How You Can Help
Whether you live one mile or 10 miles from a Florida spring, you have an impact on the health of the aquifer and the springs. Learn about the steps you can take today to help protect springs.
Protecting Florida's springs is everyone's job. Each of us can play a role by helping reduce groundwater pollution and decrease water consumption.
Protecting springs begins at home with simple steps like installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, landscaping with native plants and reducing or eliminating use of fertilizers in the yard. You can also take action to support local land planning initiatives designed to protect springs.
Learn more about some of the simple steps you can take to protect nature's gems.
Landscaping and Lawn care
- Reduce the size of your lawn and choose grass varieties that require a minimal amount of fertilizers and watering.
- If you use fertilizers, use only slow release varieties for residential lawns and gardens. Be sure to have a soil test done to determine if fertilizers are necessary.
- Resist the temptation to over-fertilize. Applying twice as much as fertilizer as is recommended does not make plants grow twice as fast.
- Do not over-water your lawn. Use a rain gauge to determine when and if you need to water.
- Plant native or drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, ground cover and flowers to minimize water use. Native plants will also attract desirable wildlife like butterflies and hummingbirds.
- Use pesticides if absolutely necessary and apply them only to the affected plants or area of lawn.
Use mulch in plant beds and leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Mulching helps prevent evaporation of moisture from the soil.
- Use rain barrels to capture and store rainwater to water plants.
- Visit www.floridayards.org to learn more about landscaping techniques to protect springs and Florida's natural resources.
Indoor water use
- Check to see if your plumbing has any leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you have a leak.
- Often, toilets have quiet leaks. To find out if your toilet is leaking, add a little food coloring to the tank. If the color appears in the bowl 30 minutes later, your toilet is leaking.
- Upgrade toilets and install low-volume toilets that use half the water of older models.
- Every drop counts, so turn off the faucet! Don't let the water run while doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face and hands.
- Take shorter showers. You can save several gallons for every minute saved in the shower. Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low flow model. They're easy to install.
- Install aerators on all household faucets; they slow the flow of water.
- Re-use water. Catch water while you shower and use it to water plants. Try the same technique when washing vegetables or rinsing dishes.
- Insure that your septic tank and drainfield are properly maintained.
- When visiting a spring, use established trails, boardwalks, and canoe launch ramps at all times. Foot traffic can damage native vegetation and hasten bank erosion.
- Avoid trampling underwater vegetation and stirring sediments when tubing, snorkeling, or swimming at springs.
- Use extreme caution when boating and anchoring in spring runs. Anchors, props and boat groundings destroy aquatic vegetation and increase the cloudiness of the water.
- Dispose of your trash properly. Cans and bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags and other trash harm water quality and wildlife and destroy the natural beauty of the springs.
- Be a responsible steward of the springs and teach others how to protect our springs.
Help Protect Sinkholes
- Never discard trash or refuse into a sinkhole. This can introduce dangerous contaminants directly into the underground aquifer, our drinking water and the springs.
- Properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as industrial cleaners, solvents, automotive fluids and paints at an approved landfill facility. Never pour them down your sink or into a stormwater drain.
- Organize a community clean-up to keep sinkholes in your area free of household waste and other dangerous debris.
- Recycle or donate old appliances and other household items instead of disposing of them in a sinkhole.
- Educate your children and neighbors about the dangers of illegally dumping into a sinkhole. Illegal dumping should be reported to local law enforcement.
Take Action to Protect Springs
- Get involved in local planning and land use issues to protect sinkholes and other land in springsheds. Your voice counts!
- Encourage and support the county and city leaders to make stormwater and land use decisions that will safeguard the groundwater flowing to our springs.
- Support your water management district in protecting groundwater.
- Help teach others about groundwater issues and responsible landscaping. Volunteer and become an advocate for a spring.
- The next time you visit a spring with your children, explain the importance of protecting these beautiful natural resources.