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DEP To Consider Widening Crawfordville Highway At Friday Meeting

Kate Payne

Conservationists are making a final push against plans to widen Crawfordville Highway, which they say will harm nearby Wakulla Springs. The effort to add two lanes of traffic to the road is years in the making, as a way to facilitate commuter traffic between Wakulla and Leon Counties. The design includes four storm-water ponds, and requires the use of forty-two acres of park land. Bob Deyle is a retired professor of environmental planning at Florida State University, and vice chair of the Wakulla Springs Alliance.

“We calculate that there’ll be about a 12 times increase in the amount of nitrogen that will be delivered to the groundwater as result of installing these ponds,” Deyle said.

Nitrogen and other nutrients fuel harmful algae blooms in the springs. Deyle says septic tanks in the Wakulla Springs Basin contribute the majority of the nutrient runoff. But he says the state shouldn't choose to knowingly add to the pollution.

"When you're trying to reduce, you don't want to add to it," Deyle said.

Deyle hopes the state will incorporate newer storm water pond designs that break down and absorb the nitrogen before it reaches the groundwater.

A Department of Environmental Protection council will consider the plan at a 9 o’clock meeting on Friday morning, and could vote to approve it then.