|RIVERS AND SPRINGS
SUBSTRATE: Often sandy, but sometimes exposed limestone,
silt, or clay.
TOPOGRAPHY/HYDROLOGY: Most rivers and streams slow flowing;
some panhandle rivers originate at higher elevations and are faster
flowing; most springs are artesian. Of 24 major rivers, 21 flow
south or west to the Gulf, 2 flow north and east to the Atlantic,
and one flows south to Lake Okeechobee.
VEGETATION/ALGAE: At least 130 species of aquatic plants
in rivers, streams, and adjacent marshes; numerous planktonic algal
species in larger, slow-flowing rivers and various kinds of springs.
FAUNA: Immature stages of many insects and extensive snail
and mollusc fauna in rivers; crayfish common in clear, spring-fed
rivers; at least 126 native fish species, with greatest number in
west; Okaloosa darter, shortnose sturgeon, and West Indian manatee
PROCESSES/DYNAMICS/ABIOTIC FACTORS: Sand-bottom streams
are slightly acidic and moderately colored; swamp-and-bog streams
are very acidic and darkly colored; calcareous streams are cool,
clear, and alkaline; large rivers carry considerable silt and clay
and are always muddy.
HUMAN IMPACTS: Channelization, dredging, diversion, and
dam construction; introduction of exotic plant and fish species;
removal of groundwater, followed by saltwater intrusion; industrial
ANIMALS AND PLANTS NATIVE TO ECOSYSTEM: List of selectable
and plants native to the Rivers and Springs ecosystem, with
detailed descriptions and pictures on each.