LIVE OAK– The Suwannee River Water Management District received $5.4 million for two springs protection and restoration projects.
Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection approved the District’s funding request on Wednesday for the improvement projects.
The SRWMD is teaming with Dixie County to provide a local funding match totaling $352,000 as the DEP plans to contribute $1.5 million. The District will also partner with the City of Lake City and Columbia County for a local match totaling $700,000 with a DEP contribution of $3.9 million.
The Middle Suwannee River Restoration and Aquifer Recharge project plans to rehydrate about 1,500 acres of ponds and 4,000 acres of wetlands to mimic natural hydrologic conditions in Mallory Swamp, and will enhance flow for springs along the Middle Suwannee River Basin.
The benefits of restoring natural conditions will increase the groundwater supply, affecting various springs along the Middle Suwannee River including Troy, July, Little River and Pot Hole Springs.
The Ichetucknee Springshed Water Quality Improvement Project intends to convert Lake City’s wastewater sprayfield into wetlands, providing additional treatment to reduce nitrogen loading and improve water quality in the area. It is projected to reduce Lake City’s wastewater nutrient loadings to the river by an estimated 85 percent.
Ann Shortelle, executive director of SRWMD, wrote in a press release, “This funding is a significant investment that will have enormous benefits to the Ichetucknee River and Springs, and numerous springs along the Middle Suwannee River.”