Chassahowitzka Springs and Crab Creek Spring form the headwaters of the Chassahowitzka River, another Outstanding Florida Water. Host to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, the river provides natural habitat for hundreds of native species including the West Indian Manatee. Both springs support a complex aquatic ecosystem and act as important cultural and economic resources for the state.

For more information on the springs restoration goals, please click here.

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