LIVE OAK, FLA., DEC. 9, 2022 – On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that seven springs restoration projects within the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) will receive approximately $19 million to aid in the recovery protection of Florida’s springs.
This funding is part of the $75 million announced for statewide projects identified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida’s water management districts. The full list can be found here.
“As a great place to live and do business, Florida continues to see tremendous growth,” said Hugh Thomas, Suwannee River Water Management District Executive Director. “With that growth comes the need to identify innovative ways to allow for growth while also protecting our natural resources. Funding for projects like these is beneficial to ensuring the preservation of our local springs for generations to come.”
Local projects included for funding include:
- $6 million for Agricultural Springs Protection – This multi-year project will provide cost share to agricultural producers to implement practices that reduce nutrient impacts and groundwater pumping.
- $2.5 million to Alliance Grazing Group – This project will partner with Alliance Grazing Group to convert the Piedmont dairy operation from a grazing dairy to a free stall operation. This will capture 100 percent of the manure for processing in the existing waste management system. Cow cooling will be managed more effectively to reduce ground water pumping.
- $800,000 to Alachua County for the High Springs Rock Mine Acquisition – This project will benefit the Hornsby Spring springshed. The 316.97-acre property lies just over two miles east of the Hornsby Spring pool. Approximately 142 acres of open water lakes have been created by the mining operation which began in the 1950s. These lakes are between 30 to 50 feet deep and intersect the Floridan Aquifer. Acquisition of this property will eliminate ongoing impacts from mining and prevent the potential impacts from development.
- $6.1 million to the City of Lake City for the Lake City Recharge Wetland Expansion – This project proposes to expand on the city's existing recharge wetland through conversion of a second sprayfield to a groundwater recharge wetland with the addition of approximately 53 acres of treatment and recharge area. This conversion is being designed to reduce nitrogen in treated water and to increase recharge on the parcel.
- $250,000 to the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department for Nutrient Reduction Retrofits of Existing Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems (OSTDS) – This project will offer rebates to Alachua County property owners who upgrade their septic systems to offset the increased costs of nutrient reducing systems and to increase awareness regarding the role of septic systems.
- $1.5 million to the Town of Greenville for Sewer Improvements – This multi-year project was initially funded during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This funding is in addition to the $4.2 million project budget.
- $2 million to the Town of Fanning Springs for Wastewater System Expansion – This multi-year project was initially funded during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This funding is in addition to the $9.35 project budget.
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 and Twitter, search @SRWMD.