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

Water-Related News

Herbicide Application on Lake Burden, 11/13

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The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 11/13/19.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage hydrilla in the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Controlled burn at Pine Lily Preserve on Nov. 12th

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Pine Lily Preserve: Environmental Advisory

Orange County is conducting a controlled burn on 11-12-19 at its Pine Lily Preserve (PLP) property located off of Hwy 50 on South County Road 13, in Commission District 5, and smoke will be visible from several miles away.

The Pine Lily Preserve address is 1401 South County Rd 13, Orlando Fl, 32833.

PLP will be temporarily closed during the operation of the controlled burn.

Any specific questions should be directed to the Orange County Environmental Protection Division at 407-836-1400.

Herbicide Application on Lake Lovely, Nov. 12th

OCAlerts logo

The Environmental Protection Division will be performing an aquatic plant herbicide treatment on 11/12/19.

This treatment is part of an ongoing effort to manage emergent vegetation on the lake.

WATER USE RESTRICTIONS: NONE.

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

Do your part: Reset your sprinkler system timer Saturday to fall back to once-a-week watering

Starting Sunday, Nov. 3, homeowners and businesses will fall back to once-a-week landscape irrigation across the 18 counties of the St. Johns River Water Management District. Nov. 3 is the day that Eastern Standard Time begins.

“Healthy lawns in our area require no more than one day a week of irrigation during cooler weather, based on scientific analysis from the University of Florida,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “So, when you change your clocks Saturday night, be sure to also reset your sprinkler timers to water only on the designated day for your address. And thanks for doing your part to protect Florida’s water resources!”

The district’s new Water Less campaign features four seasonal themes, starting with “Fall Back” in November to encourage once-a-week watering as temperatures begin cooling.

Wekiva septic conversion stinks for homeowners but it may save the springs

Some homeowners in Orange County neighborhoods near Wekiwa Springs and Rock Springs pooh-pooh the science blaming their septic systems for pollution in the water, but they’re ready to switch to sewers.

For instance, Andrea Samson, editor of The Sludge Report, a blog about the controversy, doubts that septic systems are at fault but she’s now in favor of installing sewers in her neighborhood.

For homeowners like her, expensive sewers are a cheaper fix for what the state believes is the major source of chemical pollutants impairing the springs and feeding gooey green algae blooms.

“You can doubt the science until the cows come home but it’s a moot point,” said Samson, who bought her home in Bent Oak in 1989. “The law’s the law."

Lake Alert issued for Orlando’s Lake Daniel

Lake Alert Issued Nov. 7th

As a precaution due to Lake Silver’s Nov. 5th lake alert for the presence of microcystins due to blue green algae, City of Orlando staff visually inspected downstream lakes Daniel and Sarah. No visible algae blooms were present on Lake Sarah. Algae from Lake Daniel was observed, therefore, out of a preponderance of caution. We are advising everyone to refrain from swimming, recreating, and irrigating in/from Lake Daniel until further notice.

For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water. These blooms are caused by low-flowing, warm water and excess nutrients that can come from a combination of fertilizers, septic tanks, yard waste, and pet waste. Blue-green algae can pose a health concern based on its ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Even blooms caused by known toxin-producing species may not produce toxins or may produce toxins at undetectable levels.

Because of the potential for harm to humans and pets, the City will begin performing weekly microcystin testing until the algae appears to have died. Please encourage your neighbors to register for the Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert so they too will get important information about Lake Daniel 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. Please be aware that as the algae dies, a “musty” or other unpleasant odor may occur.

If you should have additional questions, please email City of Orlando Streets and Stormwater staff at stormwater@orlando.gov.

Lake Alert Issued for Orlando’s Lake Silver

On November 5, 2019, the City took water samples in Lake Silver to determine the presence of microcystins (toxins) resulting from an algae bloom in the lake. It was determined that potentially unsafe concentrations of toxins are present in Lake Silver. As a precaution, we are advising everyone to refrain from swimming, recreating and irrigating in/from Lake Silver until further notice.

For reference, cyanobacteria/blue-green algae are always present in the water. These blooms are caused by low-flowing, warm water and excessive nutrients that can come from a combination of fertilizers, septic tanks, yard waste and pet waste. Blue-green algae can pose a health concern based on its ability to produce toxins. Toxicity is hard to predict because a single species of algae can have toxic and non-toxic strains. Even blooms caused by known toxin-producing species may not produce toxins or may produce toxins at undetectable levels.

Because of the potential for harm to humans and pets, the City will begin performing weekly microcystin testing until the algae appears to have died. Please encourage your neighbors to register for the Lake Alert at orlando.gov/lakealert so they too will get important information about Lake Silver 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. Please be aware that as the algae dies, a “musty” or other unpleasant odor may occur.

If you should have additional questions, please email us at stormwater@orlando.gov.

City of Orlando - Streets & Stormwater Division City of Orlando - Streets and Stormwater Division
1010 S. Woods Ave.
Orlando, FL 32805

Women in STEM profile: Julie Bortles

Biologist Julie Bortles is helping protect water quality in Orange County’s lakes, rivers and springs

Growing up in Miami next to a lake, Julie Bortles was constantly outside playing. Her strong love for the environment, however, was fueled by her mother’s fondness for taking in injured animals – bats, ducks, squirrels, dogs, cats – thus exposing her to a love of nature.

“My mom taught me at an early age to respect the environment and its inhabitants,” said Bortles, who would spend all day out on the lake with not a care in the world. “We were always involved in some sort of outdoor activity, and as a Girl Scout I did a lot of camping.”

In primary school, Bortles, who excelled in math and science, wanted to be a veterinarian. She eventually enrolled in the pre-vet program at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and worked for a vet to gain some experience, but she ultimately decided to major in biology and take some art classes in order to become a medical illustrator. It was during one of her biology classes she realized she had a strong interest in entomology (the study of insects). She graduated from UCF with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1995 and got her first job as a laboratory technician at University of Florida’s Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Central Florida Research and Education Center in Sanford, where she participated in various research projects in aquatic and agricultural entomology. After gaining practical experience, she got a job as a biologist for Orange County.

Today, as the Regulatory Compliance Program Coordinator at the Orange County Environmental Protection Division, Bortles runs a state-certified environmental laboratory that processes 30,000 water samples a year from 120-150 sites (streams, rivers and springs) per quarter, and she also goes out into the field with other biologists to test for ecological ind