FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle Plus

City of Crystal River
I want to...

Three Sisters Springs Wildlife Refuge

Visit Three Sisters
Three Sisters Aerial View
Three Sisters Springs is one of the most beautiful spring system in Kings Bay and the most important for wintering manatees. Three Sisters Springs provides critical habitat for Florida Manatee, a subspecies of the West Indian Manatee, populations that migrate here each winter.
In addition to the establishment of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, manatees are also protected in Kings Bay by seven federal manatee sanctuaries (November-March), and the recent designation (2012) of the entire Kings Bay area as the Kings Bay Manatee Refuge (or Kings Bay Manatee Protection Area).
Idiot's Delight Area with Manatee
Visitor Land access to Three Sisters Springs Refuge to observe the manatees in a favorite location for the winter is available exclusively through their website.
Bank Stabilization Project
Three Sisters Springs Refuge (To Book your Visit to Three Sisters Springs)
Gentle Giants - Healthy Living Article and Hometown Values Advertisement
Bank Stabilization Project

Key Messages for the Three Sisters Springs Bank Stabilization Project

  • Improving habitat is a goal of the District’s Springs Team as well as of this restoration project.
  • Restoring the shoreline provides a healthier habitat and a better, safer experience for visitors.
  • The bank is damaged and needs to be repaired.
  • The restoration work will take six months.
  • The springs and property need to be closed during this work to ensure safety to the public.
  • Manatee protection conditions will be in place during construction to prevent any interactions that might harm manatees or other wildlife.
  • The entire Three Sisters Springs property and all water access to the springs will be closing the end of April and will remain closed until project completion or November, whichever comes first.
  • The property will reopen before the start of manatee season and will not interfere with manatees seeking winter refuge in the springs.
  • The District, the City and USFWS all agree the closure is necessary for the safety of visitors.
  • The District will be restoring habitat and stabilizing the bank around Three Sisters Springs to repair the eroded shoreline and prevent future erosion.
  • These improvements will benefit the Crystal River/Kings Bay spring system by restoring habitat, including critical manatee habitat, and increasing the safety of people.
  • USFWS requested the District complete this project due to the deterioration of the shoreline.
  • Only dead or very unstable trees and vegetation will be removed from the shoreline.
  • Native vegetation will be planted along the shoreline to enhance the natural appearance of the spring system and help stabilize the bank.
  • Construction materials, like large limestone boulders and heavy equipment, will be stored and operated at the project site before and during construction, but the area will be returned to its original condition after the project.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will be implemented a shoreline restoration project around Three Sisters Springs to repair the eroded shoreline and prevent future erosion.  Construction began April 2016 and was completed by November 2016. For safety, the entire property and all access to the springs will be closed to the public during construction. 

The shoreline surrounding the springs is eroded and undercut from years of manatee and human activity. The erosion has caused sediments to enter the spring vents, fallen trees and a loss of habitat. It is also a safety concern for visitors. The need for this restoration work has been recognized since 2010 when the property was purchased for conservation. The bank will be stabilized by filling undercut areas with soil bags and reinforcing the shoreline with limestone boulders. The installation of native wetland plants around the new shoreline will provide additional stabilization, help trap pollutants from storm water runoff and improve the habitat of Three Sisters Springs.

The Three Sisters Springs property is co-owned by the District and the City of Crystal River. It is managed by the City and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For the safety of visitors, all three parties agree the property needs to be closed to the public during the project.
Three Sisters Springs property and all access to the springs was closed during a multi-month construction project to restore and stabilize the shoreline.

For More Information visit WaterMatters.org

City Logo

City of Crystal River

123 NW HWY 19, Crystal River, FL 34428

Ph: (352) 795-4216

Contact Us