Groups study how local waters, spread of algae blooms are connected

Posted: 5:46 PM, Aug 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-05 15:10:57-04
Groups study how local waters, spread of algae blooms are connected
Groups study how local waters, spread of algae blooms are connected

WAKULLA COUNTY, FL (WTXL) --  Scientists are doing a special study to better understand the connection between our water systems.

They believe it could help us learn more about the pollution affecting Wakulla Springs.

"Wherever we can get into the cave system below, we go in and lay a guideline and explore whatever tunnels we find. And try to connect them and understand where the water comes from," said Andreas Hagberg, a cave explorer, studying caverns in the area. 

As Hagberg dives 300 feet to the bottom of Indian Springs, he's checking for traces of dye he and his team injected into Lake Iamonia last month. 

"That's 30 miles away and we're waiting for the dye to turn up here and we have a sensor that we put down in the cave that tells us when the dye gets here," said Sean McGlynn, Chair of the Wakulla Springs Alliance.

This dye study is part of McGlynn's research into the relationship between Wakulla Springs and surrounding bodies of water.

They're looking for traces of dye at springs, lakes and sinks through the water basin, trying to show they're all connected.

Through the dye trace study, McGlynn and his team proved Indian Springs water flows directly into Wakulla Springs, and is connected to lakes and streams even 30 miles away.

They hope their research will provide the basis for further water quality improvements in the Wakulla spring shed.

This study shows why the quality of water matters in all our local lakes and streams.

"Anything poured on the land in the spring shed winds up here. Our lakes have a lot of algae. And Wakulla Springs is on the impaired waters list," said McGlynn.

In other words, if harmful algae blooms and pollution are in our local waters, they flow through all these water systems, eventually pouring into Wakulla Springs. 

"I would just encourage people to go out and see these natural resources we have and think about what actually lies below land and try to protect it," said Hagberg.

This group of scientists and activists is working with nature to save one of the country's largest springs, which lies within the longest, deepest cave system in the world. 

To help clean up Florida's springs, the state has implemented a 20-year plan to improve the water quality.

They're starting by installing advanced sewer systems and septic tanks.

McGlynn hopes his research will show the importance of incorporating the entire Wakulla springshed into the state's clean up plan.

To learn how you can help, or just more about this project, click here