District land transfer helps Putnam County meet required nutrient reductions to the St. Johns River

Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility

The Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility treats about 2,100 acres of the Dog Branch subbasin, a tributary of the lower St. Johns River.

Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility

The Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility treats about 2,100 acres of the Dog Branch
subbasin, a tributary of the lower St. Johns River.

PALATKA, Fla., Dec. 11, 2018 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board voted Tuesday to transfer its Edgefield property, including the Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility, to Putnam County. The transfer will help Putnam County meet its obligation under state water quality rules to reduce nutrients entering the St. Johns River.

“Improving and protecting the St. Johns River’s water quality is a primary mission of the district, and one that we share with communities along its 310-mile stretch,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “By transferring ownership of Edgefield to Putnam County, we are assisting our home county with meeting — perhaps exceeding — its state water quality protection requirements.”

“Putnam County is continually striving to accomplish projects that provide positive environmental impacts, especially those which help protect one of the county’s most significant assets, the St. Johns River,” said County Administrator Terry Suggs. “The benefits of this project cannot be overstated — this treatment facility will allow the county to meet the stringent state water quality protection requirements while also improving the water quality of the St. Johns River. Putnam County is extremely grateful for the relationship we share with the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the county looks forward to partnering with the district on many more projects such as this one in the future.”

The district has participated in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Lower St. Johns River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) process since its inception in 1999, even though the district itself does not have a nutrient reduction obligation. The district supports the BMAP process through data gathering, data analysis and project support.

To help the agricultural community meet its BMAP obligation to reduce nutrients entering the river, the district purchased the Edgefield tract, located in Putnam County, and constructed the Dog Branch Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility in 2006-2007. The Dog Branch facility treats approximately 2,100 acres of stormwater runoff, and this treated runoff eventually discharges into the Dog Branch tributary of the lower St. Johns River. The regional stormwater treatment project reduces annual nutrient loading to the river by approximately 14,300 lbs. of total nitrogen and 5,700 lbs. of total phosphorus.

Agricultural nutrient reductions for the Lower St. Johns River mainstem’s BMAP have been met. However, Putnam County has yet to meet its BMAP obligation. The transfer of the Edgefield property, Dog Branch stormwater facility and associated water quality credits will help the county meet or exceed its nutrient reduction obligation required in the BMAP process.

The Putnam County Commission approved receipt of the property and Dog Branch stormwater facility at its meeting on June 12, 2018. The county will be responsible for operating, managing and maintaining the stormwater facility.