Amendment One dollars fund restoration projects across the district

MAITLAND, Fla., July 8, 2016 — Several projects that utilize Amendment One funds are underway or nearing completion within the St. Johns River Water Management District’s 18-county service area.

“Funding provided through Amendment One has had a direct benefit on expanding opportunities for restoration across the district,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “The district continues to demonstrate responsible fiscal stewardship by focusing on projects that directly contribute to our core mission areas of water supply, flood protection, water quality and natural systems.”

The district received $2.7 million for its 2015-2016 fiscal year as a result of Amendment One, which dedicates funds for the purchase and restoration of conservation and recreation lands. The funds allowed the district to conduct additional restoration work beyond its original budget. Projects encompass marsh restoration ($1.08 million), hydrologic restoration ($620,000), upland restoration ($614,000) and other land management activities ($430,000). Examples of specific projects include:

  • Berm removal (Alachua County): The removal of berms, or raised, artificial ridges,in the area near Lochloosa Lake is helping to restore the area’s hydrology and ecology. Berms were created during foresting operations in the 1980s. Ranging from 2-6 feet in height, the berms interrupt surface water flow, directing water to a nearby road instead of toward the lake. Work to remove the berms includes patching holes caused by erosion and topping the surface with grass seed. The project will improve both water supply and water quality.
  • Native grass planting (Lake, Marion, Flagler and Orange counties): Work is underway at Sunnyhill Restoration Area, Lake Apopka North Shore and the Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area to plant native grasses, a necessary step in restoring marsh systems. Not only do native grasses help to filter water by removing sediment before it reaches larger water bodies but it’s also highly flammable and plays an important role during prescribed fires, which are essential to maintaining natural systems and reducing the threat of wildfire.
  • Wildland urban interface and prescribed fire buffers (Volusia, St. Johns, Putnam, Brevard and Orange Counties): In areas where district-owned property borders urban areas, grassy tracts are created that serve as natural buffers between the properties. This buffer facilitates safe prescribed fires, and is also a step in reducing wildfire hazards to nearby communities, maintaining the area’s ecology and improving habitats for red-cockaded woodpeckers.

All projects will be complete by the end of the district’s fiscal year on September30, 2016. The district’s total adopted budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is$169.4 million.