Water is a year-round focus for the water management district. When hurricanes and other storms bring unusually high amounts of rain in a short amount of time, flooding can result. It is a natural condition for our state, but a condition that can have serious implications for Florida’s residents. Partnerships between individuals and government entities are necessary to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storm events.
If you are experiencing flooding, your first contact should be your local government.
Local government contacts
|County||City||Office or Department||Phone||Phone2|
|Alachua||Countywide||Public Works||352-374-5245, Ext. 1215|
|Baker||Glen St. Mary||Town Clerk||904-259-3777|
|Brevard||Countywide||Road and Bridge (north)||321-264-5084|
|Brevard||Countywide||Road and Bridge (central)||321-455-1389|
|Brevard||Countywide||Road and Bridge (south)||321-255-4310|
|Brevard||Cape Canaveral||Public Works||321-868-1240|
|Brevard||Cocoa Beach||Stormwater Department||321-868-3292|
|Brevard||Indian Harbour Beach||Public Works||321-773-3181, Ext. 139|
|Brevard||Melbourne||Streets and Stormwater||321-953-6231|
|Brevard||Melbourne Beach||Public Works||321-724-5860|
|Brevard||Melbourne Village||Building Department||321-723-8300|
|Brevard||Palm Bay||Public Works||321-952-3438|
|Brevard||Palm Shores||Town Hall||321-242-4555|
|Brevard||Satellite Beach||Public Works||321-777-2309|
|Brevard||West Melbourne||Public Works||321-727-3710|
|Clay||Clay County||Public Works||904-284-6335|
|Clay||Green Cove Springs||Public Works||904-297-7500, Ext. 2213|
|Clay||Keystone Heights||City Hall||352-473-4807|
|Clay||Orange Park||Public Works||904-264-5555||904-264-7411|
|Clay||Penney Farms||Town Hall||904-529-9078|
|Duval||Atlantic Beach||Public Works||904-247-5834|
|Duval||Jacksonville||Public Works||904-630-2489 (CITY)|
|Duval||Jacksonville Beach||Public Works||904-247-6219|
|Duval||Neptune Beach||Public Works||904-270-2400, Ext. 31|
|Flagler||Beverly Beach||Town Clerk||386-439-6888|
|Flagler||Flagler Beach||City Hall||386-517-2000|
|Flagler||Palm Coast||Customer Service||386-986-2360|
|Indian River||Countywide||Road and Bridge||772-770-5085|
|Indian River||Fellsmere||Public Works||772-646-6316||772-413-1675|
|Indian River||Indian River Shores||Town Manager||772-231-1771|
|Indian River||Orchid||Town Manager||772-581-2770|
|Indian River||Sebastian||Storm Water||772-228-7052|
|Indian River||Vero Beach||Public Works||772-978-4800|
|Lake||Countywide||Road and Bridge||352-343-6439|
|Lake||Fruitland Park||City Hall||352-360-6727|
|Lake||Lady Lake||Public Works||352-751-1526|
|Lake||Mount Dora||Public Works||352-735-7151|
|Nassau||Nassau County||Public Works||904-491-7330|
|Nassau||Callahan||Water and Sewer||904-879-1835|
|Nassau||Fernandina Beach||City Clerk||904-310-3115|
|Orange||Countywide||Citizens Response Center||311|
|Orange||Ocoee||Emergency Operations Center||407-905-3100|
|Orange||Orlando||Streets and Drainage||407-246-2238|
|Orange||Winter Garden||Public Services||407-656-4111|
|Orange||Winter Park||Public Works||407-599-3219|
|Osceola||Osceola County||Road and Bridge||407-742-7500|
|Putnam||Crescent City||City Manager||386-698-2525, Ext. 246|
|Putnam||Palatka||Planning and Zoning||386-329-0103|
|Putnam||Pomona Park||Town Clerk||386-649-4902|
|Seminole||Altamonte Springs||Public Works||407-571-8340|
|Seminole||Casselberry||Public Works||407-262-7725, Ext. 5|
|Seminole||Lake Mary||Public Works||407-585-1452|
|Seminole||After hours: Countywide||Emergency||407-339-1297|
|Seminole||Oviedo||Public Works Operations||407-971-5682|
|Seminole||Winter Springs||Public Works||407-327-2669|
|St. Johns||Countywide||Road and Bridge||904-209-0246|
|St. Johns||Hastings||Town Manager||904-692-1420|
|St. Johns||St. Augustine||Public Works||904-825-1040|
|St. Johns||St. Augustine Beach||Public Works||904-471-1119|
|Volusia||Volusia County||Road and Bridge||386-822-6422|
|Volusia||Daytona Beach Shores||386-763-5333|
|Volusia||DeBary||City Manager||386-668-2040, Ext. 305|
|Volusia||DeLand||Deputy City Engineer||386-626-7189|
|Volusia||Holly Hill||Public Works||386-248-9463|
|Volusia||New Smyrna Beach||Maintenance Operations||386-424-2202|
|Volusia||Oak Hill||City Clerk||386-345-3522|
|Volusia||Orange City||Public Works||386-775-5447|
|Volusia||After hours: Countywide||Sheriffs Office||386-736-5999|
|Volusia||Ormond Beach||Public Works||386-676-3220|
|Volusia||Ponce Inlet||Public Works||386-322-6729|
|Volusia||Port Orange||Public Works||386-506-5575|
|Volusia||South Daytona||Public Works||386-322-3080|
State and national contacts
|Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)||fema.gov|
|Floodplain maps (fee charged)||877-336-2627|
|National Flood Insurance Program||888-356-6329|
|American Red Cross||redcross.org|
|Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau and Putnam counties||904-358-8091|
|Flagler, Lake, Marion and Volusia counties||386-226-1400|
|Indian River County||772-562-2549|
|Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties||407-894-4141|
|St. Johns County||904-797-3851|
|Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – Division of Water Resource Management||www.dep.state.fl.us||850-245-8336|
|Florida Division of Emergency Management||floridadisaster.org||850-413-9969|
|National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)||noaa.gov|
|U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)||www.usace.army.mil||904-232-1697|
|U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)||usgs.gov||888-275-8747|
|U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)||epa.gov||800-241-1754|
The Upper St. Johns River Basin Project is semi-structural. Water control structures at Canal 54 channel water near the Stick Marsh.
Extreme rainfall can cause the St. Johns River to surge beyond its banks, damaging homes and businesses along the river and its lakes.
After a devastating flood in the 1940s, the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project was planned to control flooding on the St. Johns River in Osceola, Brevard and Indian River counties. One component of this project is Canal 54 (C-54). Located along the county line of Brevard and Indian River counties, C-54 was originally designed to divert water from the upper St. Johns River into the Indian River Lagoon. The upper basin project was redesigned in the 1980s to address environmental concerns with the original design and the role of C-54 changed.
As part of the original upper basin project, C-54 discharged directly from the St. Johns River to the lagoon. However, C-54 is no longer directly connected to the St. Johns River, but instead serves only as an emergency overflow for the St. Johns Water Management Area to ensure that extreme flood events do not overtop the flood protection levees.
In the historic and unprecedented 2004 hurricane season, nearly 4 feet of rain fell on east-central Florida during a 60-day period. The rainfall statistics were phenomenal — a series of storms that would only be expected once every 200 years. Both water levels and frustration levels were especially high in the Middle St. Johns River Basin (Lake Harney north to Lake George, including lakes Jesup and Monroe), and as the river overran its banks, some called for the St. Johns River Water Management District to provide flood relief by releasing water from the St. Johns River to the Indian River through C-54, located about 120 miles to the south.
Contrary to popular belief, the use of C-54 to release water from the headwaters of the St. Johns River would have provided no flood relief to the middle basin (east-central Florida). During the 2004 floods, the upper basin project operated as designed to provide flood relief within the project area. However, the project does not provide flood protection in the middle St. Johns River and there are no similar flood protection facilities in the middle St. Johns River area.
Flooding occurred in the middle St. Johns River Basin in 2004; this scene at the State Road 46 bridge near Lake Jesup on Sept. 30, 2004.
Canal 54 stretches from the St. Johns River to the Indian River Lagoon.
When the St. Johns Water Management Area is full, discharges to the St. Johns River are halted and discharges are made through C-54. Following Hurricane Frances (September 2004) when discharges were made through C-54, the result was a reduction in flow to the St. Johns River of only 600 cubic feet per second (cfs). Water management district engineers estimate that a 600-cfs reduction in flow from the upper basin project would have resulted in less than a half-inch reduction in the water level on Lake Monroe. Why such a small impact? Because flows out of the uncontrolled tributaries of the middle St. Johns River are much larger than this. For example, flow out of the Econlockhatchee River has been measured at more than 10,000 cfs, and this is only one of several tributaries of the middle St. Johns River.
Downstream of the upper basin project area, flood levels are reduced as far north as Lake Poinsett. For example, flood elevations on Lake Washington can be reduced by about half a foot for the 100-year flood event. However, as with any flood protection project, there are limits to the level of flood protection benefits and the areas benefited by the project. While the project reduces flooding in much of the upper St. Johns, it does not eliminate flooding in many areas. The project does not reduce flooding in the river’s middle basin in east-central Florida, including Lake Monroe. This is due to the fact that additional areas drain to the middle basin, such as the Econlockhatchee River and other tributaries that do not have comparable flood control facilities.
Water management district engineers have concluded that the flooding that occurred on lakes Monroe and Harney in 2004 was due primarily to local rainfall conditions and that greater use of C-54 would not have reduced the damage caused by these floods.
Collaborating on flooding issues
The district’s role in flooding emergencies
The St. Johns River Water Management District works with local governments and other agencies before, during and after a flood event. The district operates and maintains more than 100 major and minor water control structures, including 11 spillways, three navigational locks, approximately 300 miles of levees, and 30 pump stations, such as the Moss Bluff Lock and Dam in Marion County, Lake Washington Weir in Brevard County, Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam in Lake County, the Burrell Lock and Dam in Lake County, and the Harris Bayou between lakes Harris and Griffin in Lake County. Those structures are the only controls the district has of water levels in the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers. The district also restores wetlands and floodplain areas that provide flood water storage. Through its permit¬ting program, the district ensures that stormwater is managed on development sites and that new drainage ditches or significant changes to existing ditches are coordinated regionally. The district and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issue permits to install stormwater systems, but it is often the responsibility of a developer or homeowners association to maintain the systems. In addition, the district assists local governments in emergency response during disasters and to incorporate flood protection elements into their comprehensive land use plans.
Your local government’s role
Local governments are responsible for emergency responses during storms, land use planning, maintaining stormwater/drainage systems, implementing a master stormwater plan for solving flooding, implementing stormwater retrofit projects in older communities that were built prior to stormwater rules, and adopting local laws that focus on building and road elevations, setbacks from waterbodies, fill limitations, sanitary codes and structures allowed in floodplains.
Individuals can protect themselves from flooding by being proactive ahead of storm season and conducting periodic maintenance. As an individual, you can protect yourself and your property by keeping debris out of storm drains and ditches, reporting clogged ditches to your local government, obtaining flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, determining whether a home or land you are considering buying is in a floodplain or flood-prone area, and by flood proofing your home.