Video: Spring Waters Run Deep (8:81)
Video produced by the St. John’s River Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
There are more than 600 springs in the state of Florida, representing what may be the largest concentration of freshwater springs on Earth.
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been attracted to Florida’s springs for thousands of years.
Native Floridians used them as a source of water and food, while the clay taken from the spring’s bottom was ideal for making arrowheads, spear heads and knives. The first spring dwellers coexisted with prehistoric mastodons, mammoths, ground sloth, giant beaver and giant armadillo.
The Fountain of Youth
When European explorers and early colonists found their way to Florida, they were drawn to springs scattered across central and north Florida, where they served as a critical source of water for drinking and irrigating crops.
In the middle to late 1800s, many of Florida’s springs were magnets for development, attracting settlers, tourists, steamboats and railroads.
Inspired by Ponce de Leon’s legendary quest for the Fountain of Youth, many Florida’s springs were also viewed as having therapeutic qualities, and people flocked to them to soak in the medicinal waters. Health resorts at several springs attracted thousands of tourists in the early 1900s.
Today, Florida’s springs provide recreational opportunities for swimmers, kayakers, wildlife observers and cave divers, and their cool, clear waters continue to attract with unique beauty and diverse wildlife communities, providing important natural, recreational and economic benefits for surrounding communities.
During the winter months, manatees flock to the springs for their warmth — and during summer, swimmers flock there to chill — because of constant temperatures of around 72 degrees.
Ginnie Springs is the most popular freshwater diving location in the world, and the 15 state parks named for springs across Florida attract more than 2 million visitors, contributing nearly $7 million in revenue annually.
The video you are watching
Preserving the water quality of Florida’s springs, while still meeting the needs of Florida residents, visitors and wildlife, is a significant challenge.
The video was produced to educate us about the threats to Florida’s springs and how individuals can reduce their harmful impacts on these essential sources of water.
In the video, divers explore a few of Florida’s springs that draw their water from the underground Floridan Aquifer and feed a great many of the state’s rivers and streams.
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