COLLABORATING FOR A BETTER TOMORROW: RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH AIMED AT PROTECTING WAKULLA SPRING
Unfortunately, Wakulla spring is threatened from increased surface water runoff and nitrate contamination. Hydrilla verticillata and species of algae have nearly taken over the spring basin and the water clarity has diminished to the point where the glass bottom boats cannot run for months to years on end. Spring protection in Florida has received considerable attention in recent years, where numerous groups attack the problem from various angles. The problems at Wakulla have led to an exciting collaboration between state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private companies aimed at arresting the declines in quality, and protecting the spring for future generations.
The Hydrogeology Consortium, Florida Geological Survey, Global Underwater Explorers Woodville Karst Plain Project, Wakulla Springs State Park, Florida State University, Hazlett-Kincaid, Inc., Cambrian Ground Water Co., and others have joined forces to conduct focused research to determine the causes for spring degradation, identify possible solutions and disseminate the resulting data and knowledge to the public and the key decision makers. The results to date have been groundbreaking accomplishments in instrumenting and characterizing the karst watershed, expanding community involvement, and increasing political awareness that land-use decisions can have a real and nearly immediate impact on spring water quality. The purpose of this talk is to demonstrate how the key component of these successes has been the collaborative nature of the endeavors. See www.hazlett-kincaid.com/FGS for further details.