Message from Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle
Together we can save a billion gallons of water this winter
As we all enjoy a little cool down from the normal Florida heat, one of the benefits is that our lawns don’t need mowing as often. With the chill in the air, our lawns and landscapes take a winter break, naturally slowing down and going dormant. This means they also require less water and fertilizer.
As part of our year-long Water Less outdoor water conservation campaign, the St. Johns River Water Management District is joining with water managers, utilities and local governments throughout the state to promote the Skip a Week campaign. This encourages efficient irrigation practices specific to winter months. Studies done at the University of Florida show that lawns need only about three-quarters of an inch of water every other week during the winter, and less if it has rained. UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science has posted a video that can help you visualize the proper amount of water to give your lawn: https://bit.ly/33Wf3zM.
Why the focus on outdoor irrigation? Because more than half of the water used at the average home in our District is used outside for watering yards and plants. By taking part in Skip a Week, we can each contribute to water conservation in our state. Watering every other week in December, January and February could save more than 1 billion gallons of water in our District alone.
And yes, you can Water Less and still love your lawn. Watering too much makes lawns less able to survive dry conditions, encouraging shallow and weak root systems, leading to weeds, pests and diseases. You’ll know if your lawn needs water when blades fold in half, turn blue-gray or footprints remain when you walk on it.
Now is a great time to train your lawn to sip water instead of guzzling it. You can learn more about conserving water outdoors on our website at WaterLessFlorida.com.
Scott Kempinski is the district’s December Employee of the Month
Recently, Scott Kempinski heard a plea for assistance from the district’s Procurement group to improve the way they search for dated legacy contracts within the district’s former contract management system. Being able to find dated contracts with historical information is important because it allows staff to locate statements of work and project information that are useful in creating new contracts and solicitations. After listening to their database challenges, Kempinski diligently developed a way that provides the Procurement staff with four ways to query the dated documents. Colleagues say, “Scott’s adeptness and desire to meet the needs of his colleagues contributes to the district’s values by providing an effective and useful solution to achieve positive results.”
Portions of Newnans Lake Conservation Area and Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve closed Dec. 6-8
The district is hosting the Gainesville chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for its annual youth and women’s deer hunts Dec. 6–8 on portions of the Longleaf Flatwoods Reserve and the Newnans Lake Conservation Area in Alachua County. The hunt will be led by the NWTF’s “Gator Gobblers” chapter. Youth ages 10–17 with limited or no hunting experience partner with a parent or guardian and an experienced mentor to hunt deer. The chapter’s Women in the Outdoors program will be held in conjunction with the youth hunts.
Prescribed fire conducted this week in Volusia County
The district conducted a prescribed burn at its Heart Island Conservation Area on Dec. 4 to maintain fire-dependent ecosystems and reduce wildland fuel loads.
We have great job opportunities at the district.
Systems Administrator (negotiable), Environmental Scientist IV (Palatka), Business Support Specialist II (Palatka), Field Program Supervisor (Palatka), Engineer III (Palatka)
For more information visit: www.sjrwmd.com/jobs.
Water conservation tip
It’s cooler outside and that means your lawn’s growth has slowed down for winter. Learn about districtwide watering rules and how to save water by skipping every other week of watering this winter. WaterLessFlorida.com
This week in district social media
- We had fun Wednesday working with students from Vanguard High School (Marion County). The students visited as part of their Blue School Grant to learn from and work with our scientists. They were joined by district Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle as they learned about springs, the district’s lab, conducted sampling of macroinvertebrates to see what the creatures tell water managers about water quality, and learned about underwater plants. Thanks for visiting! #water
- For #TrailTuesday, we featured the district’s Julington-Durbin Preserve (Duval County) where you can explore bicycling, hiking and horseback riding. You’ll find about 12 miles of trail overall and a 6.1-mile yellow/white loop trail. sjrwmd.com/lands/recreation/julington-durbin
- This week we also welcomed our new employees as they received an overview of the district’s work from Exec. Dir. Dr. Ann Shortelle and other district leaders as part of their new employee orientation. We’re glad you’re part of our team!
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