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


~Collaboration enables more comprehensive and efficient approach to restoration~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Secretary Jon Steverson announces 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 St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) have approved eight springs restoration projects in Marion, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties. These projects will receive more than $6 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 $18 million in matching funds for a total of $24 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.”

St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle said, “This investment in our state springs is vital to ensuring their health for years to come. I’m grateful to Governor Scott, the Florida Legislature and Secretary Steverson for their continued leadership when it comes to both springs protection and restoration.”

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 Silver, Volusia Blue and Wekiva springs, as well as the Wekiva River and the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

A few of the St. Johns River Water Management District springs projects include:

Silver Springs Forest Hydrologic and Springs Restoration Project: Awarded $475,000 from DEP and a nearly $1.9 million match from SJRWMD to restore and enhance groundwater recharge and surface water hydrology through a passive recharge well and existing recharge basins. By reducing turbid water discharges to the Silver River, the project will reduce nutrient loading by up to 13,000 pounds per year. In addition, the project will provide 5 million gallons per day (MGD) in water conservation and help restore flow, benefiting the Silver Springs Group and Upper Floridan Aquifer.

Springs of Wekiva River Septic-to-Sewer: Awarded $864,580 from DEP, a $864,580 match from SJRWMD and a $2.3 million local match to provide sewer service and eliminate 100 residential septic tanks within the city of Longwood, located within the Wekiva Springs springshed. The anticipated nutrient reduction associated with this project is 3,100 pounds per year.

Volusia Blue Spring Advanced Wastewater Treatment: Awarded $2 million from DEP and a nearly $1.9 million local match to upgrade and expand the advanced wastewater treatment system from the existing 1.7 MGD to 2.7 MGD, increasing capacity to allow for future septic removal and further reducing nutrient loading into Volusia Blue Spring by approximately 41,000 pounds per year. In addition, the project will reduce groundwater withdrawals to help preserve the ecosystem and protect the spring.

The 35 projects statewide, which include the eight SJRWMD 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.