May 29, 2015
BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – On June 4, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be hosting a meeting to further the development of a long-term restoration plan for the Weeki Wachee springs system. Stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to attend. DEP staff will outline the restoration plan development process, discuss pollutant sources in the basin and identify potential water quality improvement projects.
“Weeki Wachee is a historic landmark and a valuable natural resource for our state,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “We are working alongside stakeholders and the public to develop the most effective and informed restoration plan possible.”
Nutrient pollution, or an excess of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, is one of the primary challenges to water quality restoration across the state. Nutrients are naturally present in water and necessary for the healthy growth of plant and animal life; however, an excess of nutrients, can lead to water quality problems like the rapid growth of algal mats, habitat smothering and oxygen depletion in the water.
To combat water pollution, DEP first develops a restoration goal known as a TMDL. The TMDL, or total maximum daily load, identifies the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that may be present in a given water body for the water body to remain healthy and functional. The TMDL then functions as the primary target for a restoration plan, called a BMAP or basin management action plan. The BMAP is a five-year plan with set milestones that identifies projects and strategies to reduce pollution or eliminate pollutant sources. This meeting will further the development of the BMAP for the Weeki Wachee springs system.
Weeki Wachee is a historic and world-renowned tourist attraction which has delighted visitors with an iconic underwater mermaid show since 1947. Weeki Wachee State Park is built around the spring and acts as an environmental and recreational resource for the state. Weeki Wachee Springs and several smaller springs form the headwaters of the Weeki Wachee River, a clear, swift water run that flows westward into the Gulf of Mexico.
The meeting announcement, location, agenda and other information can be viewed here.