Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve – 4K 360 Overview Video

“Welcome to Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve,
protecting 150 acres of submerged lands in north central Florida. The preserve is one of four freshwater aquatic
preserves in Florida. And Rainbow Springs is the fourth largest
in Florida. Its natural beauty both above and below the
water’s surface are what draw visitors and residents. The springs have been described as ‘liquid
bowls of light,’ and it’s not difficult to see why. To protect this precious resource, Rainbow
Springs was designated a Florida freshwater aquatic preserve in 1972. Along with being named “Outstanding Florida
Water,” the area was given the highest available protection for its waters and its essential
submerged environment. Department of Environmental Protection staff
work daily to maintain and monitor the integrated ecosystem of the springs, both in and out
of the water. For instance, DEP staff work with volunteers
to improve habitat for wood ducks by monitoring and maintaining 50 nesting boxes. Students from Eckerd College help study fresh
water turtles. The turtles are collected, measured and evaluated,
then released back into the river. The data allows DEP staff to better understand
how turtles live in the river ecosystem. The aquatic grass communities also are monitored. These grasses not only provide habitat for
the turtles, they help with the clarity of the water. The crystal-clear water is what draws visitors
to the spring, so each month DEP staff conduct water quality sampling to measure the nutrient
levels in the water and test the spring’s clarity, which can reach up to 200 feet of
visibility. It’s precisely because of the care our staff
takes toward the health of these waters, visitors to Rainbow Springs may enjoy a variety of
activities. Swimmers enjoy the “liquid bowls of light”
in the sandy shallows near the headspring. Near the campground, snorkelers and divers
take in the breathless view of the underwater aquatic world that includes fish, grasses
and an occasional otter. On the surface, fisherman cast lines into
the grass beds in search of lurking bass and bluegill. Kayaks and paddleboards are a great way to
soak up the sun, appreciating the natural beauty, while gliding through the tranquil
waters of the aquatic preserve. Come and appreciate the clarity and the tranquility
for yourself. Visit Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve today. For more information visit FloridaDEP.gov/AP.

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