Crystal Lake Minimum Levels

The Crystal Chain of Lakes is located within Seminole County, in the cities of Lake Mary and Sanford. The Crystal Lake system includes two major lakes, West Crystal Lake, and East Crystal Lake and several smaller lakes. West Crystal Lake is approximately 140 acres, and East Crystal Lake is approximately 120 acres. East Crystal Lake connects to Belair, Deforest, and Armory Lakes and Deforest Lake flows north to Lake Monroe. The Crystal Chain of Lakes receives water from direct rainfall, surface runoff and baseflow with the major outflow components consisting of flow to Lake Monroe, evaporation, and seepage to groundwater. The area around the Crystal Chain of Lakes is highly urbanized, and both West Crystal and East Crystal lakes have locally important public parks. The Crystal Lake system provides important recreational opportunities and is also prime habitat for wading birds, fish, and wildlife.

The District’s MFLs approach involves two separate but interrelated components: 1) MFLs Determination; and 2) MFLs Assessment. The first involves determining a minimum hydrologic regime necessary to protect relevant water resource values. The second involves comparing this MFLs condition to a current-pumping condition to determine the current status of the MFLs. The overall process involves an analysis of ecological, recreational, and hydrological information, all of which undergo independent scientific peer review. Field work and surface water modeling for the Crystal Lake system are ongoing. The Crystal Lake MFLs determination is scheduled for completion by the end of 2025.

View of West Crystal lake

MFLs Peer Review Approach in the CFWI

The District typically engages in voluntary peer review of all MFLs on its Priority List. Because the Crystal Lake system (Seminole County) is within the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) area, the District will follow the CFWI MFLs peer review process. This includes stakeholder input in the selection of MFLs report and model peer reviewers as well as stakeholder involvement in public workshops for the review of the models, hydrological analyses, and environmental analyses that are used to determine and evaluate proposed MFLs within the CFWI.

As with other CFWI MFLs, the Crystal Lake system MFLs peer review is divided into two phases. First, the surface water model, including calibration and long-term simulations, will be reviewed by independent technical experts in the field of hydrologic modeling. The second phase of the peer review process will involve an evaluation of recommended minimum lake levels, including the environmental criteria used for MFLs determination and the hydrologic analyses used for MFLs assessment. One or more firms will be selected for review of the MFLs determination and assessment.

Crystal Lake HSPF model and documentation report

Surface water model peer review

Nesting Sandhill Crane
Tall shrubs growing out near a shore