Here’s what we’re doing in Marion County

Fern Hammock Springs in Marion County.
Fern Hammock Springs in Marion 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.

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Consumptive Use Permitting Program reviews requests for water use and determines the amount of water available to be withdrawn from groundwater or surface water for uses such as public supply utilities, agricultural operations, commercial uses and power generation.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

District staff conduct training to the irrigation system
The District is a partner in the statewide Florida Water StarSM program, a water conservation program. Here, staff conduct training to the irrigation system (which uses reclaimed water).

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.

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:

  • Lake Bowers
  • Lake Charles
  • Lake Halfmoon
  • Little Lake Como
  • Lake Nicotoon
  • Lake Smith
  • Lake Weir
  • Silver Springs

See the MFLs priority systems map.

Learn more about MFLs.

land managers searching through tall grass
District scientists and land managers conduct a “bio blitz” at the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area, recording the diversity of plants and animals on the property as part of the process to write a land management plan.

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:

  • Moss Bluff Lock and Dam — The Moss Bluff Lock is one of three the District operates within the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin. The lock provides navigational access along the Ocklawaha River. It is located on the edge of the Ocala National Forest and was reconstructed in 1968 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist with flood control as well as the passage of boats along the Ocklawaha River. Visit the flooding page to see emergency action and levee plans for the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin.
Floor control structure

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.

  • Marion County Silver Springs Shores Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) — The project consists of improvements to the Silver Springs Shores WWTF to enhance the nutrient removal capabilities to meet advanced wastewater treatment (AWT) standards and to expand the capacity by 0.5 mgd for future package plant and septic-to-sewer connections. The project also includes the construction of infrastructure to connect two package WWTFs and one church septic system to this WWTF. This includes construction of three new lift stations, rebuilding two existing lift stations and installation of three new force mains. The two package plants will also be decommissioned and demolished. The estimated load reduction water quality benefit is 3,532 lbs/yr of TN. The project also provides an alternative water supply benefit of 0.01 mgd.
  • Ocala Lake Wyomina Drainage Retention Areas Retrofit — The project includes reshaping the drainage retention areas (DRA) and installing a layer of biosorptive activated media in the DRA that serves 166 acres. The project also includes a new conveyance system that connects to an aquifer recharge well. The estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit to Silver Springs is 166 lbs/yr of TN and 38 lbs/yr of TP.
  • Ocala Pine Oaks Wetland Recharge Park — The project involves the construction of a 33-acre groundwater recharge wetland that will receive advanced treated wastewater from the city’s water reclamation facilities #2, #3, and stormwater from the Old City Yard Drainage Retention Area. The estimated alternative water supply benefit to Silver Springs is 3 to 5 mgd of recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer. The project will also provide an estimated nutrient load reduction water quality benefit of 59,000 lbs/yr of TN and 30,000 lbs/yr of TP.
  • Read about our cost-share program.
  • See other projects
Construction crews work on a water reclamation facility
Construction crews work on a water reclamation facility in the Silver Springs Shores area as part of a District cost-share project.

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 winners in Marion County are:

  • Vanguard High School (three times)

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.

Students conducting a water quality test
Students conduct a water quality test as part of a Blue School Grant Program project at Vanguard High 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.

District staff meet with Marion County staff
District staff meet with Marion County staff and officials as part of discussion of water supply planning and cost-share opportunities.