5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Casey Fitzgerald
Session Name Panel: Implementing Successful Water Policy through Public/Private Partnerships
Author(s) Casey Fitzgerald,  St. Johns River Water Management District (Presenting Author)
  Collaborative Research Initiative on Sustainability and Protection of Springs
  Many of Florida’s springs require significant (2-4-fold) reductions in nutrient concentrations to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC) standards. In addition, it is likely that many will also need flow protection and/or recovery strategies to meet future Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs). To help address these challenges, the St. Johns River Water Management District has launched a three year work effort that will develop the enhanced scientific foundation necessary to identify the most cost-effective restoration and protection solutions. The key partnership involved is termed the “Collaborative Research Initiative on Sustainability and Protection of Springs,” or CRISPS. This $3 million applied research project with the University of Florida is an essential component of the District’s Springs Protection Initiative. Via a Request for Proposal process, the District engaged the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the UF Water Institute to assist with research, experimentation, data collection and analysis. Collaboration across scientific disciplines and areas of expertise allow the team to perform research and experimentation specifically targeting the uniqueness of spring systems and gather significant ecological data and analyze it from multiple perspectives. The team’s work includes: • Enhancing the scientific foundation for the management of nitrates flowing into the springs • Evaluating whether nitrate reduction alone will be sufficient to restore the balance of nature • Assessing the influence and manageability of other pollutants and stressors Scientists are examining rainfall and runoff quantity and quality; aquifer storage, flow and spring discharge; nitrate sources, nitrate uptake and nitrate loss in soils and groundwater; spring functions and algae abundance. The project is organized into two “super groups” - Springshed and Springs Ecosystem - and six work groups. The structure and function of all of these groups will be described as well as the mechanisms employed to ensure (1) smooth project administration of this complex undertaking and (2) comprehensive integration of the individual work efforts.