2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


SCOTT, Thomas M., Florida Geological Survey, 903 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32304 and MEANS, Guy H., FDEP, Florida Geol Survey, 903 W. Tennessee St, Tallahassee, FL 32304-7700, thomas.scott@dep.state.fl.us

The State of Florida, through the Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Parks Service, has preserved geoheritage resources for the education and enjoyment of the public. The sites, designated “State Geological Sites” include Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Florida Caverns State Park and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park. Numerous other parks and preserves include geological features within their boundaries and provide geological information on the features to the public, raising public awareness. Currently, the State Parks system includes springs, swallets, river rises (resurgents), sinkholes, extensive cavern systems and coastal features. The Nature Conservancy (Blowing Rocks Preserve and Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines) and the Federal government (Leon Sinks Geological Area, Alexander Springs and others) also are preserving geological features in Florida. The Florida Geological Survey provides information, interpretations and, often, display materials to the parks and conservation areas.

Florida has more than 700 springs. The springs have been gathering places for prehistoric, historic and present day man. These sites often contain fossils and cultural artifacts of significance. The Florida Governor's Springs Initiative (begun in 2001) provided funding to investigate springs and educate the public on springs' related issues. Recognizing the value these geologic resources, Florida Forever, a State land acquisition program, has purchased hundreds of thousands of acres of ground-water recharge areas aiding in the protection of the aquifers and the springs.

The preservation and management of geoheritage sites and areas relies on educating the public – teaching them what is beneath their feet and out-of-sight. Without the backing of the public and the elected officials, sites of geological importance will continue to be degraded and, subsequently, affect our quality of life. Land-use regulations and best management practices allow for sustainable development in and around the geoheritage areas. Geological surveys must be actively involved in the preservation of the geoheritage sites.