Gov. Scott announces distribution plan for springs’ money

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Gov. Rick Scott announced today that $30 million state lawmakers approved this year for Florida’s endangered natural springs would be applied – along with local money — across 27 different projects from the Panhandle to Central Florida.

Using contributions from local governments, agencies and water management districts, $69 million will be spent for projects in 18 springs threatened from groundwater pumping and pollution.

“These nearly $70 million in projects that (the Department of Environmental Protection) is proposing will restore water quality, protect water flow and reduce water consumption,” according to a statement from Scott’s office.

Last year, lawmakers selected $10 million in the state budget for protecting Florida’s natural springs.

The money, set for eight regions between Central Florida and the Panhandle, has $27 million in matching funds from local governments and organizations.

Scott, during a re-election tour starting Monday, outlined a $1 billion environmental blueprint for Florida that includes funding of $50 million annually over 10 years for springs’ restoration.

Among the Florida springs directly benefiting from the current year’s funding: Fanning, Levy Blue, Jackson Blue, Wakulla, Volusia Blue, Silver, Wekiva, Aripeka, Chassahowitzka and Crystal Springs, the Ichetucknee, Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers and Lake Panasoffkee, as well as springs linked to Econfina and Holmes creeks.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.