DEP to Present Restoration Plan for Rainbow Springs Basin

Oct. 2, 2015

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will host a public meeting on Oct. 8 to present the long-term restoration plan, or Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP), for the Rainbow Springs system. This restoration plan outlines management strategies and projects developed to reduce loading of nutrients into the Rainbow Springs system to return it to health. Stakeholders and interested members of the public are invited to attend. DEP staff will present the Draft Final BMAP document, take public input on the plan and explain the adoption process.

“Adoption of the Rainbow Springs BMAP is an important step to achieving our water- quality-restoration goals,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “BMAPs cannot be successful without the commitment and expertise from local stakeholders. Both are critical to designing and implementing a restoration plan that will attain those goals.”

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. To combat water pollution, DEP first develops a restoration goal known as a total maximum daily load (TMDL), which identifies the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that may be present in a given water body for that water body to remain healthy and functional.

The TMDL then functions as the primary target for a restoration plan. The BMAP is a five-year plan with set milestones that identifies projects and strategies to reduce pollution or eliminate pollutant sources.

The Rainbow Springs Group is one of the largest spring groups in Florida by magnitude, discharging an average of 456 million gallons per day. The springs group is the main source of flow for the 5.7-mile spring run known as the Rainbow River. 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 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.

For meeting details and information on the Rainbow Springs BMAP, please click HERE.

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