DEP Commits $1.5 Million to Restoration Project for Ocklawaha River Basin

Oct, 28, 2014

~Stormwater improvement project reduces pollutants reaching Lake Dora~

 The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has committed $1.5 million to the city of Tavares for a stormwater-improvement project to reduce pollutants reaching Lake Dora. The project includes construction that will reroute seven outfalls currently flowing directly into Lake Dora to a stormwater- treatment pond. The restoration also involves construction of a floating wetland of aquatic plants in the pond to provide further stormwater treatment.

“We thank the Florida Legislature for supporting this important project,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “This funding will kick off the infrastructure improvements necessary to preserve the water quality of Lake Dora.”

“Governor Scott, Secretary Vinyard, and I all appreciate the leadership of the Tavares City Council, Mr. John Drury, and his professional staff in facilitating this improvement in the waters of the entire Harris Chain of Lakes,” said Sen. Alan Hays. “It is wonderful to see teamwork accomplish such good things.  This is a great cooperative effort between the city and the State!”

“I am very pleased to hear about the finalized contract between the city of Tavares and the Department of Environmental Protection, which will allow the city to carry out its stormwater treatment project,” said Rep. Bryan Nelson. “This $1.5 million investment in the city’s infrastructure is welcome news and will ensure that Tavares is able to remain America’s Seaplane City. The city leaders of Tavares and the DEP can both be proud of this agreement.”

Stormwater runoff is water that flows into creeks, streams or rivers after rain. Stormwater runoff usually contains a number of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a body of water the pollutants can cause rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other complications. Increased retention and filtration of stormwater runoff through the exfiltration system will improve water quality.

The Ocklawaha River Basin includes 10 named waterbodies, including Lake Dora, Lake Carlton and Lake Apopka. These waters suffer from excess nutrients. To address this issue, the DEP recently adopted a second phase to its water-quality restoration plan. Stakeholders are actively engaged in implementing projects to improve water quality.

Florida has historically been at the forefront of the nation in addressing stormwater management as one of the first states to implement a statewide stormwater program. Florida was also one of the first states to address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water-quality restoration program.

This project was funded evenly through legislative appropriations and EPA grant money allocated by DEP. For more information on the grant program, click here.

For more information on the Ocklawaha River Basin restoration plan, click here.

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