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

Water-Related News

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Lake Pineloch-East Shore

FDOH logo

February 2, 2023

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Pineloch - E Shore.

This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/31/2023.

The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Pineloch – E Shore

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

Lake Mann Health Alert once again extended

OCAlert logo

February 3, 2023

Recent lab results from a sample collected on Lake Mann near the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp indicate the continued presence of trace amounts of algae toxins in the water column.

As a result, Lake Mann will be closely monitored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff.

The FDEP will collect follow-up samples for analysis at a future date (possibly 2-4 weeks) determined by the FDEP for Lake Mann 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 or recreating on the lake, including swimming, fishing, and boating until further notice.


Prior notices follow:

January 20, 2023

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recently tested follow-up water samples collected from Lake Mann near the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp.

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.


December 21, 2022

UPDATE - The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mann - McQueen Park. This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on December 1, 2022. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

The official toxin determination is obtained from FDEP's data, and until the levels are deemed safe by state standards, the Lake Alert will remain in effect as per FDOH. Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms by visiting ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov

To report a bloom to FDEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855.305.3903


ORLANDO (Dec. 12) – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on December 1, 2022.

The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Lake Alert extended for Lake Sue 

OCAlert logo

January 31, 2023

Recent lab results from a sample collected on Lake Sue indicate the presence of trace amounts of algae toxins in the water column.

As a result, Lake Sue will be closely monitored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff. The FDEP will collect follow-up samples for analysis at a future date (possibly 1-3 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 refrain from irrigating or recreating on the lake, including swimming, fishing, and boating until further notice.


January 20, 2023

Orange County and City of Winter Park staff inspected Lake Sue and observed a visible algae bloom in the northern part of 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. The bloom has been reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to schedule sample collection.

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, City of Winter Park alerts at cityofwinterpark.org/lakes and Orange County alerts at ocfl.net/alerts so they, too, will obtain important information about Lake Sue directly. For additional information: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/harmful-algae-blooms/index.html

For additional questions: City of Orlando: lisa.lotti@orlando.gov , City of Winter Park: geby@cityofwinterpark.org , Orange County: melissa.lavigne@ocfl.net or Nidia.Volpe@ocfl.net.

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Lake Killarney (north lobe)

FDOH logo

January 30, 2023

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Killarney-N Lobe. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/24/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Killarney-N Lobe.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Starke Lake (boat ramp)

FDOH logo

January 30, 2023

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Starke Lake - Boat Ramp. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/26/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Starke Lake - Boat Ramp.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

Lake Advisory extended again for Big Sand Lake

OCAlert logo

January 30, 2023

Recent lab results from a follow-up sample collected at Big Sand Lake near the west cove indicate the continued presence of trace amounts of algae toxins in the water column. As a result, Big Sand Lake will continue to be closely monitored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff.

The FDEP will collect follow-up samples for analysis at a future date (possibly 2-4 weeks) determined by the FDEP for Big Sand Lake 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 or recreating on the lake, including swimming, fishing and boating until further notice, especially in the communities near the sample collection location including Estates at Phillips Landing, Bay Vista and Sand Lake Point.


January 6, 2023

Recent lab results from a follow-up sample collected at Big Sand Lake near the west cove indicate the continued presence of trace amounts of algae toxins in the water column. As a result, Big Sand Lake will continue to be closely monitored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) staff.

The FDEP will collect follow-up samples for analysis at a future date (possibly 2-4 weeks) determined by the FDEP for Big Sand Lake 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 or recreating on the lake, including swimming, fishing and boating until further notice, especially in the communities near the sample collection location including Estates at Phillips Landing, Bay Vista and Sand Lake Point.


December 12, 2022

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Big Sand Lake - from Dock. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on December 8, 2022. The public should exercise caution in and around Big Sand Lake - from Dock.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.
More information » from the Seminole Dept. of Health

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Alert for Lake Martha-NE Shore

FDOH logo

January 30, 2023

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Martha - NE Shore. This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/19/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Martha - NE Shore.


January 24, 2023

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Martha - NE Shore. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/19/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Martha - NE Shore.

This Health Caution extends the one issued on January 9th.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Lake Burkett-Center

FDOH logo

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Burkett - Center. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/19/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Burkett - Center.

This Health Caution extends the one issued on January 9th.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

City of Orlando issues Lake Alert for Lake Sunset

FDOH logo

January 23, 2023

The City of Orlando is issuing a Lake Alert for Lake Sunset due to a harmful algal bloom.

On January 17, 2023, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection retrieved water samples from Lake Sunset and detected the presence of toxins deemed potentially unsafe per standards set by the Florida Department of Health.

As a health precaution, the City of Orlando is advising that all residents cease water activities and irrigation from Lake Sunset until further notice. The City will post updates via the Lake Alert system and at orlando.gov/lakealert as they are made available.

You can learn more about harmful algal blooms here: https://www.orlando.gov/Parks-the-Environment/Lakes-and-Rainfall/Lake-Alerts/Harmful-Algal-Bloom-FAQs

The official toxin determination is obtained from Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) data, and until the levels are deemed safe by state standards, the Lake Alert will remain in effect as per the Florida Department of Health.

Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms by visiting ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov To report a bloom to FDEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855.305.3903

Health Alert again extended for Lake Mann

OCAlert logo

January 20, 2023

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recently tested follow-up water samples collected from Lake Mann near the Gilbert McQueen boat ramp.

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.


Prior notices follow:

December 21, 2022 UPDATE - The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mann - McQueen Park. This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on December 1, 2022. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

The official toxin determination is obtained from FDEP's data, and until the levels are deemed safe by state standards, the Lake Alert will remain in effect as per FDOH. Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms by visiting ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov

To report a bloom to FDEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855.305.3903


ORLANDO (Dec. 12) – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

This is in response to a water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on December 1, 2022.

The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Mann - McQueen Park.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

Alternative water supply projects within the CFWI receive state funding

CFWI logo

The State, in coordination with the water management districts, has provided more than $9.9 million in cost-share funding for nine alternative water supply projects within the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) area.

These projects are anticipated to leverage more than $297.1 million in cooperating entity matching funds and create more than 23.4 million gallons per day and 13 million gallons in transmission/distribution capacity when they are fully online.

The projects include:

  • Oak Hill 200 LLC Rosala West Water Conservation (Orange)
  • Orange County Utilities Year 2 Water Conservation Through WWNP with Advanced Targeting (Orange)
  • Seminole County Toilet Rebate Program Phase 2 (Seminole)
  • City of Minneola AWS Reclaimed Water Project (Lake)
  • Sunshine Water Services Oranges Lower Floridan Well (Lake)
  • Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC) Southeast Wellfield Implementation (Polk)
  • PRWC Southeast Regional Transmission System (Polk)
  • PRWC West Polk Wellfield Implementation (Polk)
  • PRWC West Polk Wellfield Test Production Well #2 (Polk)

Environmental Advisory – Lake Sue  

OCAlert logo

January 20, 2023

Orange County and City of Winter Park staff inspected Lake Sue and observed a visible algae bloom in the northern part of 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. The bloom has been reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to schedule sample collection.

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, City of Winter Park alerts at cityofwinterpark.org/lakes and Orange County alerts at ocfl.net/alerts so they, too, will obtain important information about Lake Sue directly. For additional information: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/harmful-algae-blooms/index.html

For additional questions: City of Orlando: lisa.lotti@orlando.gov , City of Winter Park: geby@cityofwinterpark.org , Orange County: melissa.lavigne@ocfl.net or Nidia.Volpe@ocfl.net.

Orange County Health Dept. issues Health Caution for Lake Ola-NE Shore

FDOH logo

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Ola - NE Shore. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/12/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Ola - NE Shore.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Health Caution for Sunset Lake-West Shore

FDOH logo

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Sunset Lake - W Shore. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/17/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Sunset Lake - W Shore.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

Orange County Dept. of Health issues Blue-Green Algae Bloom Caution for Lake Speer-NW Lobe

FDOH logo

ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Speer- NW Lobe. This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on 01/11/2023. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Speer- NW Lobe.

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to begin doing so remains poorly understood. For this reason, it is important to exercise caution, as bloom conditions are dynamic and could change at any time. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) collects algae samples from reported bloom locations for toxin analysis. Once completed, the results will be posted on the FDEP Algal Bloom Dashboard, and can also be viewed on the Protecting Florida Together website, where you can sign up to be notified of the latest conditions.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location

No debate anymore: Climate change makes extreme weather worse, federal scientists say

Scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered a clear message: Climate change is — unequivocally — making extreme weather events worse.

South Florida has always been hot, rainy and vulnerable to hurricanes. So it’s understandable that some longtime residents remain skeptical that climate change is doing anything to make the region’s age-old problems any worse.

But scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivered a clear message Monday at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in Denver, Colorado: Climate change is — unequivocally — making extreme weather events worse.

In fact, scientists can now go a step further and show that specific weather disasters were more likely or more damaging because we live in a hotter climate. At the meeting, scientists presented case studies of heat waves, droughts, and extreme rainfall events that were influenced by climate change over the past two years in the U.S., South Korea, China and other countries. A collection of these studies was also published Monday in a special report from the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Florida’s emergency chief seeks changes in disaster response

Florida’s emergency-management director wants lawmakers to make changes to help with disaster preparation and response, pointing to issues that have arisen as the state recovers from Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole.

Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie this week asked lawmakers to reduce the amount of time people have to remove damaged boats from waterways and to provide uniform requirements for local governments about debris-removal contracts. He also wants to tweak a new relief fund and shield from public records the names of people harmed by disasters.

“What we’re talking about is media outlets. We’re talking about lawyers, attorneys, those that are seeking to try to start making money off of disaster survivors and victims,” Guthrie told members of the Senate Select Committee on Resiliency as he described the proposed public records exemption.

Central Florida to fight future flooding with $60 million federal investment

Central Florida recently received help in the fight to prevent future flooding when Orange and Polk counties received $60 million in federal funding for water infrastructure improvements and Osceola was granted initial approval for future projects.

On Dec. 23, President Biden signed into law the $858 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which, among many other things, granted initial approval for ecosystem restoration projects in Lake Tohopekaliga/Kissimmee Lakefront, Lake Runnymede and Shingle Creek. The act also included $50 million in funding for Orange’s water projects and $10 million for Polk’s.

“As more human beings move in there will be a greater demand for water in our community and as a result, Orange County has to be creative on how it approaches those barriers,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a press conference last month. “We have a lot of needs here in our community and we are looking forward to working with our state partners.”

Altogether, the water projects throughout Central Florida should help mitigate flooding concerns that September’s Hurricane Ian further illuminated in the region. Orange County saw historic levels of flooding that left many with property damage or homeless.