Levees in good shape, many public lands reopening

PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 10, 2016 — As the post-hurricane recovery continues in northeast and central Florida coastal counties, the St. Johns River Water Management District today reopened its offices as well as nearly 20 conservation areas. District employees have worked more than 400 staff hours over the recovery period, inspecting levees, structures and public lands. Staff are also assisting local governments in their work to alleviate flooding.

“We are continuing to reach out to local government partners to offer assistance as they assess what is needed to return to normal operations,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Much of the district was spared serious damage, and we are grateful. In those areas that do need our assistance with flood alleviation, we are committed to providing pumps and personnel until recovery is complete.”

Also over the weekend, district operations and maintenance staff inspected levee systems in the Upper St. Johns River Flood Control Project. No areas of concern were observed during the inspection. The systems worked as intended during the storm and helped prevent flooding in Indian and Brevard counties.

District land managers continue inspections and cleanup of thousands of acres of public lands to make them safe and accessible for visitors. Even on conservation lands that reopened today, not all trails are completely cleared. However, access points are available and no major flooding or overt hazards have been identified. To check the status of public access to district lands or limitations due to storm impacts, visit the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com.

Additional district activities underway include:

  • All district offices reopened Monday at 8 a.m.
  • Navigation through the Burrell Lock, Moss Bluff Lock and the Apopka Lock and Dam reopened Monday.
  • Pumps are currently deployed to Flagler County and Porpoise Point in Vilano Beach.
  • Staff continue to reach out to Emergency Operations Centers in the hardest hit areas to coordinate recovery and share what district equipment is available to help with recovery.
  • Staff are working with permit holders by expediting permits to get businesses and residents back up and running quickly.
  • District regulatory staff are available to answer questions or issue emergency waivers to assist with the recovery effort. For assistance, please contact district ombudsman Jimmy Peluso at 904-224-2958 or jpeluso@sjrwmd.com.
  • Staff are making minor repairs to district facilities damaged in the storm.
  • The district’s regular monthly governing board meeting will be held at the Palatka headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka, on Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m.