Made up of a dozen springs, Chassahowitzka Springs is the headwaters of one of the most ecologically healthy rivers in west-central Florida.
About the Springs
Chassahowitzka Springs is made up of a dozen springs that form the headwaters for the Chasshowitzka River, which is a short river that flows 5.6 miles from the headsprings to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico at Chassahowitzka Bay in Citrus County, Florida.
The Chassahowitzka springshed, which contributes groundwater to the Chassahowitzka Springs, is approximately 190 square miles of upland forests, urbanization, agricultural activities and wetland forests. This springshed covers portions of Citrus and Hernando counties.
The Chassahowitzka River is designated an Outstanding Florida Water and the lower half of the river is part of the more than 31,000-acre Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. While the river’s shoreline is mostly natural, the headsprings area contains a small marina with a public boat ramp and many dead-end canals upstream with residential development.
The ecological shifts in the river are caused by sea level rise, coupled with the decline of spring discharge primarily due to a long-term decrease in rainfall. Overall, the tidal river is in good condition with a submerged aquatic vegetation community that can fluctuate in response to salinity changes. While the river is relatively healthy, the springs that make up the headwaters and the upstream canal system are in poor condition, with significant sediment accumulation and unhealthy Lyngbya algae.
The Chassahowitzka River is unique in that it is one of the most ecologically healthy rivers in west-central Florida. The majority of the river is dominated by submerged aquatic vegetation and is surrounded by undeveloped land. It was also designated a Surface Water Improvement and Management priority water body by the District.
- Chassahowitzka Springs Restoration Project (completed)
- Canal Navigation Basin Dredging (proposed)