Water News

Jan. 17, 2020

A District scientist uses a Secchi disk to determine water quality
A District scientist uses a Secchi disk to determine water quality as part of the District’s monitoring work along Black Creek. Funding for this work is included in the District’s fiscal year 2020-21 preliminary budget.
Message from Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle

Preliminary budget reflects District’s core mission priorities on behalf of taxpayers

As we start the new calendar year, we are excited to share with the public and our lawmakers the work of the St. Johns River Water Management District through our submission of the District’s fiscal year 2020–21 preliminary budget.

The District has developed a balanced preliminary budget totaling $137.7 million for fiscal year 2020–21. This budget will continue to provide funds for water resource protection and cost-share projects to ensure sustainable water resources, increase water conservation, and protect water quality in springs and other priority water bodies. While you may be familiar with our annual final budget public hearings each September, budgeting is a year-round activity to ensure transparency and accountability. Submitting formal reports, such as this preliminary budget, at key dates throughout the year is just one way we provide an overview of our work in protecting our shared water resources.

The preliminary budget includes $21.6 million for alternative water supply projects and $53.9 million for water quality projects. These include water quality improvement projects in the Indian River Lagoon such as the restoration of the Crane Creek M-1 Canal flow to the St. Johns River, continued participation with innovative technologies to remove phosphorus from the Doctors Lake watershed and Lake Apopka, and ongoing maintenance and upgrades to the Lake Apopka Marsh Flow-Way to enhance the system’s ability to remove phosphorus and sediments. Among alternative water supply projects is construction of a pipeline and intake pump stations to enhance recharge through the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project. The preliminary budget also includes funding for constructing, operating and maintaining flood control structures and levees and restoration projects, managing and restoring District public lands, and developing and implementing minimum flows and levels prevention-recovery strategies. I invite you to review the preliminary budget on the District’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/budget.

Thanks to Office of Financial Services Director Mary-Lou Pickles, Budget Director Missy Licourt, and the staff in each of our divisions for their dedicated budget work. Their diligence goes a long way toward helping us fulfill our mission of protecting water and natural resources throughout the District.

District and CCUA partnering on septic-to-sewer conversions to benefit Doctors Lake

The district Governing Board on Jan.13 approved an agreement with Clay County Utility Authority to convert up to 79 septic tanks to central sewer on properties adjacent to Doctors Lake. The project, spearheaded by Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings through a 2018 legislative appropriation, is estimated to reduce total nitrogen loading to Doctors Lake by approximately 1,500 pounds per year.

December rainfall was above average

December brought above-average rain across most of the 18 counties of the St. Johns River Water Management District, increasing lake levels in the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin and groundwater levels in the Floridan aquifer. A full report outlining hydrological conditions was presented at the district’s January Governing Board meeting.

Permitting peer review meetings scheduled for late January

The district has scheduled two permitting peer review meetings to share information with stakeholders. Meetings are Jan. 29 in Jacksonville and Jan. 30 in Maitland. The agendas include permit compliance updates, an overview of district regulatory accomplishments, and an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback. Attendance is free, but interested persons are asked to reserve a seat by contacting Michele Volpe at mvolpe@sjrwmd.com for the Jacksonville meeting or Vikki Hackley at vhackley@sjrwmd.com for the Maitland meeting. Details are available on the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/meetings-announcements.

Permitting News You Can Use

Newsletter provides tips for permit applicants

If you are planning a project that involves a boat ramp, dock, pier or similar project, you may need a permit from the district or from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). See our latest regulatory newsletter for highlights outlining when the district has been delegated to issue a permit and when you’d need to seek a permit directly from USACE. Also, in our newest permitting newsletter you’ll find tips on what documentation is needed when applying for an environmental resource permit and how our staff can help.

Job postings

Collage of district staff working
We have great job opportunities at the district.

Senior Trades Worker (Umatilla), Human Resources Manager/Benefits Manager (Palatka), Project Manager (Palatka), Supervising Professional Engineer (Palatka), Engineering Construction Inspector (Palm Bay), Field Program Supervisor (Palatka), Regulatory Scientist III (two positions: Maitland, Palm Bay or Palatka), Assistant General Counsel II (Palatka), Procurement Specialist (Palatka), Engineer III (Palatka), Hydrologist III (Palatka)

For more information visit: www.sjrwmd.com/jobs.

Water conservation tip

Water Less logo on dry grass

We had some warmer days this past week, but it’s still winter. Florida lawns need less water in winter, so skip every other week of watering during this natural cycle. You’ll still be able to love your lawn and #WaterLess. #turfgrass WaterLessFlorida.com.

Skip a Week and save

Most Florida turfgrass species go dormant during the winter months, slowing down their growth. Lawns need less water in winter, so skip every other week of watering during this natural cycle. You’ll still be able to love your lawn and #WaterLess. #turfgrass WaterLessFlorida.com

This week in district social media

If you aren’t following the district on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, here are some of the things you may have missed this week….

  • Our staffer Lauren, a district Environmental Scientist, is inspiring students in the Melbourne area! She visited West Melbourne School for Science this week, where students discussed challenges and solutions to issues facing the Indian River Lagoon. Their discussions were part of a larger project at the school in which students are participating in this month’s First LEGO League Expo. The program provides an opportunity for teams to showcase their work and meet other teams who share a similar interest in science and technology. Thanks, Lauren!
  • Shout out to district Intergovernmental Coordinator Susan for sharing info this week with visitors to an @MyFWC open house, providing an overview of our work on the Harris Chain of Lakes. Thanks for stopping by to see us!
  • To ensure accurate data collection, you have to keep up with maintenance. We showed a photo of district staffer Larry, calibrating a rainfall gauge which transmits data to district headquarters throughout the day.

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