Peacock Springs

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Suwannee County is internationally renowned for cave diving. This State Park contains five second magnitude springs and is located in the Suwannee River Water Management District. SCUBA divers travel here from around the world to explore one of the longest cave systems in the United States, with nearly 33,000 feet of passages charted. Over 20,000 people visit the park every year. Many will choose from one of the cave system’s three main entrance points to begin their underwater journey. Several large caverns and narrow points bear names to recognize the unique features they contain. The spring boil and run also offer kayaking and swimming opportunities for those who do not wish to dive. Peacock Springs was originally named after Dr. John Calvin Peacock, who settled in the area in 1855. The park’s name was changed in 2011 to honor the late Wes Skiles, world renowned cave diver and documentary filmmaker whose life’s work was protecting Florida’s water.

Peacock Spring divers, 2018. Photo by John Moran.
Peacock Springs. Photo by John Moran.
Algae at Peacock Springs, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
Algae at Peacock Springs, 2015. Photo by John Moran.
Peacock Springs Algae, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
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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.

Peacock Springs 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.

Wes Skiles points out findings via a videotape, 1987. 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 Peacock Springs springshed within the Suwannee River Water Management District, as well as a map of the land use within the Peacock Springs springshed. To find out more about the Blue Water Audit project and to learn how this tool was developed, visit Blue Water Audit.

DATA AND REPORTS

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.