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The Springs Coast Watershed consists of about 800 square miles of coastal land in Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties. Some of the cities and towns located in the Springs Coast Watershed include Aripeka, Port Richey, New Port Richey, Weeki Wachee, Brooksville and Crystal River. The trademarks of this watershed are the many springs that discharge to form several rivers, the extensive coastal swamps and salt marshes, high pine woodlands and lakes.
There are four major groups of springs in the Springs Coast Watershed. They are: Crystal River Springs, Homosassa Springs, Chassahowitzka Springs and Weeki Wachee Springs. Combined, these springs discharge about 900 million gallons of water per day! A spring is a place where ground water discharges from the underlying limestone bedrock to the Earth's surface through a natural opening in the ground. In the Springs Coast Watershed, the Floridan aquifer is close to the land surface, which means that the springs in this watershed are actually exposed portions of the aquifer!
Today, we will travel from the northern part of the Springs Coast Watershed to the southern part of the watershed. Some stops along the way will include Crystal River and Kings Bay, the watershed's coastal and estuarine habitats, Homosassa River, Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, Chassahowitzka Springs, Weeki Wachee River, upland areas such as Spring Hill and Brooksville, and the Pithlachascotee River.
First stop: Crystal River