- 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
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.