Media Release

Earth Day Countdown - Springs Protection

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 2:00 PM

8 Days until Earth Day.

Driven by the County Commission's Guiding Vision, everyday is Earth Day in Alachua County.  In April, each day leading up to Earth Day (April 22), the County will be highlighting programs, services, and strategies designed to lead Alachua County into a more sustainable future.

To view all "Earth Day Countdown" press releases on the County's Facebook page, click here and click on the Earth Day tab at the top of the page.

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Alachua County Environmental Protection Department informs residents living in central or western Alachua County, that they live in a springshed for one of the springs on the Santa Fe River. A springshed is the area that contributes groundwater to a spring or group of springs. The western part of Alachua County is limestone covered with a thin layer of sand. Rainfall in this area of Alachua County soaks into the ground and recharges the Floridan aquifer, which supplies water to the springs on the Santa Fe River. This aquifer also supplies County drinking water.

"Our springs are windows to the Floridan Aquifer, and they are important indicators of the environmental condition of our local water resources. Their future depends on the water and land use choices our communities make today" said Chris Bird, Alachua County Environmental Protection Director.

Ways residents can help protect springs:

  • Conserve water
    • Replace turf with drought tolerant native plants
    • Mulch shrubs and trees to retain soil moisture
    • Only irrigate when grass and/or turf shows signs of stress
    • Repair plumbing leaks promptly
    • Install low flow fixtures
  • Eliminate or reduce fertilizer use - use less of it less often
  • Keep pollution sources away from sinkholes (some are a direct path to springs)
  • Maintain septic systems - inspect every 3-5 years and if necessary pump out

Collectively, these springs discharge hundreds of millions of gallons of water per day to the Santa Fe River. Conserving water and reducing pollutants protects the springs.

For more information about springs protection in Alachua County, contact Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Water Resources Supervisor, Gus Olmos at 352-264-6806 or

To learn more about protecting and improving springs, visit and attend the Santa River Springs Basin Working Group meetings.

40 Days of Change - For more information concerning events on and leading up to Earth Day, go to the University of Florida, Office of Sustainability's "40 Days of Change" website by clicking here.



If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).