Message from Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle
Celebrating Florida’s beautiful lakes in July with Lakes Appreciation Month
One of the things that draws visitors to Florida and is a favorite of residents is our many lakes. With almost 1,500 lakes in the St. Johns River Water Management District and more than 4,200 statewide, lakes are a daily reminder for District staff of the importance and beauty in our work.
We’re joining other groups around the country and the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) in recognizing and celebrating July as Lakes Appreciation Month. NALMS makes the annual proclamation to raise awareness of the importance of lakes and the benefits they provide, highlighting the value of water and open spaces, recreation and how they serve in aquifer recharge, as well as helping to reduce the force and effects of flooding.
The St. Johns River has many large lakes along its length, starting with Blue Cypress Lake at its headwaters and flowing though Washington, Harney, Jesup, Monroe and George along its path to the ocean. Other noteworthy lakes in our District are Lake Apopka (headwaters of the Ocklawaha Chain of Lakes and River), the St. Johns’ largest tributary; and Newnans Lake, the headwaters of the Orange Creek Basin. We are committed to implementing projects to preserve and restore the water quality and ecological balance of the lakes in our District, as they are essential to the environment and economy of our state. Our work includes District-led projects such as water management enhancements on the District’s wetland restoration area on Lake Apopka’s north shore. These projects will continue to reduce the amount of nutrients reaching the lake from this formerly farmed area and stimulate the recovering water quality and fishing. The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive through these recovering wetlands is one of the District’s most highly visited properties as it provides an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities. Other work includes cost-share funding for projects that help reduce pollutants entering the lakes, setting minimum flows and levels to protect lakes from effects of water withdrawals, conducting gizzard shad harvesting at Lake George (our District’s largest lake, which covers 73 square miles), providing technical assistance to other entities, and working with partners to plant native aquatic vegetation and manage invasive exotic species, to name a few.
We are fortunate to have a skilled and professional staff of scientists, land managers and others who study, restore and care for these lakes and their watersheds with the leadership of Dr. Erich Marzolf, director of the district’s Division of Water and Land Resources. He also plays a role as the Region 4 director on the NALMS Board of Directors (a region that covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee), in which he shares knowledge with others who do similar work across the nation.
Thanks to Erich for his leadership and to the many staff whose work involves caring for our beautiful lakes. I appreciate your thoughtful and dedicated attention to the science of Florida’s lakes and sharing that good work with others who appreciate these timeless waterways as much as we do.
Grant awarded for boat ramp at Fellsmere Water Management Area
Anglers rejoice! The process to build the Headwaters Lake boat ramp at the Fellsmere Water Management Area took another step forward after the district’s Governing Board awarded a construction contract for the ramp and other visitor amenities on July 9.
Data show relationship between rainfall and groundwater levels
Data collected in June by the district show groundwater conditions somewhat mirror the varied rainfall patterns measured across the district during the previous three months.
Multi-use recreational trail agreement receives board approval
The district’s Governing Board on July 9 approved a pair of agreements for construction of a 2.78-mile paved, multi-use trail in Orange and Lake counties.
We have great job opportunities at the district.
Administrative Assistant/Switchboard (Palatka), Bureau Chief, District Projects and Construction (Palatka), Supervising Regulatory Scientist (negotiable), Regulatory Scientist II (Negotiable), Procurement Supervisor (Palatka), Assistant General Counsel III (Palatka), Invasive Plant Management Coordinator (Palatka), Field Program Supervisor (Palatka), Senior Professional Engineer (Palatka), Technical Program Manager / Hydrologic Monitoring (Palatka), Professional Engineer (Palatka), Surveying and Mapping Specialist (Palatka)
For more information visit: www.sjrwmd.com/jobs.
Water conservation tip
“Smart” controllers use water more efficiently than traditional timers. Instead of turning on and off based on a programmed schedule, “smart” controllers monitor weather and other site conditions in real time. “Smart” controllers automatically adjust your sprinkler system to apply just the right amount of water for your landscape. #SmartIrrigationMonth www.sjrwmd.com/water-conservation/savingwater/outdoors/#smart-controllers
This week in district social media
- Did you see the photo of the eagle flying home with a fish? We’re sure he could be heard saying, “Honey, I’m home and I brought dinner!” Bald eagles make their homes among the towering trees of many of the district’s public lands. Have you spotted one while visiting?
- Flamingos are great, but have you ever seen a roseate spoonbill? These pink-feathered foragers love the shallow waters of coastal marshes and lagoons. Check out the photo we posted for #WildlifeWednesday.
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