Dec. 12, 2019

The district and Putnam County have completed a $2.5 million cost-share project to replace the Paradise Point wastewater treatment plant, reducing nutrient loading to Dunns Creek and protecting water quality in the St. Johns River system. The partnership project involved removing the 30-year-old Paradise Point wastewater treatment plant in the San Mateo area of East Palatka and replacing it with a new pump station and force main system to convey wastewater to Putnam County’s existing master pump station on Yelvington Road. Wastewater from the master pump station is then conveyed to the East Putnam Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, located on Gilbert Road. The five-mile main also enables future tie-ins to the system. By removing the aging plant’s treated effluent discharges to Dunns Creek, the project will reduce total nitrogen loading by approximately 270 pounds per year and total phosphorus loading by approximately 45 pounds per year into Dunns Creek.

Dec. 10, 2019

The district Governing Board on Tuesday approved two projects in Flagler County to share $1 million in district cost-share funds for economically disadvantaged communities or innovative technologies. The cities of Bunnell and Flagler Beach will each receive $500,000 for water quality improvement projects. The cities were receiving funding from the fiscal year 2019–2020 cost-share program for Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities and for projects that use innovative technology to provide data supporting future permitting and full-scale implementation of alternative water supplies.

Nov. 22, 2019

For the 15th consecutive year, the district was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its fiscal year 2017–2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This is the highest honor given by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada. According to GFOA, the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. The CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly share financial information.

Group photo with people hold an award

Nov. 12, 2019

The district’s Governing Board approved moving forward with contracts for two agricultural projects to reduce water use by 1.41 million gallons per day and reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loading to the St. Johns River in the farming area of Putnam, St. Johns and Flagler counties.

Oct. 21, 2019

The district launched a year-long “Water Less” campaign to help raise awareness about water conservation and communicate easy ways to integrate outdoor water conservation into Floridians’ daily lives. During the next year, the Water Less campaign theme will change each season to reflect the unique water needs of Florida lawns and landscaping.

Oct. 8, 2019

Thirteen agricultural projects were to share in $1.56 million from the district to improve water conservation and reduce nutrient loading to area waterways. Projects approved by the district’s Governing Board were estimated to collectively conserve 2.37 million gallons of water each day and reduce total nitrogen by 38,222 pounds per year and total phosphorus by 5,483 pounds per year when implemented.

Sept. 27, 2019

Fourteen schools across the district’s 18-county service area received Blue School Grant Program funds from the district for projects to enhance student development in science, technology, engineering and math.

Sept. 24, 2019

The district’s Governing Board today adopted its fiscal year 2019-2020 budget, which reduces the millage rate for taxpayers for a seventh consecutive year. The budget totals $158 million.

Sept. 24, 2019

Clay County Utility Authority and the district joined Sen. Rob Bradley and Rep. Travis Cummings in a ground-breaking ceremony for an innovative pilot project to remove phosphorus from treated wastewater before it is reused for irrigation or enters the Doctors Lake watershed. The project is estimated to remove 6,500 pounds per year of total phosphorus and assist in furthering water quality improvements in Doctors Lake and the Lower St. Johns River Basin. In this full-scale demonstration project, treated effluent is to be pumped and distributed over a vegetated filtration bed, which uses engineered media to remove phosphorus. This media binds with phosphorus, removing it from the water. The phosphorus remains bound to the engineered media, so no byproduct is produced. The treated water from this innovative project is returned to the effluent stream and, ultimately, Doctors Lake.

4 people with shovels standing in a field

Sept. 10, 2019

The district’s Governing Board on Sept. 10 approved purchasing a 60-acre borrow pit near Volusia Blue Spring for a strategic partnership project that will allow wetland treatment and recharge to benefit the flows of Volusia Blue, one of eight Outstanding Florida Springs in the district. Collaborative partners are Volusia County and the cities of DeLand, Deltona and Orange City, which make up the West Volusia Water Supply partnership, as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Aug. 23, 2019

The district’s Lake George gizzard shad harvest removed approximately 5,176 lbs. of phosphorus and 13,192 lbs. of nitrogen from the largest lake in the St. Johns River system, located in Marion, Lake, Volusia and Putnam counties. The gizzard shad harvest took place from June 4 to July 16 and removed 628,173 pounds of the rough fish from Lake George, which directly removed thousands of pounds of nutrient pollution from the lake. Removing large numbers of shad from a waterbody removes the nutrients contained in the fishes’ bodies.

Two people in a boat with gizzard shad in a box

Aug. 14, 2019

The district’s Office of Communications was recently honored by the Florida Public Relations Association with a Golden Image Award for its Blue Schools Grant Program video. The district’s Office of Communications produced the video in-house to improve public awareness of the grant program and increase teacher applications. Recognized as the hallmark for excellence in public relations, winners of this prestigious competition demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design in public relations.

Aug. 13, 2019

A mobile application developed by the district’s Office of Information Technology recently earned recognition for its innovative use of technology. The district’s Water Well Construction Module received the Technology Innovation – Citizens Category award from Government Technology magazine. The award recognizes special districts that have utilized technology to improve service delivery to citizens by either increasing customer satisfaction, enhancing user experience or accelerating access to services.

Aug. 9, 2019

Dr. Charles Jacoby, the Supervising Environmental Scientist for the Estuaries Section in the district’s Bureau of Water Resources, was named by Gov. Ron DeSantis to the statewide Red Tide Task Force. Dr. Jacoby, who earned a doctorate degree in biological sciences at Stanford University, has more than 40 years of experience in designing, conducting and interpreting research that guides management of natural resources, and he has led or co-led projects worth more than $30 million.

July 9, 2019

The process to build the Headwaters Lake boat ramp at the Fellsmere Water Management Area (FWMA) took another step forward after the district’s Governing Board awarded a construction contract for the ramp and other visitor amenities on July 9. This comes following the award of a 50 percent funding match for the $842,000 project from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The development of FWMA has been an ambitious undertaking and provides critical water quality benefits and flood protection for the region. FWC has been a solid partner with the district for many years on this project, particularly in developing and stocking the fish habitat. Improvements will allow the district to offer improved public access to this waterbody and its world-class fishing.

Areal photograph of Fellsmere Water Management Area

May 30, 2019

The district recently reached a technological milestone in operating its flood control structures in the Upper St. John River Basin and Moss Bluff Dam. The district now has the ability to operate flood control structures from remote locations using a computer, tablet or even a cell phone, allowing staff to adjust water levels prior to or during a hurricane without risking the safety of our staff. The district operates flood-control structures in the Upper Ocklawaha River Basin — the Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam, Apopka Dam, Moss Bluff Dam and the Burrell Dam — to create additional capacity when necessary. Similarly, the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project has gate structures to allow water to flow north, increasing water storage capacity.

John Richmond using his cell phone to test a water control structure

May 23, 2019

The district completed dredging to create a 2,000-foot-wide sump, or depression, on the bottom of Lake Apopka. The sump is designed to help collect nutrient-laden sediment over time. This is the first time a sump has been dredged in Lake Apopka. Collecting and eventually removing the material is expected to reduce turbidity in Lake Apopka and help improve water quality.


Aerial view of Lake Apopka and the marsh flow-way

May 14, 2019

The district’s Governing Board approved $450,000 in funding for gizzard shad harvesting from Lake George, part of the St. Johns River system in Putnam and Volusia counties. Because removing large numbers of shad from a waterbody removes the nutrients contained in the fishes’ bodies, the harvest will help improve water quality in the lake by removing an estimated 4,940 pounds of phosphorus. Water quality data from Lake George suggest the reduction in phosphorus recycling caused by shad removal is roughly seven times the direct phosphorus removal benefit. District shad harvests on Lake George between 2013 and 2018 removed more than 5 million pounds of fish containing a total of 22,312 pounds of phosphorus.


Fishermen catching gizzard shad

May 13, 2019

The district, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, state and local elected officials, and Indian River Lagoon protection advocates gathered to celebrate the completion of a two-year-long muck dredging project in the Eau Gallie River aimed at improving water quality. Attendees gathered at historic Ballard Park at the mouth of the Eau Gallie River to celebrate the removal of approximately 630,000 cubic yards of black muck from the waterway, which is a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon. The removal of such a significant amount of muck translates to the reduction of approximately 1,200 tons of nitrogen and 260 tons of total phosphorous, nutrients that contribute to algal blooms in waterways.

Dr. Ann Shortelle speaking at the Eau Gallie River dredging event

April 10, 2019

The district published its Annual Wetland Activities Report, showing that 449,135 acres of wetlands have been created, protected, enhanced or restored by the district since 1989. This is equivalent to more than 700 square miles of wetlands. The report provides a cumulative summary of wetland impacts, mitigation, restoration and protection activities within each county served by the district.

Wetland surrounded by pine forest

April 9, 2019

Twenty-one projects in 10 counties were awarded nearly $16.2 million for construction of water supply and water conservation, water quality improvement and flood protection projects. The district’s Governing Board approved the project ranking for the fiscal year 2019–2020 Annual Districtwide Cost-share Program. District cost-share funding for water resource protection and restoration projects helps local governments make progress in preserving, restoring and enhancing the Floridan aquifer system, the St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon and other waterways and Outstanding Florida Springs.

Aerial of the Victory Pointe Stormwater Park

Feb. 12, 2019

The district’s governing board approved $1.2 million in cost-share funding for 13 agricultural projects to help improve water conservation efforts and reduce the amount of nutrients flowing into area waterways. Once completed, the projects are collectively estimated to save 1.8 million gallons of water each day and reduce total nitrogen by more than 8,000 pounds per year and total phosphorus by more than 1,500 pounds per year.


Pivor irrigation system watering a sod farm

Jan. 15, 2019

District staff conducted water quality sampling and collected data earlier this week near a dragline ditch restoration project site in Flagler County. Two days later, project partners began oyster monitoring (on Jan. 17). Oyster reefs were mapped from aerial photography in 2015. Partners are conducting an extensive, hands-on survey of the project area to identify live oyster bars to avoid impacts.

Matthew Watkins preserving water samples taken from a restoration site