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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,


~Collaboration enables more comprehensive and efficient approach to restoration~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Secretary Jon Steverson announced that under the leadership of  Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Water Management Districts have identified 35 springs projects to receive more than $56.6 million included in the 2016-17 “FLORIDA FIRST” budget, the highest amount ever provided for Florida’s springs. DEP and the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) have approved eight springs restoration projects in Bay, Jackson, Leon, Wakulla and Washington counties. These projects will receive more than $15.3 million in state funding from Legacy Florida through the department's Division of Water Restoration Assistance (DWRA) program. This funding is expected to leverage more than $3.7 million in matching funds for a total of $19 million. 

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida’s beautiful springs are one of our state’s greatest natural treasures and help attract families, visitors and job creators. Since 2013, the state has provided more than $135 million for springs restoration, the highest amount of funding in Florida’s history. The funding for these potential projects shows our continued commitment to protecting our springs, and I look forward to seeing them implemented so Florida’s natural treasures can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their ongoing support of springs restoration. The springs projects that will be implemented because of this funding will make a difference in improving environmental conditions and enhancing local communities.”

Northwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director Brett Cyphers said, “We are grateful for the continued vision and leadership shown by Governor Scott, Secretary Steverson and the Florida Legislature. Funding for these projects will allow the district to sustain and expand efforts to protect our unique and priceless springs, while also keeping with our mission to ensure the health and well-being of the residents and water resources of Northwest Florida."

The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars. These eight selected projects will benefit Cypress, Econfina, Gainer, Jackson Blue and Wakulla springs.

A few of the Northwest Florida Water Management District springs projects include:

Gainer Springs Group Land Acquisition: Awarded $6 million from DEP for the acquisition of up to 942 acres and spring bank restoration at the first magnitude springs complex along Econfina Creek in northern Bay County through fee simple and conservation easement. The project will help protect natural systems and reduce erosion to Gainer Springs Group. 

Jackson Blue Spring Best Management Practices: Awarded $1 million from DEP and a $333,333 local producer match to continue an agricultural best management practices cost-share program in the Jackson Blue Spring basin. The funding will assist approximately 32 producers with retrofits to improve water quality and quantity, helping to protect the first magnitude spring. The project is estimated to reduce nitrogen application by more than 10 percent.

Wakulla Springs Septic-to-Sewer: Awarded $637,000 from DEP and a
$1.9 million local match for a septic-to-sewer project that will connect up to 130 homes currently on septic tanks to the existing central sewer system within the city of Tallahassee and the priority area for the Wakulla Springs. The estimated nutrient load reduction is 2,500 pounds per year.

The 35 projects statewide, which include the eight NWFWMD projects, that have been selected to receive more than $56.6 million in state funding are expected to leverage another $33.1 million in matching funds. This brings the total state and local investment in springs projects to more than $275 million in the past four years.