DEP Expands Protection of Springs through the Florida Forever Program

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

DEP Expands Protection of Springs through the Florida Forever Program

~Springs are among Florida’s most important natural and recreational resources ~

Madison Blue

Madison Blue Springs State Park

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has purchased a 316-acre parcel known as Hardee Springs property. The land is within the Florida’s First Magnitude Springs Project, which is ranked No. 1 in the Florida Forever Partnerships and Regional Incentives project category. 

Situated within the upland recharge area and primary focus area for Madison Blue Spring, this acquisition will further protect the Withlacoochee River by conserving an additional 1.5 miles of river frontage. South of the subject property, the Withlacoochee River converges with the Suwannee River, ultimately flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.

“With the thoughtful stewardship of the Hardee family, who has owned the parcel since the 1930s, the tract has remained in a largely natural state and is a perfect complement to Twin Rivers State Forest,” said DEP Division of State Lands Director Callie DeHaven.

The acquisition will aid in the protection of springs and the Floridan Aquifer to ensure that Floridians and visitors will be able to enjoy our state’s springs for years to come. Conservation of Hardee Springs in conjunction with the adjacent forested uplands, will help protect water quality and quantity. The Hamilton County property will be managed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Florida Forest Service as part of the Twin Rivers State Forest.

“The acquisition of the Hardee Springs Tract will forever protect a significant spring system while adding public recreational opportunities in Twin Rivers State Forest,” said State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service Jim Karels.

Florida Forever is the state’s conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving our natural resources and renewing our commitment to conserve our natural and cultural heritage. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands is Florida’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship.