HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Hernando County officials have launched a new campaign to protect the Weeki Wachee River.

Thousands of people visit the Weeki Wachee River each year. But, unfortunately the natural wonder people love visiting is slowly deteriorating.

“It’s such a gem of Hernando County,” said Vivianna Bendixson, a Surface Water Improvement Manager with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “And to protect it we want to make sure that it is around for a long time, for our kids and our kids’ kids many years into the future.”

What You Need To Know

But through an ecological study, researchers found that we can all be part of fixing that.

“We have lots of interested stakeholders that meet to discuss the issues that have come out of that ecological study,” Bendixson said. “Some of the things that were shown were pulling the vessels onto the riverbanks and trampling the vegetation and that causes erosion and then you see the sedimentation moving in unnatural ways down the river.”

To avoid the eroding of the river, the study suggests several tips.

Don’t dock on the river banks, do not throw anything in the water, and especially don’t hang on trees - not only for safety reasons, but it can cause damage to the trees. And the waves can cause erosion to the banks.

Bendixson says stay in your kayak or boat when possible.

“If they do have to leave they can tie off in shallow waters, they can avoid climbing on the banks and walking on the standpoint bars,” she said.

That will allow the natural vegetation to grow back which will keep Weeki Wachee River healthy and thriving for generations to come.