With more than 300 documented springs (PDF), the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) has one of the highest concentrations of freshwater springs in the United States. Of the state's 33 first-magnitude springs (ones flowing at least 100 cubic feet per second, or 64 million gallons a day), 21 are in the SRWMD. Springs have attracted people since prehistoric times, and today visitors from all over the world come to North Florida to swim, dive, float, play, and relax in these unique wonders of Nature.
In April 2013, the District's Governing Board joined the Florida Legislature in recognizing April as Springs Protection Awareness Month.
High-Definition Science for Our Springs
Scientific investigations in several springs are being upgraded to high definition with new equipment that allows for real-time water quality monitoring. Instead of manually collecting water samples monthly or quarterly and sending it to a lab, water quality data are now collected multiple times an hour with equipment placed directly in the spring. These new data allow us to better understand the events that contribute to water quality changes in new and exciting ways.
This new data collection effort is a collaborative partnership between the Suwannee River Water Management District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Park Service, and the United States Geological Survey.
The Submersible Ultraviolet Nitrate Analyzer (SUNA) uses ultraviolet light technology to measure nitrate-nitrogen concentrations.
The EXO2 uses smart sensor technology to measure up to six different water quality parameters at the same time:
- Dissolved organic matter
- Dissolved oxygen