Springs Restoration

July 2, 2014

Restoration Goals Adopted for Volusia Blue Spring and Run

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted water quality restoration goals for Blue Spring and Blue Spring Run in Volusia County. The restoration goals, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), identify nitrate reductions necessary to meet the water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life.

“Restoration of our state’s iconic springs is a top priority for DEP,” said Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Thanks to the support of Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature, and the hard work of the world-class scientists, we are now restoring our springs both effectively and efficiently.”

Volusia Blue is the largest first-magnitude spring on the St. Johns River. The spring is part of Blue Spring State Park, which hosts nearly 250,000 visitors each year who come to swim, kayak, dive, fish and watch the manatees.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are naturally present in surface waters and are necessary for the plants and animals living there. But when excess levels of nutrients cause an imbalance in the ecosystem, which is the current case in many springs across Florida, algal mats and other problems for aquatic life result. The primary nitrogen sources to the Volusia Blue system include several domestic wastewater treatment facilities, one permitted storm sewer system and septic tanks.

“Setting aggressive, but achievable, restoration goals based on current science is the key to improving the water quality in Florida’s springs, especially for historic and economically important waters like Volusia Blue,” said Tom Frick, director of DEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration.

Establishing the restoration goals for this waterbody allows the department to proceed to the next step — developing and implementing restoration plans in cooperation with local stakeholders.

The adopted restoration goals for Volusia Blue, along with those being simultaneously proposed for Weeki Wachee and Kings Bay, will bring the total number of springs within waterbodies that have an adopted or proposed restoration goal to 347; another 40 springs restoration goals are in progress.

More information on the TMDLs proposed for Volusia Blue can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/tmdl.


 

50 Percent SilverSpringOverallGovernor Scott announced a $10 million dollar commitment to ten spring improvement projects.  This funding was leveraged into $37 million by state and local partners including Florida Families First Budget, the Department of Environmental Protection and other local partners.  The goal of the projects will be to improve water quality and quantity at several springs, specifically Silver Springs, Weeki Wachee and Homosassa.

Site specific targets have been set for nearly 350 springs that will serve as a guide to the Department and their partners.  This guide will forge the way for a 5 year restoration plan that will affect wastewater, runoff and other pollutant sources.  In addition, BMAP plans are in the works for 225 springs in Suwanee and Wekiva Basins, as well as Silver and Wakulla systems.

For more information about the Springs Restoration and specific projects, click here.

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