June 23, 2015
DELAND, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites stakeholders and members of the public to a technical meeting to discuss restoration plans for Volusia Blue Spring and Run. At the meeting on June 30, DEP representatives will be discussing pollutant sources, funding opportunities and potential restoration projects.
“The knowledge and expertise provided by stakeholders and members of the public have been key to the development of this restoration plan,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Regular meetings maintain productive communication.”
Volusia Blue, like many springs in Florida, is experiencing an excess of nutrient pollution, specifically nitrate. 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 estimate the relative contributions of the sources of pollution in the Volusia Blue Basin, DEP staff have developed the Nitrogen Source Loading Inventory Tool (NSLIT). The NSLIT uses a variety of best available data from cities, counties, agricultural groups and other sources to estimate the amount of nitrogen being contributed by various sources. This information allows DEP staff to develop a more targeted and efficient restoration plan. At the upcoming meeting, DEP staff will review and refine the NSLIT for Volusia Blue Spring and Run based on public comment.
Volusia Blue is the largest spring on the St. John’s River and a designated manatee refuge. The vent to this first-magnitude spring is also the entrance to an extensive underwater cave system. The spring system serves as the foundation for Blue Spring State Park, which hosts nearly 250,000 visitors each year and provides opportunities for camping, swimming, diving and canoeing.
For more information on the restoration plan program, please click here.