PALATKA, Fla., July 12, 2022 — The St. Johns River Water Management District is launching a project to increase recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer in northeast Florida. Today, the Governing Board voted to approve the execution of a contract to begin the first phase of the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project, which consists of constructing a water pump station between Penney Farms and Camp Blanding off State Road 16 in Clay County.
“The Black Creek project is a result of years of collaboration between the District, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, local governments, utilities, and other interested stakeholders like the Save Our Lakes Organization,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register. “The benefits of this project are far reaching and speak directly to the District’s mission of ensuring adequate water supply for future generations in Florida.”
While the primary goal of the project is to increase recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer, it will also improve water levels in lakes Brooklyn and Geneva.
To accomplish this, water from Black Creek will be pumped through a 17-mile pipeline, eventually discharging into a passive treatment system that will remove color and minor nutrients. From there, the water will flow into Alligator Creek and ultimately Lake Brooklyn where recharge to the aquifer will occur through the lake bottom.
“As a Board member and former Senator representing Clay County, I am thrilled to see this project become a reality,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Board Chair Rob Bradley. “For those of us who grew up Clay County, we’ve seen firsthand the drastic changes in our lake levels over the past few decades. This project will help us address that and more, all while protecting Florida’s natural systems.”
While the amount of water pumped each day will vary, depending on the water level in Black Creek, the maximum amount of water diverted will not exceed 10 million gallons per day. To ensure the protection of natural resources within the creek, diversions will only be made when there is sufficient flow available.
Funding for the project was provided in the St. Johns River and Keystone Heights Lake Region Projects legislative appropriations over three years beginning in 2017. The total appropriation was more than $48 million, of which nearly $43.4 million was allocated to the Black Creek project. Additionally, north Florida utilities are contributing $19.2 million toward the project. Those utilities include Clay County Utility Authority, Gainesville Regional Utilities, St. Johns County Utilities, and JEA. The remaining balance will be provided from District funds.
To learn more about the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project, visit www.sjrwmd.com/projects/#black-creek.