Gainer Spring Group

Bay County’s Gainer Spring Group is in the Northwest Florida Water Management District and is a designated Outstanding Florida Spring. Gainer is a first magnitude spring group that consists of five major and nine minor springs which collectively discharge approximately 100 million gallons of water per day. They were named after William Gainer, a surveyor who discovered this area during a trip with General Andrew Jackson’s army in 1818. Gainer Springs Group is surrounded by scrub pine vegetation and is a beloved recreation spot. It flows into the Econfina River which feeds Deer Point Lake Reservoir, the primary water source for Bay County. Outflows from the reservoir support St. Andrews Bay. 

Emerald Springs, 2015. Photo by John Moran.
Emerald Springs, 2011. Photo by John Moran.
Gainer Springs, 2008. Photo by John Moran.
Gainer Springs, Tadpole Universe, 2014. Photo by John Moran.
Gainer Springs, 2011. Photo by John Moran.
Gainer Springs, 2011. 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.

Gainer Springs Group is currently one of the six Outstanding Florida Springs or Springs Groups that is considered “not impaired”.

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 Gainer Springs Group springshed within the Northwestwest Florida Water Management District, as well as a map of the land use within the Gainer Springs Group 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.