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Preview: Southwest Florida Water Management District News Releases (RSS)

Southwest Florida Water Management District News Releases (RSS)



Water resource related news stories and announcements.



 



District to Hold Series of Hog Hunts in 2016-2017, Permits Will Be Available Online

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 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 will use a three-phase hunting system to alleviate and decrease these impacts.

The first two phases of hunts will have separate registration processes. Top producers from Phase 1 will be awarded free hunts for Phase 2; top producers from Phase 2 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. 3, 2016.
• Includes six hunts that occur November through December 2016.
• Permits are transferable.
• Top two producers on each hunt will be awarded a non-transferable registration to the same hunt location in Phase 2, free of charge.

Phase 2 Hunts

• Registration will occur 9 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2016.
• Includes six hunts that occur January and February 2017.
• Permits are transferable.
• Top two producers on each hunt of Phase 2 will be placed on the District’s “top producer” list and will be contacted between March and October 2017 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 2017.
• Only those registrants that qualify as top producers following the Phase 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 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. 3 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 eighth consecutive year for the hunts. Last year’s hunts removed 520 hogs on 12 different tracts of land throughout the District.




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Crooked Lake in Polk County

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Frostproof City Hall located at 111 West First Street in Frostproof. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Crooked Lake in Polk County.

The Florida Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) 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 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.

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Crooked Lake.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum levels for Crooked Lake. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum levels for Crooked Lake at the October Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose 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.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed minimum levels will be available for review and posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the Proposed Minimum & Guidance Lake Levels tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports section. In addition, digital copies of the draft reports will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Donna Campbell at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Donna Campbell, Environmental Scientist, Water Resource Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or donna.campbell@watermatters.org




District Approves Millage and Budget

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

On Tuesday, the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District adopted a FY2016-17 millage rate of 0.3317 mill, 4.9 percent lower than the current fiscal year. For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, the District tax would be $33 a year, or about $2.76 per month. The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017. The total FY2016-17 proposed budget for the District is $180.1 million.

The budget reflects the District’s commitment to protect Florida’s water resources and to improve Florida’s economic vitality. All programs and projects advance the core mission of the District and are designed to provide the highest quality service to residents within the District.

The budget includes more than $67 million for Cooperative Funding Initiatives and District projects. The District funds are leveraged with its partners’ resulting in a total investment of more than $120 million for water resource management projects.

Other key budget highlights include $13.3 million for springs protection budgeted by the District leveraged with an additional $2.8 million from local cooperators for a total investment of $16.1 million, $10.4 million for stormwater improvement to reduce flood risk and protect our citizens and $6.9 million for the Facilitating Agricultural Resource Management Systems (FARMS) program to reduce groundwater use and improve water quality impacted by agricultural practices.




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

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North.

A public hearing on the final FY2017 budget is scheduled for 5:01 p.m.

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 to Hold Public Meeting on Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is soliciting stakeholder input on the annual update of the Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels. A public meeting will be held at the District’s Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North on Monday, Sept. 19 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Minimum flows and levels (MFLs) are limits set by the District Governing Board for surface waters and groundwater. MFLs are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be impacted by water withdrawals. Reservations set aside water from withdrawals for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety. The Priority List identifies water bodies for which the District plans to establish minimum flows and levels and reservations.

Written comments on the draft Priority List and Schedule may be submitted to Doug Leeper, MFLs Program Lead with the District’s Natural Systems and Restoration Bureau via email at doug.leeper@watermaters.org or by U.S. mail at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, Florida, 34604-6899 no later than Oct. 7, 2016.

The current Priority List and Schedule and the draft 2017 Priority List and Schedule are posted on the District’s Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports web page at: http://www.WaterMatters.org/MFLReports.




District Reopens Hillsborough River to Boat Traffic

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has reopened the Hillsborough River to boat traffic, east of the I-75 overpass. The river was closed on Monday, due to rising waters associated with Hurricane Hermine. The District anticipated activating the Tampa Bypass Canal system Monday night in response to heavy rains in the Tampa Bay area from Hurricane Hermine, however, the Hillsborough River has not reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggers the Army Corps of Engineers activation level of the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention (LHFDA) area.



District Delayed Activation of Tampa Bypass Canal System

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) anticipated activating the Tampa Bypass Canal system Monday night in response to heavy rains in the Tampa Bay area from Hurricane Hermine, however, the Hillsborough River has not reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggers the Army Corps of Engineers activation level of the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention (LHFDA) area.

The Hillsborough River remains closed to boat traffic, east of the I-75 overpass, however flow has not been diverted at this time.

If and when the river reaches an elevation of 25 feet, the District will redirect the entire flow of the Hillsborough River away from the City of Temple Terrace and City of Tampa into the LHFDA, which will alleviate flooding from the Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace and the City of Tampa. Staff will close the S-155 structure, located north of Morris Bridge Road and east of I-75 which can be seen from I-75 as you cross the Hillsborough River. If the LHFDA is activated, the Trout Creek Park and Nature’s Classroom will be closed.




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

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on
Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Public Library located at 2902 W. Bearss Ave. in Tampa. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lake Merrywater in Hillsborough County.

The Florida Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) 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 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.

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Lake Merrywater.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum levels for Lake Merrywater. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum levels for Lake Merrywater at the September Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose 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.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed minimum levels are available for review and are posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the Proposed Minimum & Guidance Lake Levels tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports section. In addition, digital copies of the draft reports will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Donna Campbell at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Donna Campbell, Environmental Scientist, Water Resource Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or donna.campbell@watermatters.org




District To Activate Tampa Bypass Canal System Tonight to Help Prevent Flooding from Hurricane Hermine

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will activate the Tampa Bypass Canal system tonight in response to heavy rains in the Tampa Bay area from Hurricane Hermine. This action will close the Hillsborough River to boaters, and boat barriers will be in place by approximately 8 p.m.

The Hillsborough River has reached an elevation of 25 feet above sea level, which triggers the Army Corps of Engineers activation level of the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention (LHFDA) area. This involves redirecting the entire flow of the Hillsborough River away from the City of Temple Terrace and City or Tampa into the LHFDA, which will assist with flooding from the Hillsborough River in Temple Terrace and the City of Tampa.

District staff will redirect 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. As a result of activating the LHFDA, the Trout Creek Park and Nature’s Classroom will be closed. Again, the Upper Hillsborough River will be closed to boat traffic.

The District has been in contact with Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, the City of Tampa, Tampa Bay Water and the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center and the City of Temple Terrace to notify them of this action.

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.




All District Offices Closed Friday, Sept. 2

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

All District offices will be closed on Friday, Sept. 2 in conjunction with Governor Rick Scott’s order to close state offices as far south as Manatee County in response to Hurricane Hermine.

Staff members normally associated with emergency response may be placed on call and should contact their supervisor tomorrow morning.




Brooksville and Tampa Offices on Two-Hour Delay Friday

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District Brooksville and Tampa offices will be on a two-hour delay opening due to Hurricane Hermine.

The Bartow and Sarasota offices will open at their regular times.

All staff should check the emergency hotline after 8 a.m. Friday morning for the latest updates.




District Monitors Tropical Strom Hermine

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Emergency Operations Center at Level 2 Activation – All District Offices Closed Thursday Afternoon

Southwest Florida Water Management District officials are monitoring Tropical Storm Hermine and have raised the activation level of the District’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Level 2. The EOC provides direction and controls District activities during an emergency weather event.

The District is continuing to monitor potential flooding that could occur throughout our 16-county region due to heavy and sustained rainfall expected through Thursday.

Level 2 activation is utilized when a specific weather situation has reached a point where the District may be adversely affected. Level 2 is a partial activation, and the EOC will:

• Mobilize appropriate District emergency personnel to report to the EOC for 8–12 hour shifts. The rest of the District remains at normal operating conditions.
• Monitor water levels and operate water control structures on water bodies throughout the District’s 16–county area as needed.
• Maintain direct communications with the state and affected county EOCs.
• Ensure current event information is distributed to all District staff.

The EOC also directs District field crews, responds to requests from the state EOC, and provides water resource updates to state and local emergency management agencies, the media, and the general public. The District EOC will expand to include additional emergency personnel as the situation demands.

All District offices closed Thursday at noon. Additional information concerning District-related meeting cancellations and office closures will be provided to the media and made available on the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org.




CANCELLED: District to Hold Public Meeting on Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Due to the deteriorating weather conditions of Tropical Storm Hermine, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is cancelling tonight’s public meeting soliciting stakeholder input on the annual update of the Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels. The District will re-schedule the meeting as soon as possible.



RESCHEDULED: Public Invited to Help Identify Flood Prone Areas in Portions of Sumter County

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Due to the deteriorating weather conditions of Tropical Storm Hermine, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is cancelling tomorrow’s public meeting regarding flood prone areas in Sumter County.

The meeting has been rescheduled to Thursday, September 22 beginning at 4:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Bushnell Community Center, located at 407 E. Belt Avenue in Bushnell. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information to improve identification of flood prone areas in Sumter County.

District representatives will present preliminary flood prone area information, explain the basis behind the findings, and gather additional information that may be used to identify areas that are flood prone. After addressing public comments, flood prone area information will be finalized and presented to the District’s Governing Board for authorization to use the data for regulatory purposes. This flood prone area 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 updates to the DFIRMs.

The flood prone area information 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/. You can also call the District at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4297.




Governing Board Votes to Fund Conservation Easement in Manatee County

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Today, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board approved the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement of more than 1,088 acres of Triangle Ranch in Manatee County, in the upper Myakka River watershed. This action will prevent future development on this property by securing $2 million toward the purchase of the conservation agreement, and is a key part in the permanent protection of this important piece of land.

“The Board’s action today allows the District to spend tax payer dollars effectively, which contributes to our core mission of protecting water resources,” said Brian Armstrong, Executive Director. “This purchase increases the connectivity of conservation lands in the watershed.”

The District partnered with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast on this acquisition. The Foundation works to save land in conjunction with landowners, businesses, and government to protect the character and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

“Today we celebrate the power of many working together for a common goal, and kudos to District officials who recognize the impact of saving Triangle Ranch for the vitality of our community,” noted Christine Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

Protecting Triangle Ranch is integral to the environmental strength and economic vibrancy of our region. Triangle Ranch is listed on the Florida Forever list of crucial properties to protect in Florida, and is essential to the protection of the Myakka wetlands, the Myakka River’s water quality and biodiversity, as well as flood protection in our region. More than three miles of the Myakka River flows through Triangle Ranch and conserving the ranch protects and provides the opportunity to enhance the natural functions of the surrounding land, water and wetland systems.

“I think the Board and the District staff have done a great job pulling this together, and we admire very much the land acquisition efforts that are occurring here at the Southwest Florida Water Management District,” said Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy for Audubon Florida.

More than 120 species of birds and numerous animals from the endangered Florida panther to the threatened crested caracara call Triangle Ranch their home. In protecting the land and waters of Triangle Ranch, we ensure our natural areas, from beaches to prairie hammocks and woodlands, stay inviting to people and wildlife.




Governor Appoints Taylor, Williamson and Reappoints Beswick to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Governor Rick Scott appointed Mark Taylor, Michelle Williamson and re-appointed Bryan Beswick to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board. Taylor represents Hernando and Marion Counties, Williamson represents Hillsborough County and Beswick represents Desoto, Hardee and Highlands Counties.

Beswick, 49, of Arcadia, is a grove manager with Premier Citrus Management LLC. Beswick received his bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College. He is reappointed for a term beginning August 26, 2016, and ending March 1, 2020.

Taylor, 57, of Brooksville, is the president of TTG Properties Inc. Taylor received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. He is appointed for a term beginning August 26, 2016, and ending March 1, 2020.

Williamson, 53, of Dover, is a manager at G & F Farms. She is appointed for a term beginning August 26, 2016, and ending March 1, 2020.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Governing Board members are unpaid, citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. The Governing Board sets policy for the District, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west central Florida to meet the needs of current and future water users while protecting the environment.




District to Hold Public Meeting on Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is soliciting stakeholder input on the annual update of the Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels. A public meeting will be held at the District’s Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301 North on Thursday, Sept. 1 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Minimum flows and levels (MFLs) are limits set by the District Governing Board for surface waters and groundwater. MFLs are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be impacted by water withdrawals. Reservations set aside water from withdrawals for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety. The Priority List identifies water bodies for which the District plans to establish minimum flows and levels and reservations.

Written comments on the draft Priority List and Schedule may be submitted to Doug Leeper, MFLs Program Lead with the District’s Natural Systems and Restoration Bureau via email at doug.leeper@watermaters.org or by U.S. mail at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, Florida, 34604-6899 no later than Oct. 7, 2016.

The current Priority List and Schedule is posted on the District’s Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports web page at: http://www.WaterMatters.org/MFLReports. The draft FY2016 Priority List and Schedule will be made available at the same web page on Aug. 31, 2016.




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

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is gathering information to improve identification of flood prone areas in Sumter County. Residents living in the Bushnell watershed are invited to attend an open house on Thursday, September 1, beginning at 4:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Bushnell Community Center, located at 407 E. Belt Avenue in Bushnell.

District representatives will present preliminary flood prone area information, explain the basis behind the findings, and gather additional information that may be used to identify areas that are flood prone. After addressing public comments, flood prone area information will be finalized and presented to the District’s Governing Board for authorization to use the data for regulatory purposes. This flood prone area 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 updates to the DFIRMs.

The flood prone area information 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/. You can also call the District at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4297.




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Lake Eva in Haines City

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Tuesday, August 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the Lake Eva Community Center located at 555 Ledwith Ave. in Haines City. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lake Eva in Haines City.

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

During the workshop, District staff will present the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Lake Eva.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum levels for Lake Eva. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum levels for Lake Eva at the September Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose 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.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed minimum levels are available for review and are posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the Proposed Minimum and Guidance Lake Levels tab in the Documents and Reports section. In addition, digital copies of the draft report will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Mark Hurst at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4721.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Mark Hurst, Senior Environmental Scientist, Water Resources Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or mark.hurst@watermatters.org




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Hillsborough County

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns now through the month of September on the Lower Hillsborough Flood Detention Area (LHFDA) in Hillsborough County. The LHFDA property is located in the area of U.S. 301 and Morris Bridge Rd. near Thonotosassa. Approximately 700 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management supervisor, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Polk County

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns now through the month of September on the Upper Hillsborough property in Polk County. The Upper Hillsborough property is located in the area of Chancy Rd. and S.R. 54 near Zephyrhills. Approximately 200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management supervisor, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Pasco County

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns now through the month of September at the Conner Preserve in Pasco County. The property is located south of State Road 52 and east of U.S. 41 near the town of Land O’ Lakes. Approximately 700 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management supervisor, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Lakes Horse, Juanita, Little Moon and Rainbow in Hillsborough County

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Wednesday, August 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library, located at 11211 Countryway Blvd in Tampa. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lakes Horse, Juanita, Little Moon and Rainbow in Hillsborough County.

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

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum levels for Lakes Horse, Juanita, Little Moon and Rainbow.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum levels for Lakes Horse, Juanita, Little Moon and Rainbow. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum levels for Lakes Horse, Juanita, Little Moon and Rainbow at the September Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose 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.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed minimum levels are available for review and are posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the Proposed Minimum & Guidance Lake Levels tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels Documents and Reports section. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Jamie Swindasz at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4276.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Jamie Swindasz, Staff Environmental Scientist, Water Resource Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or Jamie.Swindasz@WaterMatters.org




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Sarasota County

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of August and September on Deer Prairie Creek Preserve and neighboring Schewe Tract.

Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, which is jointly owned and managed by the District and Sarasota County, is located between Interstate 75 and US Highway 41.

The Schewe Tract, which is located south and north of Interstate 75 just north of Deer Prairie Creek, is fully owned and managed by the District. Both of these parcels are located west of North Port. Approximately 1200 acres will be burned in small manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Highlands County

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of August and September on the Jack Creek Preserve in Highlands County. The property is located six miles northwest of Lake Placid, west of US Highway 27. Approximately 100 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management supervisor, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Desoto County

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of August and September on the Deep Creek Preserve in Desoto County. The Deep Creek Preserve is located northeast of Port Charlotte, west of King’s Highway and north of Deep Creek Estates. Approximately 400 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Charlotte County

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of August and September on the Prairie/Shell Creek Preserve in Charlotte County. The property is located to the west of US Highway 17, north of Shell Creek. Approximately 140 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Approves Proposed Millage Rate

Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) adopted a proposed FY2016-17 millage rate of 0.3317 mill, 4.9 percent lower than the current fiscal year. For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, the District tax would be $33 a year, or about $2.76 per month. The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017. The total FY2016-17 proposed budget for the District is $180.1 million.

The budget reflects the District’s commitment to protect Florida’s water resources and to improve Florida’s economic vitality. All programs and projects advance the core mission of the District and are designed to provide the highest quality service to residents within the District.

The proposed budget includes more than $67 million for Cooperative Funding Initiatives and District projects. The District funds are leveraged with its partners’ resulting in a total investment of more than $120 million for water resource management projects.

The District will hold a tentative budget hearing on Sept.13 at 5:01 p.m. at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301.The Governing Board will vote on the final budget on Sept. 27 at 5:01 p.m., at the Tampa Service Office, located at 7601 U.S. Highway 301.




Governing Board to Meet in Tampa

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 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.




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

Mon, 11 Jul 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Tuesday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library, located at 11211 Countryway Blvd in Tampa. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Sunset Lake and Lake Dan in Hillsborough County.

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

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum flows for Sunset Lake and Lake Dan in Hillsborough County.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum flows for Sunset Lake and Lake Dan. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum flows for Sunset Lake and Lake Dan at the August Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum flows 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 flows are available for review and are posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the River Systems & Springs tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports section. In addition, digital copies of the draft reports will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the proposed minimum flows, please contact David Carr at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4246.

Written comments regarding the minimum flows are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to David Carr, Staff Environmental Scientist, Water Resource Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or david.carr@watermatters.org




Governing Board Appoints Brian Armstrong as Executive Director

Tue, 28 Jun 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Governing Board appointed Brian Armstrong as executive director at today’s monthly Board meeting. Robert Beltran, who announced his resignation earlier this month, will stay on temporarily to assist in the transition. Beltran was appointed to serve as the District’s executive director in September 2013, and is returning to the private sector.

Mr. Armstrong has served as the District’s assistant executive director since May 2014. In that role he has been responsible for the leadership and oversight of the Operations, Maintenance & Construction, Regulation, and Resource Management divisions. He brings more than 15 years of experience in water resource management.

Previously, Armstrong was the assistant director for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Southwest District. There he led the restructure of the DEP District operations by reducing costs and improving internal operating performance, including the creation of a successful compliance management team. Prior to that, Armstrong served as the Water Supply and Resource Development manager for the District.

Armstrong is a licensed professional geologist who earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology and his Master’s Degree in Hydrogeology from the University of South Florida.




Governing Board to Meet in Brooksville

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. at District Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville.

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 Deactivates Emergency Operations Center

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Southwest Florida Water Management District officials have deactivated the District’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) from a Level 2 to a Level 3. The EOC provides direction and controls District activities during an emergency weather event.

Level 3 activation is utilized when a specific weather situation has been detected that must be monitored or a general state of monitoring exists, such as during the hurricane season. Level 3 is a monitoring–only activation level, and the EOC will:

• Place all District emergency personnel on standby, while the situation is monitored during normal business hours.
• Check equipment and resources to ensure all is ready if needed.
• Monitor water levels and operate water control structures on water bodies throughout the District’s 16–county area as needed.
• Maintain direct communications with the state EOC as needed.
• Ensure current emergency management information is distributed to all District staff.

The EOC also directs District field crews, responds to requests from the state EOC, and provides water resource updates to state and local emergency management agencies, the media, and the general public. The District EOC will expand to include additional emergency personnel as the situation demands.

Information concerning District-related meeting cancellations and office closures will also be provided to the media and made available on the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org. 




District Monitors Tropical Storm Colin

Mon, 06 Jun 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Emergency Operations Center at Level 2 Activation

Southwest Florida Water Management District officials are monitoring Tropical Storm Colin and have raised the activation level of the District’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to Level 2. The EOC provides direction and controls District activities during an emergency weather event.

The District is continuing to monitor potential flooding that could occur throughout our 16-county region due to heavy and sustained rainfall expected through Tuesday.

Level 2 activation is utilized when a specific weather situation has reached a point where the District may be adversely affected. Level 2 is a partial activation, and the EOC will:

• Mobilize appropriate District emergency personnel to report to the EOC for
8–12 hour shifts. The rest of the District remains at normal operating conditions.
• Monitor water levels and operate water control structures on water bodies throughout the District’s 16–county area as needed.
• Maintain direct communications with the state and affected county EOCs.
• Ensure current event information is distributed to all District staff.

The EOC also directs District field crews, responds to requests from the state EOC, and provides water resource updates to state and local emergency management agencies, the media, and the general public. The District EOC will expand to include additional emergency personnel as the situation demands.

Information concerning District-related meeting cancellations and office closures will also be provided to the media and made available on the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org.




Governing Board Elects Officers

Tue, 24 May 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management Governing Board voted today to elect new officers to the board.

Randall S. Maggard was elected chair of the Governing Board. Maggard represents Pasco County and is vice president of Sonny’s Discount Appliances Inc. in Dade City. Maggard was appointed to the Board in October 2011.

Jeffery M. Adams was elected vice-chair of the Governing Board. Adams represents Pinellas County and is an attorney and partner with the law firm of Abbey, Adams, LLP, in St. Petersburg. Adams was appointed to the Board in April 2010.

Bryan K. Beswick was elected secretary of the Governing Board. Beswick represents DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties and is a grove manager of Premier Citrus Management in Arcadia. Beswick was appointed to the Governing Board in March 2013.

Ed Armstrong was re-elected as treasurer of the Governing Board. Armstrong represents Pinellas County and is an attorney with Hill Ward Henderson in Clearwater. Armstrong was appointed to the Governing Board in June 2014.

The new officers will serve a one-year term beginning 24 hours before the next Governing Board meeting.

Governing Board members are unpaid, citizen volunteers who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate. The Governing Board sets policy for the District, whose mission is to manage the water and related resources of west central Florida to meet the needs of current and future water users while protecting the environment.




Governing Board to Meet in Tampa

Tue, 17 May 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 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.




District Welcomes New Senior Government Affairs Program Manager

Mon, 09 May 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Cindy Rodriguez has joined the Southwest Florida Water Management District as a Senior Government Affairs Program Manager.

Rodriguez will serve as a liaison between the District and the constituents of Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties. She will work closely with county governments, municipalities and utilities staff.

Rodriguez is a sixth-generation Polk County native and has more than 20 years of government and public relations experience.

Prior to joining the District, Rodriguez was the Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs Director for A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc. in Bartow. Previously, Rodriguez served as the Communications and Legislative Affairs Director at Polk County Board of County Commissioners.

Rodriguez will work from the District’s Bartow Service Office. She can be reached at (863) 534-1448, ext. 6000 or Cindy.Rodriguez@WaterMatters.org.




District Reports Gains in Seagrass Coverage in Charlotte Harbor

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Scientists with the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Program released the results of the 2014 seagrass mapping study showing a 5.2 percent increase in seagrass coverage in Charlotte Harbor.

The District maps seagrass in five estuaries spanning the five coastal counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte. Charlotte Harbor is Florida’s second largest open water estuary, and provides some of the most productive estuarine ecosystems in southwest Florida. This is the third consecutive survey to show increases for the system from 2008 values. The study also shows gains in Lemon Bay and Sarasota Bay.

The results show Charlotte Harbor gained 985 acres of seagrass between 2012 and 2014. The area now collectively supports 19,896 acres of seagrass beds, the largest amount of seagrass measured since 1996. Seagrass acreage in Charlotte Harbor has remained around 18,000 acres since 2000, making 2014 estimates another significant gain towards the protection and recovery of seagrass in the system. Lemon Bay, a smaller system, gained 166 acres, a 5.4 percent increase.

Documenting the extent of seagrass and how it changes overtime is a valuable tool for scientists throughout the state of Florida. Seagrasses are an important barometer of a bay’s health because they require relatively clean water to flourish, thus they are sensitive to changes in water clarity and quality. The District’s maps are used as a tool for measuring and tracking biological integrity of estuaries as it relates to water quality conditions. Seagrass generally grows in waters less than six feet deep, but in the clear waters around Boca Grande Pass it can be found in water 8 to 10 feet deep.

The District began its formal seagrass mapping program in 1988. As part of the program, SWIM scientists assess seagrass in five Gulf coast estuaries. Every two years maps are produced from aerial photographs and then verified for accuracy by conducting field surveys. The results are used to track trends in seagrass and to evaluate ongoing water quality improvement efforts.




District and Hillsborough County Exchange Land for Restoration and Protection

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 00:00:00 EDT

Susanna Martinez Tarokh
1-800-423-1476, ext. 2008 or
Cell Phone: (813) 781-9817

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted today to
exchange properties with Hillsborough County in an effort to work together to protect conservation land. The Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve this same effort at their regular meeting on April 20.

The District agreed to exchange approximately 205 acres of land with the County for approximately 425 acres.

This transaction will reduce the acreage of District landholdings that do not significantly meet the District’s four areas of responsibility and will support the objectives of Hillsborough County. In the future, these types of partnerships will continue to ensure effective and efficient management of public lands.

Hillsborough County agreed to exchange lands that they currently solely own, referred to as in the Little Manatee River Corridor (Rood Parcel), for lands recommended for exchange by the District. These lands include the Alafia River parcels (167 acres) and the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve parcels (38 acres), which were acquired through separate transactions as part of a flood detention area project.

The District will also reduce management liability and acquire an inholding that offers restoration project alternatives. The District will commit a minimum of $1.5 million to perform upland habitat restoration over an estimated 390 acres of the Rood property plus an additional estimated 54 acres adjacent and to the north of the Rood property for a total approximate restoration of 444 acres.




MEDIA ALERT: District Dedicates Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Projects

Mon, 11 Apr 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District), in cooperation with Hillsborough County, will hold a dedication event to celebrate the completion of the Rock Ponds Ecosystem Restoration Project.

This is the largest coastal habitat restoration project ever done in the history of Tampa Bay, with approximately 1,043 acres of uplands and wetlands. This project will help offset habitat losses suffered throughout Tampa Bay and will prove valuable for the public and thousands of coastal species that use the Tampa Bay ecosystem.

The event will take place on Wednesday, April 13 at 10 a.m. at the project site in Hillsborough County, located 4480 County Line Road in Ruskin.

Tours will be available along with the opportunity to speak to District scientists who led the project. All activities will take place outside so please wear appropriate shoes and attire.

Visit WaterMatters.org/RockPonds to learn more about this project.




District to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Three Sisters Springs Bank Stabilization Project

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will hold a public meeting to inform citizens about the upcoming restoration work the District will be doing at Three Sisters Springs. The meeting will take place at Crystal River City Hall, located at 123 NW Highway 19 in Crystal River, April 12 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The project involves repairing erosion as well as preventing future erosion along the shoreline and the improvements will benefit the Crystal River/Kings Bay spring system by restoring habitat, including critical manatee habitat, and increasing public safety.

For safety, the entire property and all access to the springs will be closed to the public during the project.

Partners in this project include, the District, the City of Crystal River, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Three Sisters Springs property is co-owned by the District and the City of Crystal River. It is managed by the City of Crystal River and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

District funding for this project has been approved and the project is expected be complete before November 2016. The project will conclude before the start of manatee season, a time when manatees seek refuge in the warm waters of Florida’s springs.




Governing Board to Meet in Brooksville

Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 29 at 9 a.m. at District Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville.

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 Schedules Prescribed Fires for Sarasota County

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of March, April, May and June on Deer Prairie Creek Preserve and neighboring Schewe Tract. Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, which is jointly owned and managed by the District and Sarasota County, is located between Interstate 75 and US Highway 41. The Schewe Tract, which is located south and north of Interstate 75 just north of Deer Prairie Creek, is fully owned and managed by the District. Both of these parcels are located west of North Port. Approximately 1200 acres will be burned in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Desoto County

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of March, April, May and June on the Deep Creek Preserve in Desoto County. The Deep Creek Preserve is located northeast of Port Charlotte, west of King’s Highway and north of Deep Creek Estates. Approximately 370 acres will be burned, in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




District Schedules Prescribed Fires for Charlotte County

Mon, 14 Mar 2016 00:00:00 EDT

The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of March, April, May, and June on the Prairie/Shell Creek Preserve in Charlotte County. The property is located to the west of US Highway 17, north of Shell Creek. Approximately 140 acres will be burned, in small, manageable units.

According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management manager, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.

Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.




Florida Senate Confirms District Executive Director and Governing Board Appointments

Fri, 19 Feb 2016 00:00:00 EST

The Florida Senate has confirmed the appointments of Southwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director Robert Beltran and seven Governing Board members.

H. Paul Senft, Jr., representing Polk County, was first appointed to the Governing Board in 2008 and reappointed in 2012 by Governor Rick Scott. His term expires in March of 2019.

Jeffery M. Adams, representing Pinellas County, was first appointed to the Governing Board in 2010 and reappointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015. His term will expire in March of 2018.

Randall S. Maggard, representing Pasco County, was first appointed to the Governing Board in 2011 and reappointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015. His term will expire in March of 2019.

At Large Board Member Michael A. Moran represents Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. He was first appointed in 2013 and reappointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015. His term will expire in March of 2019.

Ed Armstrong, represents Pinellas County, and was first appointed to the Board in 2014 and reappointed by Governor Rick Scott in 2015. His term will expire in March of 2018.

Kelly S. Rice is an At Large Board member and represents Citrus, Lake, Levy and Sumter and Counties. He was first appointed in 2015 and his term expires in March of 2019.

John Henslick was appointed to the Board in September of 2015 to fulfill at vacancy for the seat which represents Manatee County. His term will expire in March of 2017.

Executive Director Robert Beltran was hired by the District’s Governing Board in 2013.

The mission of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is to manage water and related natural resources to ensure their continued availability while maximizing the benefits to the public.




District to Hold Workshop on Minimum Flows for Gum Slough Spring Run in Marion and Sumter Counties

Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at the Marion Oaks Community Center, located at 294 Marion Oaks Lane in Ocala. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum flows for Gum Slough Spring Run in Marion and Sumter Counties.

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

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed minimum flows for Gum Slough Spring Run in Marion and Sumter Counties. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum flows for Gum Slough Spring Run. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District’s Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum flows for Gum Slough Spring Run at the March Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum flows 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 flows are available for review and are posted on the District’s Internet site at WaterMatters.org under the River Systems & Springs tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports section. In addition, digital copies of the draft reports will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the proposed minimum flows, please contact Kym Rouse Holzwart at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4295.




Governing board to meet in Sarasota

Wed, 17 Feb 2016 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 23 at 9 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 and click on the “Boards, Meetings & Events Calendar” link




RESCHEDULED: District to Treat Hydrilla on Rainbow River

Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:00:00 EST

Due to unfavorable weather conditions, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) has rescheduled the treating of the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla on the Rainbow River in Marion County to the week of Feb. 22.

District workers will treat scattered infestations on the river from the Rainbow River State Park boundary downstream to the Withlacoochee River.

The aquatic herbicide Aquathol Super K will be applied and informational signs will be posted in the treated area indicating the treatment dates and applicable water use restrictions.

There are no restrictions on the use of treated water for swimming, fishing, boating, watering livestock or irrigating established turf, ornamental plants and crops. Treated river water should not be used for potable water or for irrigating annual nursery or green house crops including hydroponics and newly seeded or transplanted annual crops, newly seeded or transplanted ornamentals, and newly sodded or seeded turf for seven days following treatment. Water use restrictions do not apply to well or tap water.

Hydrilla is a troublesome aquatic plant from Southeast Asia, which escaped into Florida waters during the late 1950s. It is a fast-growing plant that expands quickly. If it is not controlled, native plant populations, recreational activities, navigation, flood control and fish and wildlife habitat can be negatively impacted.

The management of hydrilla on the Rainbow River is a cooperative effort between the District, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information, please call the District at (352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476.




District to Treat Hydrilla on Rainbow River

Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:00:00 EST

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be treating the invasive aquatic plant hydrilla on the Rainbow River in Marion County during the week of Feb. 8-12.

District workers will treat scattered infestations on the river from the Rainbow River State Park boundary downstream to the Withlacoochee River.

The aquatic herbicide Aquathol Super K will be applied and informational signs will be posted in the treated area indicating the treatment dates and applicable water use restrictions.

There are no restrictions on the use of treated water for swimming, fishing, boating, watering livestock or irrigating established turf, ornamental plants and crops. Treated river water should not be used for potable water or for irrigating annual nursery or green house crops including hydroponics and newly seeded or transplanted annual crops, newly seeded or transplanted ornamentals, and newly sodded or seeded turf for seven days following treatment. Water use restrictions do not apply to well or tap water.

Hydrilla is a troublesome aquatic plant from Southeast Asia, which escaped into Florida waters during the late 1950s. It is a fast-growing plant that expands quickly. If it is not controlled, native plant populations, recreational activities, navigation, flood control and fish and wildlife habitat can be negatively impacted.

The management of hydrilla on the Rainbow River is a cooperative effort between the District, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information, please call the District at (352) 796-7211 or 1-800-423-1476.