Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday almost $37 million in additional funding for water quality and quantity improvements for springs across Northern Florida.
The funds come from a $10 million investment in the 2013 budget, more than $1 million from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the rest coming from local partners.
Today, were announcing important steps were taking to protect and restore springs throughout the Sunshine State, the governor said at a media event in Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka on Wednesday. Floridas springs are important to animal and plant life, and help support Floridas booming tourism industry. This $10 million investment from the Florida Families First Budget will enable state and local partners to protect the quality and quantity of water that flows from our springs. Our commitment to Florida families means doing our part in supporting these natural treasures.
The funding will go to Silver, Wekiwa, Rock, Ichetucknee, Rainbow, Chassahowitzka, Homosassa, Weeki Wachee, Jackson Blue and Williford Springs and springs near the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers and Kings Bay. Silver Springs near Ocala will get the bulk of the funding, getting $20.3 million followed by Ichetucknee with $4.6 million. The Wekiwa Springs group will receive $3.5 million. Kings Bay by Crystal River will get $2.9 million while the Suwanee River Springs will receive $1.9 million. Williford Spring is penciled in to receive $1.3 million while Jackson Blue Spring, which is also on the Panhandle, will get $1.2 million. Springs on the Spring Coast will receive $875,000.
These projects will illustrate what can be accomplished when the state invests wisely to support and supplement department and water management district restoration programs, said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. on Wednesday. Much more needs to be done, but these projects can pave the way to restoring some of our most iconic springs.
Scott has increasingly turned to water management issues in recent weeks. Last month, he committed more than $130 million to waterways in South Florida.He has also filed suit against the state of Georgia regarding water quality in the Apalachicola region.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.