Here’s what we’re doing in Lake County

View of Lake Harris from the shore
Singletary Park on Lake Harris in Lake County.

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.

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Consumptive Use Permitting Program reviews requests for water use and determines the amount of water available to be withdrawn from groundwater or surface water for uses such as public supply utilities, agricultural operations, commercial uses and power generation.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

District staff Collecting data on water quality

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:
    • Upper Ocklawaha River Basin – Harris Bayou
  • Navigational locks:
    • Burrell Lock on Haynes Creek
    • Apopka-Beauclair Lock on the Apopka-Beauclair Canal
  • 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.
  • Location of controlled water levels in your county. These include: Upper Ocklawaha River Basin — Lake Griffin, Harris Bayou, Lake Eustis and Lake Harris, Lake Dora and Lake Apopka.

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:

  • Alexander Springs
  • Lake Apopka
  • Lake Apshawa North
  • Lake Apshawa South
  • Beauclair
  • Black Water Creek
  • Boggy Marsh
  • Cherry
  • Dora Dorr
  • Emma
  • Eustis
  • Griffin
  • Harris
  • Louisa
  • Lake Lucy
  • Messant Spring
  • Minneola
  • Monroe
  • Norris
  • Pine Island
  • Seminole Springs
  • Sunset
  • Wekiva River

See the MFLs priority systems map.

Learn more about MFLs.

observation platform next to a lake
An observation platform at the District’s Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area.

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:

  • Lake Apopka restorationThe District in engaged in a multi-pronged approach of diet and exercise to restore Lake Apopka. Beginning in 1996, at the direction of the Florida Legislature, the District bought farms along the north shore to end discharges of phosphorus into the lake other restoration work has included operation of a marsh flow-way to filter nutrients from the lake water, planting native submerged aquatic vegetation, building more storage areas and harvesting gizzard shad and the phosphorus in their bodies.
  • Emeralada Marsh Conservation Area peat removal project — Beginning in the 1940s, the marshes in what is now the conservation area were drained and the exposed muck soils were used for row-crop agriculture and cattle grazing. Due to these agricultural practices, the exposed wetland soils oxidized and subsided and were subject to fertilizer and pesticide applications during farming operations. A project is currently underway to remove peat deposits in one area of the conservation area that contain high phosphorus levels, thus reducing nutrient discharges to Like Griffin and the Ocklawaha Basin.
A plume of filtered water returns to Lake Apopka as seek from above
A plume of filtered water returns to Lake Apopka. The marsh flow-way continuously filters algae, suspended solids and associated nutrients from the water, contributing to restoration.

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.

  • Mount Dora Wastewater Treatment Facility #1 Improvements — The project includes installing a four-stage biological nutrient removal process to achieve advanced wastewater treatment standards of effluent at the Mount Dora WWTF. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit is 6,210 lbs/yr TN and 2,070 lbs/yr TP. The project also provides an estimated water supply benefit is 0.5 mgd.
  • Umatilla Cassady Street Drainage Project — The project includes the construction of inlets on each side of Cassady Street to eliminate roadway flooding. The project will prevent flooding for a 0.15-acre area along Cassady Street.
  • Cherrylake tree farm irrigation upgrades — Irrigation upgrades increase efficiency of irrigation systems and accuracy of water and fertilizer use at a 1,000-acre ornamental tree farm in Groveland. The projects provide an estimated nutrient load reduction of 15,012/yr. TN and 2,269 lbs./yr. TP.
  • Read about our cost-share program.
  • See other projects
Man in red shirt standing next to a young tree
Cherrylake Tree Farm upgraded its irrigation to save water and fertilizer with an agricultural cost-share grant.

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.

  • Gray Middle School

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.