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Protecting Florida's Springs

Meeting the Requirements of the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act

In 2016, the Florida Legislature identified 30 "Outstanding Florida Springs" that require additional protections to ensure their conservation and restoration for future generations. These protections are included in water quality restoration plans, known as Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). These plans are focused on reducing nitrogen pollution that is impacting the water quality of these springs.

sunrise on the Wakulla River at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park

The legislation requires each BMAP to identify the sources of nitrogen pollution within the springshed, and to include projects and strategies that will achieve the reductions needed to improve water quality in the region. Thirty springs are named as Outstanding Florida Springs by this legislation. Through the DEP’s ongoing assessment efforts, 24 of these springs have been found to have excess levels of nitrogen pollution, particularly nitrate. Sources of nitrogen in these systems can include wastewater, water from septic tanks, stormwater runoff, and fertilizer runoff from both urban and agricultural lands.

DEP worked with stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive nutrient source inventory and used the inventories to identify the projects and strategies needed to address these sources and achieve the required nitrogen reductions. Nitrogen from agricultural sources and septic tanks has a greater impact on some springs than others, so the BMAPs contain a tailored mix of strategies.

During the development of the springs BMAPs to meet the requirements of the 2016 Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act, five individual BMAPs were challenged which resulted in delaying the effective dates for implementation. The Wekiwa and Rock Springs BMAP is effective as of May 18, 2021. The Santa Fe River, Silver Springs and Upper Silver River and Rainbow Spring Group and Rainbow River, Suwannee River, and Volusia Blue Spring BMAPs are under development. All other springs BMAPs are effective as of Jan. 4, 2019.

General BMAP Information Septic System Requirements Fertilizer Requirements

BMAP Fact Sheet


Upcoming BMAP Meetings

Septic System Fact Sheet

FAQ Homeowners and Realtors 

FAQ Local Governments

FAQ Home Builders

Septic System Permitting

Fertilizer Fact Sheet

Florida-friendly Yards

Agricultural Best Management Practices

Last Modified:
March 29, 2023 - 10:29am

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