Sept. 19, 2014

The district, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, state and local elected officials and Indian River Lagoon protection advocates celebrated the Florida Legislature’s $10 million funding appropriation for the first phase of the Eau Gallie River muck dredging project with an event at Ballard Park in Melbourne. The project calls for removing 625,000 cubic yards of muck from the bottom of the Eau Gallie River.

Sept. 9, 2014

The district’s Governing Board approved providing $500,000 for restructuring the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, joining the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and South Florida Water Management District in commitments to fund the restructured program. The district’s Governing Board authorized entering into an interlocal agreement that is being drafted with area stakeholders that will outline the new organization’s structure and path forward.

June 10, 2014

The district’s Governing Board approved the ranking of 62 proposed projects that would help to develop traditional and alternative water supplies, conserve water and protect water quality in the district’s priority water bodies. Proposals submitted by local governments, water supply utilities and other partners include reclaimed water projects, storm water or surface water treatment and enhancement projects, wastewater treatment plant upgrades, agricultural water management projects for water quality, alternative water supply development and water conservation enhancements.

June 6, 2014

The district, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, local government partners and stake­holder groups celebrated the installation of new “real-time” water quality monitoring stations in the Indian River Lagoon with an event at Titusville Veterans Memorial Fishing Pier. The monitoring stations contain sensors that collect real-time data on water quality parameters, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, plankton, salinity and water temperature. Insights gleaned from the new data will help in managing lagoon resources and identifying projects to improve the health of the lagoon.

April 8, 2014

The St. Johns River Water Management District set a road map for meeting the district’s water resource challenges over the next five years when the Governing Board approved an update to the Strategic Plan. The plan sets goals and strategic priorities that demonstrate the district’s continuing emphasis on effectiveness and efficiency in improved business practices.

March 11, 2014

The district’s Governing Board approved expansion of a stormwater park in southern Brevard County to improve the quality of water flowing into the Indian River Lagoon. The 300-acre Wheeler Stormwater Park will feature a series of stormwater ponds and restored wetlands to capture pollutants that had historically flowed directly into the lagoon. Trails are planned around the stormwater ponds and wetland areas, and saving existing trees to create a park environment. The property is bisected by the Sottile Canal, which receives storm water from a 21,000-acre residential and farming area and discharges it into the north prong of the St. Sebastian River — a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon. The expanded pond will receive direct discharges from the Sottile Canal and serve as the primary sediment collection area for flows from the canal to the St. Sebastian River.

Feb. 11, 2014

The third in a series of projects to investigate the causes of algal blooms in the Indian River Lagoon and evaluate management options was approved when the district’s Governing Board committed $137,000 to partner with Florida Atlantic University-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to examine the relationship between drift macroalgae and extreme conditions in the lagoon. The project is part of an algal bloom investigation in which the district is investing $3.7 million to protect the lagoon. The district and outside experts are increasing knowledge of the lagoon system through monitoring, data collection, field and lab analysis and model development.

Dec. 10, 2013

Two reclaimed water projects were added to the district’s $22 million commitment for fiscal year 2013–2014 cooperative funding projects to provide springs protection and reduced groundwater dependency in central Florida. An additional $800,000 was identified in the district’s budget to allow the inclusion of a reuse project for the city of Ocala and a city of Winter Garden reclaimed water project expansion.

Nov. 12, 2013

The district’s Governing Board approved a comprehensive strategy to protect Blue Spring and six Volusia County lakes from current and potential impacts of groundwater withdrawals. The Volusia minimum flows and levels (MFLs) prevention and recovery strategy calls for groundwater withdrawals to be maintained at or below sustainable limits, or for impacts from groundwater withdrawals to be mitigated through reclaimed water, aquifer recharge and water supply projects, as well as through conservation and regulatory measures. Approximately $135 million in potential capital projects were identified to address MFLs adopted for Volusia Blue Spring and Big, Daugharty, Helen, Hires, Indian and Three Island lakes. The district funded $16 million in cooperative agreements for 10 projects to aid the strategy.

Oct. 11, 2013

The district’s Lake George gizzard shad harvest removed more than 9,000 pounds of phosphorus and 28,000 pounds of nitrogen from the lake that is part of the St. Johns River system in Volusia and Putnam counties. The gizzard shad harvest took place from June 3 through Sept. 6, 2013, and exceeded the district’s expectations by removing 1.17 million pounds of the fish from Lake George, which directly removed thousands of pounds of nutrient pollution from the lake. Removing gizzard shad will help to meet the necessary downstream nutrient loading reduction essential to meeting state water quality standards and reduce the severity of algal blooms in the lower St. Johns River. The $694,000 project was funded with a 2012 legislative appropriation, which dedicated $5.6 million to St. Johns River restoration projects.

July 9, 2013

The district’s Governing Board designated $13.3 million for cooperative funding projects that would save millions of gallons of groundwater a day, and help protect springs and the St. Johns River system. The Board approved a ranking of applications to provide funding for 22 projects with local governments and other entities in fiscal year 2013–2014, with projects in Alachua, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties.

May 21, 2013

Governing Board member Maryam H. Ghyabi of Ormond Beach was reappointed and Douglas Burnett of St. Augustine was appointed to the district’s Governing Board. Ghyabi, the Board’s treasurer, and Burnett were appointed to four-year terms. Ghyabi is the CEO and President of Ghyabi & Associates, Inc. Burnett is president of Doug Burnett and Associates, a consulting firm for major defense contractors.

Maryam H. Ghyabi

Douglas Burnett

March 11, 2013

The St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts’ governing boards held a joint workshop to discuss the activities and accomplishments of the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership. The workshop provided an opportunity for board members from the districts to sit down together to discuss issues of regional interest, exchange ideas and continue to build on the efficiencies and accomplishments of the past year.

March 12, 2013

The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board approved a plan to study the movement of water through the Alligator Creek system with a short-term, one-time project to pump a limited amount of water from Lowry Lake into the creek. The pilot test was designed to show how water moves through the creek system and area lakes and how it is lost through evaporation, runoff and seepage.

Feb. 12, 2013

The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board approved a collaborative cost-share agreement to provide alternative water supply to the city of Apopka while reducing the amount of nutrients entering the Little Wekiva and Wekiva rivers. The $12.5 million stormwater and reclaimed water project will significantly reduce the amount of nutrients entering into the Little Wekiva River.

Dec. 11, 2012

Following a yearlong evaluation of its 600,000 acres of public lands, the district’s Governing Board voted to retain and continue to protect nearly all of those lands. “Staff worked diligently to ensure scientific integrity in the technical assessment and to make certain the process was transparent and inclusive,” said Board Chairman Lad Daniels of Jacksonville. “We anticipate seeing a positive environmental benefit as lower quality acres are ultimately replaced by higher conservation-value lands.” During its monthly public meeting, the Board unanimously approved district staff recommendations that call for:

  • Retaining 569,779 acres, which represent 92 percent of district-owned lands.
  • Donating 25,091 acres to local governments and retaining conservation easements on those lands.
  • Selling 6,574 acres and retaining easements to protect the lands’ conservation values.
  • Identifying as surplus to sell or exchange 3,591 acres of land (less than 1 percent) that have lower conservation value, have land management issues, or are no longer needed for the original purpose of the acquisition.
  • Converting 13,388 acres to alternative uses, such as leases allowing for forestry activities or peat removal.

Sept. 25, 2012

The district’s Governing Board on Sept. 25 approved a balanced budget that holds the line on property taxes while funding priority water quality protection activities and projects to enhance water supplies. The Board approved a 0.3313 millage rate that will generate $80 million in revenue toward a $120.7 million budget for the 2012–2013 fiscal year. The approved budget is 6 percent less than the fiscal year 2011–2012 budget. Ad valorem (property tax) revenue also is reduced by about 6 percent.

Sept. 11, 2012

The district renewed its commitment to springs protection, briefing the agency’s Governing Board about long-term plans for springs initiative. While the district has been working with other agencies for many years on springs projects and initiatives, the district began discussing additional work to better understand factors affecting the relationship between rainfall and spring flow in recent years, factors contributing to increased nutrients in springs and proposed minimum flows and levels, as well as an action plan for future projects to protect the springs.

June 25, 2012

The stakeholder advisory committee to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership held its inaugural meeting in Palatka. The stakeholder committee offers viewpoints of stakeholder groups with the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help address the region’s water supply issues. The committee includes representatives of groups and entities from throughout the region. The districts/DEP partnership seeks to improve program coordination and communication among water managers, local governments, concerned individuals and other stakeholders by working together to protect the shared resources of the Floridan aquifer system.

May 10, 2012

Palatka City Manager Elwin “Woody” Boynton joined the St. Johns River Water Management District as assistant executive director. Boynton, a professional engineer with diverse experience in the public and private sectors, had served in leadership positions with the city of Palatka, Putnam County and the Florida Department of Transportation for 11 years. Boynton replaced Dave Fisk, who retired in March after serving as district assistant executive director for 10 years.

May 9, 2012

Twelve representatives were named to the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership’s stakeholder committee, an advisory body formed to share views of stakeholder groups to assist the St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) address the region’s water supply issues. The 12 members represent and coordinate with others in the community in the categories of public water supply, commercial/power generation, industrial/mining, agriculture, environmental and local government.

March 13, 2012

A retirement center in Palatka became the first community in the St. Johns District to receive the Florida Water StarSM Community certification during a ceremony March 9. The Annie M. Spell Senior Community is a new condo-style senior center that boasts water efficiency inside and outside. Florida Water StarSM is a water conservation certification program for new and existing homes and commercial and community developments with water efficiency standards defined for indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems.

March 7, 2012

The St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection launched the North Florida Regional Water Supply Partnership — an initiative to protect natural resources and ensure cost-effective and sustainable water supplies and to bring stakeholders together to discuss water supply issues in north Florida. “The districts and DEP have been working closely together on north Florida’s regional water supply issues,” said Hans G. Tanzler III, executive director of the St. Johns District. “We’ve made progress and it’s now time to further involve our stakeholders as we continue our forward momentum.”

March 2, 2012

Fred N. Roberts Jr. of Ocala was appointed to a three-year term on the Governing Board to represent the Ocklawaha River Basin. A sixth-generation Floridian, Mr. Roberts is an attorney practicing real estate, probate and commercial law.

Feb. 14, 2012

The St. Johns River Water Management District released the St. John River Water Supply Impact Study final report, the most comprehensive and scientifically rigorous analysis of the St. Johns River ever conducted. The four-year study resulted in the development of tools that will help guide future decision-making on proposed water withdrawals from the St. Johns and Ocklawaha rivers. The state-of-the-art models and methodologies that resulted from the study will be used in consumptive use permitting, minimum flows and levels development, regional water projects and water supply planning. More than 70 scientists and engineers — a combination of district staff and outside experts — were involved in the study that began in December 2007.

Feb. 8, 2012

The St. Johns River Water Management District’s residential water conservation program — Florida Water StarSM — became available statewide. The Florida Green Building Coalition began administration of the program in the Suwannee River and Northwest Florida water management districts — the two remaining regions where Florida Water StarSM had not yet been available. The St. Johns River, South Florida and Southwest Florida water management districts administer the program within their respective boundaries.