Water management districts want visitors to enjoy springs, rivers responsibly
Before Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer, Florida's water management districts want to remind visitors to springs and rivers to leave no litter and protect nature.
Troy Roberts with the Suwannee River Water Management District said trash takes away from an area's natural beauty. It is also harmful to plants, animals, and water quality.
"Make sure you're taking your trash back with you," Roberts said. "Take care of these natural wonders that we have like you would your own house."
Roberts added it is also important to protect submerged aquatic vegetation or seagrass, which provides food and habitat, and can serve as an indicator of the health of a system.
"When people are out swimming or floating, they need to stay close to the surface of the water and they're not trampling the vegetation," he said. "Walking on it can uproot it, can damage it. Even walking in the sandy areas can prevent new growth in those areas."
Vivianna Bendixson with the Southwest Florida Water Management District echoed that advice.
"We want boaters and kayakers to enjoy their time on the river, but we want them to do it while reducing their impact to the river," she said.
Bendixson added that boaters should not moor along the river's shore, because that contributes to shoreline erosion and the degradation of the system's overall health.
Water management districts will promote being good stewards of the environment on social media and at their sites throughout the summer when springs see more visitors.