FLORIDA DEP CONTINUES RESTORATION OF RIVERS, LAKES, ESTUARIES
--- On Fri, 6/13/08, Depnews <Depnews@dep.state.fl.us> wrote:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2008
CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112 office or (850) 519-2898 cellular
FLORIDA DEP continues RESTORATION OF RIVERS, LAKES, ESTUARIES
-- DEP Secretary: "Complex effort shows commitment to the environment through science" --
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida has marked another milestone in its comprehensive strategy to address waterbody restorations around the state. Beginning its second five-year rotation to study the waters in the state, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Michael W. Sole has signed an order identifying waterbodies for water quality improvement goals. The waters identified for restoration are in the St. Marks/Ochlockonee River Basins, the Suwannee/Santa Fe River Basins, the Ocklawaha River Basin , Tampa Bay , Lake Okeechobee and its Northeast Tributaries, and the Everglades West Coast Basin which are collectively known as 'Group 1'.
"Due to the diligent work of our scientists and staff, we have completed our next round of detailed assessments, and are kicking off a second five-year cycle to identify the State's impaired waterways," said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. "This complex effort shows commitment to the environment through science and will be the foundation for restoration, water quality improvements and healthier natural resources."
Under the federal Clean Water Act, each state in the nation must identify impaired rivers, lakes and estuaries for clean-up. Science-based pollution limits, called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), are then developed for each impaired waterway. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a specific pollutant a waterbody can absorb and still meet its designated uses, such as fishing, swimming, shellfish harvesting or as a source of drinking water. In 1999, Florida adopted a nationally-recognized program to govern TMDL development and implementation.
To target impaired waterways for clean-up, DEP divided the state into 29 watersheds. Each year the State assesses groups of waters to determine which are impaired and require restoration and which need further study. Once designated, DEP designs plans to reduce pollutant loads and monitor progress being made to restore degraded waterbodies throughout the State.
After collecting extensive scientific data, the State reexamined a large number of lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters first studied in 2002, identifying 468 additional waterbody impairments. This sixth verified list of impaired waters underwent extensive public review and will now be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval. The State has already proposed more than 200 TMDLs for impaired waterways in the Group 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Basins, including the Ocklawaha River chain, the Orange Creek Basin , Lake Okeechobee and the Wekiva Basin .
Currently, the State is working with federal and local governments, water management districts, public and private utilities, industry, agriculture and environmental groups to develop, adopt and implement basin management action plans. A blueprint for restoration, basin management action plans promote improved farming practices, increased wastewater and stormwater treatment and better land use planning to reduce pollution. Together with the TMDL program, DEP is improving water quality through long-standing environmental regulations, technical assistance and an annual investment of hundreds of millions of dollars to build water infrastructure, acquire conservation lands and restore waterways.
In addition, demonstrating his commitment to the environment and Florida 's water resources, Governor Crist signed the 2008-09 budget this week which includes $7.7 million for alternative water supply projects as well as almost $203 million for grants and loans to upgrade and improve water systems and stormwater projects. Since 1999, Florida has invested more than $3.1 billion to upgrade and improve water and wastewater facilities and clean up stormwater pollution, funding about 1,800 projects statewide.
The Department of Environmental Protection values your feedback as a customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously assessing and improving the level and quality of services provided to you. Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of service you received. Simply click on this link to the DEP Customer Survey. Thank you in advance for completing the survey.
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts." ~ Richard Feynman