Last week, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released is Springs Restoration Project Plan for Fiscal Year 2014-2015.  This year, the $25 million legislative allocation was combined with local government and water management district funds to result in an investment of approximately $70 million on springs project funding.

After receiving recommendations from each of the four water management districts containing springs, the DEP applied quantitative and qualitative considerations to select from among the candidate projects.  Included in those considerations were fundamentals such as: i) pound of nitrogen removed; ii) millions of gallons per day added or conserved; iii) cost effectiveness and matching funds; and iv) a balanced representation of urban and agriculture, quality and quantity, and geography.  According to the Plan, selected projects will benefit the following spring systems: 

Northeast
Fanning Springs
Ichetucknee, Santa Fe and Suwannee River Springs
Levy Blue Springs 

Northwest Florida
Econfina Springs
Holmes Creek Spring
Jackson Blue Springs
Wakulla Springs 

Central Florida
Blue Springs
Silver Springs
Wekiva Springs 

Southwest Florida
Aripeka Springs
Chassahowitzka Springs
Crystal Springs
Panasofkee Springs

In a recent press release, DEP Deputy Secretary Drew Bartlett stated that the health of Florida’s springs was a top priority, and that “[p]rotecting these natural resources by identifying and funding springs projects is critical to their protection and restoration.”  The Springs Restoration Project Plan is expected to be presented to the Legislative Budget Commission in September. 

For a map of the proposed springs projects, see the following link: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2014/08/springs_map_0814.pdf

Click on the link for a full copy of the Springs Restoration Project Plan, including specific project descriptions and funding amounts.