Dec. 20, 2021

The District and Earth Advantage Inc. recently announced a partnership to deliver water conservation certification data through the Green Building Registry (GBR). The Florida Water Star Program seeks to certify water-efficient, low-maintenance homes for homebuyers in Florida thereby contributing to long-term water supply conservation and protection of natural water resources in a manner that is affordable and achievable for builders. GBR is a nonprofit organization, maintained by Earth Advantage Inc. with a mission to increase the use of high performance and sustainable residential building practices.

Dec. 15, 2021

The District’s Governing Board approved 11 agricultural projects to share in nearly $880,000 in cost-share funding to improve water conservation and reduce the volume of nutrients flowing into area waterways. Projects approved by the District’s Governing Board on Tuesday are estimated to collectively conserve 127 million gallons of water a year and reduce total nitrogen by 3,617 pounds and total phosphorus by 1,092 pounds per year.

Dec. 8, 2021

The District waived any associated fees to plug eligible abandoned artesian wells within the District’s 18-county region. Prior to Nov. 9, 2021, property owners would pay $600 for the District to plug a free-flowing well. Plugging these wells helps conserve water and protect water quality. Since the program began in the 1980s, the District has plugged nearly 3,000 wells, potentially saving 745 million gallons of water per day.

Nov. 9, 2021

The District was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense, on behalf of the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve Forces, with its prestigious Above and Beyond Award for outstanding service and continued support to the national defense. Executive Director Mike Register and District Governing Board members accepted the award at the District’s regular monthly Governing Board meeting on Nov. 9. The award is given in limited numbers by state committees to employers who have had at least one of their supervisors/managers recognized with a Patriot Award, and who have signed or agree to sign an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) Statement of Support.

Mike Register accepting an award

Nov. 9, 2021

The District’s Governing Board elected Rob Bradley to serve as its Chairman through November 2022. The Board also elected Maryam Ghyabi-White to serve as Vice Chairman, Chris Peterson as Secretary and Ron Howse as Treasurer. The other board members are immediate past-Chairman Douglas Burnett, Ryan Atwood, Doug Bournique, Janet Price and Cole Oliver.

Oct. 12, 2021

The District’s Governing Board adopted the 2021 Minimum Flows and Levels (MFL) priority list, which lays out the agency’s plan for completing and re-evaluating MFLs through 2024. Establishing MFLs is an important goal in the District’s work of planning for adequate water supplies for today and for future generations while also protecting the District’s water resources. The list is updated annually.

Sept. 30, 2021

Thirteen schools and 14 classroom projects in eight counties were awarded Blue School Grant funding from the District for hands-on projects to increase understanding of Florida’s water resources and enhance student development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) topics. An estimated 4,000 students are expected to benefit during the school year, the sixth year of the hands-on program.

Sept. 14, 2021

The District’s Governing Board unanimously appointed Michael A. Register, P.E., as the District’s Executive Director. Register has been with the District since 1990. During his tenure, he has worked in a variety of areas, including environmental resource permitting, consumptive use permitting, water supply planning, engineering and environmental sciences.

Michael A. Register

Sept. 9, 2021

Dr. Ann Shortelle retired after leading the District as the Executive Director of the St. Johns River Water Management District since June 1, 2015. A limnologist, she had more than 25 years of professional experience in lake, riverine and reservoir management for water quantity and quality. She previously served as executive director for the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for three years and prior to the SRWMD, had served as the director of the Office of Water Policy for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Portrait of Dr. Ann B. Shortelle

Aug. 6, 2021

The District launched a pilot project to harvest and remove algae, suspended solids and associated nutrients from Lake Jesup’s waters. The project’s data will help the District determine the potential for a full-scale system to help achieve state water quality standards established for Lake Jesup. A harvesting unit mounted on a barge is transported around Lake Jesup so that algae can be harvested at various locations. An innovative dissolved air flotation technology is used to attach microscopic air bubbles to algae and suspended sediment, allowing efficient separation of algal biomass and clarified water, returning clarified water to the lake.

A harvesting unit mounted on a barge

July 30, 2021

A project launched by the District to mechanically harvest and remove mats of floating vegetation —and their associated nutrients — from waters within the Orange Creek Restoration Area. The project was expected to remove approximately 30 acres of exotic and invasive vegetation consisting of cattail, primrose willow and Cuban bulrush.

July 28, 2021

Trends across the District’s 18 counties show that total water use in 2020 was 1% lower than the five-year average. Daily per capita water use dropped to 115 gallons per person per day, remaining below the 10-year average of 128 gallons and is a decrease from 155 gallons per person per day in 2001, while population grew 40% since 2001. The latest data is part of the 2020 Survey of Annual Water Use report, information the District has published annually since 1978.

July 13, 2021

The District’s Governing Board approved partnership agreements with four north Florida water supply utilities to participate in the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project. The project is a major project identified in the multi-year North Florida Regional Water Supply Planning process to replenish the aquifer, maximize water supplies and protect lakes, wetlands and other natural systems, helping us to meet our core missions of water supply and natural systems enhancement. Project benefits are also anticipated to improve lake levels in the Keystone Heights chain of lakes.

June 9, 2021

The District launched an updated web portal to provide public access to the most up-to-date water quality information in the St. Johns River and the Indian River Lagoon. The upgraded web portal increases the District’s transparency as a public agency and improves access to data collected at its continuous water quality monitoring stations.

May 26, 2021

The District completed a $2.7 million maintenance and improvement project to the nearly 20-year-old Lake Apopka Marsh Flow-Way, a constructed wetland designed to filter algae, suspended sediments and nutrients from the lake’s water. To address a reduction in treatment efficiency, the District began maintenance of the Marsh Flow-Way in 2019 to re-level the wetland cells and reopen ditches that promote sheet flow conditions in the cells. The completed project restores the flow-way to its originally constructed condition and reestablishes its ability to efficiently filter suspended sediments and nutrients from Lake Apopka.

Aerial view of Lake Apopka Marsh Flow-Way

May 14, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Douglas Burnett and Ryan Atwood to the District’s Governing Board.

May 11, 2021

Twenty-four projects will share in nearly $10.6 million from the District for construction of water supply and water conservation, water quality improvement, natural systems restoration and flood protection projects. The District’s Governing Board approved project rankings for the fiscal year 2021–2022 Districtwide Cost-share Program and the agency’s annual cost-share funding program for Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities and innovative projects.

May 11, 2021

The District’s Governing Board approved a land exchange that will increase District conservation land on the St. Johns River by 1,200 acres. The property is adjacent to Lake Washington and the District’s River Lakes and Three Forks conservation areas and will further the District’s work to protect and restore water resources.

April 12, 2021

The District and Brevard Zoo celebrated the launch of an innovative cost-sharing project to reintroduce clams into the Indian River Lagoon with the goal of establishing new clam populations in the estuary. Brevard Zoo is leading the project, which calls for establishing clam sites at 100 locations in the Indian River Lagoon. The bivalves will begin filtering and improving the water quality of the Indian River.

March 26, 2021

The District officially launched a two-month pilot project to test an innovative treatment process to remove natural tannins and nutrients from Black Creek water. The pilot test was an important step toward a full-scale project to help meet future water supply demands in north Florida while also protecting water resources. In the pilot test, water from Black Creek was pumped and filtered through the SWIG-designed media at intervals to remove color and low levels of nutrients that are natural to Black Creek. The pilot project simulated full-scale operation, including water quality analysis after treatment.

Pictured Dr. Ann Shortelle, Rob Bradley, and Gen. Douglas Burnett
District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle, Board Vice Chairman Rob Bradley and Board Chairman Gen. Douglas Burnett at today’s kickoff of the Black Creek Water Quality Treatability Pilot Study.

March 9, 2021

District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle was recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Program with its prestigious Employer Patriot Award for the agency’s strong support of its employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. District Governing Board Chairman Gen. Douglas Burnett, retired commanding officer of the Florida National Guard, presented the award to Dr. Shortelle at the board’s regular monthly meeting. Dr. Shortelle was recognized for “contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”

Dr. Ann Shortelle being offered an award
District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Program with its prestigious Employer Patriot Award. Dr. Shortelle is pictured with Governing Board Chairman Gen. Douglas Burnett, who served 47 years in the Florida National Guard, including as its commanding officer.

Feb. 17, 2021

Construction began on a District cost-share project in the city of Palatka. The project involves replacing old cast-iron water pipes in the city’s central downtown area and eastern Palatka Heights neighborhood as part of the city’s multi-phased effort to update its water distribution system. Once the new system is in place, the city anticipates an immediate increase in water conservation and water quality within the project area. Currently in the project area, approximately 7 million gallons of water per year is lost through leaks, breaks and the excessive flushing needed to reduce bacteria and contaminants often found in aged cast-iron pipes.

Feb. 9, 2021

The District published an annual progress report, the Consolidated Annual Report, highlighting water resource protection progress. The 2021 Consolidated Annual Report (CAR) highlights the District’s 2019-2020 achievements.

Jan. 27, 2021

The District donated surplus lab equipment to the Silver River Museum and Marion County to office local middle and high school students an opportunity to learn about water chemistry in the Silver River. Vanguard High School chemistry teacher Euan Hunter (a District Blue School Grant teacher) has worked to create a chemistry lab at Silver River Museum, which is operated by the Marion County Public Schools. Obsolete items surplused by the District include a block digester, vacuum pump, alkalinity and conductivity system, lab glass washers, ion chromatograph, automated samplers, chemical analyzer and more. The District routinely disposes of items that are obsolete, serve no useful function, are uneconomical or inefficient for continued use, or have exceeded their useful service life.