The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s not hard to see photos of the good plastered all over Instagram, but it shouldn’t divert our attention away from the bad and the ugly. “Algae” is a really broad term thrown around a lot, but there are so many types of algae- macroalgaes that resemble plants, planktonic algae that cause harmful algae blooms in the water column, and periphytic algae like what’s shown in the video and grows on a substrate (to name a few). Not all algae is bad, there is a place for it in the ecosystem, but what we see all over Florida demonstrates an ecological imbalance, wherein heightened nutrient levels encourage heightened algae growth. The periphytic algae in the video is a very common problem here, affecting plants’ ability to photosynthesize and eventually killing them. Plants = habitat, so with them we lose whole ecosystems that are reliant on that habitat. (Recreation also destroys plant habitats due to trampling- most springs and spring runs that are shallow enough to walk in are now devoid of plants.) The decisions and lifestyle choices we make affect our surroundings, so if you want to see healthier springs, eat less meat and dairy (responsible for groundwater overuse/decreased spring flows and heightened nutrients), make sure your septic tanks are properly maintained and see what options you have to connect to a sewer line, reduce fertilizer use and don’t fertilize your lawn in Florida during the summer rainy months (it’s illegal anyway), never drink bottled water, be mindful of your household water use because what comes out of your tap comes out of our aquifer and means decreased spring flows, swim or paddle springs instead of walking in them and trampling them, and so on. The state government is working towards more Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) for our waterways every day, but they can’t wave a magic wand and fix everything because these are complex issues affecting our springs, and they can’t force us to be responsible, that’s on us. What’s important to you and what are you willing to do about it?