March 20, 2015
ORLANDO – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection held a public workshop today to further develop water quality restoration goals for Lakes Roberts and Marshall, waters located in the Ocklawaha River Basin. Both lakes are nutrient-enriched with excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous.
“We work towards restoration alongside stakeholders and the public,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Not only does this ensure transparency, but our restoration goals and plans benefit from the knowledge locals provide.”
The restoration goals, known as TMDLs or total maximum daily loads, define the maximum allowable amount of a pollutant that can be discharged into a water body while still maintaining its health and function. At today’s workshop, DEP representatives discussed Florida’s TMDL Program and the draft TMDLs for Lakes Roberts and Marshall, with a projected timeline for adoption. Once the TMDLs are established, the next step in the water-quality-restoration process will be to develop and implement a restoration plan.
Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are naturally present in water and normally support the growth of aquatic plants, the foundation of a waterbody’s ecosystem. When nutrients are present in excess however, nutrient pollution can cause rapid algal growth, algal mats and harmful algal blooms. Rapid algal growth can deplete the oxygen in the water, smother natural habitat and act as a navigational hazard for boats and motors.
Lake Roberts and Marshall Lake are located in Orange County. The lakes are part of the Ocklawaha River Basin, which covers more than 2,700 square miles from Lake Lowery, which is near Haines City to Gainesville and includes more than 1,000 large and small lakes.
For more information on the workshops and TMDL program, please click here.