Water-Related News

Advocates say so far, Florida’s new plans to heal polluted springs still fall short

As the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) works on required revisions to its Basin Management Action Plans, or BMAPs, some environmental advocates worry the pending changes still won't do enough to restore polluted Florida waters to good health.

BMAPs are supposed to reduce nitrate pollution levels in Florida’s freshwater springs and aquifer/groundwater, per Florida’s Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. That 2016 law identified 30 Outstanding Florida Springs, mandating FDEP to create 20-year water quality improvement plans for any of the 30 OFS determined to be impaired, or polluted.

But BMAPs adopted by FDEP in 2018 don't comply with the law, according to an appellate court's ruling issued last year in a case brought by Florida Springs Council (FSC). The nonprofit advocacy group had argued Florida's BMAPs were “legally and scientifically inadequate”; after losing in court initially, FSC filed an appeal.

Ruling in favor of FSC, the appellate court directed FDEP to produce new BMAPs: ones that would actually work. The new BMAPs must specify and enforce targeted reduction amounts for each category of polluter contributing pollution to a given springshed.