Wakulla Spring

Wakulla County’s Wakulla Spring is in the Northwest Florida Water Management District and is a designated Outstanding Florida Spring. This first magnitude spring is known as the “Gem of Northwest Florida,” and is the largest and deepest freshwater spring in the world. Wakulla Spring discharges approximately 300 million gallons of water per day and is the main source of flow for the Wakulla River. Its warmer waters provide a refuge for manatees during cold winter monthsWakulla also indirectly supports the endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle by providing a freshwater source to the St. Marks River, which flows into the Apalachee Bay estuary. Wakulla Spring is in Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Parkwhere visitors can hike, swim, picnic, and take boat tours. The spring vent is 180 feet below the water’s surface and is the entrance to a massive network of caverns and tunnels. Cave diving is not permitted. 

Wakulla Springs. Photo by John Moran
Wakulla Springs, 2015.
Photo by John Moran.
Wakulla Springs, 2018. 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.

Wakulla 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.

Wakulla Springs, 1967. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Wakulla Springs, 1940. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
Wakulla Springs, 1967. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida.
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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 Wakulla Springs springshed within the Nortthwest Florida Water Management District, as well as a map of the land use within the Wakulla 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.