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

Water-Related News

New primer to “living shorelines” published

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A synthesis of recent thinking and results from practitioners and researchers of Living Shorelines just hit the stands. “Living Shorelines: The Science and Management of Nature-Based Coastal Protection,” details many aspects of the shoreline stabilization approach, and specifically includes: (1) background: history and evolution; (2) management, policy, and design; (3) synthesis of Living Shoreline science: physical and biological aspects; and (4) summary and future guidance. Researchers from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science participated in the project.

Carolyn Currin, Jenny Davis, and Amit Malhotra contributed a chapter entitled "Response of Salt Marshes to Wave Energy Provides Guidance for Successful Living Shoreline Implementation". The multi-faceted chapter provides information pertaining to the: energetic determinants of marsh habitat distribution; relationship between shoreline wave energy and marsh erosion rates; and the ability of fringing marshes to attenuate waves and trap sediments. The chapter also describes the results of a case study of natural and stabilized fringing salt marsh from central North Carolina and combines these results with those from the literature review to provide guidance on the physical settings in which fringing marsh and hybrid living shorelines can be considered.

Coastal ecosystem functions have diminished as estuarine and coastal shorelines have been managed mostly to support human infrastructure and economic benefits. Coastal management has evolved to include the use of nature-based shoreline erosion control approaches. Living Shorelines are intended to restore natural shoreline functions in estuarine, marine, and aquatic systems.

Florida Senate unanimously supports pollution notification rules change

The Florida Senate unanimously approved legislation Tuesday requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to inform the public within 24 hours after a spill occurs.

Senators passed SB 532 on its third and final reading.

Sponsored by Manatee County Republican Bill Galvano, the bill was filed in the wake of Gov. Rick Scott‘s request for new public notification rules and legislation to ensure the public is kept informed of incidents of pollution that may cause a threat to public health and Florida’s air and water resources. The push came after a sewage spill last fall in St. Petersburg and Mosaic’s sinkhole in Mulberry that sent toxins in the drinking water supply.

The DEP filed suit, issuing an emergency rule requiring those responsible to notify the public within 24 hours. After business groups had challenged the rule, an administrative law judge rejected the rule, saying the department exceeded its rule-making authority.

SB 532 also requires DEP to develop and publish a list of substances that “pose a substantial risk to public health, safety or welfare.” If any company fails to notify the Department of an incident involving one of the published substances, it could face civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day.

“People have a right to know, and it’s at the heart of public safety,” Galvano said.

All eyes are now focused on the legislation is being carried in the House (HB 1065) by Pasadena Republican Kathleen Peters. If it passes there, it goes to Scott’s desk.

SFWMD issues water shortage warning to 8.1 million Florida residents

WEST PALM BEACH – Falling water levels and extremely dry conditions that are expected to linger led the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board to issue today a water shortage warning to all 8.1 million residents in the agency's 16 counties.

"The purpose of this warning is to urge South Florida families to voluntarily conserve more water," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "This effort will help your water supply last through the remainder of the dry season."

The most beneficial conservation practice is compliance with the District's year-round landscape irrigation conservation measures and any local landscape irrigation ordinance. These rules can be found at www.sfwmd.gov/mywateringdays. If voluntary water conservation efforts prove insufficient, the Governing Board may consider further mandatory water use restrictions to equitably distribute the remaining water supplies and prevent serious harm to water resources.

On Tuesday, the Governing Board issued a temporary ban on all open fires and campfires on District lands. The ban includes lands open for recreational purposes in Hendry, Glades, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk counties. Additionally, SFWMD's prohibitions could be expanded to other locations throughout the District if drought conditions continue.

The wet season typically begins June 1.

New irrigation rules in effect March 12th

Irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

During daylight saving time (second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November) irrigation is limited to no more than two days per week on scheduled days.

Residential irrigation is allowed on Wednesday and Saturday at addresses that end in an odd number or have no address.

Residential irrigation is allowed on Thursday and Sunday at addresses that end in an even number. Nonresidential irrigation is allowed on Tuesday and Friday.

While about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, only about 1 percent is readily available for public use, agriculture, plants and animals. Water conservation is an important part of ensuring the sustainability of Florida’s water supply; watering restrictions, expanded use of reclaimed water and the use of water-efficient appliances are ways the district works to encourage conservation.

THIS WEB POSTING WAS COPIED FROM THE ST JOHNS RIVER WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT WEB SITE: For more details about watering restrictions, visit www.sjrwmd.com/wateringrestrictions.

Orange County enacts local state of emergency, burn ban

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Mayor Teresa Jacobs has issued a local state of emergency to protect citizens, visitors and properties from extreme fire conditions.

During the State of Local Emergency, all outdoor burning is banned within the unincorporated and incorporated territory of Orange County, unless a written permit is first obtained. Officials are asking citizens to cooperate and comply with all necessary emergency measures.

More information is available at this link.

Orange County has least rainfall in March 2017, water management district says

Reflecting the continuing dry trends, March 2017 saw a below-average rainfall across the St. Johns River Water Management District’s 18-county service area. Orange County, part of this area, was one of the counties that received the least amount with 0.36 inches.

A full report outlining rainfall totals was presented on Tuesday, April 11, at the district’s April Governing Board meeting.

“Continued dry conditions reinforce the important role water conservation plays in providing sufficient water for people and the environment,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We continue to closely monitor hydrologic data within the district to determine next steps regarding future potential water shortage declarations.”

Due to dry conditions, the 12-month cumulative rainfall remains below average, with a districtwide rainfall deficit of 10.9 inches. While the significance of recent rain has yet to be determined, the trend is predicted to persist as rainfall is normally low during April and May.

More than 100 Florida wildfires scorch state, a sign of how dry we are

Last year Florida was waterlogged. This year Florida is on fire.

More than 100 active wildfires are burning across the state right now, according to the Florida Forest Service. Twenty-five of them are scorching more than 100 acres each.

"We're usually not this active this early in the season," the service's assistant fire chief, Ralph Crawford, said Monday.

Since February, wildfires have swept across 68,000 acres of the state, Crawford said, noting that that amount is higher than the average acreage burned over the past five years.

"And we're just barely into April," he added. "Usually May is our busiest month."

Heavy rains north of Gainesville last week helped tamp down the wildfire threat in North Florida, said Florida's state climatologist, David Zierden. But south of Gainesville remains so dry that most of the peninsula is classified as being in a moderate drought, while southwest Florida is classified as facing extreme drought conditions.

With no rain forecast for at least another week, "it's going to get worse before it gets better," Zierden predicted.

Fertilizer fuels ordinance debate in Orange County

ORLANDO -- Orange County is eyeing revisions to a fertilizer ordinance. Some environmentalists want it strengthened, but some landscape and lawnscare pros say they don't want sweeping changes.

  • Orange County considering fertilizer ordinance revisions
  • Seminole County changes banned nitrogen, phosphorus fertilizers in summer
  • Environmentalists say its better for waterways
  • Landscapers say it means less healthy lawns


“When you’re hungry, you eat. When the turf is hungry, it’s time to be fed," said Billy Butterfield, who manages AmeriScapes Landscape Management Services.

“I think there shouldn’t be any fertilizer used during the summer months," said Eric Rollings, Chair of Orange Soil and Water Conservation District.

In February, Seminole County passed one of the most restrictive fertilizer ordinances in the state, banning application of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers in summer months. Those who wish to fertilize can use "summer blends," which contain potassium, iron and other micro-nutrients.

Supreme Court will not pause Obama WOTUS rule

The Supreme Court will not pause a case concerning the Obama administration’s Waters of the U.S. Rule in a blow to the Trump administration. The justices’ decision came with no explanation.

The White House opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ rule and asked the court to hold off on the case while the agencies formally consider repealing it.

The Supreme Court case, National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, does not concern the merits of the controversial regulation.

Instead, the industry groups opposed to the rule want the high court to overturn the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s opinion that it has the primary jurisdiction over the case. The Sixth Circuit decision had consolidated cases filed in dozens of other federal circuit and district courts.

Supporters of the WOTUS rule, including environmental groups and some Democratic states, want the case to stay consolidated at the Sixth Circuit. They also asked the Supreme Court not to delay its case.

President Trump formally asked the EPA and Army Corps to reconsider the rule in February, calling it “a horrible, horrible rule.” The agencies began reconsideration process shortly after Trump signed an executive order.

The Supreme Court has asked litigants to submit their first briefs later this month. The justices have not scheduled oral arguments.

Some observers say the best way to deal with this is via legislation, where the outlook for such action is good in the House, but Senate Democrats in the past have not given support to anti-WOTUS rule legislation.