Madison Blue Springs Biological MonitoringClient: Nestl Waters, North America, Inc.
Location: Madison Blue Spring, Madison County, FL
Summary: Madison Blue Spring is one of Florida's 33 first magnitude springs and is located within Madison Blue Spring State Park. Cardno ENTRIX, Inc. was retained by Nestl Waters, North America, Inc. to develop and conduct the biological monitoring component of the Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP) developed as a specific condition of their Water Use Permit issued by the Suwannee River Water Management District. The permit provides for the withdrawal of groundwater in the vicinity of Madison Blue Spring.
The biological monitoring component of the EMP is intended to detect ecological responses to changes in spring discharge and addresses three distinct aquatic habitats: the solution channels leading to Madison Blue Spring, the Madison Blue Spring pool and run, and the Withlacoochee River at the end of the spring run.
Every May and November, surveys of the solution channels leading to Madison Blue Spring are conducted by cave divers to monitor aquatic troglobitic species, collect flow measurements and water samples, and obtain visual images of fauna. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities in the spring pool and run are sampled by scuba divers and ecologists using a modified version of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Stream Condition Index (SCI) protocol (substitution of a Surber sampler instead of a D-frame dipnet to provide for better sampling of the limestone substrate). Macroinvertebrate communities are sampled in the Withlacoochee River upstream and downstream of the spring run using the standard SCI protocol. Field water quality measurements are obtained from the solution channels, spring pool and run, and upstream and Madison Blue Spring Biological Monitoring Program downstream river sites. Water samples are collected from the spring pool, spring run, and Withlacoochee River sites and analyzed for nutrients, major ions, and color. Monitoring began in Fall 2003 and is ongoing.