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Documentary: Florida’s freshwater springs are in jeopardy

The health and future of Florida’s natural freshwater springs may be in jeopardy, a new documentary suggests.

The two-part series, “The Fellowship of the Springs,” shines a light on the Sunshine State’s unique artesian springs, the threats to their livelihood and the efforts to save them. Both parts of the documentary will air 4-6 p.m. July 8 on WUCF in Central Florida.

Oscar Corral, the film’s director and producer, is based in Miami but fell in love with the springs when traveling with his family.

“I’m somewhat obsessed with Florida’s springs; I love them,” he said. “The springs are incredibly unique. There’s really no place on Earth that has springs like this that are this size, this pristine and under this concentration.

In the documentary, scenes show families and friends enjoying pristine blue waters at Rock Springs, Wekiwa Springs, Devil’s Den, Weeki Wachee Springs and Blue Spring.These “magic waters” are known as tourism destinations, as well as habitats for manatees, turtles and alligators. In addition, the Floridan Aquifer, the source of the springs, provides drinking water for a wide swath of Florida and parts of Georgia.

“We believe we have the largest concentration of artesian springs, these pressurized springs that come out of a confined aquifer, in the whole world,” said Dr. Robert Knight, director of the Florida Springs Institute. “In their natural state, they’re extremely productive aquatic systems because the water is clear and a constant temperature.”

These more than 1,000 recorded springs represent a unique habitat unseen in many parts of the world. But these beacons of tourism and sustenance in Florida are under threat.