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 will be outlined in 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. For springs that are not meeting water quality standards, DEP must develop BMAPs by July 1, 2018.
The legislation requires each BMAP to identify the sources of nitrogen pollution within the springshed, and include projects and strategies that will achieve the reductions needed to improve both water quality and water quantity 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.
By July 1, 2018, DEP will adopt 13 restoration plans, addressing all 24 nitrogen-impaired Outstanding Florida Springs.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.