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Springs Educational Videos Transcripts

This page contains the transcripts for the Springs Educational Videos.

Young Tess Skiles Explains the Floridan Aquifer

Tess Skiles: Do you know what a spring is? A spring is a special place where water comes bubbling up out of the underground. All the water pouring out of this spring originally came from rain. As it flows down through sand and limestone it enters something scientists call ‘the aquifer’. It means water stored underground in rock.

The water moves underground causing it to make caves, sinkholes and springs - like this one. All the springs used to be real pure, but now some of them are becoming polluted by humans and animal waste. It's not too late to think about what we are doing to our springs and to help them. Just remember springs are one of the most important things in your life. Please help springs by making good decisions not bad decisions.

The Springs Heartland

Narrator: North Florida's springs, breathtaking… mysterious… powerful flows of pure freshwater discharging from the Florida aquifer. The greatest known concentration of springs on earth. Some 260 springs releasing over 2.8 billion gallons of water at day – into the Suwannee, Santa Fe, Ichetucknee and Withlacootche Rivers. This is the Springs Heartland.

A recreational and nature lovers paradise area. Critical habitat for rare and endangered animals. A hydro-geological wonder visited and loved by people worldwide. Their sustaining source, an immense underground, limestone, aquifer riddled with cracks, crevices, tunnels and caves all feeding their flow silently to the Springs. We the people of Florida stand as the guardians of this grand gift of nature. Sadly the Springs Heartland faces an uncertain future. The way we live our lives above this vulnerable aquifer determines the quality of the water and how much of it will flow forth from our springs. Our behaviors and actions have the ability to inflict significant harm.

Elsewhere in Florida, springs have stopped flowing. Their once vibrant flora and fauna are now coated with a slimy deadly film. Many of our beloved rivers are choked with toxic algae and chemicals discharging from the springs. Is this to be the fate of the Springs Heartland? By reflecting on the mistakes of the past we can see into the future and provide clear and effective leadership to save our Springs. It is imperative now that we recognize the magnificent splendor and natural wonder of our Springs. They are unique, a rich and spectacular bounty of crystal-clear water bursting out of the ground for all to enjoy. An unparalleled resource of unimaginable value and importance to all Floridians.

Springs are the very soul of North Florida. Preservation is always smarter and cheaper than restoration. The cost of restoring the Everglades is $20 billion and rising. Why repeat the same mistakes when we know and understand the problems. We can safeguard North Florida's springs now and into the future for a fraction of the cost. The opportunity stands before us that we must take action now. An economically feasible, even profitable, low-impact sustainable growth strategy is within reach with financial and political support from state leaders. And a strong community of citizens stands ready to lend its support knowing that the fate of North Florida's economy and the future of our children are directly linked to the health of our Springs.

It was inspired vision and determination of exceptional leaders that preserved our country's most treasured national parks and resources. Our springs are spectacular jewels of nature and deserve the same protection. We have arrived at the point that will forever determine the fate of this precious resource. Will we embrace what we know must be done. Only through strong conservation and leadership can we establish a lasting legacy where springs flow pure and powerful for generations to come.

Do you know where your drinking water comes from?

Narrator Wes Skiles: Do you know where your drinking water comes from? You might be surprised to learn that over 7 billion gallons of fresh water erupts daily from an underground system that lies beneath homes, farms, cities and highways. This amazing natural resource is unique to central and north Florida. No other place in the world enjoys the quantity or quality of water that flows forth naturally from our groundwater system. Our crystalline water has lured millions of people to enjoy its beauty - It's hard to believe that this resource could be in danger.

What makes the Springs region of Florida so important and vulnerable is its karst topography. Karst is a landscape dotted with sinkholes, fractures and cracks through which water passes easily. Hidden from our view lies a network of underground rivers, water filled caverns and caves. These features and the water within them are known as the Floridan aquifer. They are equivalent to surface rivers, lakes and streams. Florida's underground waterways are just as vulnerable as surface waters.

Springs reflect the health of our natural environment -- they are not just for recreation, but are a key indicator of water quality beneath our homes. The water gushing out of our springs comes directly from your local aquifer. It's your drinking water. Overuse of water and pollution along the pathways delivering water to the springs can leave a lasting legacy.

It can take as long as 15 years for water to pass through the ground and returned to us in the form of a spring. In other cases water may travel as quickly as a mile per day. In order to protect and manage this vital resource, local governments know that their land-use decisions will have lasting effects on our springs. The land areas that provide water to our springs are known as springsheds. These are the areas that replenish the aquifer and deliver water to your springs. Even though the water is out of sight it is not out of harm’s way. As it travels beneath our homes, businesses, farms and highways, it is affected by virtually every aspect of our daily lives. This moving water is the supply that we depend on for our drinking water.

The very nature of the absorbent terrain leaves it vulnerable to the introduction of contaminants. Water can carry contaminants such as fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals. Septic and storage tanks can leak directly into the groundwater and drain toward springs. Any contaminants carried through the ground can pollute our aquifer - the source of 98% of Florida's drinking water. Springsheds are extremely vulnerable areas. Any land-use or development in these areas directly affects our drinking water.

We are all part of the problem, yet we can all be part of the solution of protecting vulnerable areas. Sources of trouble include many different land uses, but carefully planned, most types of land-use have their proper places. To safeguard our drinking water resource and our springs, we must understand that protection and management happens at the community level. Land-use and zoning decisions are made by local governments. Many people think that water management districts, state, or federal agencies have complete authority to protect local water resources. The reality is the only decisions about responsible land use lie in your hands and the hands of your local elected officials.

No one wants to contaminate the water we are drinking, but poor land-use decisions based on lack of good information can cause this to happen. Negative effects from decisions that we made 15 or 20 years ago are being revealed now. Some wells are running dry and bacteria counts are startling. Even though spring water may look clear, it is not necessarily clean. Pollutants such as nitrates are invisible and are rising at an alarming rate within many of our springs and in some places exceeding the safe drinking limit. This polluted water has a major impact on our ecosystems, affecting businesses recreation and our economy. Yet armed with the most current information on how to prevent pollution, we can reverse this alarming trend.

We are at a critical turning point in Florida's history. This is the last chance we have to ensure that our children share the enjoyment and prosperity that the good water brings to Floridians. We will be judged as a civilization by our ability to look after our precious water resources. We have a chance to protect the primeval beauty that makes Florida a blessed and beautiful place. Help us protect our springs, by doing so you'll be preserving our way of life.

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