What is a spring?
A spring is a natural opening in the ground where water flows directly from the aquifer to the earth?s surface. The source of this fresh water is from seasonal rainfall that soaks into the ground, which is referred to as groundwater. Springs form when groundwater is under pressure and flows up through an opening called a spring vent, supplying flow to a river or other water body. A spring can occur individually or as a group of many springs.
What is the biggest challenge for the springs in Florida?
FloridaSpring.org articulates the threats to the springs of Florida the best:
"Threats to the quality and quantity of water in Florida's aquifer and springs can be classified into three different categories: inputs or the contaminants we put in; outputs or the amount of water we take out of the aquifer; and impacts or the physical damage we cause in and around the spring and downstream spring run."
How are springs formed?
The USGA tells us how springs are formed.
"Springs may be formed in any sort of rock. Small ones are found in many places. In Missouri, the largest springs are formed in limestone and dolomite in the karst topography of the Ozarks. Both dolomite and limestone fracture relatively easily. When weak carbonic acid (formed by rainwater percolating through organic matter in the soil) enters these fractures it dissolves bedrock. When it reaches a horizontal crack or a layer of non-dissolving rock such as sandstone or shale, it begins to cut sideways, forming an underground stream. As the process continues, the water hollows out more rock, eventually admitting an airspace, at which point the spring stream can be considered a cave. This process is supposed to take tens to hundreds of thousands of years to complete."
Why are springs important?
Florida?s springs and their associated rivers and bays have tremendous ecological value, and are home to countless plants and animals. Spring vents are windows into the aquifer, which is the major source of our drinking water.
Additionally, the springs? crystal, calm flows and constant temperatures make them an ideal spot for a variety of recreational opportunities. Some ways people enjoy their beauty are by snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. Many come seeking a glance of the springs? most famous seasonal residents ? the manatee.
That interest translates to a large economic impact for the small communities that surround these systems. Springs generate about 900 jobs. And the state parks associated with some of these springs bring in about one million out-of-state tourists a year, which translates to a $46 million economic impact.
Who protects our springs?
Spring Advocacy groups, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Spring Council all help to protect the Springs of Florida. If you would like to support the springs, click here to visit our support section on the website.
What is the best time of the year to go to springs in Florida?
This varies by each spring. All the springs have different activities available during all types of the year. Camping, Diving, kayaking, canoeing are all activities that friends, family and groups can do together.