Florida’s Freshwater Springs
When you think about Florida’s natural waters, what first comes to mind? Do you envision a long coastline with vast sandy beaches? Sunsets overlooking the gulf´s clear waters? Or perhaps you envision the Everglades´ intricate wetlands and gator-ridden swamps?
While we all know that Florida is surrounded by water, few people take inventory of Florida’s freshwater sources and springs. A Spring is defined by the USGS as a naturally occurring place where water flows from an aquifer (underground) to the surface, literally springing up from the earth. So where are they and what do they have to offer residents and tourists alike? Let’s explore four of Florida’s unforgettable freshwater springs, or “hidden gems.”
Four Hidden Gems
Ichetucknee Springs is a crystalline freshwater source that contains 8 major springs and flows 6 miles through shaded hammocks and floodplain forests in Columbia County Florida. Kayaking and paddling are popular choices to enjoy the springs there.
Blue Spring State Park, in Volusia County, offers countless amenities, but most noteworthy of all is the opportunity to see the winter-visiting gentle giants or manatees. Onlookers can see them easily from a long boardwalk in the hammock forest.
Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest offers a gentle-sloping swimming basin, which makes it easier for children to enjoy, and last but not least: Rainbow Springs in Marion County, is said to provide swimmers with magical healing powers, according to legend.
Springs and Drinking Water
These four freshwater springs sprinkle the state´s rich landscape with crystal blue waters, rising from the deep, and they account for a small portion of the many springs in Florida. According to Florida Springs Institute, there are nearly 1000 artesian springs! And while many (like those described) offer different recreational opportunities, (like boating, tubing, swimming, diving, or camping), they offer residents more than fun. According to the DEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection), ¨Springs are the window into the health of our groundwater, which is the source of 90% of drinking water for Floridians.¨
Protecting our Springs
This being said Florida waters are precious natural resources, and to ensure they remain crystal clean, it is important to avoid polluting or contaminating them with plastic. One simple way to reduce plastic pollution is to go ¨bottleless,¨ and connect to freshwater sources directly! Businesses are doing this across Florida; in Tampa, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Deerfield Beach, and Orlando bottleless water solutions are being implemented to help reduce plastic pollution and to ensure the purest, cleanest drinking water available. In just nine years, Optimum has been able to replace over 23 million plastic bottles and we are just getting started. Learn how the trend is extending all the way up the coast, and get involved by clicking here. Clearly. Pure. Water.