Basin Management Action Plan adopted for Seminole County lakes, Middle SJR
DEP Partners Dedicate $22 Million to Lake Harney, Lake Monroe, Smith Canal, Middle St. Johns River Restoration
SANFORD &endash; Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. joined local officials Thursday to commemorate the adoption of a basin management action plan for Lake Harney, Lake Monroe, Smith Canal and the Middle St. Johns River, made possible through a $22 million commitment of state and local partners.
The DEP adopted water quality restoration goals — known as total maximum daily loads — for these waterbodies that call for reductions in nitrogen concentrations of 37-39 percent and reductions in phosphorus concentrations of 26-33 percent to improve water quality conditions in the lakes, canal and river. The total maximum daily loads were the basis for the recently developed restoration plan for the basin. To date, the Department has adopted a total of 11 basin management action plans, covering 89 waterbody segments. Nine more are currently in development covering 61 additional waterbody segments.
While goal-setting is important, implementing actions on the ground result in improving the health of our waterways. This official plan assigns reduction responsibilities within the watershed, details projects that will be implemented in the next five years to reduce pollution and tracks changes in water quality as a result of those projects.
During the first five-year phase of the plan, stakeholders will achieve approximately 78 percent of the required total nitrogen reductions and 87 percent of the total phosphorus reductions required by the stakeholders within this basin. The remaining reductions will be addressed in the second five-year phase. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus introduced into a waterway can trigger algal blooms.
The plan for Lake Harney, Lake Monroe, Smith Canal and the Middle St. Johns River is part of a comprehensive approach to identifying polluted waterways and creating partnerships among local, regional, and state interests to return the water bodies to a healthy condition. Actions include improvements in stormwater management, implementation of agricultural best management practices, development and implementation of county ordinances for fertilizer application and ongoing public education programs.
The plan was developed in partnership with the cities of DeBary, DeLand, Deltona, Lake Helen, Lake Mary, Orange City, and Sanford; Seminole County; Volusia County; Florida Department of Transportation; Florida Turnpike Authority; Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and St. Johns River Water Management District.