What’s going on?
In February 2022, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission passed a rule allowing the designation of protection zones for certain first, second, and third magnitude springs in Florida. Within these zones, there are (1) restrictions on the speed and operation of boating vessels or (2) prohibitions on anchoring, mooring, beaching, or grounding of boating vessels.
Why it matters.
Florida springs supply 90% of Florida’s drinking water, provide recreational opportunities, and play critical ecological roles, acting as freshwater habitats for manatees and many other plants and animals. Along with several other human impacts, researchers found that boating activities caused degradation and damage to springs. Continuing worsening conditions would cause problems for vegetation and wildlife reliant on springs and become increasingly complex to solve.
What you can do.
- Continue learning about the importance of springs for Florida’s residents (both human and otherwise).
- Reduce your impact on the waterways …
- Support legislation that is working to address spring issues in Florida.
- Learn about one of the first places in Florida to apply this rule: the Weeki Wachee River!
Info from Florida Department of Environmental Protection, The Suncoast News, and Florida Department of State’s Administrative Code, Register and Laws Section.