A Golden Opportunity
Once the largest freshwater spring system in the U. S. and a premiere Florida attraction, Silver Springs’ fragile environment is at risk.
To protect the quality and quantity of water flowing through Silver Springs, the Conservation Trust for Florida has helped to protect the remaining private forests near the springhead. The acquisition of the 4,900-acre Silver Springs Forest, which will now be owned and managed by the St. John’s River Water Management District, is the first phase of the larger plan.
Silver Springs Forest will help refill the Floridan Aquifer and reduce nutrient pollution entering the Silver and Oklawaha rivers. It will also provide a vital link between other protected lands creating more habitat for wildlife and recreational opportunities for visitors to Florida’s parks.
To complete the $11.5 million land deal and create Silver Springs Forest, the Conservation Trust for Florida raised nearly $1 million from public and private sources to assist with acquisition costs.
- contributes to an 8-mile buffer zone where forests “capture” rainwater to recharge the aquifer and augment the springs’ flow
- protects the headwaters of two tributaries that flow into the Silver and Ocklawaha rivers
- offers opportunities to restore natural hydrology and improve water quality reduces nitrate pollution into springs and rivers
- provides a corridor for wildlife including the Florida black bear
- increases recreational opportunities and links Indian Lake State Forest and Silver Springs State Park via a proposed public trail