HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Florida's more than 20 statewide springs are getting funding boosts to help their restoration, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday.
Along with the $100 million announced last year, the $50 million allotted today makes it the largest two-year investment in springs in the state's history, according to a release.
While the budget was tighter than anticipated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor said it was important to preserve environmental funding.
“Springs of Florida are a huge part of what makes Florida, Florida,” DeSantis said.
The funding will go to aiding in the recovery and provide additional protection for Florida’s springs. Other projects include land acquisition, septic to sewer conversion and water quality improvement efforts, intended to increase aquifer recharge, improve spring flow and protect downstream habitats all the way to the coast.
“Florida’s springs are integral to both our economy and environment,” DeSantis said. “Our state is home to more large springs than any other state in the nation and they serve as a fun source of recreation for our residents and visitors to enjoy. The projects announced today continue our mission to restore and protect our water quality throughout Florida.”
“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEP is engaged in a broad suite of water quality improvement efforts across the state,” DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said. “Of particular importance to the state are those projects tied to springs restoration. This diverse selection of projects will be complemented and enhanced by Department initiatives to increase facility inspections, water quality monitoring, and enforcement.”
According to a release, restoration efforts reflect a collaborative effort with the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders.
Here is a list of the project set to be completed:
Northwest Florida Water Management District: $1.1 million to extend central sewer service to the Tara Estates neighborhood located north of Marianna, including abandoning septic tanks proximate to the Chipola River.
Southwest Florida Water Management District: A total of more than $8.3 million for projects in Marion County that will help protect Rainbow Springs, including Burkitt Road Septic to Sewer, Northwest Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion, Oak Bend I-75 Water Quality Improvement and the 180th Avenue Package Plant Abatement.
St. Johns River Water Management District: $1.1 million for the Apopka West Reuse Storage Facility and Reclaimed Water Extension project that will provide nearly 3.48 million gallons per day of reclaimed water, benefiting Wekiwa and Rock springs.
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