By| Brianna Hicks
Wakulla Springs, once known for its clear water and glass bottom boat tours, has become a target of improvement. The attraction was once well loved by residents of Wakulla and surrounding cities. The attraction, however, became extremely popular internationally after Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, released in 1941, and Creature From The Black Lagoon, produced in 1953, were both filmed in the spring. Over 50 years later the spring is still being impacted. The spring is now plagued by brown sludge and growing numbers of harmful algae.
Florida springs are particularly important because they are the home to many plants, and animals in the ecosystem. Without natural springs we would not have the many different water springs that are available. Springs are not being protected therefore they are at risk of becoming a dumping ground.
Florida Tourism is another factor that impacts the spring. The state park gives the tourist a range of options. The Wakulla Springs Alliance says there are an estimated 25,000 visitors to the state park each year. Tourists have the opportunity to swim and dive in the lake, take a boat ride around the spring to see the many different freshwater animals and plants, host events and camp to enjoy the scenery. There is something for everyone. However, not everyone is aware of the damage, the park is sometimes negatively impacted.
There have been efforts to restore the beautiful spring. According to the data presented by the Dept. of Environment Protection, Wakulla Springs will receive 1,066,280 dollars in funding to assist in restoration efforts. The spring has been victim to pollution coming from Leon and Wakulla Counties. There have been efforts to reduce the number of sewers and to minimize the amount of sewage that drains into the spring.
Though efforts are well thought out, some forces of pollution and destruction cannot be stopped. Hurricanes and other storms impact the wildlife of the springs. Trees and other vegetation often get uprooted due to strong hurricane winds. According to Hurricane Science, “After the passage of Hurricane Andrew, almost 100% of the mangrove trees displayed some visible structural damage. High winds and tidal surges caused about 60% of the trees to become either uprooted or broken, and about 25% of the unbroken, upright trees were dead.” The only step that can be taken is to try to take care of the debris caused by the dominant forces.
Springs are the backbone for vegetation and wildlife and deserve to be protected. Be wise of things being dumped into sewage systems because they are all connected and eventually drain into local springs.