Water-Related News

38th Annual Lake Morton Swan Roundup October 23 & 24

The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 AM on Tuesday, October 23rd for the 38th Annual Swan Roundup. Parks & Recreation employees will be carefully gathering the swans to get them ready for their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations with Dr. Patricia Mattson that will start the morning of October 24th at 8:00 AM. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows the City’s Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population.

The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957. As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began in 1980 and has continued every year since then. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner. His dedication to the flock carries on with Dr. Mattson.

District provides an update on rainfall, aquifer and surface water conditions as Hurricane Michael a

PALATKA — The St. Johns River Water Management District recently presented data that provided a snapshot of rainfall, aquifer and surface water conditions across the district’s 18-county service area.

As Hurricane Michael approaches Florida, the National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory along the coast and along portions of the St. Johns River Basin around the times of high tide, due to high astronomical tides. This advisory affects the lower St. Johns River basin in the northeast Florida region.

Below-average rainfall has decreased surface water flow across the district. By the end of September, surface water flow decreased and dropped into the low range in the headwaters of the St. Johns River and in Orlando-area tributaries. Surface water flow also dropped into the average range further downstream in the St. Johns River Basin. The tidally influenced river near Jacksonville was in the very low range, dominated by the incoming Oct. 1 tide.

In a step forward for Everglades restoration, U.S. Senate approves reservoir plan

A project intended to help address blue-green algae outbreaks took a major step forward Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes a proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir.

Senators approved the bill, which includes many other water-related projects nationwide, by a margin of 99-1.

The reservoir would be built south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce the need for water discharges east and west. The lake water contains high levels of nutrients like phosophorus and nitrogren, which fuels algae blooms in inland waterways and coastal areas, including the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.

The hurricanes and climate-change questions keep coming. Yes, they’re linked.

Scientists are increasingly confident of the links between global warming and hurricanes.

In a warming world, they say, hurricanes will be stronger, for a simple reason: Warmer water provides more energy that feeds them.

Hurricanes and other extreme storms will also be wetter, for a simple reason: Warmer air holds more moisture.

And, storm surges from hurricanes will be worse, for a simple reason that has nothing to do with the storms themselves: Sea levels are rising.

Lake County reminds residents to maintain clean storm drains to avoid flooding

TAVARES – Lake County Public Works is reminding residents to keep their storm drains clean to help minimize flooding and protect property.

Storm drains are designed to channel excess precipitation, in the form of runoff, away from the road and into the stormwater system. Blocked storm drains cannot remove enough water from the roadway, causing localized flooding. Leaves and grass clippings in stormwater runoff can also increase nutrient loading, which negatively impacts water quality in lakes and streams. Pet waste, antifreeze and oil all have the potential to be discharged to waterbodies when it rains. Citizens are asked to remember the slogan “Only rain down the storm drain” and follow these tips from Lake County and the St. Johns River Water Management District to help maintain clear storm drains.

  • Keep debris out of storm drains and ditches; prevent leaves and grass clippings from entering. the road and storm drain by blowing them back on the grass or bagging them.
  • Clean out gutters and extend downspouts at least four feet from structures.
  • Build up the ground around the home to promote drainage away from the foundation.
  • Dispose of motor oil, paints, solvents and other chemicals properly; never dump them!
  • Choose appropriate ground covers and include vegetated buffers in your landscape plan.
  • Report clogged ditches to local governments.

To report storm drain blockage, contact Lake County Road Operations at 352-343-6439. For more information about stormwater and water quality, contact the Lake County Stormwater Section at 352-253-9084, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov keyword: stormwater. To find local government contacts responsible for stormwater in your area, visit sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/flooding.

Lake County tire disposal event in Tavares on Nov. 3rd

TAVARES — County residents are invited to help combat mosquito populations and keep the community clean by participating in Tire Amnesty Day, held from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Lake County Landfill, 13130 County Landfill Road, Tavares.

Sponsored by Keep Lake Beautiful (KLB), Lake County Solid Waste and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the event seeks to reduce the number of unsightly waste tires that might be lying around yards, collecting water and creating ideal breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Residents may dispose of up to 24 passenger car tires that measure 40 inches or less free of charge. Large commercial tires will not be accepted. Tire Amnesty Day is open to all Lake County residents with a photo ID or proof of address.

For additional information, contact the Lake County Solid Waste Program at 352-343-3776.

Water level update from LCWA

By Anna Ely

The peak of hurricane season has passed and there is nothing of significance to Central Florida in the tropics. September was a dry month with Lake County receiving about half of the average rainfall for the moth. The northern area of Lake County was particularly dry. The rainfall over the summer wet season however has kept the lake levels up.

As of this morning Lake Minnehaha, the reference lake for the Clermont Chain, is at 97.15 ft. MSL, 0.35 ft. (slightly more than 4 inches) below the upper end of the regulatory range. The regulatory range is from 96.0 ft. to 97.50 ft. The lake is about 0.50 ft. lower than it was at this same time last year (Hurricane Irma passed through on September 10-11, 2017). The combined flow from Big and Little Creeks into Lake Louisa is currently 144 cfs (cubic ft. per second) or 64,476 gpm (gallons per minute). As a comparison, in October 2017 after Hurricane Irma, the combine flow from Big and Little Creeks was 659 cfs or 289,960 gpm. The Cherry Lake Dam has been opened most of the summer, however the flow through the dam is gradually being reduced as the rainy season slows.

For the Harris Chain of Lakes, all the lakes are essentially at or below the regulatory levels. Lake Apopka is currently at 65.94 ft. which is 0.03 ft. (about 3/8 of an inch) below the regulatory level of 65.97 ft. Flow from Lake Apopka through the spillway is at 120 cfs as of October 1st. The middle lakes (Beauclair, Carlton, Dora, Eustis and Harris) are currently at 62.07 ft., about ¼ if an inch above the regulatory level of 62.05 ft. Flow from the middles lakes through the Burrell lock and dam is at 56 cfs. For Lake Griffin, the lake is currently at 57.66 ft. which is 0.39 ft. (4 ½ inches) below the regulatory level of 58.05 ft. Flow from Lake Griffin through the Moss Bluff lock and dam is at 26 cfs.

Hurricane season doesn’t end until November 1st, so we continue to watch the lake levels closely. We will respond as necessary as the summer rainy season and the tropical storm season continues.

Measures that would help address Florida's harmful algal blooms remain stalled In Congress

Florida is waiting on Congress to authorize two efforts that could help address algal blooms plaguing the state's coastal and inland waterways.

Congressional authorization expires Sunday for legislation that helps communities cope with harmful algae blooms. The Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act enables the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, and an inter-agency task force to do things like monitor algae blooms, research their causes and give grants to communities trying to cope. A lapse in authorization wouldn't eliminate the program, but it would make it less likely that Congress would continue to fund it.

Simultaneously, Florida leaders and environmental groups are calling on the Senate to vote on a bill that includes plans for a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. That reservoir would reduce the need for lake water discharges that contribute to blue-green algae outbreaks.

Is spraying weeds in Central Florida lakes, contributing to Southwest Florida’s water crisis?

FORT MYERS - Scott Wilson is not a scientist. He’s a pastor and a fisherman with a passion for the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes where he spends most of his time off.

“I’ve grown up on this chain of lakes since I was 4 years old, and I love this part of Florida more than anywhere else,” he said, getting choked up as he tried to get the words out.

Wilson claims since 2012, he’s seen an excessive amount of chemical spraying done near his fish camp.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission does maintenance control throughout Florida to keep populations of invasive plants, or weeds, low.

“Invasive plants degrade and diminish Florida’s conservation lands and waterways. Decaying plants in lakes release nutrients that help algae to grow,” said Carli Segelson, a spokesperson for FWC.

How your lawn's fertilizers can contribute to the red tide; counties combat their use

ORLANDO - Water. It is everywhere in Florida, from our beaches to our lakes and canals. The red tide has not only affected our beaches, the ecosystem and tourism, but harmful algae blooms have also affected other bodies of water, such as inland lakes and canals closer to our homes.

For months, we have seen how some canals have turned red and how some even filled with green slime-like algae. Although algae blooms can occur naturally, nutrient runoff is one of Florida’s biggest problems contributing to the harmful blooms.

Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain

When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category 4 storm to a Category 2 and then a Category 1, Wayne Mills figured he could stick it out.

He regrets it. The Neuse River, normally 150 feet away, lapped near his door in New Bern, North Carolina, on Sunday even as the storm had "weakened" further.

People like Mills can be lulled into thinking a hurricane is less dangerous when the rating of a storm is reduced. But those ratings are based on wind strength, not rainfall or storm surge—and water is responsible for 90 percent of storm deaths .

Several meteorologists and disaster experts said something needs to change with the 47-year-old Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to reflect the real risks in hurricanes. They point to Florence, last year's Hurricane Harvey, 2012's Sandy and 2008's Ike as storms where the official Saffir-Simpson category didn't quite convey the danger because of its emphasis on wind.

"The concept of saying 'downgraded' or 'weakened should be forever banished," said University of Georgia meteorology professor Marshall Shepherd. "With Florence, I felt it was more dangerous after it was lowered to Category 2."

It was a lowered category that helped convince Famous Roberts, a corrections officer from Trenton, to stay behind. "Like a lot of people (we) didn't think it was actually going to be as bad," he said. "With the category drop ... that's another factor why we did stay."

City Of Altamonte Springs Ranks Top In The World For Innovative Water Project

The City of Altamonte Springs’ innovative water treatment project, pureALTA, was named among the best in the world after fierce competition featuring 160 entries from 45 countries.

The City was ranked in the top three at the International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Awards in Tokyo, Japan on Monday, September 17, 2018. pureALTA was recognized for its forward-thinking applications and solutions to advance clean and safe water goals, taking home a top award in the Market-changing Water Technology and Infrastructure category. The City was honored as the only project from the U.S.

“We are proud to stand among such exceptional water projects,” said Frank Martz, Altamonte Springs city manager. “Water is essential for everyone on the planet, and we are focused on finding and sharing water preservation solutions. Taking steps to do so was a major goal for the City of Altamonte Springs, and we’re deeply humbled to receive this international recognition.”

The IWA Project Innovation Awards were presented at the 12th annual World Water Congress, which focuses on overcoming challenges through the development and implementation of creative water solutions. This global event helps shape the conversation on future water needs. Over 5,000 water leaders representing over 100 countries joined together to share the latest trends, innovative technologies and pioneering sciences to build partnerships that will deliver solutions for major water and wastewater challenges faced around the world.

Report on Florida's St. Johns River is mixed bag

JACKSONVILLE - A new report says development and the spread of non-native wildlife are all increasing strains on the health of the St. Johns River, which runs through north Florida.

The report released Friday by researchers from Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida and Florida Southern College in Lakeland was a mixed bag.

The report says that some changes are helping the river, such as lower levels in some areas of a chemical that feeds algae blooms.