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

Water-Related News

Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain

When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category 4 storm to a Category 2 and then a Category 1, Wayne Mills figured he could stick it out.

He regrets it. The Neuse River, normally 150 feet away, lapped near his door in New Bern, North Carolina, on Sunday even as the storm had "weakened" further.

People like Mills can be lulled into thinking a hurricane is less dangerous when the rating of a storm is reduced. But those ratings are based on wind strength, not rainfall or storm surge—and water is responsible for 90 percent of storm deaths .

Several meteorologists and disaster experts said something needs to change with the 47-year-old Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to reflect the real risks in hurricanes. They point to Florence, last year's Hurricane Harvey, 2012's Sandy and 2008's Ike as storms where the official Saffir-Simpson category didn't quite convey the danger because of its emphasis on wind.

"The concept of saying 'downgraded' or 'weakened should be forever banished," said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd. "With Florence, I felt it was more dangerous after it was lowered to Category 2."

It was a lowered category that helped convince Famous Roberts, a corrections officer from Trenton, to stay behind. "Like a lot of people (we) didn't think it was actually going to be as bad," he said. "With the category drop ... that's another factor why we did stay."

City Of Altamonte Springs Ranks Top In The World For Innovative Water Project

The City of Altamonte Springs’ innovative water treatment project, pureALTA, was named among the best in the world after fierce competition featuring 160 entries from 45 countries.

The City was ranked in the top three at the International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Awards in Tokyo, Japan on Monday, September 17, 2018. pureALTA was recognized for its forward-thinking applications and solutions to advance clean and safe water goals, taking home a top award in the Market-changing Water Technology and Infrastructure category. The City was honored as the only project from the U.S.

“We are proud to stand among such exceptional water projects,” said Frank Martz, Altamonte Springs city manager. “Water is essential for everyone on the planet, and we are focused on finding and sharing water preservation solutions. Taking steps to do so was a major goal for the City of Altamonte Springs, and we’re deeply humbled to receive this international recognition.”

The IWA Project Innovation Awards were presented at the 12th annual World Water Congress, which focuses on overcoming challenges through the development and implementation of creative water solutions. This global event helps shape the conversation on future water needs. Over 5,000 water leaders representing over 100 countries joined together to share the latest trends, innovative technologies and pioneering sciences to build partnerships that will deliver solutions for major water and wastewater challenges faced around the world.

Report on Florida's St. Johns River is mixed bag

JACKSONVILLE - A new report says development and the spread of non-native wildlife are all increasing strains on the health of the St. Johns River, which runs through north Florida.

The report released Friday by researchers from Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida and Florida Southern College in Lakeland was a mixed bag.

The report says that some changes are helping the river, such as lower levels in some areas of a chemical that feeds algae blooms.

Herbicide Application on Little Lake Conway (NE Finger Canals), 9/21

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 9/21/18. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage algae in the canals.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY. DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 2 DAYS.

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

Herbicide Application on Crystal Lake, 9/20

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 9/20/18. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Hydrilla in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: DO NOT IRRIGATE LANDSCAPE/ORNAMENTAL PLANTS FOR 30 DAYS. THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS ON TURF IRRIGATION. These restrictions apply only to the areas outlined in red on the image at left.

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

Herbicide Application on Lake Tibet (Bay Hill Cove only), 9/19

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 9/19/18. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage hydrilla in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: DO NOT USE FOR ANIMAL DRINKING SUPPLY FOR 1 DAY. DO NOT USE FOR IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY FOR 2 DAYS.

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

These restrictions apply only to the areas outlined in red on the image at left (Bay Hill Cove).

Herbicide Application on Bass Lake, 9/18

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 9/18/2018. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage emergent vegetation throughout the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Orlando's green Community Action Plan calls for air quality monitors, bans on Styrofoam and straws

ORLANDO - Orlando residents could soon see air quality monitors perched atop light poles along with bans on Styrofoam containers, plastic bags and straws at city facilities and events as well as a return of the residential rain-barrel program.

These proposals are listed in a five-year update of Orlando’s Community Action Plan, which serves as its roadmap of environmentally friendly policies and programs.

The update is expected to be heard and potentially adopted Sept. 17 by the City Council.

“This is the next evolution of Green Works,” Director of Sustainability Chris Castro said, referring to the city’s name for its sustainability department.

SJRWMD cost-share project applications due Oct. 18th

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PALATKA — The St. Johns River Water Management District is accepting applications through Oct. 18 for Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities and innovative projects to share in cost-share funding that supports the agency’s water resource protection mission.

Project proposals considered for FY 2018–2019 funding should benefit water supply (including water conservation, alternative water supplies, and maintenance and enhancement of REDI community water distribution systems and water resource development), improve water quality, provide flood protection, or protect or enhance natural systems.

Project criteria, application instructions and additional information about the program are available on the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding.

A REDI community is economically disadvantaged with an employment base dominated by traditional agriculture or resource-based industries and a population of 25,000 or less. REDI-designated communities within the district are Baker, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and Okeechobee counties, all communities within those counties and the communities of Astatula, Fellsmere, Hawthorne, Mascotte, Pierson and Umatilla.

Innovative projects include those that use emerging or proven technology in a unique way to provide alternative water supply quantities or to expand available quantities to offset groundwater withdrawal, or to otherwise improve the water resources of the district in support of the core missions. Examples of innovative technologies include indirect or direct potable reuse, rainwater harvesting for residential or commercial uses, and stormwater harvesting for aquifer recharge benefits.

District staff will evaluate each project proposal to determine which provide the most beneficial water resource results and can be constructed in a timely and efficient manner. Staff will then prepare a recommended list for board funding consideration in December 2018.

Herbicide Application on Lake Floy, 9/5

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 9/5/18. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage duckweed 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.

Now you can take your boater safety exam online

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FWC now allows online providers to offer boating safety exam

Access to Florida’s Boater Education Temporary Certificate Program has been expanded, thanks to work done by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to make allowances for online course providers to offer the required courses over the internet.

In August of 2017, the FWC amended Florida Administrative Code 68D-36.108 to allow the temporary certificate exam to be offered in an online version. This change makes it easier and more convenient for both vessel operators and vessel liveries to comply with Florida’s boater education laws, which require liveries to verify that customers born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, have met Florida’s boating safety education requirements before allowing them to rent their vessels.

Online temporary certificate exam providers will create a system that allows 24-hour, seven-day a week accessibility to the exam using tablets, laptops, or other electronic devices. This added convenience will make it easier for both visitors and residents by allowing them to take the test before a vacation to Florida.

Currently, one online boating safety education provider, Boat Ed, has completed the process to offer the exam online. Boat Ed has been a leader and innovator in boating safety education since 1995. Study or learning materials are available on the Boat Ed site to prepare students for the exam, improve their boating knowledge and increase their chances of successfully completing the exam on the first try. The exam costs $3 and study materials are available for an additional charge. A link to the exam can be found at Boat‑Ed.com/FloridaRental/.

Prior to this change, paper exams were the only option and were required to be completed and passed by rental vessel operators. The ability for liveries to continue to offer paper exams has not changed with the addition of this online option. Liveries can still purchase and administer the paper exams, as long as their contract and insurance are valid.

The temporary certificate exam is a knowledge check, not a full education course. It cannot be converted into a boater safety identification card that is valid for life. Temporary certificates are not valid in any other state and do not meet boater safety education requirements in other states.

The online exam will be 25 questions, randomly selected from a large pool of questions. The cost for the exam will remain $3. Upon successful completion of the exam, students will be provided an electronic proof of their successful completion and their passing score. A livery will be able to inspect this proof to ensure that a prospective vessel renter has met Florida’s boating safety education requirements.

The new change offers various benefits to liveries:

  • Liveries are not required to contract with any other company to use the online exam.
  • A link that will send customers directly to the online exam can be provided by liveries.
  • Liveries are not required to continue purchasing paper exams from the FWC.
  • The burden of mailing paper tests back to the FWC is removed with the online option.
  • Liveries will be able to provide speedier service to customers who take the exam in advance of renting.

The FWC encourages liveries to transition to the new online exam system to increase accessibility and streamline the testing process for renters interested in enjoying Florida’s beautiful waterways by boat.