Protecting Florida’s Springs

Join us in the community effort to restore our springs. Here are a few ways you can help:

A spring is only as healthy as its springshed, which is the area of land that contributes water to a spring. Activities within springsheds impact groundwater, and therefore, affect the water flowing from a spring. Help protect local springs by following these tips at home and while visiting a spring.

At home: 

  • Use fertilizer sparingly. Too much fertilizer applied to landscapes can seep into the aquifer or run off into nearby waterways. Use these Florida-Friendly Fertilizing tips to reduce impacts when fertilizing, or hire a Green Industries Best Management Practices certified professional to maintain your lawn.
  • Have septic tanks inspected every two to three years. Septic tanks that are not properly maintained can pollute the groundwater that ultimately emerges from springs.
  • Never dump anything down a storm drain and always dispose of grass clippings, litter, motor oil and pet waste properly to avoid these items entering stormwater ponds, which help prevent flooding and filter out pollutants before they reach water bodies.
  • Plant a buffer zone between the lawn and shoreline and avoid cutting your lawn too short, which reduces its ability to capture and filter water before it enters a stormwater pond or water body.
  • Always dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as industrial cleaners, solvents, automotive fluids and paints at an approved landfill. Never discard of these items or other debris into a sinkhole, which are often directly connected to the aquifer. As a result, hazardous contaminants can seep into the aquifer, our drinking water and springs.

While visiting a spring: 

  • Always dispose of trash properly. Cans, bottles, cigarette butts, plastic bags and other trash can harm water quality and wildlife as well as destroy the natural beauty of the springs.
  • Tubers, swimmers, snorkelers, and divers should avoid standing in vegetation or kicking up silt, barefoot or with fins. Doing so may destroy native vegetation, which can encourage the growth of invasive plants and algae and reduce habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • Boaters should raise the motor in shallow water to avoid destroying native vegetation and wildlife. Row or paddle until reaching deeper water.
  • Boaters should turn off the propeller while waiting for swimmers and tubers to pass safely instead of moving to the side in shallow water where vegetation may be scarred by the propeller.
  • If an anchor must be used, boaters are asked to consider a “mushroom” anchor that grasps and releases the bottom, instead of ‘hooks’ that destroy native vegetation.