Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive remains closed

From the St. John’s River Water Management District

Repairs are underway at the St. Johns River Water Management District’s Lake Apopka North Shore, which experienced damage due to Hurricane Irma. As water levels subside and assessments are completed, the district is continuing to provide weekly updates on the status of repairs and recreation at the Lake Apopka North Shore.

  • To date, 1,720-tons of material have been placed on the levee breach. As areas on the levee have settled, they were also brought up to grade with the rest of the levee. Next steps include armoring the lake-side slope and capping the surface with lime rock.
  • Recent efforts have focused on dewatering to remove water and allow an assessment of other needed infrastructure repairs, including roads and culverts.
  • Pumping to lower water levels continues. In Phase 1, located near the center of the property and south of McDonald Canal Road, water has dropped 0.56 feet since Sept. 18. However, water levels are still at least two feet above average in this area.
  • Water in the district’s 760-acre marsh flow-way, a constructed wetland used for nutrient removal, has dropped low enough to resume normal water flow through the facility. Repairs to roads and levees may still be needed to provide safe access to all areas of the marsh flow-way.
  • On Nov. 16, a small prescribed burn was conducted to burn fuels away from sensitive restoration planting areas and prepare the area for a larger burn in a few weeks.
  • Understanding that the North Shore is a popular outdoor recreation destination, the Red Trail, off County Road 448A, and the McDonald Canal Boat Ramp is open.
  • To ensure public safety, and minimize potential damage to saturated roads, no other openings are planned at this point due to flooding and the continued presence of heavy equipment. The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and nonmotorized Lake Apopka Loop Trail remain closed.
  • The district continues to make damage assessments and repairs and will share a plan for reopening as soon as one becomes available. When the district determines that the public can safely access an area, it will open.

For continuing updates on district operations and recreational announcements, visit the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com. More information about lake levels is available at www.sjrwmd.com/data/hydrologic/#controlled.

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