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Southwest Florida Water Management District News Releases (RSS)



Water resource related news stories and announcements.



 



MEDIA ALERT: District Invites Media to Experience Prescribed Fires in Pasco County

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

WHO: The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) land management staff.

WHAT: District land management staff will set prescribed fires in a controlled setting, which can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring.

WHERE: Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park at Starkey Wilderness Preserve, located at 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd. in New Port Richey. Media should meet at the main entrance to be escorted back to the fire line.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 22 at 10 a.m.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 35,000 acres each year.




Governing Board to Meet in Sarasota

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. at the District’s Sarasota Service Office, located at 6750 Fruitville Road.

To view the Governing Board meeting online, visit WaterMatters.org and click on the “Live Video Stream” link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org by clicking on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Citrus County

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns March through September 2018 on Potts Preserve and the Two Mile Prairie Connector parcel in Citrus County.

Potts Preserve is located approximately two miles east of the City of Hernando and three and a half miles north-northeast of Inverness. The property is east and southeast of State Road 200 and north of Turner Camp Road and is bordered by the Withlacoochee River on the east. Approximately 600 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

The Two Mile Prairie Connector property is located approximately five miles north-northeast of the City of Hernando and seven miles southeast of Dunnellon. This parcel is located on State Road 200 approximately 350 yards southwest of the Lecanto Highway intersection. Approximately 200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here to learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Hernando County

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns March through September 2018 at Annuteliga Hammock and Weekiwachee Preserve in Hernando County.

Annuteliga Hammock is located east of U.S. Highway 19, north of Centralia Road and south of the county line. Approximately 300 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Weekiwachee Preserve is located west of U.S. Highway 19 between Spring Hill and Hernando Beach. Approximately 400 acres will be burned in small, manageable units. Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here to learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Marion County

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns March through September 2018 at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve in Marion County.

Halpata Tastanaki Preserve is located two miles east of Dunnellon and seven miles northeast of the City of Hernando and is bordered by County Road 484 on the north, State Road 200 on the southeast and the Withlacoochee River on the southwest. Approximately 1,000 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here to learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Pasco County

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns March through September 2018 at Weekiwachee Preserve in Pasco County.

Weekiwachee Preserve is located north of Hudson, west of U.S. Highway 19 and includes the Aripeka Sandhills Preserve located off Aripeka Road. Approximately 50 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here to learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Sumter County

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency last spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns March through September 2018 on the Lake Panasoffkee property in Sumter County.

The Lake Panasoffkee property is located near Interstate 75 and State Road 44. Approximately 500 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here to learn more about why igniting prescribed burns now prepares lands for the next wildfire season.




Public Invited to Kickoff Meeting for the Withlacoochee River Minimum Flows Study

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will hold a kickoff meeting on Thursday, March 1 at 5 p.m. at the Ridge Manor Community Center located at 34240 Cortez Blvd. in Ridge Manor. The purpose of the meeting is to gather feedback about the upcoming development of the minimum flows for the upper and middle Withlacoochee River.

Minimum flows protect rivers, streams and springs from impacts associated with groundwater and surface water withdrawals. They are one tool used by the District when considering requests for water withdrawals and for future water supply planning. This multi-year study will establish limits on how much water can be withdrawn from the river for human use and protect the river from significant harm.

This kickoff meeting will provide an opportunity for local governments, residents, landowners and others to provide input and guidance as this multi-year study begins. The meeting will start with an open house until 5:45 p.m. when a panel of experts will lead a presentation and discussion. The open house will continue after the presentation until 7 p.m.

For more information regarding the upcoming minimum flows study, please contact Kym Holzwart, senior environmental scientist, at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4295.




District’s Hampton Tract in Polk County Closed for Hog Hunts Feb. 13-15

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Hampton Tract will be temporarily closed to the public for wild hog hunts Feb. 13-15. This also includes closed-area tracts at Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve.

Only permitted hunters will be allowed on the property during these dates. All 38 permits for these hunts have been sold.

The Hampton Tract is located at 18490 Rock Ridge Road in Lakeland.

This activity is one of a series of wild hog hunts being held on District lands to control the damage being caused to the natural habitats.

The District only allows hogs to be controlled through hunts when the damage they cause exceeds unacceptable levels, and damage is occurring more frequently and with increasing severity.

Wild hogs live throughout Florida in various habitats, but prefer moist forests and swamps, as well as pine flatwoods. They are omnivorous and feed by rooting with their broad snouts, which can cause extensive damage to the natural habitats. In fact, they can leave an area looking like a plowed field.

Wild hogs are not native to Florida and are believed to have been introduced by explorer Hernando DeSoto as early as 1539. They can weigh more than 300 pounds and travel in herds of several females and their offspring.

For more information, please call the District’s Land Management section at 1-800-423-1476 or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4467.




Celebrate Florida Hiking Trails Month on District Trails

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is celebrating February as Florida Hiking Trails Month by inviting the public to explore the more than 850 miles of hiking trails on District lands.

Florida Hiking Trails month, recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, encourages Floridians to take advantage of Florida’s extensive trail system. Many trails on District lands are nearby and are also open for related activities such as nature study, bird watching, photography, jogging and backpacking.

The District’s 162-page Recreation Guide features more than 50 parks and preserves in the region owned by the District and its partners. Some of the outdoor activities available include hiking, bicycling, picnicking, nature study, horseback riding, fishing, paddling, camping and hunting.

The District and its partners acquire conservation lands primarily through the state’s land acquisition programs to protect the 16-county region’s water resources. Many of these lands are maintained directly by the District and offer a very natural experience, while some of these properties are managed as county and state parks and offer a broader range of amenities. Most of these lands offer free parking and admission.

The Recreation Guide is a free publication to all residents living in the District’s 16-county area and includes detailed descriptions and a map for each property. To order a free Recreation Guide, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Recreation.




District to Hold Workshops on North Winter Haven Chain of Lakes Operational Guidelines

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is hosting two workshops for residents who live along the North Winter Haven Chain of Lakes in Polk County. Lakefront residents of Lakes Conine, Fannie, Haines, Hamilton, Henry, Lowery, Rochelle, Smart and the Peace Creek Canal are invited to attend to learn more about the current structure operational guidelines.

The workshops will take place on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Chain of Lakes Complex in the Poolside Room, located at 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven. There will be an open house the first hour of each workshop, followed by a presentation and open discussion.

The District is engaging and collaborating with the public as a first step in the process of reviewing the operational guidelines for the North Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. Lakes Conine, Haines and Rochelle are included in the system, but do not have structures.

Members of the public interested in receiving future lake management communications can visit our website at WaterMatters.org/Structures to sign up for information or to submit questions.




District Reschedules Workshop on Minimum Flow for Pithlachascotee River in Pasco County

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has rescheduled the workshop to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum flow for the Pithlachascotee River in Pasco County. The workshop will take place on Thursday, Feb. 15 from 6 – 7:30 p.m.at the New Port Richey Public Library, located at 5939 Main Street in New Port Richey.

The Florida Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels for priority water bodies within the District. A minimum flow or level is the limit at which further water withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources and/or environment. Minimum flows are a protection measure established to protect streams and rivers from impacts associated with groundwater and surface water withdrawals. They serve as guidelines for the District’s permitting programs and for development of alternative water resource projects.

The District’s experienced scientists use numerous tools to collect, develop and analysis data before proposing a minimum flow. Their work is then evaluated by an independent peer review panel. During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum flow for Pithlachascotee River.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to comment on the proposed minimum flow for the system. Through this open and transparent process, information gathered at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum flow for Pithlachascotee River at the March Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum flow into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public, and brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed minimum flow are available for review and will be posted on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org. For more information regarding the proposed minimum flow, please contact Doug Leeper, MFLs Program Lead with the District’s Springs & Environmental Flows Section at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4272.

Written comments regarding the minimum flows are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Doug Leeper, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or doug.leeper@watermatters.org




Help Your Yard Recover From the Freeze

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

Recent cold weather has taken a toll on Florida plant life and may have damaged area sprinkler systems too. The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has a few simple steps that residents can use to help their plants, lawns and irrigation systems recover from freezing temperatures. Wait to Water and Prune The need for watering decreases dramatically with cooler temperatures. Overwatering in the winter can encourage pests and disease in your lawn. According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. In fact, one-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10-14 days is sufficient. Residents should wait a month or more before pruning or replacing damaged plants, including lawns, until the threat of freezing temperatures passes. And fertilizing should wait until the growing season. Check Your Irrigation System Irrigation systems may have freeze damage that will appear as leaking pipes or fittings. Pipes could have split during the recent cold weather. Check for broken or split pipes and fittings and repair or replace as necessary. The water pressure will appear lower in a zone with leaking pipes and fittings. Here’s how to check your system: On your irrigation day, manually start your irrigation system for each zone to check for leaks, broken pipes, damaged or tilted sprinkler heads, blocked sprinkler patterns and overspray onto impermeable surfaces such as roads and sidewalks. Check for soft, wet spots that are around the inground sprinkler head. If consistent, these spots could indicate a leak that is being absorbed into the ground. Contact your irrigation maintenance specialist if repairs are needed. Look for dry spots. They are a sign of one of the following: the sprinklers may be placed too far apart; the water pressure is low; sprinkler patterns may be blocked by overgrown grass; shrubs or low-hanging limbs may be blocking the sprinklers; or the screens inside the sprinklers are clogged. The sprinklers may need to be adjusted, moved or additional heads added. Check with a qualified irrigation contractor if needed. Inspect Your Rain Shutoff Device If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure it is equipped with a working rain shutoff device to override the system when enough rain has fallen. As water evaporates from the device, the irrigation system will resume normal operation. Rain shutoff devices, also known as rain sensors, are required by Florida law on all automatic irrigation systems. Make sure the rain shutoff device is located away from overhead obstructions, with a clear view of the sky and at least five feet away from air-conditioning units or pool heaters. Check the rain shutoff device regularly to ensure the device is working properly and that the corresponding switch in the control box is set at on. Test the device by wetting the sensor to verify the system won’t operate when the controller has received the set amount of water. Adjust the sensor to interrupt irrigation after one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain. If there is a vent ring located just below the cap, the vent can be closed or partially closed to restrict air flow through the discs. Make sure the vent is closed so it will allow the disks to dry more slowly, thus keeping the system off for a longer period. This adjustment is used to compensate for an overly sunny location. If you need to add or replace a rain shutoff device, you can purchase one at home improvement stores for between $17 and $60. To learn more about Florida-Friendly Landscaping, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Yards. [...]



Work on Water Control Structure in Levy County Rescheduled

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is assisting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in performing maintenance on the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure located in Levy County on the Inglis Bypass Channel. The work has been rescheduled to take place Jan. 22 to Feb. 9.

During that time, the water control gates will need to be partially or fully closed. Closings are anticipated to occur during daylight hours and for a duration not exceeding eight hours per closing. The channel downstream of the structure will experience lower than normal water levels at times. Please make plans to protect your boats and other recreational equipment located within the channel during that time.

Maintenance work on the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure will focus on concrete repairs along the service bridge above the two water control gates. Work will include pressure washing, repairing, and sealing concrete.

The construction on the Cross Florida Barge Canal project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1965 and 1969 severed the lower Withlacoochee River, thus requiring the construction of the Bypass Channel and Spillway in order to discharge to the remnant stretch of the Withlacoochee River. The Bypass structure was completed in 1970 as part of that project. In 2001, The FDEP entered into a contract with the District to operate and maintain the Inglis Dam and Inglis Bypass Spillway.

For additional questions, please call the District at 352-796-7211.




Eastern Hillsborough County Homeowners with Wells Should Prepare for Freezing Temperatures This Week

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

According to the National Weather Service, parts of the Tampa Bay area are expected to have below freezing temperatures Thursday and Friday of this week.

This has prompted the Southwest Florida Water Management District to advise residents who live near Plant City and Dover who have well pumps without automatic cutoff switches to turn off the pumps before temperatures dip.

During a freeze or near-freezing temperatures, water is pumped to protect crops and fish farms, causing aquifer levels to temporarily drop. Once aquifer levels fall below a well’s pump level, the pump can burn out if it is not shut off manually or automatically by a low-pressure shut-off device. An electrical switch located on or near the well can turn off most pumps.

Residents should wait until the temperatures warm up and water levels begin to recover before turning their pumps back on. Residents should consult their local well contractor for questions about restarting their pumps.

To report a dry well, visit WaterMatters.org or contact the District’s Tampa Regulation Department at (813) 985-7481 or 1-800-836-0797.




Governing Board to Meet in Tampa

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at 9 a.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North.

To view the Governing Board meeting online, visit WaterMatters.org and click on the “Live Video Stream” link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org by clicking on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




District Asks Homeowners to "Skip A Week" of Irrigation This Winter

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is reminding residents who irrigate their lawns to “Skip a Week” or more of watering during the cooler months of January and February.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. In fact, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed.

You can determine when your grass needs water when:

• Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
• Grass blades appear blue-gray.
• Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.

Watering only every other week at most during the winter will help conserve drinking water supplies that the public needs for critical uses during the dry season.

For additional information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/SkipAWeek.




Eastern Hillsborough County Homeowners with Wells Should Prepare for Freezing Temperatures This Week

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

According to the National Weather Service, parts of the Tampa Bay area are expected to have below freezing temperatures for several days this week.

This has prompted the Southwest Florida Water Management District to advise residents who live near Plant City and Dover who have well pumps without automatic cutoff switches to turn off the pumps before temperatures dip.

During a freeze or near-freezing temperatures, water is pumped to protect crops and fish farms, causing aquifer levels to temporarily drop. Once aquifer levels fall below a well’s pump level, the pump can burn out if it is not shut off manually or automatically by a low-pressure shut-off device. An electrical switch located on or near the well can turn off most pumps.

Residents should wait until the temperatures warm up and water levels begin to recover before turning their pumps back on. Residents should consult their local well contractor for questions about restarting their pumps.

To report a dry well, visit WaterMatters.org or contact the District’s Tampa Regulation Department at (813) 985-7481 or 1-800-836-0797.




District to Partner with FDEP for Maintenance on Water Control Structure in Levy County

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is assisting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in performing maintenance on the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure located in Levy County on the Inglis Bypass Channel. The work is scheduled to take place January 12-24, 2018.

During that time, the water control gates will need to be partially or fully closed. Closings are anticipated to occur during daylight hours and for a duration not exceeding eight hours per closing. The channel downstream of the structure will experience lower than normal water levels at times. Please make plans to protect your boats and other recreational equipment located within the channel during that time.

Maintenance work on the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure will focus on concrete repairs along the service bridge above the two water control gates. Work will include pressure washing, repairing, and sealing concrete.

The construction on the Cross Florida Barge Canal project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1965 and 1969 severed the lower Withlacoochee River, thus requiring the construction of the Bypass Channel and Spillway in order to discharge to the remnant stretch of the Withlacoochee River. The Bypass structure was completed in 1970 as part of that project. In 2001, The FDEP entered into a contract with the District to operate and maintain the Inglis Dam and Inglis Bypass Spillway.

For additional questions, please call the District at 352-796-7211.




Make a New Year’s Resolution to Support Our Environment

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

District suggests easy and fun resolution ideas that help promote water resources

Are you looking for ideas for a New Year’s resolution? The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has some suggestions for 2018 resolutions that will promote healthy water resources.

This year, make a resolution to help promote water conservation and only water your lawn every other week in January and February. According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. One-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient. In fact, if your lawn has received any significant rainfall, then you can turn off your irrigation system and operate it manually as needed. Watering only every other week at most during the winter will help conserve drinking water supplies that the public needs for critical uses during the dry season. To learn the signs of when your grass needs watering, visit WaterMatters.org/SkipAWeek.

Support water conservation by going online and pledging to conserve water around your home. Family members can pledge to:

• Reduce daily showers by two minutes and save up to 240 gallons per month.
• Fix dripping faucets and save around 1,650 gallons per month.
• Replace showerheads with low-flow models and save about 480 gallons per month.
• Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving, and save up to 225 gallons per month.
• Check the home’s irrigation system for leaks and potentially save up to 6,300 gallons of water per month.
• Run the clothes washer and dishwasher only when full and save up to 175 gallons per month.
• Use a hose with a shutoff nozzle when washing the car and save around 40 gallons per wash.

To take the pledge, visit WaterMatters.org/WaterPledge




Phase 2 Hog Hunt Registration Begins Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m.

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will open Phase 2 hog hunt registration on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. The District holds a series of hog hunts on District lands throughout the year to help reduce the wild hog population.

What you need to know about Phase 2 hunts:

• Phase 2 will include six hunts that occur in January and February 2018.
• Permits are transferable.
• The single top producer on each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October 2018 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge.

Wild hogs, which are not native to Florida, can cause damage with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field. They also prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, hogs may facilitate the spread of exotic plant species by transporting seeds and/or providing germination sites through rooting.

The District has a three-phased hunting system. The first two phases of hunts will have separate registration processes. The single top producer from each Phase 1 and Phase 2 hunt will be asked to participate in hog management activities for Phase 3.

For more information please visit our website at Hoghunts.WaterMatters.org




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Lake Damon in Highlands County

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on
Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the River Greens Golf Course located at 47 W. Lake Damon Drive in Avon Park. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lake Damon in Highlands County.

During the workshop, District staff will present the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Lake Damon. Minimum levels are established to protect lakes and wetlands and the minimum level is the limit at which further water withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources and/or environment.

The workshop is an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to provide input regarding the proposed minimum and guidance level. Information will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. At the Board’s February meeting, Board members will choose whether to recommend adoption of the minimum levels into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public, and brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

The Florida Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for priority water bodies within the District. Minimum flows are established to protect streams and rivers from impacts associated with ground water and surface water withdrawals, while minimum levels are established to protect lakes and wetlands. Minimum flows and levels serve as guidelines for the District’s permitting programs and for development of water resource projects.

A draft report summarizing the proposed minimum levels for Lake Damon will be posted this week on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/MFLreports. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Donna Campbell at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236.

Written comments can be submitted via mail or email to Donna Campbell, Environmental Scientist, Water Resources Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604 or donna.campbell@watermatters.org




Governing Board to Meet at Starkey Environmental Education Center in New Port Richey

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Starkey Environmental Education Center, located at 10500 Wilderness Park Blvd. in New Port Richey.

Due to the unavailability of internet access at the Starkey Environmental Education Center, we will not be able to provide a live video stream for the Governing Board meeting. The meeting will be recorded and a link to the video recording will be published on the District’s website later that week.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org and click on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Green Swamp

Mon, 27 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the next 12 months within the Green Swamp, including the Green Swamp East, Green Swamp West, Hampton and Upper Hillsborough properties. These properties are located in eastern Pasco, southeastern Sumter, southwestern Lake and northern Polk counties.

Approximately 20,000 acres will be burned in manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




Six Easy Ways to Save Water and Money During the Holidays

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is offering six easy ways to prepare for your holiday meals and parties without running up your water bill.

During the holidays, water plays a role in everything from food preparation to the clean-up process. Here’s how to incorporate water conservation into your holiday preparations:

  • Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or the microwave instead of running hot water over them.
  • Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or pan filled with water instead of under running water. This water can then be reused to water houseplants. A running faucet can use up to 4 gallons per minute.
  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and fill the rinsing sink one-third to one-half full. Avoid letting the water run continuously in the rinsing sink.
  • Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.
  • Scrape food scraps into the garbage can or a composting bin, rather than rinsing them into the sink’s garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses up to 4.5 gallons of water per minute.
  • Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Dishwashers use between 7 and 12 gallons per load.

For more water conservation tips, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.




Public Invited to Help Identify Flood Prone Areas in Portions of Pasco County

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is gathering information to improve identification of flood prone areas in Pasco County. Residents living in the Duck Lake watershed are invited to attend an open house on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. The meeting will take place in the cafeteria of Pasco High School, located at 36850 State Road 52 in Dade City.

District representatives will present preliminary data for flood prone areas, explain the basis behind the findings, and gather additional information that may be used to identify additional areas which may be prone to flooding. After addressing public comments, information will be finalized and presented to the District’s Governing Board for approval to use the data for regulatory purposes. This information is not currently being incorporated into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs); however, it may be used in future DFIRM updates.

The information which identifies areas prone to flooding can be used by local governments for land use and zoning decisions, to help manage development in and around floodplains and wetlands, to reduce flood risks, to preserve land and water resources, and for emergency planning. It will also provide valuable information to the public for decisions about purchasing and protecting property.

For more information or to find out which watershed you live in, please visit WaterMatters.org/FloodRisk or call the District at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4297.




Governing Board to Meet in Tampa

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North.

To view the Governing Board meeting online, visit WaterMatters.org and click on the “Live Video Stream” link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org and click on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




Check Your Irrigation Timer When You 'Fall Back' to Standard Time

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is reminding residents to check the timers on their irrigation system controllers this weekend, which is the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Saturday night is when we will turn our clocks back one hour. The time change is also a good time to make sure irrigation system timers are set correctly to ensure that the systems operate consistently with year-round water conservation measures.

All 16 counties throughout the District’s boundaries are now on year-round water conservation measures, with lawn watering limited to twice-per-week unless your city or county has a different schedule or stricter hours. Local governments maintaining once-per-week watering by local ordinance include Hernando, Pasco and Sarasota counties.

Know and follow your local watering restrictions, but don’t water just because it’s your day. Irrigate your lawn when it shows signs of stress from lack of water. Pay attention to signs of stressed grass:

  • Grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard.
  • Grass blades appear blue-gray.
  • Grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it

For additional information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Sumter County

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns November through March 2018 on the Lake Panasoffkee Preserve in Sumter County.

Lake Panasoffkee Preserve is located near Interstate 75 and State Road 44. Approximately 500 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Pasco County

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns November through March 2018 at Weekiwachee Preserve in Pasco County.

Weekiwachee Preserve is located north of Hudson, west of U.S. Highway 19 and includes the Aripeka Sandhills (Aripeka Road) tract. Approximately 50 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Marion County

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns November through March 2018 at Halpata Tastanaki Preserve in Marion County.

Halpata Tastanaki Preserve is located two miles east of Dunnellon and seven miles northeast of the City of Hernando and is bounded by County Road 484 on the north, State Road 200 on the southeast and the Withlacoochee River on the southwest. Approximately 1,000 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Hernando County

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns November through March 2018 at Annuteliga Hammock and Weekiwachee Preserve in Hernando County.

Annuteliga Hammock is located east of U.S. Highway 19, north of Centralia Road and south of the county line. Approximately 300 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Weekiwachee Preserve is located west of U.S. Highway 19 between Spring Hill and Hernando Beach. Approximately 400 acres will be burned in small, manageable units. Some trails may be temporarily closed during prescribed burn events.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Citrus County

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns November through March 2018 on Potts Preserve and the Two Mile Prairie Connector parcel in Citrus County.

Potts Preserve is located approximately two miles east of the City of Hernando and three-and-a-half miles north-northeast of Inverness. The property is east and southeast of State Road 200 and north of Turner Camp Road and is bounded by the Withlacoochee River on the east. Approximately 600 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

The Two Mile Prairie Connector property is located approximately five miles north-northeast of the City of Hernando and seven miles southeast of Dunnellon. This parcel is located on State Road 200 approximately 350 yards southwest of the Lecanto Highway intersection. Approximately 200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Hillsborough County

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of October, November and December on the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area (LHFDA) and the Chito Branch Reserve in Hillsborough County.

The LHFDA is located south of Cross Creek Boulevard between U.S. Highway 301 and Morris Bridge Road near Thonotosassa. Chito Branch Reserve is located south of Boyette Road west of County Road 39 near Lithia. A total of approximately 1,115 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Manatee County

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns October through January 2018 on the Gilley Creek and Flatford Swamp properties in Manatee County.

The Gilley Creek property is located between State Road 62 and State Road 64 and east of County Road 675, southeast of Parrish. The Flatford Swamp property is located on Myakka Road, south of State Road 64 and north of Myakka City. Approximately 1,400 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Pasco County

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of October, November and December at the Conner Preserve and Upper Hillsborough Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Pasco County.

Conner Preserve is located south of State Road 52 and east of U.S. Highway 41 near Land O’ Lakes. The Upper Hillsborough WMA is located south of State Road 54 and east of Chancey Road near Zephyrhills. A total of approximately 1,230 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




District Aims to Reduce Risk of Wildfires by Scheduling Prescribed Fires for Polk County

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Setting prescribed fires in controlled settings can reduce the risk of wildfires burning out of control, as many Floridians witnessed during the state’s wildfire emergency in early spring. That’s why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns October through January 2018 on the Green Swamp Hampton Tract property in Polk County.

The Hampton Tract property is located north of Rock Ridge Road and east of U.S. Highway 98, north of Lakeland. Approximately 2,700 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

Some major benefits of prescribed fire include:

• Reducing overgrown plants, which decreases the risk of catastrophic wildfires
• Promoting the growth of new, diverse plants
• Maintaining the character and condition of wildlife habitat
• Maintaining access for public recreation

The District conducts prescribed fires on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Click here for a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.




Governing Board to Meet in Brooksville

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. at District Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville.

To view both the planning workshop and the Governing Board meeting online, visit WaterMatters.org and click on the “Live Video Stream” link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org and click on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Lake Alice in Hillsborough County

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lake Alice, located in Hillsborough County.

During the workshop, District staff will present the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Lake Alice. Minimum levels are established to protect lakes and wetlands and the minimum level is the limit at which further water withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources and/or environment.

The workshop is an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to provide input regarding the proposed minimum and guidance level. Information will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. At the Board’s December meeting, Board members will choose whether to recommend adoption of the minimum levels into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public, and brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

The Florida Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for priority water bodies within the District. Minimum flows are established to protect streams and rivers from impacts associated with ground water and surface water withdrawals, while minimum levels are established to protect lakes and wetlands. Minimum flows and levels serve as guidelines for the District’s permitting programs and for development of water resource projects.

A draft report summarizing the proposed minimum levels for Lake Alice is posted on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/MFLreports. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Mark Hurst at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4271.

Written comments can be submitted via mail or email to Mark Hurst, Senior Environmental Scientist, Water Resources Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604 or mark.hurst@watermatters.org




Water Management Districts, State continue collaboration to secure Florida’s water supply

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

MAITLAND, Fla., Oct. 10, 2017 — The Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) estimates central Florida will need an additional 250 million gallons of water per day by 2035 to meet the demands of a growing population. An update on the CFWI’s work to meet that demand through increased water conservation and alternative water sources was presented today to the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board. “Water conservation is the least expensive way to help meet a portion of our future needs,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We commend the efforts of residents, local governments and all water users who make water conservation a year-round priority. No action is too small.” “The District has worked collaboratively with the Polk Regional Water Cooperative to identify and cooperatively fund three potential alternative water supply projects expected to produce 30 million gallons per day by 2035,” said Southwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director Brian Armstrong. “We also are working diligently to ensure an emphasis on conservation throughout Polk County.” “Our District is also working with Polk County and all our partners within the CFWI in the development of alternative water supply sources,” said Dan O’Keefe, Governing Board Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District. “We are enthusiastic about these and other projects on the horizon which hold the promise of providing abundant water supplies in a way that protects Central Florida’s environment.” Knowing that water conservation and alternative water sources are critical elements, the CFWI has identified 150 project options that will help achieve needed water savings. Three of these projects, located in Osceola and Polk counties, were recently approved for funding consideration; a brief project summary was shared with the governing board. Other additional updates on the CFWI’s progress were presented, including: • Confirmed stakeholder approval for methodologies, with development of water use projections underway. • Development of an updated groundwater model to improve the accuracy of analysis is also underway, as well as the building of a database and identification of water monitoring locations. • An overview of work to establish water management district rules and regulations that address water conservation, public water supply and agricultural demands. • Calculations on water conservation savings and completion of a water conservation implementation strategy outline. • Public workshops were held during 2017 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to engage the community and other stakeholder groups in the process of establishing consistent water use permitting rules within CFWI. Multiple agencies presented updates and information at the meeting, including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Sou[...]



District Reopens Majority of Managed Lands

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

***To see how staff are cleaning up District managed properties click here: https://youtu.be/Ir-hYWT1biQ
Feel free to use this video on your website or newscasts.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has reopened the majority of District-managed lands throughout its 16-county region. The Districted closed all District-managed lands in September in anticipation of flooding and other impacts due to Hurricane Irma.

However, the following District-managed properties are still closed due to localized flooding, debris and blocked roads from Hurricane Irma:

• Chito Branch Reserve
• Deep Creek Preserve
• Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve – Oakridge and Washburn
• Upper Hillsborough Preserve
• Upper Hillsborough Preserve – Alston Tract
• Wysong Park

Also, the following campgrounds remain closed:

• Deep Creek
• Green Swamp East
• Green Swamp West including McNeil
• Potts Preserve – River Campground
• Upper Hillsborough Preserve
• Upper Hillsborough Preserve – Alston Tract




District Deactivates Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area, Returns to Normal Operating Conditions

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has deactivated the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area (LHFDA), reopening the S-155 structure and allowing boat traffic to resume along that portion of the Hillsborough River. High water levels caused by Hurricane Irma have receded, allowing the Hillsborough River to return to its natural flow pattern.

In September, the Hillsborough River reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggered the Army Corps of Engineers activation level of the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area (LHFDA). This involved stopping the flow of the Hillsborough River, before it reached the City of Temple Terrace and City of Tampa, and redirected the water into the LHFDA, which was instrumental in preventing flooding from the Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace and the City of Tampa.

District staff redirected the flow of the river by closing the S-155 structure. The S-155 structure is located north of Morris Bridge Road and east of I-75 and can be seen from I-75 as you cross the Hillsborough River.

The Tampa Bypass Canal system was constructed in response to massive flooding caused by Hurricane Donna in 1960. The system is designed to divert flood waters from the Hillsborough River into the 16,000-acre LHFDA. As the detention area fills with water from the river and the surrounding 450-square-mile area, the flows then enter the Tampa Bypass Canal and are safely diverted to McKay Bay, bypassing the cities of Temple Terrace and Tampa.

The system is made up of five flood control structures located along the 15.7-mile canal. In addition to providing flood control, the Tampa Bypass Canal also serves as a water supply source to help meet the drinking water needs of the Tampa Bay area.




District Approves Rolled Back Millage Rate Saving Taxpayers $6.7 Million

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

For the seventh year in a row, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board voted to decrease property taxes by adopting a rolled back millage rate of 0.3131 mill for the fiscal year 2018 budget.

The millage rate is more than 5.6 percent lower than the current fiscal year adopted millage rate of 0.3317 mill, a savings to taxpayers of $6.7 million.

For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, the District tax would be $31.31 a year, or about $2.61 per month.

The total fiscal year 2018 budget for the District is $183.7 million, and includes more than $79.7 million for Cooperative Funding Initiatives and District grants. Through cooperative funding partnerships, District funds are matched up to 50 percent and will result in a total regional investment of more than $151 million for sustainable alternative water supply development and other water resource management projects. The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018.




District to Hold Series of Hog Hunts in 2017-2018, Permits Will Be Available Online

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

District land managers plan to hold a series of hog hunts on District lands throughout the year to help reduce the wild hog population. Wild hogs, which are not native to Florida, can cause damage with their broad snouts and can leave an area looking like a plowed field. They also prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, hogs may facilitate the spread of exotic plant species by transporting seeds and/or providing germination sites through rooting. The District has a three-phased hunting system. The first two phases of hunts will have separate registration processes. The single top producer from each Phase 1 and Phase 2 hunt will be asked to participate in hog management activities for Phase 3. All hunts will adhere to the hog-dog format. No still hunts will be available. The program works like this: Phase 1 Hunts • Registration will occur 9 a.m. on Oct. 2, 2017. • Includes six hunts that occur October through December 2017. • Permits are transferable. • The top producer on each Phase 1 hunt will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October 2018 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge. We no longer award free admission into Phase two for our top two producers of the phase one hunt. Phase 2 Hunts • Registration will occur 9 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2017. • Includes six hunts that occur January and February 2018. • Permits are transferable. • The single top producer on each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October 2018 to take part in feral hog management hunts on an as-needed basis, free of charge. Phase 3 “As-Needed” Management Hunts • Includes management hunts that may occur March through October 2018. • Only those registrants that qualify as top producers following the Phase 1 and 2 hunts will be contacted to take part in management hunts during this period. • Management hunts offered to top producers will be free of charge and non-transferable. • All 12 Phase 1 and 2 top producers will be offered participation in a minimum of two management hunts throughout the non-hunting season. The District-managed properties will be temporarily closed to the public during the hog hunts. Only permitted hunters will be allowed access. Prospective hunters can purchase permits for Phase I hunts beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 2 on the District’s hoghunts.watermatters.org. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until they are sold out. The cost is $75 for each permit. A complete list of hunts with locations and dates is also available online. This is the ninth consecutive year for the hunts. Last year’s hunts remov[...]



Water Shortage Order Expiring in Northern Region

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Year-Round Water Conservation Measures in Effect Districtwide

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (District) Governing Board is allowing once-per-week watering and other stringent water restrictions in the District’s northern region to expire on Oct. 1, 2017. This region includes Citrus, Hernando, Sumter and portions of Lake, Levy and Marion counties.

All 16-counties throughout the District’s boundaries are now on year-round water conservation measures, with lawn watering limited to twice-per-week unless your city or county has a different schedule or stricter hours. Local governments maintaining once-per-week watering by local ordinance include Hernando, Pasco and Sarasota counties.

Under the District’s year-round measures, even addresses may water on Thursday and/or Sunday before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. and odd addresses may water on Wednesday and/or Saturday before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Additional details regarding the watering of new lawns and plants, reclaimed water and other water uses can be found at WaterMatters.org/Restrictions. To learn more about how you can conserve water, please visit WaterMatters.org/Conservation.




Governing Board to Meet in Tampa (note: 3:00 p.m. start time)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North.

A public hearing on the tentative FY2018 budget is scheduled for 5:01 p.m. The final budget hearing will take place on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 9:30 a.m., also at the Tampa Service Office. Both budget meetings were rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma.

To view the Governing Board meeting online, visit WaterMatters.org and click on the “Live Video Stream” link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

The meeting agenda and meeting materials are posted one week before the meeting, and can be found online at WaterMatters.org and click on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link.




District Reschedules Meetings and Hearings due to Hurricane Irma

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) officials have rescheduled several meetings due to impacts from Hurricane Irma.

The Governing Board tentative budget hearing has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 5:01 p.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North.

The Evaluation Committee Meeting in connection with Request for Proposals No. 007-17, Investment Advisory Services, has been rescheduled to Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 4 p.m. at the District’s Brooksville Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville.




Brooksville Office Reopens Friday, Sept. 15, All Other Offices Remain Open

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Brooksville office is now fully operational and will reopen on Friday, Sept. 15 following Hurricane Irma. All other District offices remain open.

Information regarding District-related meeting cancellations will be provided to the media and made available on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org. As a reminder, you can find the latest information on Twitter.com/SWFWMD.




Brooksville Office Partially Open Thursday, Sept. 14, All Other Offices Remain Open

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Brooksville office will be partially open on Thursday, Sept. 14. Portions of the campus remain closed as a result of an ongoing power outage due to Hurricane Irma. All other District offices remain open.

Information regarding District-related meeting cancellations will be provided to the media and made available on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org. As a reminder, you can find the latest information on Twitter.com/SWFWMD.




Brooksville Office Closed Wednesday, Sept. 13, All Other Offices Open

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Brooksville office will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 13 due to impacts from Hurricane Irma. All other District offices will be open.

Information regarding District-related meeting cancellations will be provided to the media and made available on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org. As a reminder, you can find the latest information on Twitter.com/SWFWMD.