Current condition: Poor and declining
According to the best available GIS information at this time, there are approximately 570 springs arising from the Floridian Aquifer, constituting a total spring- run length of about 572 miles (921 km).
This habitat is present in the north and central regions of Florida, in most of the same areas occupied by Calcareous Stream habitat, where underlying limestone is close to the surface. Spring and Spring Run often represent headwaters or low-order tributaries of, and thus share many characteristics with Calcareous Streams. The Spring and Spring Run originate from and have direct outflow as artesian openings in the underground, limestone, Floridan aquifer.
Because of the calcareous nature of the limestone aquifer, the outflow from most springs carries dissolved mineral ions such as calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, sulfate, and sodium. Springs typically have high water clarity, low sedimentation, stable channels, and openings that are less than 40 feet (12.2 m) wide. Individual springs are stable systems, with very little change in water temperature, water flow, or chemical composition, but those characteristics can vary from one spring to the next. The bottoms of spring runs are generally sand or exposed limestone along a central, stable channel. Vegetation in Spring and Spring Run consists of submerged aquatic vegetation, aquatic algae covering limestone outcroppings, and species such as tape grass, wild rice, and giant cutgrass located in the spring runs. The constant temperatures of springs provide essential habitat for manatees and some species of fish. Examples of Spring and Spring Run include Silver Springs, Manatee Springs, Spring Creek, Blue Spring, and Rainbow Springs.
Download the Spring and Spring Run chapter from the Action Plan
Visit the Internet Mapping Service (IMS) website to explore detailed, interactive maps of all FWLI habitat categories.
What is being done to conserve Springs and Spring Runs?
Florida has the largest concentration of springs in the world, collectively discharging more than 19 billion gallons of water each day. Springs and spring runs also provide important habitat for many species that have highly restricted ranges and provide a warm-water refuge for animals such as the Florida manatee. Springs are a unique habitat because the land-use practices within a springshed can negatively impact the water quality and quantity of a spring and the well-being of its inhabitants.
The State Wildlife Action Plan describes spring and spring run habitat to be in poor and declining condition and under great threat. For this reason, Florida's Wildlife Legacy Initiative is working with the Florida Springs Initiative and many other partners to support conservation efforts within this priority habitat.
One effort under way is new spring working groups at Volusia Blue Spring and a combined group at Fanning and Manatee springs. The new groups join the rank of six previously established and successful working groups supported by the Department of Environmental Protection. The working groups provide a forum for a wide array of stakeholders to collaborate on projects that enhance, restore and protect the springs. The groups meet quarterly and are open to the public.
For more information, please contact Kevin Kemp or Thomas Kuhn.
View Spring Project Posters
Additional current and recent projects being done by a variety of conservation partners to restore and maintain springs include:
What wildlife species will benefit?