Senator Bill Nelson Tours Silver Springs
Marion County commissioners are working on partnering up with the state and federal government on the restoration of Silver Springs.
Chair Kathy Bryant invited Senator Bill Nelson to come see first hand the various issues affecting the environmental health of the springs.
On Tuesday Sen. Nelson and Marion County commissioners toured Silver Springs.
The group took a ride on the popular glass bottom boat.
Many of them reminiscing about how they remember the springs, many years ago.
"It was much clearer. You could see to the bottom. It was beautiful," said Commissioner David Moore.
They all agree, all that has changed.
"There's just a lot of algae growing that you don't see near the fish you use to have and the clarity of the water is down. There are several reasons the flow of the springs is down about 50 percent from what it was years ago,' said Commissioner Earl Arnett.
Sen. Nelson and county commissioners believe the degradation of the springs is not only an issue in Marion County.
"The springs have to be restored because it's part of our heritage. It's part of our history. It's part of Florida," said Sen. Nelson.
Nelson said in order to save the springs we have to reverse changes in our environment.
"It's not only nitrates. It's taking too much water out of the aquifer and what we are seeing is salt water intrusion as a result," said Nelson.
He believes run off water is another reason for the poor conditions in Silver Springs.
Sen. Nelson told commissioners, Marion County is eligible for federal money to clean up nitrate pollution in the springs, but no promises were made.
"There is a pot of money of $6 million that's available for Florida, but that's state wide so there'll be competition," said Sen. Nelson.
The county must apply for the grant before restoring what they call " a gem"
Silver springs will be transformed into a state park on October first of this year.
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