Windermere Water Navigation Control District (WWNCD)
The lakes in the Butler Chain are part of the WWNCD, which also includes these lakes: Bessie, Brenda (Hour Glass), Burden, Buynak, Crescent, William Davis, Estes (Cypress), Sawyer (Butt), Little Lake Sawyer (Robinson), Story, Mabel, Rhea, South Lake, and Sloat. The WWNCD is the largest lake MSTU in Orange County, including 27 lakes having a combined surface water area of over 6,000 acres.
The WWNCD Advisory Board was created on August 2, 1963, by the Florida Legislature. On March 21, 2006, it adopted the name Butler Chain of Lakes Advisory Board (BCLAB) to better describe its responsibilities. The BCLAB consists of five members appointed to four-year terms by the District Commissioner and approved by the Board of County Commissioners to advise Orange County on boating regulations, waterfront construction, canal maintenance, flood plain alterations, lakes patrol services, protection of public riparian property rights, aquatic weed control, and pollution control for the preservation of water bodies.
Water quality in the Butler Chain of Lakes is generally excellent, with most of its lakes having Trophic State Index (TSI) averages between 20 and 40. However, during 2005, the draft verified list of impaired water bodies for the Kissimmee River Basin was released by the FDEP and included Lake Butler as an impaired water body, because of changes in historic TSI values. Lake Butler water quality returned to its historic average in 2009 and was removed from the list of impaired water bodies.
Over the past 10 years some short-term algae blooms at the Butler Chain had been raising concerns with nutrient contributions from a wide range of sources such as: Stormwater runoff and baseflow, groundwater seepage, inflow from interconnected water bodies, wetland impacts, atmospheric deposition and boating activities in shallow areas.
In 1988 the WWNCD created the “Butler Patrol” to enforce the boating and environmental laws on the lakes and canals that make up the Butler Chain. The Butler Patrol consists of over a dozen fully-empowered state police officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Park Patrol, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that provide law enforcement assistance, and also provide search and rescue and boating accident assistance.
For more information about boating safety, please visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's website.