The Florida Springs Council filed administrative challenges to five of the state’s 13 springs restoration and protection plans, including in Alachua and Marion counties.
A Florida environmentalist group filed administrative challenges on Friday to several of the state’s long-term springs protection plans, including those covering Silver and Rainbow springs and the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers.
The Silver and Rainbow springs basins lie in Marion County; the Santa Fe River basin is in Alachua County.
The Florida Springs Council (FSC) also is challenging the plans covering the Suwannee River basin, which extends from the Madison County line at the Georgia border to Levy County, the Volusia Blue Springs basin and the Wekiwa and Rock Springs basin.
The non-profit group, which formed in 2014, states that its mission is to ensure the restoration, preservation and protection of the state’s springs and the Floridan aquifer.
The group argues that the five challenged Basin Management Action Plans, or BMAPS, fall short of the law governing the adoption of the plans. An administrative law judge will hear the challenges and decide if the plans conform to state law and department policies. Eight other BMAPS face no challenge.
The FSC contends the plans they are challenging have common problems, including inadequate plans for cleanup of septic tanks and a lack of details about projects to correct issues.
“If allowed to go into law, these plans will sanction the demise of 15 of Florida’s most ecologically and economically important springs. By filing these challenges, springs groups are banding together and standing up to save their local treasures,” said Ryan Smart, FSC executive director, in a press release.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection began creating the BMAPS after the Legislature passed the Springs and Aquifer Protection Act in 2016. The act identified 30 “outstanding Florida springs” targeted for conservation and restoration. The plans should reduce the amount of nitrogen compounds that enter those springs to improve water quality.
Twenty-four of the 30 identified springs have excessive levels of nitrogen compounds. The compounds can come from wastewater, water from septic tanks, stormwater runoff and fertilizer runoff.
To learn more about the council, visit www.floridaspringscouncil.org.
Contact Carlos E. Medina at email@example.com or at 352-867-4157.