Discharge measurements recorded during the study period show that the Chipola River discharge increased from a base flow of approximately 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) at US Highway 90 to 800 cfs at County Road 274 to the south (Figures 5A and 5B). There are small surface water drainage streams entering the Chipola River between US90 and CR274. However, their input cannot account for the dramatic increase in discharge. The vast majority of the increase in flow is attributable to the 63 Floridan Aquifer springs that discharge to the Chipola River. The major tributaries to the Chipola along this section are Rocky Creek, Dry Creek and Spring Creek – the spring runs for first and second magnitude spring groups. The remaining sources for ground water contribution are most likely diffuse, non-point sources such as seeps and sand boils located in the Chipola River channel.
The District made site visits to the 63 springs and made discharge and field water quality measurements where possible. The discharge measurements are presented in Table 1. The system has one first magnitude spring (>100 cfs discharge), Jackson Blue Spring. Nine springs or spring groups are classed as second magnitude (>10 to 100 cfs) and seven are classified as third magnitude (>1 to 10 cfs). Five springs measured are classified as fourth magnitude (>0.22 to 1 cfs). Some of the springs not measured may also fall into the third or fourth magnitude category. Bud Mathis Spring was influenced by wetland sheet flow and was not measured. Hole in the Wall, Shangri-La, Indian Washtub and Twin Caves Springs all discharge directly into Merritt's Mill Pond and could not be measured. Waddell's Mill Pond Spring discharges directly into Waddell's Mill Pond and could not be measured. Leaf Spring and Crack-In-The-Woods discharge directly into the Chipola River and could not be measured. Future discharge measurements may have some effect on the ratings of individual springs.
Quarterly discharge measurements were collected by the NWFWMD at Jackson Blue Spring from January 2002 through April 2004 as part of the effort for first magnitude spring monitoring for the Florida Springs Initiative. The median value of the discharge measurements collected at Jackson Blue Spring during that period is 133 cfs. Spring discharges measured during this inventory are plotted in relation to Jackson Blue discharge in Figure 6. The estimated total discharge for springs inventoried in the Chipola River basin is 366 cfs.