Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that seven springs restoration projects in North Florida will receive nearly $13.5 million to aid in the protection and recovery of Florida’s springs.
The funding is part of $57.5 million that will be given to statewide projects that were identified by the Florida Department of Protection (DEP) and Florida’s water management districts. All 23 projects can be found by clicking here.
“Florida is home to more than 1,000 springs, with more large springs than any other state in the nation, which attract visitors from across the world,” said DeSantis in a press release. “This $57 million investment will continue to protect water quality and allow Florida’s springs to continue to be a world class tourist destination for years to come.”
Additionally, these projects will help conserve and acquire land in spring recharge zones to prevent nutrients from entering the groundwater that feeds our springs.
“With more than 450 springs in the Suwannee River Water Management District, the seven funded projects for our District are truly beneficial to restoring and protecting these important water resources,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the District, in a press release. “We are thankful to Gov. DeSantis, our legislature, and the Department of Environmental Protection for their continued commitment to protecting our environmental assets and addressing the needs of our communities.”
Local projects included for funding are:
- Bobwhite Sandhill Land Acquisition – Suwannee County – $622,000 – This 622-acre conservation easement acquisition will help preserve the Troy Peacock Lafayette Blue Falmouth Springshed and benefit the Suwannee Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). This project and funding request is with the Alachua Conservation Trust.
- Hornsby Horse Pasture Land Acquisition – Alachua County – $190,575 – This 99-acre conservation easement in the Columbia Hornsby Treehouse Priority Focus Area contains five sinks and will support aquifer recharge efforts near Mill Creek. This project and funding request is with the Alachua Conservation Trust.
- Suwannee River Sandhill Land Acquisition – Suwannee County – $300,000 – This 630-acre conservation easement acquisition consists of sandhill, wetlands, and restorable uplands in the Troy Peacock Lafayette Blue Falmouth Springshed and provides high recharge to the Floridan Aquifer. This project and funding request is with the Alachua Conservation Trust.
- Poe Springs Addition Land Acquisition – Alachua County – $1.6 million – Funding for this project will partially pay for the acquisition and restoration of 250 acres of uplands adjacent to Poe Springs. This funding provides a match to the Alachua County Forever Program to secure conservation land for recharge in support of the Santa Fe River Minimum Flows and Minimum Levels and the Santa Fe Basin Management Action Plan with potential for passive recreation in the future.
- High Springs Wetlands Phase 2 – Alachua County – $3 million –This funding request with the City of High Springs is to expand the current wastewater treatment facility and complete the creation of infiltrative wetlands to benefit water quality for Poe Spring and surrounding groundwater.
- Greenville Sewer System Improvements – Town of Greenville – $4.2 million – This multi-year project was initially funded during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This funding is provided for the next phase of the project.
- Fanning Springs Wastewater System Expansion – City of Fanning Springs – $3.6 million – This multi-year project was initially funded in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This funding is provided for the next phase of the project.