Lawmakers fail to take up bill to protect springs

6:48 PM, May 2, 2013   |    comments
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Weeki Wachee, FL -- As the current legislative session comes to a close, a bill to help protect Florida's natural springs doesn't even get a hearing. But state Sen. Darren Soto, author of the measure says he's not about to give up.

"With the fact that these springs have been around for thousands of years and had a sharp decline over the last 50 years, it shows the damage that's already been done... and it requires an equally aggressive restoration plan," the Democrat from Kissimmee told 10 News on Thursday.

Soto's plan calls for each of the state's five water management districts to identify ailing springs, develop five-year restoration plans and then file quarterly progress reports.

Another proposal that did not go far according to Soto, was a plan to spend nearly $180 million restoring Florida's natural springs. In the end, the governor included a fraction of that amount in his budget: $10 million.

"I consider $10 million... at least better than nothing."

Experts say fertilizer, excessive groundwater pumping and other factors have negatively impacted the state's springs.

Florida is home to an estimated 1,000 natural springs, the largest such concentration on earth.

Follow 10 News Reporter Preston Rudie on twitter @PrestonRudie

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