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|
|Bradford||Countywide||Road and Bridge||904-966-6243|
|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||904-530-6225|
|Nassau||Callahan||Water and Sewer||904-879-3801|
|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||386-329-0107|
|Putnam||Pomona Park||Town Clerk||386-649-4902|
|Seminole||Countywide||Roads Stormwater Management||407-665-7623|
|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||904-209-0266|
|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
|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|
Extreme rainfall can cause rivers and streams — such as the north-flowing, 310-mile-long St. Johns River — to surge beyond their banks, damaging homes and businesses. While the St. Johns River Water Management District operates flood-control structures in the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin — the Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam, Apopka Dam, Moss Bluff Dam and the Burrell Dam — and restored St. Johns River headwaters marshes used for water storage, the district does not control water levels in the St. Johns River.
Of these, the district’s largest flood control project is the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project.
The Upper St. Johns River Basin Project at the river’s headwaters was planned to control flooding on the St. Johns River in Osceola, Brevard and Indian River counties following a devastating flood in the 1940s. One component of this project, Canal 54 (C-54), was designed to divert water from the upper St. Johns River into the Indian River Lagoon. However, 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. Now, 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.
The upper basin project has proven itself several times over the past two decades, protecting the region from flooding during hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017, as well as the historic and during unprecedented 2004 hurricane season.
Contrary to popular belief, the use of C-54 to release water from the headwaters of the St. Johns River provides no measurable flood relief to the middle basin (east-central Florida). 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 a 100-year flood event.
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 reduce flooding in the river’s middle basin in east-central Florida, including Lake Monroe, nor further downstream in the river’s lower basin in north Florida. This is because tributaries such as the Econlockhatchee River drain much more water to the middle St. Johns River than the amount that can be drained from the headwaters at C-54 canal. Also, middle basin tributaries do not have comparable flood control facilities as are used in the upper basin.
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.
Click image for a closer view
Time-tested, but not designed to provide relief downstream
Hurricanes and historic rain events have tested the flood storage capabilities of the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project — most recently, heavy rains that arrived with hurricanes Irma in 2017 and Matthew in 2016.
During Hurricane Irma and the subsequent nor’easter, (September to October 2017), a foot of rain fell over the St. Johns River’s upper basin over a 30-day period. People as far north as Mayport and Jacksonville called for relief from local flooding along the St. Johns River, believing that discharges from C-54 canal would help. Discharges up to 2,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) were made through the C-54 canal over a period of 11 days following the hurricane, and an additional seven days following the subsequent nor’easter. This resulted in a diversion of nearly 15 billion gallons of water away from the St. Johns River.
During Hurricane Matthew (October 2016), nearly three inches of rain fell over the upper basin project over a two-week period. Discharges up to 1,300 cfs were made through the C-54 canal for nine days. This resulted in a diversion of nearly six billion gallons of water away from the St. Johns River.
Further back, during the 2004 hurricane season, nearly four feet of rain fell on east-central Florida during a 60-day period, statistically a one-in-200-year rain event. When the river overran its banks in the Middle St. Johns River Basin (Lake Harney north to Lake George, including lakes Jesup and Monroe), some called for the district to provide flood relief by releasing water from C-54 canal, located about 120 miles to the south.
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.
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.
Click image for a closer view