Florida’s springs are not eternal– they are being degraded in a variety of ways due to the state’s increasing human population. The magnificent artesian springs in Florida are displaying alarming changes, including reductions in water flow, elevated nutrient concentrations, reductions in natural aquatic vegetation and fish, and increasing populations of filamentous algae. Mother Nature is providing a wake-up call to human society that it is time to clean up our act.
Several stressors are changing our springs. Reduced groundwater levels and increasing nitrate nitrogen concentrations are both indirect effects of human land use decisions. Altered plant and wildlife communities often result from excessive human recreation and aquatic plant management activities. These stresses are obvious to even the most casual observer of springs.
Florida Springs Institute is working toward the vision of having a permanent research center focused on springs and aquatic ecology and education at a major Florida spring. In the meantime, we are devoting our time and energy to developing restoration and management goals for as many springs as possible and advocating for their protection and restoration.
Our principal short-term goal is to raise public and agency awareness about the need to cut back on groundwater extraction and nitrogen loading to groundwater.
The mission of the Florida Springs Institute is to provide a focal point for improving the understanding of springs ecology and to foster the development of science-based education and management actions needed to restore and protect springs throughout Florida.
The Florida Springs Institute fulfills this mission by: