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Kings Bay to benefit from $37 million Florida spring restoration projects | Environment

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Kings Bay to benefit from $37 million Florida spring restoration projects
Environment, News
Kings Bay to benefit from $37 million Florida spring restoration projects

Crystal River, Florida-- – Thursday, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. joined Senator Charlie Dean and Representatives Elizabeth Porter and Jimmie T. Smith at Hunters Cove, where a living shoreline project to benefit Kings Bay will be constructed.

The project is among ten critical water quality and water quantity springs improvement projects announced Wednesday by Governor Rick Scott. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection selected the projects, leveraging the $10 million from the Florida Families First Budget into a nearly $37 million investment to better the water quality in various springs across the state.

"These projects will have tangible benefits to Kings Bay, as they will reduce nutrients that impair our springs," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. "The Department, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Citrus County and local stakeholders have partnered to improve these natural treasures."

According to FDEP, the Hunters Cove and Three Sisters Restoration projects are designed to improve water quality in Citrus County, with the added benefit of wildlife habitat creation and vegetative restoration. These shoreline stabilization projects will reduce erosion and sediment going into Kings Bay, reinforce the natural banks of Kings Bay and help reach target nutrient reductions to be set in the beginning of 2014.

The erosion and sediment issue will be tackled with the installation of soil bags or limerock edges and the planting of shoreline vegetation to control erosion and provide beneficial habitat. 

The FDEP says other projects selected to benefit Kings Bay include a $2 million project that will connect several private package plants and 250 existing septic tanks to the force maintp reduce the amount of nitrogen by 6,272 pounds. The project will also generate approximately 90,000 gallons per day of reclaimed water that will be used by the Black Diamond Golf Course, reducing consumptive use and groundwater withdrawals.

Another water quality improvement and water quantity project is a cost-share initiative to work with area farmers to implement agricultural best management practices within the Springs Coast region. This project will reduce groundwater withdrawals and nutrient loading to the Upper Floridan Aquifer system, ultimately benefiting the springs systems. Typical projects achieve a 10-20 percent reduction in groundwater use and up to a 30 percent reduction in nutrient loads to groundwater and the springs.

"The work of Governor Scott, DEP, the water management districts and local governments is a strong step to improving these waterbodies," Senator Dean said.

Representative Porter agreed saying, “Improving water quality is important to all Floridians and I thank all partners for working together to make a difference."

As for representative Smith, he highlight the benefits locals will reap from these projects, noting that improving water quality for our communities will ensure "kids will be able to enjoy the beauty of springs now and in the future." 

Environment, News