The St. Johns River Water Management District announced in a news release $20 million in funding for cost-share projects for FY 2023-2024.
The funding comes as part of the Districtwide and Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) and cost-share programs. The district approved funding for 19 projects. The projects will support water supply, water quality, flood protection, and natural systems.
“Our Districtwide cost-share program is one of the best ways we can help protect our water resources and assist our local communities,” says St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Mike Register. “Since 2014, the District, in cooperation with our partners at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has provided more than $281 million to nearly 400 projects.”
District cost-share funding for water resource protection and restoration projects helps local governments make progress in preserving, restoring and enhancing the Floridan aquifer system, which is where more than 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water comes from. Cost-share projects also benefit the St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon and other waterways and Outstanding Florida Springs.
In total, 34 applications were ranked and scored based on District core mission benefits, cost effectiveness, likelihood of successful and timely completion, and application quality and completeness. Projects must begin during fiscal year 2023–2024 with completion expected within two years. The approved projects include:
- 11 water quality protection projects that are estimated to reduce the release of nutrients by 82,800 pounds of total nitrogen per year and 11,000 pounds of total phosphorus per year., including:
- DeLand Wiley M. Nash Water Reclamation Facility, which consists of process upgrades to advanced wastewater treatment standards resulting in fewer nutrients in the reclaimed water used for irrigation and less nutrients entering Volusia Blue Spring.
- Brevard County Sykes Creek Muck Removal project will dredge 100,000 cubic yards of muck in 15 acres of canals and nearby open areas of Sykes Creek. Removing this muck will remove 11,101 lbs. of nitrogen and over 1,000 lbs. of phosphorus from the Banana River annually.
- The Orange County Wekiwa Springs Septic Tank Retrofit Phase 4 will remove septic tanks and connect 352 homes to sewer benefiting both Wekiwa and Rock springs.
- Four water supply projects that include alternative water supply and water conservation projects were approved for funding, including:
- Crescent City Prospect Street Water Main Replacement project involves the replacement of aged and deteriorated distribution system piping, hydrants, and services on the city’s Prospect Street and Florida Avenue. Maximizing the use of reclaimed water helps conserve traditional freshwater supplies and provides an environmentally responsible alternative to disposal of wastewater.
- Orlando Utilities Commission received funding to continue its water conservation program and includes rebates for high-efficiency toilets, Energy Star® clothes washers, high-efficiency sprinklers, and rain sensors.
- This year there were four flood protection projects that were approved for funding and will help protect communities during rain events and help combat sea-level rise.
- St. Augustine Beach will receive funding to help construct a stormwater pumping station, piping, backflow protection, and conveyance improvements to the Oceanwalk subdivision and will protect nearly 20 acres of residential area.
- Ormond Beach Stormwater Outfall Flood Protection project includes the installation of one-way flow valves that prohibits high tides from entering the outfall pipes and flooding neighborhoods as the Halifax River crests. Installing these valves in the flood prone locations will reduce the effect of flooding due to tides rising higher than previously anticipated. These improvements will help protect approximately 161 acres.
The Board also approved sending a list of 13 springs restoration projects benefitting Outstanding Florida Springs, including Silver and Volusia Blue, to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for funding consideration, along with 11 alternative water supply projects also to be evaluated for DEP funding.