WUFT News

Gov. Rick Scott Announces Investment Of $37 Million For Water Quality Projects

By on September 5th, 2013
Gov. Rick Scott making his investment announcement Wednesday at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka.

Contributed photo

Gov. Rick Scott making his investment announcement Wednesday at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka.

Gov. Rick Scott pledged Wednesday afternoon to invest about $37 million toward 10 springs improvement projects across the state.

The announcement at Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka comes on the heels of a commitment of more than $130 million to restore estuaries in South Florida.

Funding for the projects was gathered from a $10 million investment from the “Florida Families First” budget, about $1 million from the Department of Environmental Protection, and various investments from local partners.

Springs receiving funding for projects include Silver Springs, Wekiwa, Rock, Ichetucknee, Rainbow, Chassahowitzka, Homosassa, Weeki Wachee, Jackson Blue, Williford, as well as springs along the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers and Kings Bay.

Scott said protecting the springs are important to not only animal and plant life, but they also add to Florida’s ever-expanding tourism industry. He said the state must do its part to protect these “natural treasures.”

A prime example of the beneficial implications of the restoration projects can be found in the plans for the Springs Coast.  The water quality improvement and water quantity project in the area will receive $375,000 in state funding for the estimated $875,000 total price tag of the project. It will potentially reduce groundwater withdrawal quantities and/or nutrient loading to the Upper Floridan Aquifer system.

The Springs Coast projects are a cost-share initiative, collaborating with local farmers to implement the best agricultural management practices within the region. Agricultural operations in this region include citrus groves, row crops, blueberries, grains, field and container nurseries, and animal operations (cow/calf, equine, poultry).

The eclectic range of agricultural activities in the region also presents mass-opportunity for a variety of technologies that can be used to reduce groundwater use, such as weather stations, soil moisture sensors, automatic timers and pumps, tailwater recovery ponds, and irrigation retrofits using more efficient low-volume systems.

In addition to water quality and quantity efforts, Florida’s water management districts want to establish minimum flows and levels for the springs–designed to protect and restore spring flows and the natural systems they support.

The districts have set minimum flows and levels for 22 springs to date, expecting to set them for 49 more springs over the next two years–more than doubling the cumulative efforts of the last decade.

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., secretary of the DEP, said in a press release, “These projects will illustrate what can be accomplished when the state invests wisely to support, and supplement department and water management district restoration programs.”

Much more needs to be done,” he said, “but these projects can pave the way to restoring some of our most iconic springs.”

A map of the springs restoration projects Gov. Scott pledged to invest $37 million at a press conference on Sept. 4 at Wekiwa Springs State Park.

Contributed image

A map of the springs restoration projects Gov. Scott pledged to invest $37 million at a press conference on Sept. 4 at Wekiwa Springs State Park.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

VIDEO: Horse Protection Association Of Florida

Because of flooding on 150 acres of Micanopy land, the Horse Protection Association of Florida is in need of dry land for its rescues. A suitable area was found for 23 of the horses, but HPAF’s Morgan Silver worries about organizing the funds to continue paying rent.


Horse

Small-Scale Horse Operations Guide to Protect Florida Water

The Florida Department of Education released a manual for small-scale horse operation best management practices in order to help preserve the state’s water resources.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

State Targets Growing Feral Swine Problem

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new $20 million program, designed to stop the growth of feral swine, began this month. Florida received $400,000 on Monday.


Officials Ensure Energy Prices Will Not Rise With New Coal Ban

Locals are reacting to the possibility of a utility rate increase that would accompany Gainesville’s possible switch away from mountaintop coal removal.


Swallowtail_one

Food Safety Guidelines Could Alter Sustainable Farm

A new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) by the FDA may pose a challenge to farmers who are using an alternative fertilizer.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments