Water-Related News

Senate budget head seeks $2.5 billion water quality package

A Senate bill would offer the vehicle for Gov. Ron DeSantis to fulfill his ambitious environmental agenda.

SB 1878, filed by Senate budget chair Rob Bradley, would earmark $625 million on a recurring basis to the Everglades and other water quality projects.

This bill would continue the four-year, $2.5 billion commitment in DeSantis’ first budget.

The request from the Fleming Island Republican jibes with a goal from the Governor to get $625 million per year.

DeSantis rolled out the pitch at a press conference in Naples last September.

New CFWI modelling results to be used for water supply planning

Modeling results are used to develop planning-level groundwater availability

Recent groundwater modeling results for the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) 2020 Regional Water Supply Plan (RWSP) have yielded new insight into central Florida’s planning-level groundwater availability over the next 20 years.

“The modeling results are an important regional planning tool,” said Brian Starford, Team Lead for the CFWI Water Resource Assessment and Groundwater Availability teams. “The results identify the planning-level traditional groundwater sources available in the CFWI planning area.”

The expanded East Central Florida Transient (ECFTX) model covers a 25,000 square-mile area of central Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. The model looked at the effect of groundwater withdrawals on 39 environmental criteria, including adopted minimum flows and levels (MFLs) on lakes, springs and the Wekiva River; 190,000 acres of wetlands within the CFWI planning area; and regulatory wells and aquifer levels in the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Southern Water Use Caution Area. Model scenarios were run for every five-year period from 2025 to 2040 based on projected water demands. The modeled quantities do not include mitigation projects or already permitted, but not yet developed, alternative water supply projects.

Groundwater use for the CFWI planning area is currently estimated at about 660 million gallons per day (mgd) and permitted groundwater is about 1,064 mgd. Planning-level groundwater availability is now limited to a maximum of 760 mgd, in part, based on the following model results: the MFLs for the Wekiva River and Wekiwa Springs are predicted to not be met after groundwater use exceeds 760 mgd, which could happen between 2025 and 2030. In addition, the MFLs for Rock Springs and Lake Prevatt are predicted to not be met once groundwater use is around 825

Lake County supports oyster shell recycling

TAVARES – Lake County and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) met this week at the Lake County Landfill to support the partnership of the oyster shell recycling program. The County supports the program by providing space at the landfill to dry the shells before being recycled.

“Lake County is the only inland county in Florida participating in the program, and our central location plays an important role,” said County Commissioner Sean Parks.

The goal of the program is to restore Florida’s coastal estuaries. The CCA collects the dried oyster shells and returns them to Florida’s water systems, creating natural reefs when oyster larvae settle onto existing shells and continue to grow. The new reefs stabilize shorelines and create a habitat for fish. The new oysters also support natural water filtration as a single oyster can filter 30 to 40 gallons of water per day.

In Lake County, the Clermont Chapter of the CCA collects two tons of oyster shells every few weeks from the Clermont Oyster Bar. From there, the shells are taken to the Landfill where they dry out for six months. Once the drying process is complete, the oyster shells are deployed for recycling on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The CCA recently received additional funding to expand the program, which includes adding oyster shell collections from additional restaurants in Lake County. “There is currently a huge shortage of oysters for restoration in our coastal counties, and we plan on increasing the number of oysters we donate in the next few years,” said Frank J. Gidus, II, Director of Habitat and Environmental Restoration at CCA.

For more information on the CCA, visit https://ccaflorida.org/. For more information on Lake County solid waste and recycling, visit the Source: Lake County news release »

Governor likely to get environmental money in upcoming session

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis appears poised for a victory as he seeks environmental money to combat water-quality problems that plague the state.

DeSantis’ $625 million request for the upcoming legislative session includes money for Everglades restoration, fighting toxic algae outbreaks and boosting the Florida Forever land-preservation program, all issues popular among lawmakers and environmentalists.

The proposal is the second part of an ambitious four-year $2.5 billion request, with DeSantis seeking a baseline amount of $625 million annually. Lawmakers exceeded that amount by nearly $50 million in the current year.