Three Sisters Springs Canal Stabilization Project

This project restored habitat, including critical manatee habitat, and will help prevent future erosion of sediment into the spring.

The Three Sisters Springs Canal Stabilization Project is complete and is helping to reduce erosion and restore habitat.  The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manages water access to the springs, which is limited during manatee season from Nov. 15 – April 1. This is to protect manatees seeking refuge in the warm waters of the spring. 

Three Sisters Springs Stabilization Project Map.jpg
Figure 1: Work Area for Three Sisters Springs Canal Stabilization Project (Source: Stantec Consulting Services Inc, June 2021)

Project Overview 

In 2016, the District completed a shoreline restoration at Three Sisters Springs to repair the eroded shoreline and prevent future erosion. To complement this project, the District implemented a shoreline restoration project extending from the mouth of the spring run to around the area of Idiot’s Delight Spring (Figure 1). These improvements benefit the Crystal River/Kings Bay spring system by restoring habitat, including critical manatee habitat and reducing erosion along the shoreline of the Three Sisters property and Idiot’s Delight Spring. 


A fallen tree at Three Sisters Springs.
Figure 2: A fallen tree at confluence of TSS Spring Run and Canal, April 2021 (Photo Credit, Robin Speidel, SWFWMD)


The canal shoreline surrounding the Three Sisters Springs property has been eroded and undercut from years of manatee and human activity. The erosion caused sediments to enter the spring vent, cloud the waters and shoreline trees to collapse (Figure 2), which resulted in loss of habitat and decreased water clarity.

Project Details

The shoreline in the vicinity of Idiot’s Delight was stabilized and reinforced, which aesthetically looks similar to the stabilization project completed at the headsprings in 2016. In addition, a variety of native wetland plants were installed on the restored shoreline. These plants will provide additional shoreline stabilization and help reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff. 

Project Partners

Project partners include: the District, the City of Crystal River and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The Three Sisters Springs property is co-owned by the District and the City of Crystal River. It is managed by the City of Crystal River and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

To get information about visiting Three Sisters Springs by land or water, go to .

Project Timeline 

Construction began in April 2023 and was completed in November 2023.