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

Water-Related News

Herbicide Application on Lake Roberts, 8/22

The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 8/22/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage emergent/floating vegetation throughout the canals and lake. WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Herbicide Application on Lake Down, Main St. Canal, 8/18

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 8/18/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Hydrilla and Duckweed in the canal parallel to Main St. 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 Holden, 8/17

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 8/17/2017. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage pondweed in navigation corridors. WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Herbicide Application on Little Lake Fairview, 8/16

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 8/16/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage emergent vegetation around the lake and Limnophila (Asian Marshweed) at the mouth of Post Lane drainage ditch (SE corner). 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.

The sea level did, in fact, rise faster in Florida and the southeast U.S.

For people in the southeastern United States, and especially in Florida, who feel that annoying tidal flooding has sneaked up on them in recent years, it turns out to be true. And scientists have a new explanation.

In a paper published online Wednesday, University of Florida researchers calculated that from 2011 to 2015, the sea level along the American coastline south of Cape Hatteras, N.C., rose six times faster than the long-term rate of global increase.

"I said, 'That's crazy!' " Andrea Dutton, one of the researchers, recalled saying when a colleague first showed her the figures. " 'You must have done something wrong!' "

But it was correct. During that period of rapid increase, many people in Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other coastal communities started to notice unusual "sunny-day flooding," a foot or two of salt water inundating their streets at high tide for no apparent reason.

In the paper, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists proposed a mechanism to explain the rapid increase: Two large-scale atmospheric patterns had intersected to push up the water off the Southeast coast, causing a "hot spot" of sea-level rise.

This new mechanism, if it holds up to scientific scrutiny, might ultimately give researchers the ability to predict tidal flooding more accurately and warn communities what to expect months in advance.

Herbicide application on Lake Bumby and Lake Tyner, 8/15

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 8/15/17. This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage emergent/floating vegetation throughout the canals and lake. WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Come to the Family Fishing Clinic at Bill Frederick Park on Sept. 30th

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Family Fishing Clinic at Bill Frederick Park
Where: 3401 South Hiawassee Road, Orlando 32835
When: Saturday, September 30, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Come learn the basics and take home a brand new fishing rod and reel! Meet FWC fisheries biologists and learn how they manage fish.

Learn fishing basics together as a family from a certified fishing instructor. Skills addressed during the clinic will include:

  • Tying fishing knots
  • Safe and accurate casting with a spinning reel
  • Proper use of basic fishing tackle – includes baiting hooks
  • Fish identification
  • Ethical angling techniques
  • Cleaning and fileting (time permitting)

Who is eligible?
Families with children. No unaccompanied children or adults please. Children must be old enough to handle an adult-sized fishing rod and fish on their own.

Fishing license is required for adults and children 16 and older.

Cost: $50/family = one adult with one minor child; $15 per additional child or adult. Registration fee includes new fishing rod and reel with basic end tackle, bait, and park admission.

Registration: To register contact Barb@NatureTeach.net.

Registration is limited to the first 20 individuals.

For more information, call 813-625-3163 or email Barb@NatureTeach.net.

Be mindful of summertime algal blooms, report them to FDEP

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Health are encouraging residents and visitors to be mindful during summertime recreational activities as the season’s high temperatures, abundant sunlight and frequent rainstorms annually increase the presence of algal blooms in certain Florida waterbodies. Individuals should avoid contact with algae and can report algal blooms using DEP’s toll-free hotline (855-305-3903) and online at (www.reportalgalbloom.com). Currently there are no health advisories or any reason to believe the health of residents has been impacted.

State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip said “The health and safety of Florida families is DOH’s number one priority. It is important to avoid coming into contact with any algae and we do not recommend swimming or fishing in areas where algae is seen. We will continue to work with DEP to keep residents, visitors and local officials updated.”

DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said “DEP encourages residents and visitors to immediately report algal blooms to help us respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. Florida is a national leader in responding to and managing algal blooms. We are committed to working with state and local agencies to ensure the health of Floridians, visitors and our natural resources."

DEP and Florida’s water management districts frequently monitor Florida’s water quality and routinely collect algal bloom samples as soon as they are observed to identify algal type and test for toxicity. In addition, staff are deployed to take additional samples in response to reported blooms – whether from a citizen, other response team agencies or other sources. To keep residents and visitors informed of the latest algal bloom monitoring results and activities, DEP has a website where it posts the dates and locations of samples collected. Test results are added as they become available. Persistent blooms are routinely monitored and retested.

Public comment period on Waters of the United States (WOTUS) ends Aug. 28th

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers, under the new administration, are proposing to rescind the Waters of the US Rule, also known as the Clean Water Rule, that went into effect in 2015. You have a narrow window to comment if you wish (details below), but it closes in less than a month.

The process is taking place in two steps: The first will change the Code of Federal Regulations so that it contains the definition of “waters of the US” that was in place before the Clean Water Rule was issued. The second will put in place an even narrower definition that, the administration says, “is in line with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States case. Scalia’s definition explains that federal oversight should extend to ‘relatively permanent’ waters and wetlands with ‘a continuous surface connection’ to large rivers and streams.” Essentially, this would roll back protections on ephemeral streams and wetlands within floodplains that were originally covered by the Clean Water Act.

The public comment period for the first step opened last week. The deadline to submit a comment is August 28, 2017. Unlike some rules that have a longer window—often 90 or, in some cases, as long as 180 days—this one has just a 30-day public comment period. (A group of senators last month requested that EPA and the Corps of Engineers extend the comment period, but as yet the deadline has not moved.)

Use the link below to submit your comments. When you do, refer to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203.

DEP project to benefit Wekiwa Springs

Project: Longwood Transmission Main for Septic Tank Abatement Program and Springs Recharge

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a suite of 40 projects that will receive $50 million from the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems. This includes a state investment of more than $10.2 million to protect springs in Central and Northeast Florida, including the Silver, Wekiva, Volusia Blue and De Leon springsheds. Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars.

A total of $4.6 million in collaborative funding will be used to install a transmission main to connect to the city of Altamonte Springs plant, providing the needed treatment capacity for Longwood's existing and future septic tank connection projects. This project is part of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), and is a continuation of Longwood's septic tank abatement program. The long-term flow to the system from this project is estimated at 1.1 million gallons per day. This project will provide additional water for recharge for the Wekiva system through the city of Apopka storage area, and will add a reuse source to the regional system between Apopka, the city of Altamonte Springs and the A-FIRST system, Orange County Utilities, and others within the CFWI.

A complete list of the springs protection projects funded by the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget can be found here. These projects will be considered by the water management district Governing Boards as part of their upcoming budget hearings. More information is also available on springs projects funded during the FY 16-17 year and FY 15-16 year.

Businesses bucked Gov. Rick Scott's rule to notify public about pollution

In April, workers cleaned up 341,000 gallons of raw sewage released because of a pipe break near neighborhoods south of Clermont.

Another 2,000 gallons containing water-purifying chemicals were spilled in June on county property near SeaWorld’s new Aquatica water park.

The two events were among more than two dozen pollution incidents in Central Florida in the first half of the year. None were reported to local media after complaints from industry associations led to a new 24-hour public notice requirement for pollution spills — sparked by a Polk County spill — to be overturned.

But the judge’s decision led to a new law that open-government advocate Barbara Petersen said is an improvement over the situation that existed before the short-lived requirement on polluters. The law allows the media and anyone else to sign up for alerts about pollution incidents, a process that didn’t previously exist.

Activists predict water manager will rise to the occasion

Veteran regulator Ernie Marks takes the reins of the South Florida Water Management District at a pivotal time, says Audubon of Florida’s Eric Draper.

Before he became the district’s Everglades policy coordinator last year, Marks held key positions with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Draper says Marks’ strong technical background and steady demeanor will be sorely tested. The agency manages 1.5 million acres of land in 16 counties from Orlando to Key West -- and budgets are always tight.

“We’re in a crisis situation with water in South Florida. We move from draught to storms in a matter of months anymore and the infrastructure to handle that is decaying, it’s beyond repair in some cases, and in serious need of investment.”

Draper is confident Marks is up to constructing the massive reservoir lawmakers approved earlier this year to mitigate pollution in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

“IF anyone knows how to actually work with the Army Corps of Engineers to get the thing done, Ernie can do that. Because he has been involved in advancing a number of Everglades restoration projects over the past several years.”

Marks replaces Pete Antonacci, a Scott Administration insider who is leaving to head the governor’s business recruitment arm, Enterprise Florida.

State delegation asks Corps of Engineers to stay neutral in water wars

Florida's two senators and its entire congressional delegation are asking the president to ensure that a federal agency remains neutral in the ongoing court battle between Florida and Georgia over water use from the Apalachicola River system.

Gov. Rick Scott in 2013 filed a lawsuit in the U. S. Supreme Court against Georgia claiming that the upstream state's water use caused the collapse of Apalachicola Bay's oyster population. In February, special master Ralph Lancaster recommended that the court throw out the case because the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates reservoirs upstream from Florida on the Chattahoochee River, was not a party to lawsuit.