DEP Hosts Meeting to Further Restoration Plan for Rainbow Springs Basin

Aug. 21, 2015

DUNNELLON, Fla. – On Aug. 27, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will host a meeting to further develop the long-term restoration plan for the Rainbow Springs system. Stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to attend. DEP staff will present the draft restoration plan, also know as a Basin Management Action Plan or BMAP, take stakeholder feedback and explain the adoption process.

“The draft Basin Management Action Plan identifies projects, actions and activities that will be undertaken during the first phase of the restoration of Rainbow Spring,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “DEP along with local stakeholders are committed to restoring the spring.”

One of the largest spring groups in Florida by magnitude, the Rainbow Springs Group discharges an average flow of 456 million gallons per day. The springs group and the river have significant habitat and recreational value, including swimming, kayaking, canoeing and tubing. Rainbow Springs has been a tourist destination since the 1920s, featuring glass-bottom boats, and continues to have economic significance to North-Central Florida. The main springhead – where the spring comes to the surface – is part of Rainbow Springs State Park.

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 to achieve the TMDL.

Additional information on the BMAP process and the Rainbow Springs meeting can be found here.

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