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Water district approves buying 5,000 acres to protect central Florida's famed Silver Springs


PALATKA, Florida — A state water management district plans to purchase almost 5,000 acres around central Florida's famed Silver Springs.

The St. Johns River Water Management District on Tuesday approved buying Silver Springs Forest for $11.5 million. The land is owned by real estate company Rayonier Inc.

Silver Springs is one of Florida's earliest tourist attractions and became famous for its glass-bottom boats. A series of Tarzan movies were filmed there, as was "Creature from the Black Lagoon."

Environmentalists have been concerned about the health of Silver Springs due to heavy pumping of the Florida Aquifer by municipalities and growers.

Earlier this year, the district allowed a Canadian rancher to pump 1.5 million gallons a day from the aquifer into his ranch. An environmental group is appealing the decision.

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