An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Orange County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Herbicide Application on Lake Marilyn, 6/12

OCAlerts logo

The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 6/12/19.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Spatterdock (lilies) in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS:
•  DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY.
•  DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 5 DAYS. 

Please direct any questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

Herbicide Application on Lake McCoy, 6/10

OCAlerts logo

The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 6/10/19.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Water Hyacinths throughout the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS:
•  DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY.
•  DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY.

Please direct any questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

Herbicide Application in the Pocket-Fish connector, 6/7

OCAlerts logo

The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 6/7/19.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Hydrilla in the Pocket-Fish connector canal.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS:
•  DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY.
•  DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 5 DAYS.

For residents in the north portion of the connector canal only.

Please direct any questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

These restrictions apply only to the area indicated in red in the image at left.

State funding to flow for Florida springs

The Legislature is putting $100 million toward Florida’s ailing springs.

That’s after a WMFE story pointed out existing springs funding sat unspent.

The money was included in the state budget under the Legacy Florida Act, approved in 2016 to put water and land conservation funding toward the Everglades, springs and Lake Apopka.

The measure calls for an annual allocation of $50 million. Clay Henderson of Stetson University’s Water Institute says the budget also contains last year’s unspent funding— bringing the total to 100 million.

“We’ve really been in a holding pattern for the past year. The legislature approved this money, but it didn’t get approved by all the points along the way. But the Legislature fixed that, and so in the next year it appears we’re going to have $100 million for springs restoration, and that’s a good thing.”

Florida has more freshwater springs than any other place in the world. Restoration plans for 15 of the state’s most important springs face legal challenges from environmental groups.

With biosolids bills failing in Florida Legislature, DEP to develop own rules

With bills to regulate biosolids failing this year in the Florida Legislature, the state Department of Environmental Protection plans to come up with a set of rules to keep the sewage sludge dumped on farmland from polluting the state's water.

Several people concerned with pollution caused by biosolids told TCPalm they hope DEP will develop regulations with teeth.

"I'm guardedly optimistic," said Bob Solari, chairman of the Indian River County Commission, which has twice enacted moratoriums on biosolids use in the wake of pollution at Blue Cypress Lake tied to sludge spread on nearby pastures.

Commissioners said they would have banned Class B biosolids outright but lacked the authority. Instead they looked to the state Legislature for help.

"It will take some work to make sure DEP gets things right," Solari said. "We'll be following them very closely."

Of the 340,000 dry tons of sewage sludge Florida produces each year, about:

  • 100,000 tons goes to landfills
  • 100,000 tons is partially treated and spread on land as Class B biosolids
  • 140,000 tons is combined with composted landscape material and chemically treated to produce 200,000 dry tons of Class AA biosolids, which is classified as "fertilizer" and can be used without regulation

Both Class B and Class AA contain about 5.5% nitrogen and 2.2% phosphorus. Combined, the two produce about 4 million pounds of nitrogen and about 1.5 million pounds of phosphorus, nutrients that feed toxic algae blooms.

The ill-fated bills — a Senate version by state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Melbourne Republican, and a House version by state Rep. Erin Grall, a Vero Beach Republican — called for statewide regulations on the use of Class B biosolids along the lines of

District’s Blue School Grant Program accepting applications now through Sept. 6

Now entering the fourth year of its Blue School Grant Program, the St. Johns River Water Management District anticipates offering up to $20,000 in grants for education projects that enhance student knowledge of Florida’s water resources through hands-on learning. The application period runs May 31–Sept. 6, giving teachers all summer to prepare their project proposals for the 2019–2020 grants.

“Blue School Grants are a great way for the district to support student development in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields with our partnering local schools,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We have funded 33 projects in the last three funding cycles, and I’m eager to see the next round of interesting, imaginative project ideas that could inspire students to pursue a lifelong passion for science.”

Up to $2,000 per teacher per school will be awarded to middle and high school teachers to enhance student knowledge of Florida’s water resources. Public and charter school teachers within the district’s boundaries are eligible to apply.

Grants may be awarded in three areas: fresh water resources field study, water conserving landscape projects, or water conservation community/school awareness campaigns.

Lake Apopka water quality project will use a 2,000-foot-wide, lake-bottom sump

The St. Johns River Water Management District has recently 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 and improve water quality in the lake.

“Our focus remains centered on projects that bring us closer to our goal of restoring the lake’s ecosystem,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Improved water quality provides conditions that are allowing native submerged plants to recolonize the lake’s bottom. As these plants expand, they will provide the habitat necessary for the recovery of the lake’s historic bass fishery.”

This is the first time a sump has been dredged in Lake Apopka. The sump, which is about 2,000 feet wide with a maximum depth of about 5 feet, is expected to collect about 500,000 cubic yards of nutrient-laden sediment. That amount of sediment would be enough to cover a 100-acre area at 3 feet high.

The project is unique from previous dredging projects because the lake-bottom sump will collect sediment over time. District staff will monitor the accumulation in the sump, and maintenance may be scheduled to remove newly accumulated sediment from the sump. Collecting and eventually removing the material is expected to reduce turbidity in Lake Apopka and help improve water quality.

Full Lake Herbicide Application on Lake Mary Jess, 5/29

OCAlerts logo

Starting 5/29/19 The Environmental Protection Division will be performing a full lake aquatic plant herbicide treatment.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage hydrilla in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS:
Do not use treated water to irrigate hydroponic crops, greenhouse/nursery plants or any food crops for 90 days or until concentration of active ingredient is less than 1ppb. This concentration will be determined by routine water sampling and quantitative testing (FasTEST) by SePRO Corp.

Contact Kelli Gladding of SePRO at 386-409-1175 for specific questions about Galleon.

Please direct any general questions to the Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

Florida's dirty water tops list of woes for new chief science officer

Florida's ongoing water woes tops the list of problems to be tackled by the state's new chief science officer.

In his first press briefing Friday, Tom Frazer, an aquatic ecologist and director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Florida, said he plans on convening a new blue green algae task force in early June. Armed with money newly approved by lawmakers, the group plans to find smaller projects that might have a more immediate fix for water quality issues in and around Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

"We do have a number of available funds to implement projects in [drainage basins] and we need to prioritize those and move forward on the best ones possible," Frazer said.

In April, Gov. Ron DeSantis named Frazer the state's first chief science officer to help address spiraling environmental issues. Algae blooms now regularly foul the Treasure Coast and Caloosahatchee estuary, and pollution has worsened water quality in Central Florida springs and South Florida's Biscayne Bay and Florida Bay. DeSantis has pledged to spend $2.5 billion over the next four years to improve water and earlier this month, lawmakers approved a budget that included $682 million in spending over the next year.