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Spring run restored at Fanning

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Staff report
State officials announced Thursday that a three-month project to remove sediment from the bottom of the spring run at Fanning Springs State Park is now completed.
The project, aimed at giving manatees greater access to the spring during the winter months, started with a SCUBA diver gently removing sediment with a handheld underwater vacuum, according to a press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The spring is now 2 to 3 feet deeper, and workers on the project, after sifting through about 500 cubic yards of sediment, found several artifacts from a sawmill that was once there at the spring.
Not long after the project began, according to FWC, manatee numbers began increasing. About 20 percent of manatees use florida springs as thermal refuges when temperatures get low. Last year, according to the report, 112 manatees died of cold stress, less than half of what died in 2010.
The effort to restore the spring was a collaboration between FWC, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Nature Conservancy.


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