Update: Post-hurricane repairs at Lake Apopka North Shore

A floating barrier is installed to minimize additional damage to a levee at the district’s Lake Apopka North Shore.

A floating barrier is installed to minimize additional damage to a levee at the district’s Lake Apopka North Shore.

MAITLAND, Fla., Oct. 2, 2017 — Repairs are underway at the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka North Shore, which experienced damage due to Hurricane Irma. As water levels subside and assessments are completed, the district will provide weekly updates on the status of repairs and recreation at the Lake Apopka North Shore.

  • In addition to receiving 12 inches of rain during Hurricane Irma, the property experienced a 357-foot breach in the northeast, lake-side levee that separates Lake Apopka from the Lake Apopka North Shore. Nearly 75 percent of the 20,000-acre property flooded, overtopping trails, levees and parking areas, including parts of Lust, Laughlin, Duda North-South, Marsh Rabbit and Marsh Flow-Way roads. Currently, many parts remain underwater and cannot be inspected.
  • On Sept. 27, the district completed work to patch the section of the lake-side levee that separates Lake Apopka from the Lake Apopka North Shore. Using fill dirt brought in by trucks, the repair was a priority as it now allows the district to manage water levels on the rest of the property. It will also help stabilize the road/levee and allow additional work for a permanent fix.
  • The placement of a floating barrier to minimize additional damage from wave action, and the addition of fill material, is expected to be complete by the end of this week.
  • Until water levels return to previous levels, and the district can complete assessments of the entire property, a timeline for work, cost estimates and reopening the property is not available. There are many variables, like weather, that will determine the timeline and cost.
  • The district is monitoring water quality and participates in weekly updates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the topic. Previous restoration work on the formerly farmed lands encapsulated contaminated top soil. District staff continue to analyze data for the recently flooded areas and have found that the open water conditions, a result of flooding, will not put fish-eating birds at unacceptable risk.
  • The recent flooding hasn’t negatively affected the wildlife.
  • Understanding that the area is a popular outdoor recreation destination, the Red Trail, off County Road 448A, and the McDonald Canal Boat Ramp, are open.
  • To ensure public safety, and minimize potential damage to saturated roads, no other openings are planned at this point due to flooding and the continued presence of heavy equipment. The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and nonmotorized Lake Apopka Loop Trial remain closed. As soon as the district determines that the public can safely access an area, it will open.

For continuing updates on district operations and recreational announcements, visit the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com. Photos of repairs and progress can be found on the district’s Facebook page.