June 1, 2015
CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – On June 3, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will host a meeting to discuss and further develop a long-term restoration plan for Crystal River and the King’s Bay spring system. Stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to attend. DEP staff will outline the restoration plan development process, discuss pollutant sources as well as potential water quality improvement projects.
“DEP wants to ensure that the local public and stakeholders are part of our restoration process,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “These meetings are an opportunity for involved citizens to be part of the conversation.”
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 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 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 develop the BMAP for Crystal River and the King’s Bay spring system.
King’s Bay is the sixth largest spring system in Florida and is adjacent to the city of Crystal River. The spring system constitutes a vital cultural and economic resource for the state. King’s Bay is also the largest winter refuge for manatees on the Florida Gulf Coast and is considered a National Wildlife Refuge. It is a popular ecotourism destination for wildlife viewing, diving, snorkeling, fishing and boating. The system was designated an Outstanding Florida Water by the state of Florida.
The meeting announcement, location, agenda and other information can be viewed here.