Silver Springs is a first-magnitude spring located in Marion County. The springs and the associated Silver River are popular recreation destinations enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. In 1987 Silver Springs and Silver River were designated Outstanding Florida Waters (OFWs) for their many exceptional natural attributes and in 2016 the spring was designated as an Outstanding Florida Springs (OFS).
The district has developed three draft minimum flows for Silver Springs based on criteria established from vegetation, soils and topography data. The adopted MFLs will protect the structure and function of wetlands and aquatic habitats, as well as other ecological functions and values. The recommended minimum flows protect 94 percent of the long-term average flows. Of the allowed 6 percent reduction, approximately 3.5 percent has already occurred, leaving about 2.5 percent of additional allowable reduction. Analyses also indicate, based upon current water use projections, groundwater pumping will cause the MFLs to no longer be met in approximately 2025. Therefore, a prevention strategy was adopted concurrent with the minimum flows and includes the necessary projects and regulatory measures to prevent the existing flow from falling below the minimum flow.
The adopted minimum flows and prevention strategy for Silver Springs are summarized in the following reports and appendices.