Here’s what we’re doing in Clay County

Pier going ot to Doctor's Lake
U.S. 17 crosses Doctors Lake in Clay County near Orange Park.

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.

Clay 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Consumptive Use Permitting Program reviews requests for water use and determines the amount of water available to be withdrawn from groundwater or surface water for uses such as public supply utilities, agricultural operations, commercial uses and power generation.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.

  • Water control structures. The District has no water control structures and does not control water levels in Clay County. Flood protection in Clay County comes from permitting of stormwater pond systems and the stormwater storage capacity of conservation areas.
  • Flooding in hurricanes or tropical storms. Here’s a list of local government contacts, state agencies and helpful website links for before, during or after a storm.
  • Map of flood control areas.

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.

The District owns or manages the following public lands in your county:

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. MFLs in your county are:

  • Blue Pond
  • Lake Brooklyn
  • Lake Geneva
  • Lake Magnolia
  • Lake Sandhill/Lowry

See the MFLs priority systems map.

Learn more about MFLs.

Bartram’s Ixia blooming in a field
Bartram’s Ixia, a fire-dependent species, blooms at the J.P. Hall Bayard Point Conservation Area in Clay County as the result of a prescribed fire.

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

  • Black Creek Water Resource Development project. The project will increase recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer in northeast Florida using excess flow from Black Creek. The project will also contribute to regional minimum flows and levels recovery and increase water levels in the Alligator Creek system, including Lakes Brooklyn and Geneva. The Black Creek project was identified in the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan to help meet future water supply demands while protecting natural resources. This project is being built in southwest Clay County between Penney Farms and Camp Blanding.
  • Doctors Lake restoration projects. Doctors Lake has experienced water quality issues due to nutrient loading from stormwater runoff and other nonpoint sources such as septic tank effluent. Because of its narrow connection with the St. Johns River, the 3,400-acre lake has poor circulation and nutrients tend to concentrate in the lake. Two projects — the Doctors Lake Enhanced Effluent Treatment project and septic-to-sewer projects in collaboration with the Clay County Utility Authority — are addressing water quality.

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. 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. Here are examples of this work in your county.

  • CCUA Tynes Reclaimed Water Storage — The project includes the construction of two 0.75 MG reclaimed water storage tanks and a distribution facility to provide reclaimed water to over 772 new customers within the Two Creeks, Pine Ridge, Linda Lakes and Azalea Ridge subdivisions. The estimated alternative water supply benefit is 1.5 MG reclaimed water storage capacity created. The project is also estimated to provide a nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to the lower St. Johns River of 1,484 lbs/yr of TN.
  • Green Cove Springs Harbor Road Water Reclamation Facility Phase 2 — The project includes the replacement of the existing wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) with a water reclamation facility (WRF) that includes biological nutrient removal capabilities. The new facility will be capable of treating domestic wastewater and providing a higher treatment level. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to the St. Johns River is 10,650 lbs/yr of TN and 3,050 lbs/yr of TP. The project will also provide an estimated alternative water supply benefit of 1.25 mgd.
  • Penney Farms Stormwater Management — The project includes the construction of a stormwater control structure / impoundment area and a 48-inch diameter stormwater pipe connected to the impoundment. The estimated flood protection benefit is 39 acres protected from flooding and the estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit is 268 lbs/yr of TN and 44 lbs/yr of TP and approximately 39 acres of flood protection.
  • 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.

Blue School Grant Program winners from Clay County.

  • Clay High School
  • Keystone Heights Jr./Sr. High School
  • Oakleaf High School
  • Ridgeview High School (twice)
  • Wilkinson Jr. High School

Additional resources:

Students prepare for a water quality reading
Students prepare for a water quality reading as part of their Blue School Grant Program project.

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.

Members of the Clay County Utility holding a proclamation
Members of the Clay County Utility Authority’s board celebrate April as Water Conservation Month in March 2023.