Here’s what we’re doing in Baker County

Equestrians along a forest road in the John M. Bethea State Forest in Baker County (left). Young pine trees growing in a reforested area (right). Photo credit: Courtesy of John M. Bethea State Forest/FDACS.

The work of the St. Johns River Water Management District is all about water. Our staff work each day on your behalf to protect water. This work is focused on four core missions: water supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems enhancement and protection.

Baker County is just one of the 18 counties where we do our work. Following is an overview of some of the ways that your tax dollars benefit not only the residents and visitors to the county, but also its natural and water resources.

Have you seen construction projects in your community or wonder where your water comes from? Chances are, the District issued a permit through its regulatory programs. The Consumptive Use Permitting Program reviews requests for water use and determines the amount of water available to be withdrawn from groundwater or surface water for uses such as public supply utilities, agricultural operations, commercial uses and power generation. Environmental Resource Permits authorize new construction in a way to prevent harm to water resources (such as causing adverse flooding), manage surface water and protect water quality, wetlands and other surface waters.

Water supply planning and our regulatory and water conservation programs are examples of how we apply our water supply core mission each day.

Strategies to protect and restore water quality include a commitment to comprehensive monitoring to guide impairment determinations, manage restoration projects and evaluate effectiveness.

Flood protection comes in many forms, such as water storage in natural wetlands and your neighborhood stormwater pond or flood control structures built in strategic locations.

Natural systems benefit from lands the District has purchased for conservation and restoration. These lands are open for free for your enjoyment. On lands not owned by the District, natural systems benefit from effective permitting, water quality improvement projects, minimum flows and levels and cost-share projects.

Prescribed fire helps maintain fire-dependent public lands.

Public lands help protect Florida’s endangered plants and animals.

Minimum flows and levels balance people’s and nature’s needs. Learn more about MFLs.

The District constructs large, regional projects and participates in efforts that often benefit multiple counties and benefit more than one of the District’s core missions. Some of the efforts in Baker county include:

  • St. Marys River Management Committee — This committee is an intergovernmental advisory board of elected and appointed members from four counties along the St. Marys River in Florida and Georgia, including Baker and Nassau counties (Florida) and Charlton and Camden counties (Georgia). The committee develops and implement plans and programs for the St. Marys River. The committee is made up of individuals who are involved because of a personal commitment to the use and protection of the St. Marys River. The District has participated on the committee as a non-voting member, in a technical support role, since its inception in 1991. For more information, visit

The District’s cost-share programs help local governments, agricultural entities, disadvantaged communities, and other non-governmental organizations undertake projects to benefit one or more of the District’s core missions and benefit your community.

Additionally, Baker County (and all communities within) is designated to receive funding under the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) as of June 2020. This designation is given to areas with an employment base dominated by traditional agriculture or resource-based industries and a population of 25,000 or less. Projects considered for funding shall benefit one or more of the four district core mission areas.

Such projects include upgrades to water treatment facilities, expansion of reclaimed water lines, creating stormwater treatment ponds and parks, etc. Here are examples of this work in your county.

  • Glen St. Mary Northside Gravity Septic-to-Sewer —The project included the construction of 6,600 linear feet of new gravity sewer extension to provide wastewater collection and hookups to 52 single family residences. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to the St. Marys River is 1,863 lbs/yr TN and 310 lbs/yr TP.
  • Macclenny System Wide Water Valve Replacements — The project included installation of insertion valves at key points within the system to create 10 zones that can be isolated individually without having to put large sectors out of service. The estimated water conservation benefit is 0.006 mgd.
  • Read about our cost-share program.
  • See other projects

The District collects a wealth of data that is used to make science-based decisions in all our work. This includes data on how much rain your county has received, the water levels in area lakes and rivers, the amount of nutrients in natural waterways, planning to address future water supply needs and much more.

The Blue School Grant Program provides funding to teachers within the District in support of their efforts to engage students in understanding and appreciating Florida’s freshwater and estuarine systems. Encourage your child’s teacher to apply for a grant.

Contact us about a speaker for your group. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about our work. Speaker’s bureau.

Free materials you can read or download at home or school.

Staff in our Governmental Affairs Program provide water resource information, assistance and support to federal, state and local elected officials and their staffs, and collaborate on water resource issues, programs and projects. One of the ways you may have met team members is during the annual Water Conservation Month observance when your local governments approved proclamations recognizing the observance.

County commissioner pictured with Dave Conkey
County commissioners in Baker County joined the District in March 2023 in declaring April as Water Conservation Month.