Weeki Wachee River



  • Weeki Wachee Springs are the headwaters of the Weeki Wachee River
  • The headspring is home to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, which features a water park and the famous underwater mermaid show 
  • Located in Hernando County
  • First magnitude spring: 260-square-mile springshed


Four main challenges exist in the Weeki Wachee River and springshed: 

  • Potential decrease in historic flows
  • Elevated nitrate levels, which can be harmful to aquatic insects, amphibians and fish.
  • Altered aquatic vegetation including increased filamentous Lyngbya algae, which can lead to reduced water clarity and extreme fluctuations in dissolved oxygen, stressing aquatic life.
  • Sedimentation, mostly due to bank erosion, which has smothered aquatic vegetation and other beneficial habitats.


Through cooperation with other government agencies, these challenges are met by:

  • Improve water quality through improvements in local septic tanks, urban and residential fertilizer use, and agricultural operations
  • Improve water quantity through conservation and alternative water supply
  • Improve natural systems through habitat conservation and recreation management
  • Implement management actions and projects identified in the Weeki Wachee River SWIM Plan

Success Indicators

Successful implementation is indicated by:

  • Improved water clarity within the river and headspring
  • Decreased nitrate concentration in the river (<0.20 mg/L)
  • Meeting the required minimum river flow
  • Increased desirable aquatic vegetation and decreased invasive aquatic vegetation including Lyngbya algae


Future goals will be developed through an adaptive management process, always striving to help restore Florida’s natural ecosystems.