Wakulla Springs Protection Project

Goals:

Purposes:

  1. To enable the community to know what’s going on to protect Wakulla Springs, where and how to engage, including web links to agency and non-profit organization information and resources;
  2. To organize Wakulla Springs Community Support Day events in Tallahassee/Leon County/Wakulla County to be held in at dates and locations to be determined; and
  3. To ensure that the lead advocacy non-profit organizations have Community Support to protect Wakulla Springs. This includes the ability to enforce the law, and to fund Wakulla Springs State Park maintenance, improvements and staff support. Most urgent is to ensure protection through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Wakulla Springs Basin Management Action Plan, which must be adopted by July 1, 2018.

Challenges:

Nitrogen
The greatest challenge to Wakulla Springs protection is reducing the nitrogen concentration in our groundwater and surface water within the springshed (particularly nitrate and nitrite, which are easily available for algae and nuisance species, causing harm to a healthy ecosystem within the springs). The currently required nitrate-nitrogen concentration to protect Wakulla Springs is 0.35 milligrams per liter of water (nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL). The nitrate concentration has been substantially reduced over the last 15 years by the elimination of cattle, fertilizer and biosolid application at the City of Tallahassee’s Treated Wastewater Sprayfield, and by the City’s T.P. Smith Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrade which improved its nitrate removal by approximately 80 percent. Now the biggest source of the nitrate/nitrite is the thousands of septic tanks. But fertilizer, animal waste and stormwater to lakes connected to the springs are also a problem. And population growth will add to the challenge.

Nitrate Concentration graphic

Wakulla Springs Septic Tanks

Nitrogen load source category pie chart

The Wakulla Springs Alliance has prepared a Septic Tank Mitigation Pamphlet

An historical perspective on Saving Wakulla Springs by Jim Stevenson

WCTV Video – Wakulla Springs Lead Story on Earth Day 2018

The Law & its Implementation
The Florida Springs Protection Act of 2016 requires that a Wakulla Springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) be adopted by July 1, 2018 to identify the necessary projects and programs (including a septic tank remediation plan) to implement and achieve the nutrient TMDL within 20 years. Unfortunately, the draft BMAPs for other Outstanding Florida Springs including Volusia Blue Spring, Crystal River/Kings Bay, Wekiva Springs, and the Suwannee River have resulted in a compendium of criticisms by springs advocates. These may result in legal challenges to some of the BMAPs, and have identified necessary improvements to the law.

Florida Springs Protection Act Sham

House Amendment Bill No. CS/CS/HB 1149