District helping communities recover from Hurricane Irma

District crews pump floodwaters from Porpoise Point in Vilano Beach.

District crews pump floodwaters from Porpoise Point in Vilano Beach.

~Pumps and personnel reducing floodwaters in north Florida~

PALATKA, Fla., Sept. 14, 2017 — The St. Johns River Water Management District today continued its support of local emergency operations by working to drain floodwaters from communities across northeast Florida and supporting its local government partners to reduce impacts from Hurricane Irma.

The district continues to send staff and portable pumps and generators to areas flooded by the storm. Floodwater was pumped from an assisted living facility in Putnam County earlier this week, and pumps helped remedy localized flooding in the Hawthorne area in Alachua County. Staff continue to pump stormwater from the Malacompra Drive area in Flagler County and from Vilano Beach at Porpoise Point in St. Johns County.

In the Upper St. Johns River Basin, the district is working to reduce flows to the river to reduce flooding to downstream communities. Two structures, S-96 and S-157, are temporarily discharging through the C-54 canal to the Indian River Lagoon. By doing so, discharge to the St. Johns River is being reduced by 8,300 cubic feet per second. Since the time the structures were opened on Monday afternoon until Thursday morning, total volume diverted is approximately 22,300 acre-feet (i.e., water that is one foot deep over an area of 22,300 acres).

District staff also are operating control structures in the Ocklawaha Basin to manage floodwaters, and staff are breaking up and removing vegetation blocking flow in the Apopka-Beauclair Canal.

Other actions being taken by the district in response to Hurricane Irma include:

  • The district’s Emergency Operations Center continues to operate at full activation to support response efforts.
  • Three teams conducted preliminary damage assessments in Duval County on Wednesday, which will help cities and counties apply for federal disaster assistance.
  • All district lands remain closed. Land managers are inspecting district lands for damage and clearing roads. Many roads and trails remain under water, and fallen trees and downed powerlines currently make the properties unsafe for the public.
  • District headquarters and service centers are open for business. Most field stations remain without commercial power.
  • District regulatory staff are available to answer questions or issue emergency waivers to assist with the recovery effort. For assistance, please contact the Jacksonville Service Center at 904-730-6270 or 800-852-1562 or the district’s Palatka headquarters at 386-329-4500 or 800-451-7106.
  • Due to water damage to the Governing Board room at the district’s Palatka headquarters, the district’s September board meeting will be held on Sept. 19 at the Maitland Service Center, 601 South Lake Destiny Road, Suite 200, Maitland, FL  32751. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
  • The tentative millage and budget hearing will be held at 5:05 p.m., Sept. 19, also at the Maitland Service Center.

For continuing updates on district operations, visit the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com.