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Water in the Environment: Surface Waters

Water rushing over rocks in a stream; photo by Tyler Jones, UF/IFASSprings

Florida springs occur where water in the aquifer flows from underground onto the land surface, forming pools that flow into spring-run streams.

  • Living Green – Springs
  • Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
  • Florida Microplastics Awareness Project— This program is a citizen-science project that was funded by an outreach and education grant from NOAA's Marine Debris Program.
  • Florida Waters Stewardship Program — This program is for Floridians who want to learn more about their local water resources and how to protect and enhance them through community engagement. Visit your local county Extension office to find out if it offers a Florida Waters Stewardship program (find your local office online here.)
  • Water Schools — The UF/IFAS Water School program is for community leaders and elected officials who want to learn about and share innovative solutions for Florida's water-resource issues. Visit your local county Extension office to find out if it offers a Water School program (find your local office online here.)


Florida has hundreds of natural freshwater lakes, the largest being Lake Okeechobee and Lake Apopka. Many small, artificial lakes have been constructed to treat stormwater.

Rivers and Streams

Florida has many freshwater rivers and streams, the longest being the St. Johns, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Suwannee, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico.