Florida has one of the largest number of freshwater springs in the world. More than 300 are known in the state! Many springs are so small they only cause a trickle, while others are considered to be the deepest and largest known springs in the world. The Hillsborough River Watershed has two named springs – Crystal Springs and Sulphur Springs.
Crystal Springs is a natural spring near Zephyrhills that is a major source of fresh, clean water for the Hillsborough River. This fresh, clean water is important to people, plants and animals such as bobcats, raccoons, herons, ibises, turtles and a number of frogs. Recently, though, Crystal Springs is showing a decline in water quality. Experts believe the problem is caused by nitrates, which is a form of nitrogen found in fertilizer. When people use too much fertilizer throughout the landscape, it seeps through the ground and into the aquifer. After many years of traveling through the aquifer, the fertilizer can end up in springs and affect water quality. Thankfully, many people are starting to realize the damage that too much fertilizer, or improper use of fertilizer, can do to our groundwater supply and springs. Today, many homeowners are beginning to use fertilizer correctly, or use less fertilizer or organic fertilizers that do not contain nitrates.
Southwest Florida Water Management District