LIVE OAK, FLA., July 22, 2020 – The springhouse at Suwannee Springs is temporarily closed due to unsafe conditions. Recent river flooding caused large amounts of debris and sediment to enter the springhouse and damage the stairway. The Suwannee River Water Management District (District) is partnering with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to remove the debris and repair the damages.
In June, large rainfall amounts caused by Tropical Storm Cristobal resulted in high river levels on the Upper Suwannee River. At Suwannee Springs, the river rose above the springhouse wall. The interior of the springhouse caught branches, logs and sediment from the floodwaters. Boards are missing from the wooden staircase entering the spring, which has resulted in unsafe access conditions.
“The safety of our residents and visitors is our top priority and has guided us in the decision to close the springhouse temporarily,” said Hugh Thomas, executive director of the District. “Our land management team is taking the necessary steps to clean out the debris and repair the damages quickly and efficiently.”
Currently, the District is consulting with contractors to evaluate methods to remove the debris and sediment from the springhouse. The springhouse will be closed until all materials are removed, the staircase is repaired and the site is safe for public use. Even though the springhouse is closed, the riverbank and land surrounding the springhouse are open to residents and visitors to enjoy.
Suwannee Springs is a sulfur spring located eight miles north of Live Oak. It is one of Florida’s original tourist destinations. From the civil war to the 1920s, the site had a succession of four wooden hotels, a bathhouse and many private cottages. People came from all over the east coast to swim in the spring that was rumored to cure illnesses.
The springhouse at Suwannee Springs is on sovereign land owned by the State of Florida. The District manages the springhouse for recreational purposes. The District acquired the 135-acre tract around Suwannee Springs through the Save Our Rivers and Preservation 2000 land conservation programs for flood control, water quality protection and natural resource conservation in 1992.
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 and Twitter, search @SRWMD.