LIVE OAK, FLA., MAY 22, 2023 – As the weather warms and more residents and visitors flock to our local springs, the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) encourages them to “Leave No Litter” and help protect our environment.
The “Leave No Litter” campaign, which kicks off this week ahead of the busy Memorial Day weekend, urges residents and visitors alike to enjoy local springs, rivers, lakes, and District lands responsibly by picking up trash and being good stewards of the environment. The District will incorporate these messages into social media posts throughout the week, and again during peak tourism times around the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.
“Litter does not belong in our natural landscape and distracts from the beauty of Florida’s natural water resources. Litter and debris can even lead to restricted water flow and pollute healthy springs,” said Hugh Thomas, Executive Director of the District. “Waste and litter can also make them unfit for swimming, spur the growth of algae blooms, as well as impact wildlife and cause serious ecological harm.”
Additionally, the District hopes to educate residents and visitors of the importance of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) that can be found along the bottoms of some of our most recreated springs, such as the Ichetucknee and Gilchrist Blue. These plants provide important food and habitat and can serve as an important indicator of the health of a system.
While litter can be harmful to these aquatic plants, so can humans – standing on or trampling SAV can help destroy this native vegetation and encourage the growth of invasive plants and algae, which can be harmful to our water resources.
“SAV is important to the health of our springs,” Thomas said. “When visitors get out of tubes or kayaks or drag their feet along the bottom of a spring or remove native vegetation it can cause significant harm to submerged aquatic vegetation. We ask that people be careful of where they walk and do their best not to disturb this important natural part of our environment.”
The mission of the Suwannee River Water Management District is to protect and manage water resources using science-based solutions to support natural systems and the needs of the public. The District holds true to the belief of water for nature, water for people. Headquartered in Live Oak, Florida, the District serves 15 surrounding north-central Florida counties.
For more information about the District, visit www.MySuwanneeRiver.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.