Three Sisters Springs is a complex of three spring areas, with many vents and sand boils that help feed Kings Bay, the headwaters of Crystal River in Citrus County, Florida. These springs also constitute one of the most important natural warm-water refuges for manatees during winter months when the 72 degree water in the springs is warmer than the Gulf water temperatures.
Almost 40 years ago, Three Sisters Springs was used by Jacques Cousteau to help rehabilitate “Sewer Sam,” a manatee named after he became trapped in a Miami sewer system and was subsequently rescued. Cousteau and his crew and volunteers kept Sam in Three Sisters Springs until the manatee was acclimated to the area and released into Kings Bay. Three Sisters Springs is still used today for the release of rehabilitated manatees.
The previous owners of Three Sisters Springs property had plans to develop the 57 acres of land adjacent to the Three Sisters Springs second magnitude springs and Magnolia Springs first magnitude springs. This development would entail residences and multi-family residences as well as the potential removal of “spring water” to be bottled from the borrow pit dug in the 1980s. The owner initially sought a permit to extract 1.2 million gallons per day.
In response to these plans, Crystal River residents raised funds and worked with government and private foundations in order to preserve this natural phenomenon for future generations.
In July of 2010, the City of Crystal River and several Government agencies purchased the 3 Sisters Springs property, and it is now to be preserved indefinitely.