SILVER SPRINGS - THE CROWN JEWEL OF FLORIDA
An excerpt from Restoring Silver Springs: An Action Plan
Developed by Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, Inc.
Silver Springs and the Silver River are located east of Ocala in Marion County and near the center of the Florida peninsula. Silver Springs includes at least 25 named artesian springs that comprise a first magnitude spring group, and forms the headwaters of the Silver River.
Not more than thirty years ago Silver Springs had the distinction of being the largest spring in Florida (with a long-term average daily flow greater than 530 million gallons of pure groundwater), the first spring subjected to scientific investigation (in 1859 by Dr. John Le Conte from the University of South Carolina) and perhaps the oldest natural tourist destination in Florida (as described by author Sidney Lanier in 1875).
In spite of those unparalleled qualifications as a natural wonder to be preserved in perpetuity, Silver Springs today is one of the most endangered large springs in Florida. The spring's voluminous flow has declined on average by more than 30 percent, and the pure groundwater praised by dozens of glass-bottom board captains to millions of tourists over the past one hundred years is now contaminated by nitrate-nitrogen at a concentration that is more than 3,100 percent higher than the natural background. An insidious combination of reduced flow, increase nutrient pollution, and a downstream dam that blocks fish migration, has resulted in explosive growth of nuisance algae, substantial reductions in fish and wildlife populations, and very evident deterioration of the aesthetic appeal of this National Natural Landmark.
This excerpt provides a perfect introduction to the Silver Springs Alliance and its reason for existence.
We invite you to look around our website to learn more about the Silver Springs Alliance, our activity and our passion.