Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

October 2013 SJRWMD Update

District launches Springs Protection Initiative

Demonstrating the state’s commitment to long-term springs protection, the St. Johns River Water Management District began a Springs Protection Initiative in late 2012 that combines science, projects, planning and regulatory programs to reduce nitrate loading and protect spring flows.

The District has been working with other agencies for many years through various programs to increase knowledge and understanding about the region’s springs, while also working to protect springs systems. Some of this ongoing work includes:

    •    Collecting flow and water quality data at springs

    •    Developing minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for springs systems

    •    Implementing MFLs in consumptive use permitting

    •    Protecting MFLs by developing and implementing MFL prevention and recovery strategies

    •    Assisting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and basin management action plans (BMAPs) so that water quality targets and natural systems goals will be met.

The Springs Protection Initiative will utilize District resources to develop and coordinate the protection and restoration of major springs. The Initiative is a focused effort to achieve springs protection through:

    •    Science that builds on past work, seeking to develop the most cost-effective actions to reduce nitrate loading to the springs, and addressing other factors contributing to growth of undesirable algae in the springs

    •    Projects to reduce nitrate loading and other factors that adversely effect springs, developed based on the outcome of new scientific work being completed.

    •    District regulatory programs, specifically consumptive use permitting, environmental resource permitting and minimum flows and levels.

Some actions and projects to reduce nitrate loading and protect spring flows can be implemented in the near-term. For example, pursuant to the 2004 Wekiva Parkway and Protection Act, significant wastewater plant upgrades have occurred in the Wekiva springshed. In the Silver Springs basin, nutrient reduction projects are also scheduled for implementation by local stakeholders with funding assistance from DEP and/or the District.

However, a multidisciplinary investigation is needed to provide scientific support for development of a comprehensive and cost-effective plan for holistic protection. This investigation will improve the understanding of springshed geohydrology, delineate geographic and source variation in nitrate loadings, and explain the relative influences of various environmental factors on the abundance of undesirable biota such as filamentous algae. The initial focus will be on Silver Springs, the springs of the Wekiva River, and Blue Spring in Volusia County.

Sample projects

    •    Silver Springs Shores reclaimed water cost-share project

    •    Marion County Silver Springs Shores wastewater treatment plant to Spruce Creek Golf Course reuse cost-share project

    •    Altamonte Springs pond cost-share project

    •    Silver Springs MFLs

    •    Rainbow and Silver springshed delineation and flows — Interagency effort

The District’s Springs Protection Initiative will include enhanced coordination and participation of many entities, including the District, DEP, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, National Resources Conservation Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture), numerous local governments and utilities and the Southwest Florida and Suwannee River water management districts.


Teresa Monson at (904) 7306258 or

Ed Garland