FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 2, 2014
RESTORATION GOALS ADOPTED FOR VOLUSIA BLUE SPRING AND RUN
~Nutrient goals pave way for restoration plan development~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted water quality restoration goals for Blue Spring and Blue Spring Run in Volusia County. The restoration goals, known as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), identify nitrate reductions necessary to meet the water quality standards that protect human health and aquatic life.
“Restoration of our state's iconic springs is a top priority for DEP,” said Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Thanks to the support of Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature, and the hard work of the world-class scientists, we are now restoring our springs both effectively and efficiently.”
Volusia Blue is the largest first-magnitude spring on the St. Johns River. The spring is part of Blue Spring State Park, which hosts nearly 250,000 visitors each year who come to swim, kayak, dive, fish and watch the manatees.
Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are naturally present in surface waters and are necessary for the plants and animals living there. But when excess levels of nutrients cause an imbalance in the ecosystem, which is the current case in many springs across Florida, algal mats and other problems for aquatic life result. The primary nitrogen sources to the Volusia Blue system include several domestic wastewater treatment facilities, one permitted storm sewer system and septic tanks.
“Setting aggressive, but achievable, restoration goals based on current science is the key to improving the water quality in Florida's springs, especially for historic and economically important waters like Volusia Blue,” said Tom Frick, director of DEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration.
Establishing the restoration goals for this waterbody allows the department to proceed to the next step -- developing and implementing restoration plans in cooperation with local stakeholders.
The adopted restoration goals for Volusia Blue, along with those being simultaneously proposed for Weeki Wachee and Kings Bay, will bring the total number of springs within waterbodies that have an adopted or proposed restoration goal to 347; another 40 springs restoration goals are in progress.
More information on the TMDLs proposed for Volusia Blue can be found on the Department's website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/tmdl.