Falmouth Spring

Falmouth Spring is in Suwannee County and is a designated Outstanding Florida Spring within the Suwannee River Water Management District. This first magnitude spring has the nickname “The Shortest River in the World.” It is a karst window, which is an unroofed section of a cavern that exposes an underground stream formed by cave collapse due to dissolution. This cave is made up of limestone, gypsum, and dolomite rock. Water exits the cave system at a conical depression, flows for 450 feet, then flows underground through a swallet. The spring is located within a 276acre park, called Falmouth Spring Park, managed by the Suwannee River Water Management District that encompasses a mixed hardwood and pine forest. The spring ecosystem is threatened by high nitrate levels and flow reversals by the nearby Suwannee RiverRecreational opportunities include diving, hiking, picnicking, walking on boardwalks, and swimming. 

Falmouth Spring, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
Falmouth Springs, 2017. Photo by John Moran.
Falmouth Springs, 2004. Photo by John Moran.
Falmouth Springs, 2017. Photo by John Moran.

In 2016, the Florida Legislature passed the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act

As part of that law, the state of Florida developed a list of 30 springs that are either historic first-magnitude springs, or of other importance. The term Outstanding Florida Spring (OFS) refers to this list of 30 springs or spring groups. If water quality is found impaired, these springs require a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) to achieve water quality standards within a 20-year time frame. 
Falmouth Spring is currently one of the twenty four Outstanding Florida Springs or Springs Groups that is considered “impaired”.

Historic images

The following images were provided courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. This incredible photographic library provides a window into the historic spring landscape, documenting changing spring and surface water levels, as well as human use and development in this special location.

Falmouth Spring, 1913. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Falmouth Spring. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Falmouth Spring, 1926. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Falmouth Spring, 1946.
Photo courtesy of the
State Archives of Florida.

Science Hub

This is the location for access to data related to this spring. Below, you will find links to reports, data, as well as maps and information from the Florida Springs Institute’s Blue Water Audit project about this particular spring or spring group. 

The Blue Water Audit is a tool developed by the Florida Springs Institute to estimate and visualize the impact of human activities on the Floridan Aquifer. Using existing data from a variety of sources, the Blue Water Audit estimates nitrogen loading and groundwater withdrawals for the Florida Springs Region. These estimates are used to assign Aquifer Footprints – a Floridan Aquifer Nitrogen Footprint (water quality) and a Floridan Aquifer Groundwater Footprint (water quantity). Below are maps of the Blue Water Audit Floridan Aquifer Nitrogen footprint for the Falmouth Springs springshed within the Suwannee River Water Management District, as well as a map of the land use within the Falmouth Springs springshed. To find out more about the Blue Water Audit project and to learn how this tool was developed, visit Blue Water Audit.

The Interactive Florida Springs Atlas was produced with generous support from the Fish  & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Community Foundation of North Central Florida supported this project through generous support for our Blue Water Audit project.

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The Wacissa Spring Group lies at the northern end of the Aucilla Wildlife Management Area in Jefferson
County and forms the headwaters of the Wacissa River. Over twenty springs form a cluster that runs
along the river. A public boat ramp allows for easy access to the core of the spring cluster. This dense
core contains Log, Thomas, Wacissa #1-4, and Acuilla springs, which together form a large bowl of fast-
flowing water. Along the run, large patches of Coontail compete with beds of Hydrilla beneath the clear
water. The combined magnitude and isolation of the Wacissa springs make the location one of the most
pristine in the state, earning the system a spot on the list of OFSs despite none of the individual springs
flowing at the first magnitude.