The declining health of Silver Springs, an iconic attraction for generations of Floridians and visitors, is emblematic of challenges to the water resources throughout the state. Over the past few decades, Silver Springs and the Silver River have experienced dramatic increases in nutrient pollution from fertilizer overuse and poorly treated wastewater. The excessive nitrate levels encourage algal growth that adversely affects fish and wildlife and compromises the water’s quality and clarity. Reduced flows resulting from excessive groundwater withdrawals and occasional drought have exacerbated the situation; flows from the springs and the Silver River have declined by more than 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Unaddressed, the decline in Silver Springs will not only adversely impact the overall health of the region’s natural resources, but it could have devastating economic consequences as well. Over a million people visit the springs each year, creating more than $60 million in economic benefits for Marion County. Tourism supports 1,060 jobs in the region, with a payroll of $12.61 million – and every dollar spent by visitors is dependent upon the physical and biological health of the area’s precious water resources.
About Florida Conservation Coalition
The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is devoted to protecting and conserving natural resources that are essential to the quality of life and long-term economic prosperity in the state. The coalition works to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect and properly manage Florida’s rich natural environment, including the supply and quantity of its water resources.