Spread the word, April is Springs Protection Awareness Month in Florida!
There are more than seven hundred identified springs in the State of Florida, all of which have become threatened in varying degrees by anthropological activities and other factors. As such, many of the water management districts (WMDs) have established “Spring Teams” comprised of in-house experts charged with evaluating and applying a variety of techniques such as regulation, monitoring, research and development, restoration, and education to relieve stresses, which have diminished water quantity and quality observed at the springs. These Teams are a vital part in keeping our springs healthy throughout Florida.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District, which is headquartered in Brooksville, Florida, has adopted Resolution NO: 17-03 stating that April be Springs Protection Awareness Month.
There are more than 150 documented springs as well as thousands of undocumented springs and seeps in the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The District has five, first-magnitude spring groups that discharge more than one billion gallons of water per day. These groups are important not only for their ecological value but also for their economic impact on the communities that call these areas home. The Southwest Florida Water Management District, in partnership with the various stakeholders, are committed to implementing projects to conserve and restore the ecological balance of these spring systems in Hernando County.
One of Hernando County’s most famous springs is Weeki Wachi Springs. Weeki Wachee Springs is a natural tourist attraction located in Weeki Wachee, Florida, where underwater performances by “mermaids”, women wearing fish tails as well as other fanciful outfits, can be viewed in an aquarium-like setting in the spring of the Weeki Wachee River.
The spring was named “Weeki Wachee” by Seminole Indians, which means “Little Spring” or “Winding River” in their language. The attraction was created in 1947 by stunt swimmer and attraction promoter Newt Perry, who based the show on underwater air hose breathing techniques. First an 18-seat theater, then later a newer theater with a capacity of 50, were embedded in the lime rock of the spring with viewing windows below the surface of the water, to allow visitors to watch the mermaids perform in the spring. In 1982, Buccaneer Bay was opened with water slides, a lazy river, and a white sand beach for visitors to enjoy alongside the theater with the mermaid shows.
Come out to Weeki Wachee, or another one of Hernando County’s 150 springs this April to support your local springs.