The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and District have approved five springs restoration projects in Citrus, Hernando and Marion counties. These projects will receive more than $13.4 million in state funding from Governor Rick Scott’s 2015-16 “Keep Florida Working” budget. This funding is expected to leverage over $7 million in matching funds.
These five selected projects will benefit Homosassa, Kings Bay, Rainbow and Weeki Wachee springs.
“I would like to thank Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for providing record funding for springs restoration, and for securing the recurring funding that will allow us to continue to protect springs in the future,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “Combining efforts and resources with local governments, stakeholders and the water management districts enables us to take a more comprehensive and efficient approach to springs protection.”
The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars.
Robert Beltran, executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, said, “We appreciate the Governor’s and the Legislature’s commitment to springs in our district. This funding will allow us to complete significant restoration projects that will allow the citizens of Southwest Florida to continue to enjoy these unique natural resources.”
District projects include:
Garcia Point Septic Project (Citrus County): Through the connection of 88 residential septic systems to Citrus County’s central wastewater collection system, this project will improve water quality within the Homosassa Springs springshed by reducing nonpoint source nutrient loads. The project will be a continuation of efforts to provide wastewater service to residential and commercial developments adjacent to the Homosassa River.
Citrus County Private Package Plant Interconnection Project (Citrus County): This project will connect several private wastewater package plants to Citrus County’s central wastewater collection system. The project will reduce nutrient loading to the Crystal River/Kings Bay and Homosassa Springs springsheds and will also increase the availability of reclaimed water for potential reuse or aquifer recharge. *Fort Island Trail Septic Interconnection Project *(Citrus County): The project will extend Citrus County’s wastewater collection system and eliminate approximately 250 septic systems. This project will reduce nutrient loading to Kings Bay and will also increase the availability of reclaimed water for potential reuse or aquifer recharge.
Infrastructure Development (Marion County): The construction of a new wastewater collection system will reduce existing and future wastewater discharges into the Rainbow Springs springshed. This project benefits Rainbow Springs by reducing nutrient loading and supplying reclaimed water for agricultural and other irrigation needs.
US19 Reclaimed Water Transmission (Hernando County): This project will construct a reclaimed water main to provide up to 1.7 million gallons of reclaimed water per day to the Timber Pines Subdivision and Golf Course for irrigation use. The Weeki Wachee Springs springshed will benefit from reduced nutrients and reduced potable water use, and the project will help ensure a long-term sustainable water supply for the area.
Including these five District projects, a total of 26 projects statewide have been selected to receive $41 million in state funding from Governor Rick Scott’s 2015-16 “Keep Florida Working” budget, and are expected to leverage another $41.8 million in matching funds. This brings the total state and local investment springs projects to $189 million in the last three years.
For a list of all the approved springs projects in the state, click HERE.