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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us


~Department reviews potential projects to improve water quality of Weeki Wachee Springs ~

SPRING HILL – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites local governments, scientists, environmentalists, agricultural producers and other interested parties to a restoration plan development workshop for the Weeki Wachee Springs group.

WHAT:      Weeki Wachee Springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) Meeting

WHEN:      Wednesday, July 9

                  3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Weeki Wachee Springs State Park

                  Ball Room (Enchanted Mermaid Banquet Hall)

                  6131 Commercial Way

                  Spring Hill, Florida 34606

“This meeting is the first step in a cooperative process to develop a restoration plan, which incorporates local knowledge and addresses public concerns,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “DEP is committed to developing informed restoration plans that effectively achieve measureable improvements for our state’s natural resources.”

At this meeting, representatives from the Southwest Florida Water Management District will discuss the specific hydrogeology of Weeki Wachee Springs and how the groundwater, which supplies the spring, moves through Florida’s geological environment. Representatives will also discuss water clarity and the environmental factors, which affect light’s ability to reach aquatic vegetation at the bottom of the springs. Healthy aquatic plant life is crucial for a successful and balanced ecosystem.

Algal mats are a concern in Weeki Wachee Springs. When algal mats are present, light for natural vegetation, which is necessary for its growth, is reduced and consequently growth becomes restricted. Algal mats and algal blooms can also cause a variety of ecological impairments, including the potential production of toxins that can cause human or aquatic health problems and reduced oxygen levels in the water. Algal mats can also inhibit navigation and reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of clear springs or spring runs and beaches.

Weeki Wachee Springs is a historic and world-renowned tourist attraction, which has delighted visitors with an iconic underwater mermaid show since 1947. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is built around the spring and acts as an environmental and recreational resource for the state. Weeki Wachee Springs and several smaller springs form the headwaters of the Weeki Wachee River, a clear, swift water run that flows westward into the Gulf of Mexico.

With the support of Governor Rick Scott, twice as much funding has been dedicated exclusively to springs protection than in any other three-year period in Florida’s history.

The meeting announcement, location, agenda and other information can be viewed here.