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Threats to Springs

Five decades of population growth have taken a toll on the aquifer. Learn about some of the problems facing our groundwater supply and the springs.

To understand how our springs are threatened, we have to look upstream into the aquifer and explore the springshed. Many of the problems affecting the springs occur many miles upstream in the spring recharge area.

The major issues impacting the health of the springs include population growth, urban sprawl, growing demand for groundwater and introduction of fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants to the springsheds.

Threats to the quality and quantity of water in Florida's aquifer and springs can be classified into three different categories: inputs or the contaminants we put in; outputs or the amount of water we take out of the aquifer; and impacts or the physical damage we cause in and around the spring and downstream spring run.

Link below to learn more about the threats affecting our springs. Then, be sure to link to Good Neighbors and How You Can Help to understand how you can protect our springs.

Landscaping and Lawn Care

The quest for the perfect weed-free, green lawn can have a major negative impact on the environment.

Sprawl and Development

Florida's expanding population has put pressure on natural spaces that serve as important recharge areas for the aquifer and springs.

Runnoff and Stormwater

Stormwater runoff from parking lots, roads and other surfaces carry chemical pollutants like petroleum by-products from automobiles into retention ponds, streams and rivers and also into the aquifer.

Water Consumption and Overuse

Every day more than four billion gallons of water are withdrawn from the aquifer to satisfy demands of people, agriculture and industry impacting water levels and flow in the aquifer and springs.

Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping of garbage, chemicals and other human refuse into sinkholes can lead to the rapid contamination of the aquifer and springs.

Row Crop Agriculture

Row crop agriculture is an important part of the state's economy. However, intensive methods of farming can introduce harmful fertilizers and pesticides to our water supply.

Livestock Farming

Each year, pollutants from tons of animal wastes from livestock and poultry farms make their way into the aquifer and springs.

Golf Courses

Florida's golf courses occupy more than two hundred thousand acres of land. Much of this land is covered with varieties of grass that are fertilized and treated with pesticides that may leach into the aquifer.

Recreational Impacts

Publicly-owned springs are open for everyone to enjoy, but each year millions of visitors damage spring environments by trampling vegetation above and below water and by carelessly discarding trash.

Invasive Species

Invasive plant species, some encouraged by heavy nitrates in the water, are choking many springs and spring runs.

 

Good Neighbors

Image of Don Bennink is helping both his business and the aquifer by using "high absorption" grasses like Tifton-85 to take up nutrients from the soil and protect the groundwater.

Read Stories about people working to protect springs. Go »

 

How You Can Help

Image of At the Citrus Country Extension demonstration garden, signs explain to visitors the principles and practices of a "spring friendly" yard while volunteers help with maintenance and getting the word out.

Steps you can take to help protect our springs. Go »

 

Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Image of The Interactive Yard is an educational tool designed to teach basic concepts behind Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

Landscape without polluting the aquifer and springs by reducing fertilizer and pesticide use and saving water.

Go »

 
 
 
My FloridaFlorida Department of Environmental Protection