LIVE OAK, FLA., March 30, 2020 – With over 440 documented springs, the Suwannee Valley is home to the largest concentration of freshwater springs in North America. The springs of the area have significant environmental, historical, economic and recreational value to local communities within Florida. The Suwannee River Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board has signed a proclamation recognizing April as Springs Protection Awareness Month to bring attention to these unique natural wonders.
“People travel from all over the world to explore the clear blue waters of our springs,” said Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of the District. “It is our responsibility as a District and community to protect these springs for future generations. We work closely with the Governor’s Office and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to identify the challenges that springs face.”
The District is home to 21 of the state’s 33 first-magnitude springs, which discharge at least 65 million gallons of water per day. Springs are natural windows into the aquifer and reflect groundwater conditions, which serves as the primary source of drinking water in Florida.
Springs Protection Awareness Month kicks off a month-long outreach initiative by the state and local water management districts to bring attention and awareness to one of Florida’s most critical ecosystems and what is being done to protect them.
The state of Florida is renowned for its work in water quality assessments and restoration programs. Since the inception of the SPRINGS funding in 2013, more than $74 million has been allocated on District projects. The benefits of completing these projects will include almost 20 million gallons per day in water savings, reduced more than 2.8 million pounds of nitrogen leeched to the aquifer and created almost 7,200 acres of wetlands.
The District provides the public with land access to many springs within north Florida such as Pot Spring, Rock Bluff Spring and Falmouth Spring. Individuals and small groups of 10 or less are encouraged to explore the springs and District tracts during April.