Board chairman Gen. Douglas Burnett led the April 14 Governing Board meeting by teleconference with only essential staff present. The meeting was streamed live for transparency and allowed for public comment via phone.
Technology allows vital projects to move forward, social distancing
PALATKA, Fla., April 14, 2020 — To protect the health and safety of its staff and the public during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board held its regular monthly meeting today via teleconference.
“The safety of our colleagues and the people we serve is our first priority,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Thankfully, remote meeting technology allows the District and Governing Board to stay the course and continue protecting Florida’s water resources.”
Board meeting highlights include:
Board approval of project rankings for the annual Districtwide Cost-share Program and the Rural Economic Development Initiative/Innovative Cost-share Program
- Contingent upon approval of the fiscal year 2020-2021 adopted budget, scheduled for Sept. 22 final adoption, 34 projects will share in up to $24 million through these two cost-share programs.
- The draft list of approved projects can be found here.
- Benefits include an estimated combined nutrient load reduction of 87,785 pounds per year of total nitrogen and nearly 8,000 pounds per year of total phosphorus, 8.7 million gallons per day of alternative water supply made available and flood protection for an estimated 375 acres.
- Among the projects are 13 springs restoration projects benefitting Outstanding Florida Springs in the Silver, Volusia Blue, Wekiwa–Rock and Lower Santa Fe/Ichetucknee River and springs springsheds. These springs projects will be submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for consideration to receive legislative funding as part of the state’s annual $50 million springs restoration program.
Board approval of projects to receive funds through the Tri-County Agricultural Area (TCAA) Partnership and the Districtwide Agricultural cost-share programs, which were developed to assist farmers and growers with water conservation and nutrient reduction projects.
- Five projects were approved to share more than $700,000 from the TCAA Cost-Share Program, conserving approximately 98.5 million gallons of water per year (mgy), reducing total nitrogen loads by 7,697 pounds per year and reducing total phosphorus loads by more than 3,000 pounds per year. Recipients are:
- Greene’s Farms, Flagler County
- P. Wesley Smith Inc., St. Johns County
- Tater Farms, St. Johns County
- Riverdale Potato Farms, St. Johns County
- De-Lee Produce LLC, St. Johns County
- Eight projects will share $363,000 from the Districtwide Agricultural Cost-Share Program, conserving approximately 219 mgy, reducing total nitrogen loads by more than 5,000 pounds per year and reducing total phosphorus loads by an estimated 1,128 pounds per year.
- IMG Citrus Inc., Indian River County
- Villa City, Lake County
- Legacy Farms and Ornamentals, Volusia County
- The Magnolia Company, Volusia County
- Select Growers Inc., Volusia County
- Wilson Training Center, Lake County
- Southern Hill Farms, Lake County
- Patrick Schirard, Brevard County
Board approval of projects to receive Silver Springs Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program Funds
- Two projects — Lochloosa Creek Farms and Southern Grace Berries — will share in $113,500 in Silver Springs Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program funds, which assists farmers and growers in conserving water and reducing nutrient loading to the Silver Springs springshed.
Presentation of the district’s Annual Wetland Activities Report
- The Annual Wetland Activities Report provides a cumulative summary of wetland impacts, mitigation, restoration and protection activities within each county served by the district.
- The report shows that 490,543 acres of wetlands have been created, protected, enhanced or restored by the district since 1989 — equivalent to more than 766 square miles of wetlands.