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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~Cooperation, sense of urgency in identifying solutions leads to swifter restoration~

CRYSTAL RIVER Today, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. joined Senator Charlie Dean and local officials to tour Crystal River and its network of 30 springs feeding Kings Bay, which is currently the focus of serious state and local environmental action.

The trip follows last week’s announcement that the Department is committing more than $1.1 million to a reuse project for the City of Crystal River that will reduce nitrate pollutant loadings in the area by 16 percent. The project, jointly funded with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the City, will send 750,000 gallons of highly treated reclaimed water every day from the Crystal River wastewater plant to the Progress Energy Citrus County Power Complex.

The District will be investing $1.4 million in the reuse project and the funding from the Department will allow the District to invest an additional $1.1 million in other water quality projects that will benefit Kings Bay. More than just improving water quality, the project will increase springflow into Kings Bay by reducing groundwater pumping at the power complex.

“In the last two years, with support from Governor Scott, Senator Dean and the rest of the Florida Legislature, the Department will have directed $11.5 million to restoring Florida’s springs - more than double the spending in the previous three years,” said Secretary Vinyard. “We are aggressively identifying Florida’s water quality problems and working with our state and local partners to solve them, achieving measurable ecological progress through critical restoration projects.”

Kings Bay has a history of water quality problems, including poor water clarity, destruction of native aquatic vegetation and nuisance algae. To address those issues, the reduction targets, or total maximum daily loads, for Kings Bay and the other Springs Coast spring-related waters that are impaired by nutrients will be adopted in 2013. The restoration needs for Kings Bay are well known, but the specific nutrient threshold must still be established. Cleaning up Kings Bay requires concerted, cooperative action.

"Successfully addressing pollution in springs, and all of the state’s waterbodies, requires cooperation and partnerships between the Department, the Legislature and public and private stakeholders. It also takes applying and committing monies allocated by the Legislature to meaningful projects to restore and protect our waterbodies such as we are seeing with Kings Bay," said Senator Charlie Dean. "I applaud the Department’s and the Water Management District’s leadership, as well as the efforts of the local governments and stakeholders of this basin. Efforts such as this serve as a great model for other communities in the state.”

The Southwest Florida Water Management District has already been working with a group of Kings Bay stakeholders for several years and some major restoration actions to reduce nutrients to the bay have been implemented or soon will be implemented. It is anticipated that additional restoration projects will be identified as the formal restoration plan is finalized.

Projects currently underway include:

  • The Three Sisters Stormwater Treatment Wetland, fully funded by the SWFWMD, will intercept and treat stormwater discharged directly into the King’s Bay canal system. The project will remove nutrients, suspended solids and other contaminants within stormwater from 135 acres of commercial and residential land in Crystal River.
  • The Hunter Springs Water Quality Improvement Project, jointly funded by the SWFWMD and Citrus County, will expand an existing stormwater pond and remove accumulated sediment adjacent to the outfall.  The project will expand stormwater treatment capacity by 40 percent and significantly reduce nutrients.
  • The Kings Bay Park Lagoon Restoration, another joint SWFWMD - Citrus County project, will remove loose rock fragments and organic materials from King’s Bay Park and revegetate the area with native submerged and emergent plant species.  A manatee exclusion zone will be maintained for two years to ensure survival and colonization of the lagoon by the restored vegetation.