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July 21, 2017

Message from the Executive Director

Water quality improvement is being seen one project at a time

District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle recently toured the District’s marsh flow-way at the Lake Apopka North Shore to learn about water quality improvements. Providing information and the tour were, from left, Water and Land Resources Division Director Dr. Erich Marzolf, Projects Division Director Karl Hankin and Senior Professional Engineer Robert Naleway.

It’s the time of year in Florida when heat, humidity and afternoon rain are in the daily forecast, which means it is also the season when waterbodies typically exhibit water quality problems through algal blooms.

While algal blooms are part of Florida’s natural environment, they can be dramatic and prolonged especially from spring through early fall. Because we know excessive nutrients help fuel algal blooms, the District targets its work on reducing nutrient sources before they can enter waterbodies. Across the region, the District and many partners are either working on or have completed projects that include redirecting wastewater discharges from waterbodies, stormwater collection and retention improvements, sanitary sewer collection improvements, and cost-sharing with local governments on septic-to-sewer projects and other innovative, cost-effective options. We also encourage agriculture and other industries to use best management practices that reduce nutrient inputs to waterbodies, and we have constructed regional stormwater treatment facilities to reduce nutrient runoff from larger drainage areas.

Two great examples of how this collaborative work is benefiting our region’s waterways are at the District’s northern end near Jacksonville and at the river’s southernmost reach in Brevard and Indian River counties. For more than 10 years, we’ve worked with numerous stakeholders along the St. Johns River near Jacksonville to improve and reduce wastewater and stormwater entering the river. As a result, we are seeing significantly declining nutrient and algal concentrations. The Florida Legislature has shown significant support for water quality improvement projects dealing with “legacy” loads (nutrients already in the sediments of a waterbody), providing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with $41.5 million for muck removal in the Indian River Lagoon, as well as $20 million for the Eau Gallie River muck dredging project, which the District is overseeing at the southern end of our District.

There is still work to be done and it may take years to see long-term results. Together we can protect and restore our natural resources for ourselves and for future generations. Our agency scientists will continue to work individually and with outside agencies to track and monitor waterbodies, collect long-term data, investigate the possible causes of the blooms and develop strategies to reduce their magnitude, duration and frequency. Thanks to these dedicated professionals for all they do each day for Florida’s water resources. You’re doing great work!

Wildfire contained at Seminole Ranch Conservation Area

A 120-acre wildfire reported at the district’s Seminole Ranch Conservation Area on July 20 is fully contained. The lightning-ignited wildfire was located in a marshy area located on the east side of the property, south of Hatbill Road. The fire was not located near any residences.

Read more…

Permitting news you can use

Newsletter offers tips to understand permitting processes

Learn about sovereign submerged lands and requirements for docks in the latest edition of the district’s permitting newsletter. Other articles and tips in this edition cover how to apply for an emergency authorization to allow temporary relief for activities that otherwise require a permit, keeping your neighborhood’s stormwater pond functioning properly, and finding help to apply for permits through the district’s online system.

Read the newsletter…

This week in district social media

If you aren't following the district on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, here are some of the things you may have missed this week....

  • Thanks to district staffer Geoff Sample for submitting photos of the Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting this week.
  • Give your #lawn a break after summer storms. A hearty rain can eliminate the need to #water for up to two weeks! www.sjrwmd.com/waterconservation /savingwater/schedule.html
  • Reporting clogged culverts or slow-moving water in ditches to local government can help prevent flooding. www.sjrwmd.com/storm/floodingcontacts.html #getprepared
  • Staff at the district’s Lake Apopka North Shore are busy planting 1,400 groundcover plants, including grasses and wildflowers as part of scrub restoration efforts off of Ranch Road. Restoring the natural system in the area is a district core mission. #restoration #LakeApopkaNorthShore
  • @CityofFernandinaBeach Mayor Robin Lentz and Stormwater Manager Andre Desilet accepted a district cost-share check from district Intergovernmental Coordinator Geoff Sample this week. These funds will be used to improve drainage and reduce total phosphorus and nitrogen levels in the Fort Clinch Aquatic Preserve. #FernandinaBeach #stormwater Thanks to Julia Roberts at the News-Leader, Fernandina Beach for the photo.

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922