Teams of district staff partnering with local governments on damage assessments

PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 12, 2016 -- Fifteen staff members from the St. Johns River Water Management District partnered with local government staff to canvas four north Florida counties this week to survey damage from Hurricane Matthew.

PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 12, 2016 — Fifteen staff members from the St. Johns River Water Management District partnered with local government staff to canvas four north Florida counties this week to survey damage from Hurricane Matthew.

“District staff are in our communities, assisting local governments in the hardest hit areas to help them assess the damage from Hurricane Matthew and to share district equipment to help in their recovery,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We were very fortunate, having had only minor damage to district infrastructure. I am very grateful that we are able to offer this assistance to our local government partners who were not as fortunate.”

District staff teamed up with local government staff in Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties to assess how well stormwater systems performed in the storm and record flood damage to commercial businesses. Teams also searched for derelict vessels in navigable waterways, checked with homeowners who have private domestic self-supply wells to ensure water quality was not impacted by storm surge or the heavy rainfall, and conducted structural damage assessments for local governments to seek FEMA assistance.

In addition, four district pumps are currently operating in Flagler County to convey water from flooded areas. As of Tuesday afternoon, the pumps had drawn the water levels down nearly two feet.

Additional SJRWMD activities underway include:

  • The district has authorized certain flood relief measures for local governments and property owners who need to pump or divert floodwaters. The Governing Board on Tuesday approved an emergency order that also gives permit holders additional time to comply with permit conditions that will come due after Oct. 5. The board’s action extends the duration of permits that expire between Oct. 5 and Nov. 2.
  • District regulatory staff are available to answer questions or issue emergency waivers to assist with the recovery effort. For assistance, please contact district ombudsman Jimmy Peluso at 904-224-2958 or jpeluso@sjrwmd.com.
  • Four district conservation lands experienced significant damage in the hurricane and remain closed – Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area in Indian River County, Moses Creek Conservation Area and Stokes Landing Conservation Area in St. Johns County and Pellicer Creek Conservation Area in Flagler County. For updates, visit the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com.
  • No areas of concern were observed during the weekend inspection of levee systems in the Upper St. Johns River Flood Control Project. The systems worked as intended during the storm and helped prevent flooding in Indian River and Brevard counties.
  • Navigation through the Burrell Lock, Moss Bluff Lock and the Apopka Lock and Dam reopened Monday.