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District resiliency projects to include raising levees on Lake Apopka North Shore for “green” infrastructure

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From the St. John's River Water Management District

The St. Johns River Water Management District continues to support and highlight state, regional, and local resiliency efforts through its core missions — water supply, water quality, flood protection, and natural systems — and through “green” or nature-based infrastructure and solutions, natural system enhancements, and flood resilience projects.

“The District has long been a partner on many critical resilience projects, including the Brevard County Oyster Reef Living Shoreline, the city of St. Augustine’s Davis Shores flood projection project and the recently awarded Riverside Conservancy Living Shoreline,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We also are updating our models to better predict potential changes from climatic events.”

In the 2021 legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1954 into law to address statewide flooding and sea-level rise. At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Governing Board learned about 17 potential projects to support the Governor’s flood protection and resilience efforts.

The District supports state, regional, and local resiliency initiatives by providing technical assistance to communities, land acquisition and preservation, restoration of wetlands and floodplains for floodwater storage, water quality monitoring, and habitat mapping programs.

The District plans to submit projects by September 1st to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for inclusion in FDEP’s Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan. Projects will mitigate the risks of flooding or sea-level rise on water supplies or water resources.

One project is the $10.6 million Crane Creek M-1 Canal Flow Restoration Project, a partnership between the District, FDEP, and Brevard County to reduce nutrient loading and freshwater sediment flowing to the Indian River Lagoon. The project will restore approximately 7 million gallons of flow per day from a 5,300-acre watershed, currently discharging to the Indian River Lagoon, back to the St. Johns River following treatment in a stormwater treatment area. The project also increases freshwater flows to Lake Washington, the drinking water supply source for the city of Melbourne and other coastal communities. Water quality benefits include an estimated load reduction of 24,000 pounds of total nitrogen and 3,000 pounds of total phosphorus.

The District has proposed other projects for inclusion in the statewide flooding and sea-level rise resilience plan, including

  • Sebastian River Storage and Treatment nutrient load reduction and alternative water supply source
  • C-10 Water Management Area freshwater flow reduction project and reservoir
  • Raising levees at Sunnyhill to provide flood storage to the Upper Ocklawaha River
  • Raising levees on the Lake Apopka North Shore for water storage and flood mitigation
  • Adding flow capacity through S96C to provide increased discharge capacity from Blue Cypress Lake during storm events
  • Adding flow capacity through S96D to provide increased discharge capacity from Blue Cypress Water Management Area during storm events
  • Land acquisition at Bayard Point in the fiscal year (FY) 2021-2022 tentative budget, as well as the potential acquisition of other future critical land, floodplain, and wetland priorities
  • Nature-based green infrastructure in the FY 2021-2022 tentative budget includes restoration of the South Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, Titusville Causeway seagrass planting and shoreline stabilization, and the Riverside Conservancy Partnership Living Shoreline Restoration Initiative
  • Future nature-based green infrastructure includes Sebastian Inlet wave attenuation seagrass planting, Satellite Beach seagrass restoration project, Merritt Island living shoreline installation, Tomoka Impoundment Area Restoration, and Brevard Zoo Turkey Creek oyster reef addition.

To learn more about ongoing District resiliency partnerships, visit www.sjrwmd.com/localgovernments/sea-level-rise.

St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the District and the State of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The District encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville, and Palm Bay.

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