June 10, 2015
YOUNGSTOWN, Fla. – Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott, DEP Secretary Jon Steverson, FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley and staff from the Northwest Florida Water Management District celebrated progress on the Williford Spring Restoration Project.
Governor Scott toured Williford Spring and its surrounding recreational area, the site of the District’s $1.66 million restoration project to improve water quality and clarity, improve shoreline protection and enhance protective public access to the spring.
Governor Scott said, “The Williford Spring project is more proof that we are committed to restoring Florida’s springs and providing families and our visitors with beautiful places to visit. I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this important project together and for helping Florida build on our success in protecting our natural resources and continuing to make Florida the best place in the country to live.”
Funding for the project includes more than $377,000 in funding from the nearly $37 million in springs funding approved by Governor Scott during the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year. The project also includes nearly $70,000 in funding from FWC.
Over the last two years, Governor Scott championed record funding for Florida’s springs, partnering with local communities to leverage $35 million in grants into $106 million in springs projects.
“This project is a perfect example of one of the 37 important restoration and water quality improvement projects we’ve been able to fund over the past two years, thanks to the support of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “The health of our springs is vital to our state’s future, and I look forward to working with the Governor, Legislature and our restoration partners to continue to protect them.”
The Governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 includes $50 million in Fiscal Year 2015-2016, and more than $1.6 billion over 20 years for springs restoration.
“The Williford Spring project, like similar projects at Pitt and Sylvan springs, would not have happened without support from Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature,” said George Roberts, Chair of the Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board. “We take great pride in this restoration effort and we will continue to find more ways to preserve and protect the water resources in northwest Florida.”
“The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is proud to partner with DEP and the NFWMD to restore these special places for the benefit of all Floridians,” said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. “We applaud the Governor and the Legislature for supporting a true win-win project that helps people enjoy beautiful springs while protecting important habitat for fish and wildlife.”
Through the Williford Spring restoration project, the District will improve the water quality and clarity of the spring by removing sediment from the spring pool, restoring native vegetation along the springbank that will help catch run-off and sediment, and constructing areas to capture and treat stormwater to improve water quality before it enters the spring.
The restoration project will expand on the District’s continued protection of various springs along Econfina Creek, including the recently completed project to restore and enhance Pitt and Sylvan springs.