DEP Advances Restoration of Upper Ocklawaha Basin

Sept. 3, 2015

LEESBURG, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting its annual public meeting on Sept. 10 to review water-quality restoration progress for the Harris Chain of Lakes and Lake Apopka, as well as further the water-quality restoration of five priority water bodies in the Upper Ocklawaha Basin: Lake Harris, Palatlakaha River, Trout Lake, Lake Yale and Lake Carlton. Department representatives will discuss pollutant sources and solicit local knowledge to refine the restoration plan.

“The expertise provided by stakeholders and scientists is crucial to the restoration process,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Combining the research with first-hand knowledge allows us to identify the most targeted and efficient path toward restoration.”

In 2014 DEP adopted the second phase of a long-term restoration plan for the Upper Ocklawaha River. The restoration plan, known as a basin management action plan or BMAP, identifies strategies and projects that will be implemented over the next five years in order to improve the water quality of the upper basin.

Nutrient pollution, specifically excessive nitrogen and phosphorous, is the primary source of the water-quality imbalance in the lakes and streams in the Upper Ocklawaha Basin. Nutrient pollution is naturally present in the water and necessary for the healthy growth of aquatic plant and animal life. Excess nutrients however, can cause rapid algal growth and lead to water-quality complications including oxygen depletion and habitat smothering. Stakeholders continue to coordinate with DEP to implement projects that reduce nutrients into the system and improve water quality.

For more information about the Upper Ocklawaha River restoration plan click here.

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