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

Water-Related News

United Nations offers free online freshwater water quality courses

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a range of new water quality monitoring and assessment courses on its eLearning platform, ahead of World Water Day on 22 March.

These free, online self-paced courses by the UNEP GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre (CDC) at the Environmental Research Institute at the University College Cork (UCC) are designed to complement the existing capacity development activities around water quality.

The courses provide a flexible learning approach for anyone interested in water quality or those who simply wish to know more about a particular aspect of managing and monitoring water quality without incurring the cost of a university-accredited course.

Current courses on offer include ‘An Introduction to Freshwater Quality Monitoring Programme Design’, ‘Quality Assurance for Freshwater Quality Monitoring’, ‘Water Quality Monitoring in Rivers and Lakes’ and ‘Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment of Groundwater,’ with further courses planned for release in 2022.

A range of other water quality monitoring and assessment offerings are available at the UNEP GEMS/Water CDC at UCC, including a university-accredited and certified online postgraduate diploma (PGDip), MSc, and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses.

See the UNEP GEMS/Water CDC webpage for further details.

Herbicide Application on Lake Down, 5/13

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 5/13/2022.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage Hydrilla and floating plants in the following canals: Down Drive Canal, Oakdale Street Canal and Fisher/Main Street Canal.

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

There are NO fishing or swimming restrictions.

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

These restrictions only apply to the areas indicated in red here below:

Treatment area

City of Orlando issues LAKE ALERT for Turkey Lake

Orlando seal

May 11, 2022

CITY OF ORLANDO - LAKE ALERT for Turkey Lake

To address citizen concerns related to water quality, the Streets and Stormwater Division has developed a public information system, "Lake Alert," to provide seasonal and localized warnings for City of Orlando lakes.

An announcement has been provided below regarding the lake(s) where water quality has been a concern.

Type of water quality concern: Possible elevated E. coli counts due to a sanitary sewer overflow

Location: Intersection of S Hiawassee Road and Lake Debra Drive

City Response: On May 11, 2022, a private, multi-family community experienced a grease blockage in their sanitary system, which caused approximately 500 gallons of sanitary waste to enter Turkey Lake. The property owner hired a contractor to remove the blockage and clean the sanitary lines to prevent another overflow. Warning signs were placed on the community property's shoreline, close to the observation deck. In addition, warning signs will be placed along the shoreline of Bill Frederick Park.

The City is advising that water contact activities associated with Turkey Lake cease until further notice, including irrigation.

City Stormwater personnel will collect water samples on a routine basis. Once E. coli counts are acceptable State Water Quality Standards, the Lake Alert Hotline number and the City's Lake Alert website will be updated.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake.

For further information regarding the sewer discharge, please contact Chancey Springstead, Water Reclamation Compliance Program Manager, at chancey.springstead@orlando.gov.

For water quality questions, please contact Lisa Lotti, Stormwater Compliance Program Manager, at lisa.lotti@orlando.gov.

SJRWMD cost-share program provides support to regional projects

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PALATKA — The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board approved $20.5 million in funding for cost-share projects for fiscal year 2022–2023 as part of the Districtwide and Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and Innovative cost-share programs. These projects all support one or more of the District’s core missions: water supply, water quality, flood protection and natural systems.

Twenty-five projects were approved for funding, including 23 that directly support Gov. DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-12 “Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment” that focuses, in part, on reducing the flow of nutrients to waterways and developing alternative water supplies.

District cost-share funding for water resource protection and restoration projects helps local governments make progress in preserving, restoring and enhancing the Floridan aquifer system, which is where more than 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water comes from. Cost-share projects also benefit the St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon and other waterways and Outstanding Florida Springs.

The Board also approved sending a list of five springs restoration projects benefitting Outstanding Florida Springs, including Silver and Volusia Blue, to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for funding consideration, along with 11 alternative water supply projects also to be evaluated for DEP funding.

Five of the funded projects are in Water Atlas-sponsored areas:

  1. Orange County Wekiwa Springs Septic Tank Retrofit Project - Phase 3
  2. Orange County Utilities Year 2 Water Conservation Through WWNP with Advanced Targeting
  3. Seminole County Toilet Rebate Program Phase 2
  4. Oak Hill 200 LLC Rosala West Water Conseravtion
  5. Mount Dora Wastewater Treatment Facility #1 Improvements

For information about District cost-share programs, visit www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding.

For a full list of projects, click here.

Herbicide Application on Lake Jessamine, 5/10

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 5/10/22.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage tussocks and emergent vegetation in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

FDEP invites stakeholders to participate in public meeting on TMDL prioritization

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To: All TMDL Stakeholders
From: Ansel Bubel, Environmental Administrator

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announces a public meeting beginning at 11 a.m. EDT on May 24, 2022, to receive comments on a proposed framework for prioritizing waters and setting two-year work plans for TMDL development. The framework will align with the statewide biennial assessment and will guide TMDL development for the next decade. Only the proposed priority setting process will be discussed at the public meeting. Another meeting will be held in the summer of 2022 to present the proposed TMDL development work plan for the next two years.

The May 24 meeting is scheduled at the following location, and via webinar:

2600 Blair Stone Road
Bob Martinez Center, Room 609
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Registration is open for the webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar. The meeting agenda and framework document are available online.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop is asked to advise the agency at least 48 hours before the workshop by contacting Johna Costantino at 850-245-7508. If you have a speech or hearing impairment, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 800-955-8771 (TDD) or 800-955-8770 (voice).

Demolition prepares way for more green space at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando

Orlando seal

On Monday, May 2, 2022 at 10 a.m., Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan will join the Orlando Land Trust to kick off the demolition of the building at 1 North Rosalind Avenue which will allow for the expansion of the City of Orlando’s signature Lake Eola Park.

The demolition of the site, where a former 7-11 store sat, will allow for the creation of a new interim plaza and green space for the park. Additional enhancements to the area will include improved streetscape treatments, new landscaping, and upgraded lighting. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2022.

The demolition, and subsequent expansion of Lake Eola Park, furthers the goal of the DTOutlook to expand open space within the city’s downtown CRA. The acquisition of this property was made possible through a partnership with the Orlando Land Trust, who raised $3.25 million – including $1.625 million in funding from the city’s downtown CRA – to purchase the small parcel, prevent future development and donate it to the city.

CFWI kicks off 2025 Regional Water Supply Planning effort

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The Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) Regional Water Supply Plan (RWSP) team held its first virtual meeting to kick off the 2025 planning effort, which was attended by nearly 70 CFWI team members and stakeholders.

The 2025 RWSP will identify existing and projected water needs as well as projects and funding sources to meet those needs over the next 20 years. The plan, which is a five-year update to the 2020 CFWI RWSP, is a collaborative effort between the St. Johns, Southwest and South Florida water management districts as well as various agencies, utilities and stakeholder groups. The CFWI Planning Area consists of all of Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Polk counties and southern Lake County, covering approximately 5,300 square miles.

“The RWSP is a collaborative effort, so it was great to see so many stakeholders participating in our first meeting,” said Claire Muirhead, Regional Water Supply Planning Coordinator for the St. Johns River Water Management District.

During the meeting RWSP team members reviewed a high-level schedule for developing the draft plan, which will be available for public review in early 2025. The final plan is scheduled to be approved by the governing boards of the three water management districts by the end of 2025.

RWSP team members also confirmed that the plan will incorporate the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) population projections. Draft projections are expected in Fall 2022 and final projections in 2023. Stakeholders will have opportunities to discuss the projections with the RWSP team once the projections are available.

The RWSP team will be holding meetings with stakeholders every two to three months and will begin meeting more frequently once the draft population projections are available. For more information on the RWSP effort, please contact the CFWI water management district contacts at cfwiwater.com/contacts.

City of Orlando extends LAKE ALERT for Lake Sue

Orlando seal

April 29, 2022 – Recent lab results from follow-up samples collected by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from Lake Sue were determined to have potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins present. As a result, Lake Sue will be closely monitored by the City of Orlando, FDEP, Orange County and the City of Winter Park. The FDEP will collect samples for analysis at a future date (possibly 4-6 weeks) determined by the FDEP for Lake Sue and will provide updates on any possible detection of algae toxins as reported on the FDEP Algal Bloom Reporting dashboard (https://floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom). Please continue to refrain from irrigating and recreating on the lake, including swimming, fishing and boating until further notice.

For additional information & questions


Previous notices:

April 8, 2022

UPDATED Information – A Lake Alert for Lake Sue was issued on March 4, 2022, due to a potentially unsafe concentration of toxins present in the lake. City of Orlando Stormwater staff have been continuously working with Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Orange County, and City of Winter Park since the Lake Alert was issued. This message is to provide an update on the status of the lake.

The results from the latest sampling event performed by Florida Department of Environmental staff on March 31, 2022, which can be found here: floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom indicate there is still a trace amount of toxins present in the lake. Lake Sue will continue to be closely monitored by City of Orlando, FDEP, Orange County, and City of Winter Park staff. The Lake will be resampled in April, and, at that time, we will provide another update. At this time, the Lake Alert remains in effect until further notice.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake. During weekdays, the City's Lake Alert website, orlando.gov/lakealert will also have the latest information.

March 10, 2022

On February 24, 2022, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) tested water samples from Lake Sue and determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in the lake. Lake Sue is comprised of homeowners within Orange County, City of Winter Park, and City of Orlando jurisdictional boundaries. In this effort, all entities are advising citizens to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/ from Lake Sue until further notice.
 
Collectively, the community can make a positive impact on our water quality in the lakes. Stormwater collects pollutants before flowing into our lakes. Here are some things you can do to help: fertilizing properly, bagging yard waste, picking up your pets' waste, maintaining your septic system, and checking your vehicle for leaks.
 
Specifically for Lake Sue, the City of Orlando continues efforts to help minimize the negative impacts on the lake by street sweeping, collecting and analyzing water samples, and educating the public. The City of Winter Park surveys the lake, collects monthly water samples, and manages invasive aquatic vegetation. Orange County also performs street sweeping and analyzes the collected water samples from the City of Winter Park for nutrient chemistry, water clarity, bacteria, and field readings.
 
For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water, however, not all bacteria have the ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Nothing can be done to treat algae blooms without causing massive fish kills. In the coming weeks, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) will continue to sample Lake Sue. When additional information is received on the status of the lake from FDEP’s Algal Bloom Dashboard (floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom), all alerts will be updated.
 
Please encourage your neighbors to register for the City of Orlando Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert and Orange County alerts at ocfl.net/alerts so they, too, will obtain important information about Lake Sue directly.
 
In the meantime, as stated above, the city and county would advise to refrain from swimming, recreating, and irrigating in/from the lake until further notice.
 

UPDATE: Environmental Advisory for Lake Mann EXTENDED 

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April 29, 2022 – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recently tested follow-up water samples collected from Lake Mann near the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp, as well as at the Roosevelt Martin Park cove. It was determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are still present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to continue to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Mann until further notice.


Previous alerts:

April 8, 2022

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recently tested follow-up water samples collected from Lake Mann near the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp, as well as at the Roosevelt Martin Park cove. It was determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are still present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to continue to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Mann until further notice.

March 28, 2022

On March 23, 2022, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) tested water samples from Lake Mann, taken by the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp, and determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Mann until further notice.

For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water, however, not all bacteria have the ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Nothing can be done to treat algae blooms without causing massive fish kills. In the coming weeks, the city will work closely with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to monitor Lake Mann. Once we obtain more information on the status of the lake, we will continue to update this Lake Alert.

Please encourage your neighbors to register for the Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert so they too will get important information about Lake Mann directly.

City of Orlando lifts LAKE ALERT for Clear Lake

Orlando seal

LAKE ALERT LIFTED – April 29, 2022

UPDATED Information - A Lake Alert for Clear Lake was issued on April 25, 2022 for possible elevated E. coli counts due to a sanitary sewer overflow. City of Orlando Stormwater staff collected water samples on April 25 and April 27, 2022. The results from both sampling events indicated that the E. coli counts were within State Water Quality Standards. The Lake Alert for Clear Lake is lifted.


Original Alert

April 25, 2022

CITY OF ORLANDO - LAKE ALERT for Clear Lake

To address citizen concerns related to water quality, the Streets and Stormwater Division has developed a public information system, "Lake Alert," to provide seasonal and localized warnings for City of Orlando lakes. An announcement has been provided below regarding the lake(s) where water quality has been a concern.

Type of water quality concern: Possible elevated E. coli counts due to a sanitary sewer overflow

Location: Intersection of Conley St and Avondale Ave

Cause: Damaged force main from an unknown cause at this time

Overflow Amount: Unknown at this time, the Lake Alert will be updated as more information becomes available

City Response: On April 25, 2022, City Water Reclamation staff responded to a sanitary sewer overflow and is working on repairing the damaged force main. The Warning signs were placed at the boat ramp and the fishing pier.

The City is advising that water contact activities associated with Clear Lake cease until further notice, including irrigation. City Stormwater personnel will collect water samples on a routine basis. Once E. coli counts are acceptable State Water Quality Standards, the Lake Alert Hotline number and the City's Lake Alert website will be updated.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake.

For further information regarding the sewer discharge, please contact Chancey Springstead, Water Reclamation Compliance Program Manager, at chancey.springstead@orlando.gov. For water qu

City of Orlando extends LAKE ALERT for Lake Arnold

Orlando seal

UPDATED Information – A Lake Alert for Lake Arnold was issued on February 25, 2022, due to a potentially unsafe concentration of toxins present in the lake. City of Orlando Stormwater staff have been continuously monitoring and sampling Lake Arnold since the Lake Alert was issued. This message is to provide an update on the status of the lake.

The results from the latest sampling event on April 28, 2022, indicate there are no toxins present in the lake at this time. However, out of a preponderance of caution, the City is electing to keep the Lake Alert in effect to ensure the bloom subsides and the lake does not produce additional toxins. The lake will be resampled in May, and once the results are obtained, we will provide another update.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake. During weekdays, the City's Lake Alert website, orlando.gov/lakealert will also have the latest information.


Original Lake Alert follows:

On February 25, 2022, the City of Orlando staff tested water samples from Lake Arnold and determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Arnold until further notice.

For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water, however, not all bacteria have the ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Nothing can be done to treat algae blooms without causing massive fish kills. Due to this, the city will work closely with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to closely monitor Lake Arnold. The city staff will continue to routinely test the lake, but the city's tests will only provide an update on the presence of toxins. The official toxin determination is obtained from FDEP's laboratory data, and until the levels are deemed safe by state standards, the Lake Alert will remain in effect.

Please encourage your neighbors to register for the Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert so they too will get important information a

City of Orlando issues LAKE ALERT for Lake Ivanhoe

Orlando seal

On April 27, 2022, the City of Orlando stormwater staff tested water samples from Lake Ivanhoe and determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Ivanhoe until further notice.

For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water, however, not all bacteria have the ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Nothing can be done to treat algae blooms without causing massive fish kills. Due to this, the city will work closely with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to closely monitor Lake Ivanhoe. The city staff will continue to routinely test the lake, but the city's tests will only provide an update on the presence of toxins. The official toxin determination is obtained from FDEP's laboratory data, and until the levels are deemed safe by state standards, the Lake Alert will remain in effect.

Please encourage your neighbors to register for the Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert so they too will get important information about Lake Ivanhoe directly.

In the meantime, as we stated above, the city would advise refraining from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from the lake until further notice.

City of Orlando extends LAKE ALERT for Lake Silver

Orlando seal

UPDATED Information – A Lake Alert for Lake Silver was issued on January 31, 2022, due to a potentially unsafe concentration of toxins present in the lake. City of Orlando Stormwater staff have been continuously monitoring Lake Silver since the Lake Alert was issued. This message is to provide an update on the status of the lake.

The results from the latest sampling event performed by City of Orlando staff on April 27, 2022, indicate there are still toxins present in the lake. Lake Silver will continue to be closely monitored by City of Orlando staff, and the lake will be resampled in May and, at that time, we will provide another update. At this time, the Lake Alert remains in effect until further notice.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake. During weekdays, the City's Lake Alert website, orlando.gov/lakealert will also have the latest information.


Original notices below.

April 13, 2022

UPDATED Information- A Lake Alert for Lake Silver was issued on January 31, 2022, due to a potentially unsafe concentration of toxins present in the lake. City of Orlando Stormwater staff have been continuously monitoring Lake Silver since the Lake Alert was issued. This message is to provide an update on the status of the lake.

The results from the latest sampling event performed by City of Orlando staff on April 13, 2022, indicate there are still toxins present in the lake. Lake Silver will continue to be closely monitored by City of Orlando staff, and the lake will be resampled in late April and, at that time, we will provide another update. At this time, the Lake Alert remains in effect until further notice.

Please continue to call the Lake Alert number, 407.246.2220, for the most up-to-date information regarding your lake. During weekdays, the City's Lake Alert website, orlando.gov/lakealert will also have the latest information.


January 31, 2022

On January 31, 2022, City of Orlando Streets and Stormwater staff tested water samples from Lake Silver and determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in the lake. As a precaution, we are advis

FWC conducts aquatic plant control on Lake Apopka

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will conduct aquatic plant control on Lake Apopka in Lake and Orange counties the week of April 25, weather permitting. The FWC will treat invasive hydrilla in areas where it is encroaching on beneficial native submersed aquatic plants and could impact access to navigation.

To find out more about the herbicides being used and if there are any use restrictions associated with these treatments, visit MyFWC.com/Lake and click on the “Plant Mgmt Schedule of Operations” under the “Aquatic Plants” dropdown menu.

The FWC manages hydrilla on a lake-by-lake basis using a collaborative approach. The FWC makes management decisions after comparing the benefits that low to moderate levels of hydrilla can provide for fish and wildlife, and the desires of various stakeholder groups against the impact this invasive plant can have on native plant communities, access and navigation, flood control, and management costs.

For general waterbody information, fishing forecasts, virtual tours, plant control operation schedules and annual workplans, boat ramp information, and more, visit the “What’s Happening on My Lake” website at MyFWC.com/Lake.

For more information about the treatment on Lake Apopka, contact Nathalie Visscher, FWC invasive plant management biologist, at 321-228-3364.

You can help control invasive species in Orange County

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Invasive species occur throughout Florida’s landscape in many forms, including plants, animals and insects. They can be aggressive and sometimes out-compete Florida’s native species. When these species take over natural areas, local wildlife is impacted due to loss of food and nutrition resources.

For plants, invasive can have higher growth rates, fewer diseases and require fewer nutrients and light to proliferate. A monoculture, or single crop of invasive vegetation, can also change soil chemistry and make it more difficult for other vegetation to grow. Here are six ways you can take action against invasive species:

  1. Clean your shoes, clothes, packs, and pets to reduce the transfer of invasive plants and seeds.
  2. Stay on designated trails when you hike.
  3. Clean, drain, and dry your watercraft and angling equipment to stop aquatic hitchhikers.
  4. Buy certified heat-treated firewood, or gather on site when/where permitted.
  5. Before traveling to new areas, inspect and clean your trailers and other recreational vehicles water or compressed air.
  6. Take the PlayCleanGo Pledge and invite your family and friends to do the same.

For more information about invasive species in Florida, visit FloridaInvasives.org or UF/IFAS Extension Orange County.

Climate change fueled extreme rainfall during the record 2020 hurricane reason

Human-induced climate change fueled one of the most active North Atlantic hurricane seasons on record in 2020, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The study analyzed the 2020 season and the impact of human activity on climate change. It found that hourly hurricane rainfall totals were up to 10% higher when compared to hurricanes that took place in the pre-industrial era in 1850, according to a news release from Stony Brook University.

"The impacts of climate change are actually already here," said Stony Brook's Kevin Reed, who led the study. "They're actually changing not only our day-to-day weather, but they're changing the extreme weather events."

There were a record-breaking 30 named storms during the 2020 hurricane season. Twelve of them made landfall in the continental U.S.

These powerful storms are damaging and the economic costs are staggering.

Hurricanes are fueled in part by moisture linked to warm ocean temperatures. Over the last century, higher amounts of greenhouse gases due to human emissions have raised both land and ocean temperatures.

Sarasota researcher predicts 22 named storms, 5 major hurricanes in 2022

The Climate Adaptation Center, headed by researcher Bob Bunting, released its annual forecast for hurricane season on Friday.

SARASOTA — Tampa Bay residents have a tendency to brush aside concerns about hurricane season as annual forecasts arrive each spring.

Bob Bunting understands why so many are carefree: A major hurricane hasn’t struck the region in more than 100 years. But Bunting, a hurricane researcher and chief executive officer for the Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota, says that’s a dangerous way to approach hurricane season any year, but especially as of late.

That’s because storm seasons are becoming longer and fiercer on average, he said, meaning Tampa Bay’s centurylong string of luck could end sooner rather than later. And, with the Climate Adaptation Center forecasting 2022 to be a seventh straight above-average season, the “big” storm could strike as soon as this year.

Green infrastructure helps cities with climate change. So why isn’t there more of it?

Federal agencies are beginning to hand out billions of dollars in infrastructure spending, the largest investment ever made in the country's water system. Much of it will go to improving pipes, drains and stormwater systems. But some scientists and urban planners are pushing to fund projects that are better adapted to the changing climate.

Instead of just gray infrastructure, supporters say the answer is green.

Green infrastructure, whether it's large rain gardens or plants along a street median, has the same purpose as big storm sewers: to manage large amounts of water that can build up during heavy rains. Plants and soil absorb and slow runoff from rainstorms, while a stormwater drain captures water that runs down a street gutter and diverts it underground into pipes.

On a hotter planet, storms are getting more intense, and rainfall is often heavier. Flooding is on the rise in many cities. Stormwater systems are being increasingly overwhelmed by extreme rainfall. In the Northeast, the heaviest storms produce 55% more rain today compared to 1958. Last year, dozens of people drowned there when the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded basements, streets and cars.

Still, most cities face major backlogs in maintaining the aging gray infrastructure they already have, amounting to billions of dollars nationwide. In the rush to secure federal funding to fill that void, some worry that green infrastructure will be left by the wayside.

"What good is a pristine road that's flooded?" says Marccus Hendricks, assistant professor of urban studies and planning at the University of Maryland. "Elevating the priority of green infrastructure and stormwater systems is critical."