SFWMD Governing Board meets July 9

Land acquisitions, invasive plant control, USGS studies on the agenda

WEST PALM BEACH — The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board will meet Thursday, July 9 online via Zoom webinar.

Preregistration is required for members of the public who wish to participate. To preregister for the webinar, go online to sfwmd.gov/news-events/meetings.

The agenda includes land acquisition for the Shingle Creek project area in Orange County. Subject to governing board approval, the district has agreed to purchase a parcel totaling approximately 2.48 acres for a purchase price of $69,440. The district’s ownership within the Shingle Creek Project is currently configured in a scattered pattern. This acquisition will consolidate ownership with other district-owned land. Funding will be provided from the Wetland Mitigation Fund.

In other business, the governing board will consider authorizing the transfer of a U.S. Department of the Interior federal grant funding restriction on lands in and around the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir, all in Hendry County. According to the staff report, The district is in the process of completing the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir. This project depends upon the use of large electric water pumps that will be used to bring water into the reservoir. Florida Power & Light will provide the needed electricity, but it will require the construction of an electrical substation due to the substantial electrical demand for the project. The electrical substation must be located on a suitable, 5-acre site close to the pump site. The district has located a suitable, 5-acre site adjacent to the northerly boundary of the C-43 Project. The electrical substation tract is located on lands that were originally acquired using U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) funding. In order to dedicate the site for use as an electrical substation tract, the district needs to transfer the DOI funding restriction to another parcel acceptable to DOI. An acceptable parcel has been identified, and staff is requesting approval to place the funding restriction on the replacement tract simultaneous with the release of the funding restriction on the electrical substation tract by DOI.

The governing board will also consider entering into a four-year agreement with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor Lake Okeechobee sediment discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. SFWMD contribution to the project will be $1,039,500, of which $361,908 will be budgeted for fiscal year 2019-2020.

According to the SFWMD staff report, fine-grained sediments, which cover 44% of the total bed area of Lake Okeechobee, can be resuspended by wind and wave action. When conditions occur on Lake Okeechobee that resuspend fine particles and lake regulatory releases occur, sediment can potentially be transported through the St. Lucie (C-44) and the Caloosahatchee (C-43) rivers and eventually reach the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

While there are several studies on Lake Okeechobee and estuaries sediments and their dynamics, there are no studies addressing Lake Okeechobee sediment discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers. Currently, the sediment transport between Lake Okeechobee and estuaries is not well understood. The monitoring of suspended sediment discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the downstream estuaries is one piece of the complex and large puzzle of determining the processes and mechanisms responsible for the initiation, growth and development of harmful algae blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

The governing board will also consider entering into an agreement with USGS for development of Future Rainfall Depth-Duration-Frequency Curves. According to the staff report, it is anticipated that changing rainfall patterns will have large implications on the district’s missions of ecosystem restoration, flood protection and water supply. The goal of the project is to evaluate best available climate downscaling datasets and compare them to historic observations, to support the determination of science-based future rainfall depth-duration curves for selected return frequencies districtwide. The total cost for the project is $367,304 and the district’s cost share amount is $183,652.

SFWMD management of invasive and nuisance plants is also on the agenda. The board will rank firms and enter into work order contracts for an integrated management approach using chemical, biological and physical methods. The district utilizes contractors to conduct vegetation plantings in the stormwater treatment areas, apply herbicides to various types of aquatic, wetland and upland vegetation using ground application equipment and associated support vehicles, in accordance with district project management directions. The district intends to issue three-year work order contracts with two one-year renewal options to firms subject to successful negotiations.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment