Springs Glossary

Click on the letter below to link to the glossary* term.

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A layer of underground rock or sand that stores and transports water. It is the primary source of our drinking water and water flowing from springs.


Best Management Practice (BMP)

Non-regulatory methods designed to minimize harm to the environment.

Basin Management Action Plan

Basin Management Action Plans are FDEPs “blueprint” for protecting impaired waters by reducing pollutant loadings to meet the allowable loadings established in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The plan defines a set of strategies such as permit limits on wastewater facilities, urban and agricultural best management practices, conservation programs, financial assistance and revenue generating activities, etc. – designed to implement the pollutant reductions established by the TMDL. These broad-based plans are developed with local stakeholders – they rely on local input and local commitment – and they are adopted by Secretarial Order to be enforceable.


Water turbulance at the top surface of water body indicating the force of a high discharge from a spring vent below.



Chara is a macro algae. They are multicellular and superficially resemble land plants because of stem-like and leaf-like structures.


An amorphous (no defined crystal structure) form of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Utilized by native Americans to make tools and spear points.


Moisture produced when warm water vapor mixes with cool air in the atmosphere to produce clouds or fog.



The negative impact on habitat and ecosystem size or quality resulting from human disturbances or land use changes commonly associated with urban or agricultural development.


Diatoms are a major group of algae, specifically microalgae, found in the oceans, waterways and soils around the world.


Sedimentary rock comprised of the mineral dolomite (Calcium-Magnesium Carbonate)

Drip irrigation

An efficient and targeted form of irrigation in which water is delivered in drops directly to the plants roots at specific rates.



A system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment.


An animal or a plant limited in its distribution to only one or a few places.


A division of geologic time less than a period and greater than an age.


The process by which water transforms from a liquid form to a vapor, often through thermal heating by the sun.


Florida Platform

Broad, carbonate platform that includes the currently above-water portion of Florida and extends below sea-level to about the 300 foot depth.

Flow Levels

The amount of water flowing from a specific body of water such as a stream or a spring, usually measured in cubic feet per second, or millions of gallons per day.



Water stored and transported underground in an aquifer.


Habitat fragmentation

The process by which isolated patches of habitat are created through land clearing and deforestation.

Hydric Hammock

A hardwood plant community in Florida.


Invasive nonnative species

Species of plants or animals that out-compete others at the detriment of native species and the specific habitat with other ecological and possibly physiological impacts.


The process of applying water to a specific area for agriculture or landscaping.



An area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes, underground streams, and caverns.


The process by which acidic water slowly dissolves limestone forming a karst terrain.


Land acquisition

The process of purchasing land for conservation to restrict it from development.


A highly porous rock formed over thousands of years from the compression of shells and the bones of sea animals.


Middle Eocene

A subdivision of the Eocene Epoch that spans the time from 48.6 until 40.4 million years ago. During this time Florida was completely underwater and the carbonate material that would later become the Avon Park Formation was accumulating across Florida.


Non-point source pollution

Pollution that does not come from a single point or location.

Nutrient loading

The introduction of excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphorus from fertilizers into the soil or water.



The process by which water infiltrates the ground by seeping into the spaces between soil particles, sand, and rocks.


An epoch in geological time that spans from 2.6 million until 11,700 years ago. Also known as the Ice Age due to the advance and retreat of continental glaciers

Point source pollution

Contamination that can be traced to a single point or location.

Public supply

Water delivered to homes, schools, and businesses by a utility company.



The process of water seeping into the ground and refilling the aquifer.

Recharge basin

The area within which water seeps into the ground and recharges the groundwater flowing to a specific spring.

Reclaimed water

Water collected and treated after human use.

Retention pond

A manmade pond where stormwater is directed and held.


The use of reclaimed water, such as wastewater, for purposes like landscape irrigation.



The movement of water across a surface in a sheet-like mass instead of within channels or streambeds.


A depression in the land surface caused when rainwater dissolves limestone near the ground surface or as a result of the roof collapse of an underground cave.


The process of cave formation, most often through the dissolution of underground bedrock by rainwater or naturally-occurring acids.

Spring-fed river

A specific type of river fed exclusively by the outflow of water from a spring.


The total land area that contributes rainfall and runoff to a spring or series of connected springs.

Stormwater runoff

Rainwater that runs off of land and surfaces like roads and parking lots into a larger body of water.

Surface water

Water located on the surface of the earth in water bodies such as lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands and the ocean.


A hole in the land through which a stream delivers surface water to the aquifer (considered the opposite of a spring).



The process by which plants give off moisture to the air through the surface of their leaves.


Refers to animals that are adapted to living in caves.


The degree of cloudiness of a water body caused by suspended solids.



An opening that concentrates ground-water discharge at the Earth’s surface, including the bottom of the ocean. Flow from the opening is mostly turbulent.



Water that has been used by humans and is no longer clean.

Water budget

A hydrological formula used by scientists and land managers to determine water surpluses and deficits in a given area.

Water cycle

The continuous cycling of water between the earth and the sky.

Water supply

The total amount of water available for human and other uses.


The total land area that contributes runoff to a body of water.



Landscaping techniques designed to use water efficiently.

*”Florida Waters: A Water Resources Manual from Florida’s Water Management Districts”served as the major source for this glossary. For more information about this manual, contact your local water management district in Florida.

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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.