Recently, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $11.2 million for springs restoration projects within the Suwannee River Water Management District (District). The funds are allocated for wastewater treatment improvements and land acquisition to protect and preserve springs.
Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Department of Environmental Protect (FDEP) approved five new projects focusing on springs restoration and protection. The projects will recharge the Floridan Aquifer by reducing nitrogen from entering the springs and protecting native species.
“With over 440 springs in our region, it is critical to focus our efforts on improving water quality through land acquisition and water quality improvements,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the District. “We appreciate the continued support Governor DeSantis and FDEP have provided us in protecting and preserving our water resources for the community.”
Projects are a collaborative effort among FDEP, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on nutrient reduction, water conservation, cost-effectiveness and available matching dollars.
State Springs Grant Funding of $3.7 million will be distributed to the District for five new projects. The following state Springs Grant Funding projects were selected by FDEP to be funded in 2020-2021. Additionally, two multi-year projects were funded at $7.5 million.=
City of Jasper Reclamation Water Project – The project will reallocate water discharged from Baisden Swamp to a Rapid Infiltration Basin to remove nutrients.
Santa Fe Springs Acquisition Project – The project includes an acquisition of 254 acres at the confluence of Olustee Creek and the Santa Fe River containing two springs, one large second-magnitude and one fourth-magnitude spring.
Columbia County Grasslands Acquisition – The project includes the acquisition of 514 acres of primarily mature sandhill grassland in the Ichetucknee Priority Focus Area and will result in maintaining high recharge value to the Floridan Aquifer in the Santa Fe Basin Management Action Plan.
Devil’s Ear Spring Recharge Land Acquisition Project – The project includes an acquisition of approximately 2,742 acres within the Devil’s Ear Spring (Outstanding Florida Spring) Priority Focus Area.
Sawdust Spring Land Acquisition Project – The project includes the acquisition of approximately 163 acres within the Devil’s Ear Spring (Outstanding Florida Spring) Priority Focus Area under the Santa Fe Basin Management Action Plan.
A list of the approved projects can be found on the FDEP’s 2020-2021 Springs Restoration Funding webpage.
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.
For more information about the District, visit www.MySuwanneeRiver.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, search @SRWMD.