Those hoping to dip their toes into Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River Florida this summer are going to have to wait a little while longer. A restorative project beginning today, April 1, is closing down the entirety of the 57-acre property to public access.
According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), human and manatee activity has caused the canal surrounding Three Sisters Springs to erode. This erosion causes sediments to enter into the spring vent, making the waters cloudy, causing trees along the shoreline to collapse, and ultimately resulting in loss of vital habitats for Florida's marine life, as well as a decrease in water clarity.
"This closure is necessary to protect in water recreational users and Refuge visitors from conflicts with construction." the Three Sisters Springs Canal Stabilization Project overview reads, in part.
The shore surrounding the springs was last restored in 2016, with the latest closure coming to continue more work on the shoreline that extends from the mouth of the spring run, to around the area of Idiot's Delight Spring — all with an aim to improve Crystal River and Kings Bay's spring system by restoring the habitats of species critical to environmental health and diversity.
"These improvements will benefit the Crystal River/Kings Bay spring system by restoring habitat, including critical manatee habitat and reducing erosion along the shoreline of the Three Sisters property." the overview continues.
You can see the project map below:
SWFWMD will work together with the City of Crystal River, as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service to complete the project. Just how long will you be waiting for your trip to Three Sisters Springs?
About 8 months. As of publication, the project is anticipated to be completed by November 15, 2023, though it is possible for work to find itself ahead of schedule or knee-deep in delays.
We'll just have to keep our eyes out...and maybe reschedule that kayaking camping trip for another year, unfortunately. Don't want to cancel your trip? Consider going to another location instead — like Rainbow River and their recently reopened tubing season.
Article by Rachael Volpe