An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Seminole County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Water Atlas program, faculty, Atlas sponsors receive FLMS Awards

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The USF Water Institute was one of five recipients of FLMS Awards of Excellence at the 2017 Florida Lake Management Society symposium in Captiva Island. Former USF Water Institute faculty member Jim Griffin was honored by the Society with its highest award, the Marjorie Carr Award, for lifetime achievement.

The USF Water Institute received the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award, given to individuals or organizations who report on aquatic resource issues, for its use of informatics to publicly disseminate data and supporting, explanatory information related to water resource management.

Dr. Jim Griffin, principal investigator for the Water Atlas program from 2005 until he retired in 2014, received the Marjorie Carr Award, the Florida Lake Management Society’s highest award. It is given for lifetime work on behalf of Florida’s aquatic resources. The award is named in honor of Marjorie Carr who, among other things, organized citizens and brought to an end the proposed Cross Florida Barge Canal.

Other 2017 FLMS award recipients:

Judy Ott received the Edward Deevey, Jr. Award, given to an individual for contributing to our scientific understanding of Florida’s water bodies. Edward Devey was an internationally recognized limnologist and was affiliated with the State Museum of Florida at the time of his death. Judy retired in March after nine years as program scientist for the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program.

The Seminole County SERV Program received the Dr. Daniel E. Canfield Jr. Volunteerism Award, given to a volunteer organization or outstanding volunteer for significant contributions to the research, restoration, and/or preservation of our water resources. The award is named after Dr. Daniel Canfield, founder of Florida LAKEWATCH, the pioneering citizen-volunteer water quality monitoring program involving over 1,200 lakes statewide, and now being emulated across the United States. The Seminole Education, Restoration and Volunteer (SERV) Program works to actively restore and educate people on how to protect the waterways and natural areas of Seminole County.

Nia Wellendorf, Environmental Administrator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, received the FLMS Young Professional Award, presented to a young lake management professional who exhibits exemplary professional accomplishments and a commitment to water resource protection and management of our lakes and watersheds.

Tom Palmer: Problem of water use is not a new issue

To hear some political leaders discuss the increasing challenges of addressing water supply issues lately, you might think this is a relatively recent issue.

It isn’t.

Parker notes that Florida has had worse floods and droughts than some of the events that triggered the formation of Florida’s water management districts.

He added, however, that in the days when Florida’s population was smaller, people could manage to get water somehow and generally had enough sense not to build in flood-prone areas.

Parker made some other points that are relevant to water planning today.

Ground water and surface water are only different sides of the same hydrologic coin and must be managed as a single resource.

PLT Climate Change and Project WET Workshop

For Formal and Non-formal Educators
It's an educational twofer day. By attending this workshop you will obtain materials for two award-winning national environmental education programs---Project Learning Tree's Southeastern Forests and Climate Change and Project WET.

Climate change is an important natural process that can be accelerated by human activities. Learn how to teach about this important process and integrate it into your curriculum, lessons and activities.

Project WET 2.0 is chock full of activities that assist you in making connections to science, language arts, reading, technology and more. Water is a finite resource that must be managed and protected as evidenced by weather conditions in Florida with its periods of drought, hurricanes and rain events.

How is this relevant to my curriculum?
The activities explore real world STEM topics including the carbon cycle, computer models and databases, engineering, and life cycle assessments of products. The activities are correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards. And, in support of Florida Standards, these activities also enable students to practice critical thinking and writing skills.

When: Monday July 31, 9 AM to 4 PM
Where: Trout Lake Nature Center 520 East CR 44 Eustis, FL
Cost — $20 (Includes lunch)
To register, go to
Registration deadline: July 24, 2017
For further information: Contact Eileen Tramontana at 352-357-7536

Four Seminole County water projects receive cost-share funding from SJRWMD

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PALATKA – Forty-three projects will share in approximately $21.3 million from the St. Johns River Water Management District for construction of water supply and water conservation, water quality improvement, flood protection and natural systems restoration projects. The district's governing board approved the project ranking for the fiscal year 2017-2018 Districtwide Annual Cost-share Program.

Four projects in Seminole County will receive funding:

  • Oviedo Regional Stormwater Park – The project involves the construction of a Regional Stormwater Pond (RSP) that will provide a centralized drainage option for existing and future development planned in the downtown area and will reduce flooding to a 28-acre area. Funding amount: $15,205,360
  • Sanford RCW Orl-Sanford Airport Phase 2 – The proposed project involves the installation of RCW main along the Lake Mary Blvd extension which will provide 0.103 MGD of reclaimed water. Funding amount: $$17,518,459
  • Longwood Septic Tank Abatement Program Transmission Main – Longwood's continuation of their septic tank abatement program requires additional wastewater treatment capacity. This project includes construction of a reclaimed water transmission main to connect to the City of Altamonte Springs' Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility, which will provide the needed treatment capacity for Longwood's existing and future septic tank connection projects. This project will provide additional water for recharge for the Wekiva system through the City of Apopka storage area, and also this will add reuse source to the regional system between Apopka, the City of Altamonte Springs and the A-FIRST system, Orange County Utilities, and others in the CFWI. The project provides 0.7 MGD of reclaimed water, with the long-term estimated flow estimated at 1.1 MGD. Funding amount: $19,105,344
  • Chuluota RCW Storage Tank – The project consists of the construction of a 500,000 gallon reclaimed water ground storage tank and modification and reactivation of the existing pond and pump station at the Chuluota WWTP site. The project will provide 0.15 MGD of reclaimed water. Funding amount: $19,907,980

Register now for Wekiva Basin Field Ecology Course

The Friends of the Wekiva River (FOWR) Wekiva Field Ecology course will consist of six lessons. The course is designed to encompass various aspects of the unique ecology of the Wekiva system including a focus on springs, the river and its tributaries, unique wildlife and unique habitats. These classes will all be field classes and will consist of an approximately three-hour trip during all four seasons of the year.

The instructor for this course is Dr. Jay Exum. Dr. Exum received his Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Auburn University. He has provided ecological expertise on projects related to threatened and endangered species, wetlands ecology and large-scale conservation planning. He has represented private businesses, counties, public agencies, NGO’s and nonprofits towards creating comprehensive conservation strategies, land acquisition programs, and comprehensive plans that assure protection of landscape linkages, and large tracts of natural lands. Jay led two comprehensive BioBlitzes on public lands across the Wekiva basin in 2014 and 2015 and has been the compiler for the Wekiva River portion of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count for more than 10 years.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to learn about and experience the Wekiva Basin with this engaging teacher!

Cost: $100.00 full course, $25.00 individual trips

How to register:
-Mail check with your name, email and phone number
-Pay with credit card via

Local governments, more or less, tackling effects of climate change

In the future, Holmes Beach City Hall may be reachable only by boat.

Predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show seaside cities gradually taking on water like a weather-worn ship. Granted, these aren’t immediate changes — the median prediction of sea level rise will reach up to 6 feet of water by the year 2100.

While doubts about climate change’s effects persist throughout the United States, rising seas, acidic oceans and stronger storms are already being felt on the Gulf Coast.

On the front lines, Gulf Coast leaders know it’s there. But what’s being done to address it?

Water efficiency in rural areas getting worse, despite improvements in urban centers

A nationwide analysis of water use over the past 30 years finds that there is a disconnect between rural and urban areas, with most urban areas becoming more water efficient and most rural areas becoming less and less efficient over time.

“Understanding water use is becoming increasingly important, given that climate change is likely to have a profound impact on the availability of water supplies,” said Sankar Arumugam, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and lead author of a new study on the work. “This research helps us identify those areas that need the most help, and highlights the types of action that may be best suited to helping those areas.”

The new paper in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, stems from a National Science Foundation-funded, interuniversity research project which focuses on understanding how water sustainability in the United States has changed over the past 30 years because of climate change and population growth.

For this paper, researchers evaluated water use data at the state and county level for the 48 contiguous states. Specifically, the researchers looked at water-use efficiency, measured as per capita consumption, in 5-year increments, from 1985 to 2010.

Scott vetoes spending for citrus canker claims, water projects

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday vetoed $37.4 million to pay for citrus canker judgments along with $15.4 million for local water projects.

Canker is a bacterial disease that blemishes a tree's fruit and can cause it to drop prematurely. To protect Florida's $9 billion dollar citrus industry, more than 16 million trees, including 865,000 residential trees, were destroyed statewide, beginning in 2000.

In his veto letter, Scott said only that he was striking the spending for citrus judgments for Broward and Lee counties because of "ongoing litigation."

Overall, Scott vetoed $410 million from the $82 billion budget. A special session is scheduled for next week to provide funding from the vetoes for education, economic development and the Visit Florida tourism marketing agency.

USGS study Finds 28 types of cyanobacteria in Florida algal bloom

A new U.S. Geological Survey study that looked at the extensive harmful algal bloom that plagued Florida last year found far more types of cyanobacteria present than previously known.

Twenty-eight species of cyanobacteria were identified in the extensive bloom, which occurred in the summer of 2016 in southern Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie Canal and River, and the Caloosahatchee River. As the guacamole like sludge created by the bloom began to stick together, it formed a thick, floating mat that coated river and coastal waters and shorelines – affecting tourism, killing fish, and in some cases, making people sick.

The culprit causing the bloom was a well-known species of cyanobacteria called Microcystis aeruginosa. However, water samples collected by state and federal agencies before and during the disruptive bloom on Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee waterway were analyzed by the USGS and found to contain 27 other species of cyanobacteria.

New research vessel to impact marine research across Florida

With the crack of two bottles of champagne and the blessing from a local priest, Florida’s newest research vessel, the R/V W.T. Hogarth, was christened and launched for the first-time Tuesday May 23, 2017.

The 78-foot vessel, named after William T. Hogarth, Ph.D, the Florida Institute of Oceanography’s former director and the former dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, will be used to support research efforts by USF, as well as more than two dozen institutions and agencies across Florida.

Legislators worked hard to keep the contract local, and challenged Duckworth Steel Boats of Tarpon Springs with designing and building the ship.

“It was a little different than anything else we’ve worked on, but it means a lot to me because I like to see that the oceans are being taking care of,” said Junior Duckworth, owner of Duckworth Steel Boats.

This fall, the W.T. Hogarth will replace the nearly 50-year old R/V Bellows, by joining the FIO’s academic fleet with an inaugural voyage, undertaking a circumnavigation of Florida’s coast.

Central Florida Water Initiative focuses on collaboration with utilities to extend water supply

Built on the concept of collaboration, the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) works with the area’s 83 utilities to scale water conservation efforts and promote alternative water supplies for a growing population.

“The CFWI is focused on regional, multijurisdictional solutions that serve more than one utility, and by extension more residents, businesses, the agricultural community and other water users in the region,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “We remain focused on ensuring sustainable use of Florida’s water, knowing that coordination is key to successfully implement a water supply plan of this size and scale.”

“This unique partnership can be a model for other communities across the country,’” said Southwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director Brian Armstrong. “We are proud to work together to develop strategies to meet our region’s growing water demands.”

“As a longtime Central Florida resident, I can personally attest to the crucial importance of water supply,” said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe. “Our Governing Board is enthusiastic to play a part in this major collaborative effort to find every available way to ensure water supply for future generations.” Through partnerships with utilities, the CFWI has developed a methodical approach to implementing large-scale water conservation and alternative water supply sources.

• Throughout the CFWI, the use of reclaimed water has grown along with population increases. By building the infrastructure and using reclaimed water, utilities and the communities they serve conserve traditional freshwater supplies and provide an environmentally responsible alternative to disposal of wastewater.
• Water savings incentive programs, like Florida Water Star, help utilities promote water conservation by offering customers rebates and incentives to install water-efficient appliances, landscapes and irrigation systems.
• Water management districts provide a variety of opportunities for utilities within the CFWI to share construction costs for projects that assist in meeting a variety of goals, including creating alternative water supplies and enhancing conservation efforts.
• Utilities and water management districts participate in leak detection programs, which conserve water and increase a utility’s operational efficiency by inspecting and detecting leaks in public water system pipelines.
• Development of a list of water supply project options for the CFWI Planning Area in coordination with utilities and other stakeholder groups.
• Utilities encourage water conservation on a local level by implementing ordinances that promote irrigation restrictions, as well as using tier-rate billing to urge water savings indoors and outdoors.

The goal of CFWI is to develop strategies to meet water demands while ensuring water resources are protected, conserved and restored in the 5,300-square-mile area. Public supply is currently the largest use category in the CFWI Planning Area, with use expected to increase by approximately 40 percent by 2035. To address this increase, water management districts work with utilities as well as other stakeholder groups to address these water supply needs.

The CFWI is a joint effort by the water management districts (Southwest, St. Johns and South Florida), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and water utilities, environmental groups, business organizations, agricultural communities, and other stakeholders to recognize and address the water needs of the future.

Florida LAKEWATCH seeking water quality monitoring volunteers

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Do you live on any of the following Seminole County lakes? If so, LAKEWATCH could use your help! FDEP and Florida LAKEWATCH would like to add these lakes to the program. Some of them have had volunteers in the past but no longer do.

Please contact Jason Bennett for more information if you are interested! You can also visit the LAKEWATCH website for more information:

This webpage gives information about the Florida LAKEWATCH program, including the volunteer training manual, so you can see what is involved..

$1.5 million available to farmers to support water-saving technologies

PALATKA, Fla., May 26, 2017 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District is accepting applications through July 28 from farmers interested in participating in cost-share funding for agricultural projects that promote water conservation and improve water quality in area waterways. Up to $1.5 million is available to support the efforts.

"The districtwide Agricultural Cost-share Program engages the agricultural community in the shared goals of water conservation and reduction of nutrient runoff," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "By working together, we are aiding in the sustainability of agriculture within the district and protecting our water resources at the same time. This collaborative effort benefits us all."

The district's Agricultural Cost-Share Program assists farmers, ranchers and growers by providing up to 75 percent of cooperative funding toward implementing water-saving technologies to improve efficiencies and protect natural systems.

Eligible projects may include irrigation system retrofits, soil moisture and climate sensor telemetry, rainwater harvesting, sub-irrigation drain tile, tailwater recovery and reuse, soil mapping with variable rate fertilizer application, and expanded waste storage. A list of eligible projects and equipment can be found online at, along with details about the application, review and selection process.

Applications will be evaluated based on location, water conservation benefits, water quality benefits, cost/benefit effectiveness and timeline.

District staff will evaluate each project based on the evaluation criteria approved by the district's Governing Board and prepare a recommended list for board approval in October 2017.

Pace of sea-level rise has tripled since 1990, new study shows

Virtually all 2.5 million Miami-Dade residents live on land that's less than ten feet above sea level. In terms of real-estate assets vulnerable to flooding, Miami is the second most exposed city on Earth, behind only Guangzhou, China. And Miami is basically the poster child for the effects of climate change, because the city has already begun flooding on sunny days.

But now a new study shows the seas are actually rising three times faster as they were in the 1990s.

Using a new satellite technique, the study in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that before 1990, the ocean was rising at a rate of roughly 1.1 millimeter per year. From 1990 to 2012, however, that rate spiked to 3.1 millimeters per year. Though that rate might still seem small, even a rise of a few millimeters worldwide can lead to increased flooding events or more deadly storm surges at an alarming pace.

Importantly, the study's authors claim the new data — first reported by the Washington Post — shows that scientists had previously underestimated how fast the oceans were rising before 1990, before widespread satellite data was available.