Water-Related News

Lake County Adopt-a-Lake Program seeks photos for its 10th annual calendar

News Image

TAVARES — Celebrating a decade of production, the Lake County Adopt-a-Lake Program is seeking original photographs of Lake County waterways for its beautiful Adopt-a-Lake calendar. The top 14 photographs, as chosen by a panel of volunteers, will be published in the 2019 calendar.

Once the semi-finalists are selected, online voting will be opened to the public. The top-scoring picture will receive the coveted cover spot.

All photos submitted must be of a Lake County named water body, and must be shot in landscape (horizontal) mode. Entries are limited to five photos per person and should include the name of the photographer and the body of water pictured. A photo release form will be required.

To submit a photo, e-mail ccatasus@lakecountyfl.gov, bring a CD to the Water Resource Management Laboratory at 12923 County Landfill Road, Tavares, or mail a CD to Adopt-a-Lake Program, Attn: Cathie Catasus, P.O. Box 7800, Tavares, FL 32778.

The deadline to submit entries is Oct. 10.

The Adopt-a-Lake calendar will be available at the Water Resource Management Laboratory for a suggested donation of $5, with proceeds benefiting the Adopt-a-Lake Program.

The Lake County Adopt-a-Lake Program encourages local civic organizations, individuals and fraternal and business groups to adopt a segment of a lake’s shoreline. The program is comprised of three separate components: water-quality monitoring, public education and pollution prevention. Volunteers can select which aspects of the program best fit their level of interest.

For more information about Lake County’s Adopt-a-Lake Program, the calendar, or to become a volunteer, contact Cathie Catasus at 352-253-1659 or ccatasus@lakecountyfl.gov.

SJRWMD cost-share project applications due Oct. 18th

News Image

PALATKA — The St. Johns River Water Management District is accepting applications through Oct. 18 for Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) communities and innovative projects to share in cost-share funding that supports the agency’s water resource protection mission.

Project proposals considered for FY 2018–2019 funding should benefit water supply (including water conservation, alternative water supplies, and maintenance and enhancement of REDI community water distribution systems and water resource development), improve water quality, provide flood protection, or protect or enhance natural systems.

Project criteria, application instructions and additional information about the program are available on the district’s website at www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/funding.

A REDI community is economically disadvantaged with an employment base dominated by traditional agriculture or resource-based industries and a population of 25,000 or less. REDI-designated communities within the district are Baker, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and Okeechobee counties, all communities within those counties and the communities of Astatula, Fellsmere, Hawthorne, Mascotte, Pierson and Umatilla.

Innovative projects include those that use emerging or proven technology in a unique way to provide alternative water supply quantities or to expand available quantities to offset groundwater withdrawal, or to otherwise improve the water resources of the district in support of the core missions. Examples of innovative technologies include indirect or direct potable reuse, rainwater harvesting for residential or commercial uses, and stormwater harvesting for aquifer recharge benefits.

District staff will evaluate each project proposal to determine which provide the most beneficial water resource results and can be constructed in a timely and efficient manner. Staff will then prepare a recommended list for board funding consideration in December 2018.

Now you can take your boater safety exam online

News Image

FWC now allows online providers to offer boating safety exam

Access to Florida’s Boater Education Temporary Certificate Program has been expanded, thanks to work done by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to make allowances for online course providers to offer the required courses over the internet.

In August of 2017, the FWC amended Florida Administrative Code 68D-36.108 to allow the temporary certificate exam to be offered in an online version. This change makes it easier and more convenient for both vessel operators and vessel liveries to comply with Florida’s boater education laws, which require liveries to verify that customers born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, have met Florida’s boating safety education requirements before allowing them to rent their vessels.

Online temporary certificate exam providers will create a system that allows 24-hour, seven-day a week accessibility to the exam using tablets, laptops, or other electronic devices. This added convenience will make it easier for both visitors and residents by allowing them to take the test before a vacation to Florida.

Currently, one online boating safety education provider, Boat Ed, has completed the process to offer the exam online. Boat Ed has been a leader and innovator in boating safety education since 1995. Study or learning materials are available on the Boat Ed site to prepare students for the exam, improve their boating knowledge and increase their chances of successfully completing the exam on the first try. The exam costs $3 and study materials are available for an additional charge. A link to the exam can be found at Boat‑Ed.com/FloridaRental/.

Prior to this change, paper exams were the only option and were required to be completed and passed by rental vessel operators. The ability for liveries to continue to offer paper exams has not changed with the addition of this online option. Liveries can still purchase and administer the paper exams, as long as their contract and insurance are valid.

The temporary certificate exam is a knowledge check, not a full education course. It cannot be converted into a boater safety identification card that is valid for life. Temporary certificates are not valid in any other state and do not meet boater safety education requirements in other states.

The online exam will be 25 questions, randomly selected from a large pool of questions. The cost for the exam will remain $3. Upon successful completion of the exam, students will be provided an electronic proof of their successful completion and their passing score. A livery will be able to inspect this proof to ensure that a prospective vessel renter has met Florida’s boating safety education requirements.

The new change offers various benefits to liveries:

  • Liveries are not required to contract with any other company to use the online exam.
  • A link that will send customers directly to the online exam can be provided by liveries.
  • Liveries are not required to continue purchasing paper exams from the FWC.
  • The burden of mailing paper tests back to the FWC is removed with the online option.
  • Liveries will be able to provide speedier service to customers who take the exam in advance of renting.

The FWC encourages liveries to transition to the new online exam system to increase accessibility and streamline the testing process for renters interested in enjoying Florida’s beautiful waterways by boat.

Florida DEP funds Lake May Reserve acquisition

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Communities Trust (FCT) awarded Hillsborough, Lake and Indian River counties with more than $6 million in grant funding to help acquire 720 acres of land across the state for conservation and outdoor recreation.

“The collaborative efforts between FCT and our local stakeholders are represented through these projects," said David Clark, DEP Deputy Secretary for Land and Recreation. "I thank our partners for continued commitment to achieve land acquisitions that promote conservation and protection of Florida."

In Lake County, lhe acquisition of 136 acres at the Lake May Reserve will provide hiking trails, picnic areas, outdoor education facilities, an observation platform and floating canoe/kayak launch.

Funded by the Florida Forever Program, Florida Communities Trust assists communities in protecting important natural resources, providing recreational opportunities, and preserving Florida's traditional working waterfronts. This preservation works through the competitive criteria in the Parks and Open Space Florida Forever Grant Program and the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever Grant Program. These grant programs provide funding to local governments and eligible nonprofit organizations to acquire land for parks, open space, greenways, and projects supporting Florida's seafood harvesting and aquaculture industries.

Florida Forever is Florida’s premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving natural resources and renewing Florida’s commitment to conserve the state’s natural and cultural heritage.