Message from Dr. Ann Shortelle

District staff continue mission’s work

March 26, 2020

District entrance sign

At the direction of Gov. DeSantis, the St. Johns River Water Management District’s leadership and emergency response personnel have been working since early March on prudent responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the health of our staff and the public is our top priority, our critical work on behalf of water resources and water protection goes on, thanks to dedication and energy of our staff.

Following the direction of the governor to increase social distancing, we have limited access to our offices and other facilities to District staff only and have moved most personnel to remote work. We continue to offer information, answer questions and provide guidance to the public via phone, email and on our website, www.sjrwmd.com. You’ll find helpful updates and contact info on our homepage should you need us during this period.

Last week, we slowly transitioned approximately 75 percent of our District employees to remote work. Many thanks are due to our in-house IT experts, who have done an outstanding job of supporting telecommuting while also monitoring and maintaining our network, always important but especially crucial now.

The remainder of our staff continue to report in-person as usual, with adjustments to remain consistent with guidance from the state and the CDC. These non-telecommuting positions are essential to the continuity of our operations. Many of these duties are performed outdoors and by only one or two individuals at a time, work clearly conducive to the social distancing directions from our national and state health experts.

In fact, the continual need for our on-site, skilled land management personnel has been driven home recently, as dry conditions led to the rapid spread of several wildfires around the District. Our trained firefighting staff assisted the Florida Forest Service, along with county fire services in Volusia, Brevard and Lake counties, to bring these fires under control. As we head into the drier months, we should all send thanks to these hard-working and courageous public servants as they work to protect our public lands which in turn support the health of our water resources.

Speaking of District lands, you can find updated information on the status of properties here. While many of our properties currently remain open to visitors during the day, we have suspended overnight camping indefinitely. Please check on the status of a property before you head out as conditions are subject to change, use caution as appropriate for any outdoor activity and remember to maintain a healthy distance between you and other visitors during this time.

I wish you all a safe and peaceful week ahead.

See our past stories