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Hydrology, Water Quality, and Aquatic Communities of Selected Springs in the St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida

July 21, 2009

Hydrologic, physicochemical, and aquatic community data were collected and compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey for selected springs within the St. Johns River Water Management District from January 2004 to October 2007. Nine springs were included in this study: Alexander, Apopka, Bugg, De Leon, Gemini, Green, Rock, Silver Glen, and Wekiwa. Urban lands increased in Alexander, Apopka, De Leon, Gemini, Green, and Wekiwa springsheds between 1973 and 2004, accompanied by a loss of forested and/or agricultural lands in most springsheds. Forested cover increased and open surface waters and wetlands decreased in the Bugg and Rock springsheds. Although rainfall did not change significantly over time in each springshed, spring discharge decreased significantly in De Leon, Fern Hammock, Rock, Silver, and Wekiwa Springs. Nitrate concentrations increased significantly with time in Apopka, Fern Hammock, Gemini Springs run, and Juniper Springs, and decreased significantly in Alexander Spring, Bugg Spring run, Rock Springs, and Wekiwa Springs. Phosphorus increased significantly with time in Juniper Springs and decreased significantly in Apopka, De Leon, Rock, Silver Glen, and Wekiwa Springs. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities ranged from relatively low diversity assemblages (Green Spring) to assemblages with high taxonomic richness, diversity, and dominance (Rock and De Leon Springs). Shannon-Wiener diversity index averages among samples pooled by spring were lowest for Apopka Spring and greatest for Rock, Bugg, and Silver Glen Springs. Mean Stream Condition Index for pooled samples per spring was lowest for De Leon and Gemini Springs and highest for Rock and Wekiwa Springs. Mean percentages of very tolerant taxa were lowest for Alexander Spring and highest for Bugg and Green Springs. Fish community richness was lowest for Green Spring, and greatest for Alexander Spring run and Silver Glen Springs. Forty five fish species representing 35 genera and 23 families were collected or observed from all springs in this study. Samples were dominated by centrarchids, cyprinids, fundulids, atherinopsids, and poeciliids.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Hydrology, Water Quality, and Aquatic Communities of Selected Springs in the St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida
DOI 10.3133/sir20095046
Authors Stephen J. Walsh, Leel Knowles, Brian G. Katz, Douglas G. Strom
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2009-5046
Index ID sir20095046
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Florida Integrated Science Center