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What you can do to help springs
Clear water allows visitors to Blue Spring State Park to see deep into the spring’s water.
Florida has long been known for its iconic springs, but those springs are facing many challenges. What happens in a springshed can affect a spring, even if you live or work miles away. Our day-to-day activities that involve chemicals, fertilizers, gas, oil and pesticides, as well as trash and other contaminants, if not properly handled, can threaten the quality of water that reaches the aquifer and springs. Everyone can join with government and stakeholder groups to effect positive changes for Florida’s springs. Here are simple actions that can be taken.
- Apply fertilizers sparingly, if at all.
- Choose fertilizers with low or no phosphates.
- Follow the directions on the bag.
- Choose slow-release, water-insoluble fertilizers.
- Fertilize only during the growing season.
Use chemicals responsibly
- Use pesticides, herbicides and fungicides only when needed.
- Apply chemicals responsibly, following the label’s directions.
- Apply only on affected areas.
- Consider organic or nontoxic solutions.
Minimize harm from stormwater runoff
- Don’t blow yard waste and clippings into storm drains.
- Repair automobile leaks.
- Don’t dump oils, chemicals or paint in your yard or down storm drains.
- Dispose of antifreeze, motor oil and batteries at designated collection centers.
- Pick up pet waste.
Maintain your septic system
- Have the system inspected at least every three years.
- Avoid overuse of household cleaning chemicals.
- Never flush garbage such as papers, plastics, diapers, cat litter or toxic materials, such as pesticides, into the system.
- Keep trees and shrubbery more than 30 feet away from the drainfield.
- Never allow vehicles to drive across or park on the drainfield.
Use native and Florida-friendly plants
- Native and Florida-friendly plants are adapted to Florida’s growing conditions and need less water and fertilizer to thrive.
- These plants provide wildlife habitat and support biodiversity.
- Some nonnative plants are characterized as invasive because they grow and spread rapidly or uncontrollably, overwhelming native species and causing the loss of or degradation of valuable habitats or the displacement or loss of native animal species.
Posted on 9-16-2013