Treehouse Spring

Treehouse Spring is part of the Hornsby Spring system, located north of High Springs in Alachua County, Florida. Treehouse is designated as an Outstanding Florida Spring in the Suwannee River Water Management District. This historic first-magnitude spring encompasses two boils that resurge subterranean river water. The first boil connects to the Santa Fe River Rise cave system. The Santa Fe River returns to the surface through this system after its three-mile underground journey from the River Sink. The second boil at Treehouse emits a resurgence of the Hornsby Run, fed by Treehouse Swallet roughly 800 feet away. The Hornsby-fed boil is dependent on Hornsby Spring’s flow, which has declined in recent decades and ceased altogether for several years in the early 2000s. The dependency of Treehouse Spring on swallet intake causes its discharge to vary significantly depending on rainfall. Although dark, tannic river water flows out through the Treehouse system, the 32-foot-deep boil is great for swimming.

Treehouse Spring, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
Treehouse Spring, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
Treehouse Spring, 2019. Photo by John Moran.
Treehouse Spring, 2019. 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.

Treehouse Spring 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 Treehouse Spring springshed within the Suwannee River Water Management District, as well as a map of the land use within the Treehouse Spring 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.