Projects to Restore Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon Springs Receive Funding From the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget

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Projects to Restore Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon Springs Receive Funding From the Fighting for Florida’s Future Budget

~ Collaboration enables continued momentum for springs restoration~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a suite of 40 projects that will receive $50 million from the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems. This includes a state investment of more than $10.2 million to protect springs in Central and Northeast Florida, including the Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon springsheds. Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“Thanks to the continued commitment of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature in securing a dedicated funding source for springs restoration and protection, we can continue to focus on completing strategic acquisitions and projects that will produce real benefits for our spring systems,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Legislature, the water management districts and partners in the environmental, agricultural and local communities to conserve and protect Florida’s iconic springs.”

“Florida’s springs will directly benefit from continued funding available thanks to the leadership of Gov. Scott, the Florida Legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection,” said Executive Director of the St. Johns River Water Management District Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Projects within the St. Johns River Water Management District will help improve both water quality and water quantity in the region, leading to healthier springs that will better serve the public, visitors and generations to come.”

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.

The following highlighted projects are three of the 17 selected projects for the Central and Northeast Florida regions, benefiting De Leon, Silver and Wekiva springs.

De Leon Springs

Fieser Dairy: A total of $2.5 million in collaborative funding will be used to purchase a conservation easement to transition from a highly intensive dairy operation to a less intensive ranching operation, which will ensure land protection and nutrient reduction benefits for De Leon Springs. It is estimated that this project will result in a nutrient reduction of more than 200 pounds of total nitrogen per day and more than 80 pounds of total phosphorus per day.

Silver Springs

Ocala Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park: A total of $8.3 million in collaborative funding will be used for the construction of a wetland treatment and groundwater recharge project located within six miles of Silver Springs. The approximate 33-acre project will receive excess treated reclaimed water from the city of Ocala Water Reclamation Facilities and stormwater from the Old City Yard Drainage Retention Area. The project will provide 3-5 million gallons per day of recharge and is projected to increase flow of Silver Springs up to 3.6 cubic feet per second. The project will also provide water quality benefits by reducing the amount of nutrients entering the springs and river, as well as reduce nutrient loading to the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

Wekiva Springs

Longwood Transmission Main for Septic Tank Abatement Program and Springs Recharge: A total of $4.6 million in collaborative funding will be used to install a transmission main to connect to the city of Altamonte Springs plant, providing the needed treatment capacity for Longwood's existing and future septic tank connection projects. This project is part of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), and is a continuation of Longwood's septic tank abatement program. The long-term flow to the system from this project is estimated at 1.1 million gallons per day. This project will provide additional water for recharge for the Wekiva system through the city of Apopka storage area, and will add a reuse source to the regional system between Apopka, the city of Altamonte Springs and the A-FIRST system, Orange County Utilities, and others within the CFWI.

A complete list of the springs protection projects funded by the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget can be found here. These projects will be considered by the water management district Governing Boards as part of their upcoming budget hearings. More information is also available on springs projects funded during the FY 16-17 year and FY 15-16 year.