District's Springs Experts to Begin Improvements at Chassahowitzka Springs

News Release

The "Southwest Florida Water Management District's":http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/ (District) team of springs experts will begin the Chassahowitzka Springs sediment removal project the week of May 27, 2013. Eliminating the sand and organic materials that have deposited at the bottom of the spring over time will improve the recreational, economical and ecological value of the Chassahowitzka waterway, resulting in a cleaner, more historic looking body of water.

The District contracted with Underwater Engineering Services, Inc. (UESI), a marine construction company based in Fort Pierce, Florida, to complete the sediment removal. The project is scheduled to be completed in September 2013. UESI divers will remove the damaging nutrient-rich sediments from the headsprings by using a pump that works much like a swimming pool vacuum. The sand and water mixture moves through hoses to fabric bags where clear water filters out leaving the sediments in the bags. The bags are then removed and the sediments are used as a soil supplement on nearby private property.

The project is divided into different phases, including several weeks for site preparation, a few weeks for the installation of piping, tanks and other machinery and 10 weeks for the sediment removal operations.

The Chassahowitzka headsprings are rich in both prehistoric and historic artifacts. To protect and conserve these non-renewable cultural resources, UESI contracted with Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) to develop a plan to first survey the springs' basin and then monitor the sediment removal operation. SEARCH will identify and evaluate any cultural resources discovered for their National Register eligibility. Once identified, the artifacts will be documented by SEARCH and cataloged by the Division of Historical Resources in Tallahassee. The items will then be returned to Citrus County for public display. SEARCH and the District will also conduct a Public Archaeology event at the Chassahowitzka Headsprings to educate participants about the resources encountered during the survey and promote preservation of cultural materials found in Florida's springs.