Florida’s springs face serious threats from rapid and continuing population growth. Higher-density development and intensive agricultural practices have led to ground water and spring degradation and dramatic increases in the demand for fresh water from ground water sources. Declining water quality—particularly increased nutrients—has been documented in most Florida springs since the 1970s, and declining ground water levels from well pumpage are diminishing flows in springs to the point that some no longer flow.
In an effort to restore and protect Florida's springs, the Florida Springs Initiative (FSI) was formed in 2001 with support from the Governor and the Florida Legislature. The FSI is coordinated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the participation of a task force made up of representatives from federal and state agencies, water management districts, regional planning councils, local governments, universities, nongovernmental organizations, and the business community, as well as private citizens. The Legislature provided initial funding to the FSI of $2.5 million. As of 2006, approximately $15 million has been received for education and outreach, monitoring and research, land use planning and management, and regulation activities. DEP's Ground Water Protection Section primarily manages the monitoring and research activities.
Last updated: January 30, 2013
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