Often property owners find that they do not have all the resources to properly manage their lake. Seminole County Lake Management Program (SCLMP) offers options that are understandable and responsive to undesirable lake conditions affecting water quality and biological habitats for insects, fish, birds, etc.
The term "Environmental Stewardship" is taking active participation to care for natural resources ensuring that they are sustainably managed for current and future generations. By becoming a lake steward, citizens actively care for the needs of their lake. SCLMP promotes remediation of undesirable lake conditions by facilitating stewardships (lake associations) and partnerships among various stakeholders including fellow neighbors, landowners, community groups, and local and state government professionals working together protecting/improving/managing your lake.
SCLMP provides the following resources for unincorporated county lakes:
- Conducts detailed lake assessment and restoration studies
- Prepares reports analyzing the condition of county lakes
- Provides public education, volunteer monitoring and technical assistance to lake groups and lakeside residents
- Provides actions to control invasive aquatic plants
- Provides technical assistance with aquatic plant management
- Provides funding resource options
Basic Components of SCLMP include:
- Provide Biological and Water Quality Diagnosis – To assess the extent of eutrophication and evaluate trends in water quality conditions.
- Conduct Watershed Assessment – A detailed evaluation of important watershed features, such as land uses and soil types, is conducted to identify active or potential sources of pollution that need to be addressed to protect and improve lake water quality.
- Develop Lake Management Plan – The results of the water quality diagnosis and watershed assessment are used to evaluate methods to remediate undesirable lake conditions and to manage pollution sources in the lake watershed. The plan identifies the most cost effective ways to achieve water quality objectives.
- Provide Plan Implementation – The lake management plan may involve one or more of a variety of technologies including sediment dredging, weed harvesting, artificial aeration, grass carp fish, and aquatic herbicide treatments. Watershed management invariably involves the implementation of best management practices for non-point sources of pollution. (Examples are improved lawn fertilization practices, routine catch basin cleanouts, and installation of stormwater treatment technology). SCLMP provides oversight and assistance to guide recommended lake management activities.
The development of a successful lake management program is dependent on active community participation. SCLMP is very active in meeting with property owners, lake associations, and professional officials to promote and assist in various lake management projects. It's the cumulative effect of all of our efforts that will help protect our watershed.
Funding Resources Available:
In Seminole County, lake management (primarily aquatic weed control) is provided by funding received from assessments coordinated by the MSBU Program. Each waterbody is managed as a separate assessment district referred to as an MSBU (Municipal Service Benefit Unit). For any given MSBU, the cost to provide the services is allocated and assessed to the waterfront properties on an equitable cost sharing basis, and are collected via the annual Property Tax Bill. The assessment funds received for an MSBU may only be used for the expenses specific to that MSBU. Assessments are determined annually based on short term needs and long-term lake management goals for the waterbody.
The process of creating an MSBU begins with a Survey of Interest to reach 35% support within the lake community as common interest in establishing and MSBU for your lake. After receipt of the Survey of Interest, an application is officially filed by the Lake Liaisons and a service scope is outlined based on community preferences, permitting requirements of the state (FWC) and Lake Management Program (LMP) recommendations. Service scope could include submersed plants, torpedo grass removal, to full scale plant restoration (design and installation). A community presentation is then recommended to present LMP findings and the MSBU Program with costs. After the service scope is defined, a Petition to Create an MSBU document is prepared and distributed by the MSBU Program to determine the extent of community support for creating the proposed MSBU. After confirming a support rate of at least 65%, the MSBU request is presented to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) for approval consideration. If MSBU creation is approved, services begin and all lakefront properties are assessed with the first available property tax billing.
More information on the MSBU Program can be found at the following link, including the Application Packet: