People recognize and respect city and county borders. Water does not. The South Florida Water Management District is a regional agency committed to being a good neighbor, ensuring that local perspectives are incorporated into District activities. Strong working relationships between local officials and staff allow us to share and utilize our knowledge, expertise and resources to address shared water and land stewardship responsibilities. Intergovernmental communication, cooperation and coordination are vital to meeting the water resource needs of our communities.
Managing stormwater runoff is a District priority that relies on successful local partnerships. When rain falls, South Florida landscapes are designed to channel excess stormwater into retention ponds and stormwater collection systems. Along the way, the stormwater picks up all kinds of pollutants, including fertilizers and pesticides from lawns as well as oils and coolant spilled from roadways and cars. Eventually, that stormwater runoff flows into regional lakes, canals and wetlands, and makes its way more gradually to the aquifers that supply our drinking water. Stormwater improvement projects address flooding and water quality issues caused by stormwater runoff.
The District's Stormwater Improvement Program provides water quality and quantity enhancement for surface waters within the District's 16-county service area through cooperation with local governments on developing and implementing pollution control and flood reduction strategies. The program's main priorities are Surface Water Improvement and Management Plan implementation, Total Maximum Daily Load Basin Management Action Plan cooperation and response, watershed pollution control planning projects, watershed flood reduction planning and projects, plus support for service center and ecosystem restoration programs.
Here are just a few examples of local stormwater improvement projects that depend on local intergovernmental communication, cooperation and coordination.
The investment of $210,000 in state funds administered by the District is helping Cutler Bay significantly reduce nutrients in stormwater entering the C-1N Canal and ultimately Biscayne Bay. An analysis determined the upgrades have the potential to reduce total phosphorus by up to 92.7 percent and total nitrogen by up to 89.5 percent.
Cutler Bay, which is investing $240,000 to map the stormwater collection and distribution system, is making a host of improvements including:
Upgrading catch basins – water treatment systems that capture debris, sediment and solid materials to prevent them from flowing into the regional flood control system.
Installing sediment traps – water treatment devices that capture eroded or disturbed soil that is washed away during rain storms.
Installing baffles – flat boards, plates or similar devices placed in flowing water to create a more uniform flow, absorb energy and prevent debris and other deposits from entering the regional flood control system.
The City of Fort Myers, the South Florida Water Management District and Lee County partnered to build Billy's Creek Preserve as part of a larger plan to improve water quality throughout Fort Myers. The District provided technical assistance to the city throughout the project and invested $977,000 for design and construction.
Structures at the preserve direct stormwater runoff from the Billy's Creek watershed into two constructed filter marshes. Native plants in the marshes remove phosphorus and other nutrients from the water before it is moved into Billy's Creek, which eventually flows into the Caloosahatchee River.
In addition to its water quality benefits, Billy's Creek Preserve provides additional water storage that helps recharge groundwater supplies and reduce the risk of potential downstream flooding. In early June 2010, the city also added several recreational and educational facilities as part of the project, including bilingual educational signs, benches, a launch area for kayaks and canoes and 1.5 miles of walkways for skateboarding, hiking and bicycling.
To protect the fragile Florida Keys marine ecosystem, the District partners with local governments in Monroe County to help fund stormwater projects that reduce or eliminate discharges of untreated stormwater flowing into nearshore waters through surface runoff and through existing stormwater outfalls.
Installation of new collection, treatment and disposal systems at several new or existing County facilities including: Key Deer Boulevard, Key Largo Wastewater Treatment Plant, Duck Key Wastewater Treatment Plant, Big Pine Fire Station, and Sugar Loaf Key Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) watershed management effort undertaken in 1996. The Loxahatchee River is the southernmost tributary to the Indian River Lagoon. The Northwest fork of Loxahatchee River portion was first the federally designated Wild & Scenic River in Florida.
This initiative is in partnership with Palm Beach County, Martin County, FDEP, Town of Jupiter, and the Loxahatchee River District. The District assists with funding and State appropriations for the restoration projects, including:
Wild and Scenic River Corridor/Exotic Pest Plant Control, Phases II & III
Loxahatchee River Neighborhood Sewering Project
Urban Stormwater Rehabilitation/Jupiter River Estates Phases IV & V
Cypress Creek Loxahatchee Project Phase II
Kitching Creek Restoration Phase IV
Limestone Creek North Restoration Phase III
Sandhill Crane East Loxahatchee Slough Restoration Phase II
Delaware Scrub Natural Area restoration Phase II
Cypress Creek East Restoration
Cypress Creek Restoration Loxahatchee Project Phases III & IV
The South Florida Water Management District is investing in a project to improve flood protection and stormwater quality for residents in the Town of Southwest Ranches. The partnership with the southwestern Broward County community will also help enhance the quality of stormwater flowing into the Everglades.
The Town of Southwest Ranches is a 13-square-mile community of more than 7,000 residents living amid farms, grazing animals and wildlife. The area, which has an elevation of just 4 feet NGVD, has historically been prone to flooding.
The District's investment will help the town construct water control structures and sediment sumps while also conducting water quality sampling through September 2011.
The structures will enhance flood protection by allowing canals within the town to be lowered prior to storms without impacting water levels in surrounding communities. The strategically located sumps consist of small pits or reservoirs that trap sediment while draining water. This will allow for cleaner stormwater to flow into the C-11 Canal, which leads to Water Conservation Area 2 within the Everglades.
Under the leadership of the SFWMD Governing Board and the Executive Director of the SFWMD, the Broward Service Center and the Stormwater Division staff have coordinated with Broward County staff and local partners to prepare the Broward County Stormwater Initiative CBIR process. This Initiative consists of a group of stormwater projects to be presented to the Florida State Legislature for funding.
At a minimum stormwater projects shall meet the following criteria to be included as part of the Initiative:
MUST be a stormwater management, or water restoration project
MUST protect public health and environment
MUST implement SWIM plan or other adopted plan for water quality improvement or water restoration
MUST provide a water quality benefit to a priority waterbody
Project Partner must provide cost match of at least 50% for stormwater management or surface water restoration projects
Project must be feasible and ready to implement
Emphasis on turn-dirt projects
Stormwater construction projects
Retrofit of existing stormwater projects
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) projects to improve water quality
Innovative stormwater projects (e.g. green roofs and innovative BMPs)
Permitting should be completed by local partner prior to start of the SFWMD's fiscal year
Funding should be used within the fiscal year that the project is funded
Projects may provide other benefits
Public access and/or recreational opportunities
Water supply alternative
Project must not be temporary (i.e., facilities to be built must be permanent additions)
The implemented project must be properly operated and/or maintained
If the project is part of a larger system, then the operation and maintenance of existing upstream facilities should not negatively affect the project
Partners can decide on additional criteria
Cost share partners with jurisdiction or authority to implement hydrologic or water quality improvement projects.
The main role of the SFWMD in this Initiative is to assist the local partners in securing legislative funding for stormwater projects that provide a water quality benefit to designated priority waterbodies, define and prioritize feasible projects, and establish an ongoing process to prioritize and coordinate legislative support requested annually.
This year, 17 Projects were part of the Broward County Stormwater CBIR to be presented to the November GB for approval. After an evaluation and ranking, the projects were divided into three Tiers. [ Ranked CBIR Projects PDF ]
Sea level rise has already begun to limit the effectiveness of some coastal water control structures. Further inland movement of the seawater front could also have significant impacts on water supply wells. It is possible that the current problems of saltwater intrusion into groundwater supplies could increase with only a relatively small rise in sea level. Additional concerns include increased flooding because storm surges would have higher bases to build upon and rainwater would drain more slowly, plus the salinity of estuaries and aquifers would increase, threatening water supplies and aquatic life.
The District's continued participation in multi-agency task forces and strong partnerships at every level of government assure a common approach and shared information. Analyses are under way to assess possible impacts to water supply wellfields, coastal water control structures and planning assumptions used for ecosystem restoration and other water resource projects.
The District provides technical expertise and strategic collaborations with local, regional and state agencies on growth management, land use, water resource issues and policies. The partnerships are ongoing, starting early in the process to prevent potential conflicts by communicating about possible water resource issues and challenges, and continuing this two-way communications as plans are revised and refined.
These collaborative intergovernmental partnerships include a wide range of commitments:
Planning and technical assistance for Evaluation and Appraisal Reports for Local Government Comprehensive Plans, 10 Year Water Supply Facilities Work Plans, and other special planning efforts
Review of Local Government Comprehensive Plan amendments and 10 Year Water Supply Facilities Work Plans
Review of Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs), Federal projects submitted to the State Clearinghouse, Tribal documents, Regional Planning Council Policy Plans, Rural Land Stewardship Plans, Watershed Master Plans as well as siting for Power Plants, Transmission Lines and Natural Gas Pipelines
Planning and technical assistance for regional visioning, land development regulations, local ordinances and development standards