Water Resources

Springs

Protection and restoration of Northwest Florida’s springs and associated systems are a continuing priority. Current activities, include restoration and protection projects for Williford Spring and Devil’s Hole Spring within the Econfina Creek Water Management Area (WMA), and within the Holmes Creek WMA (Washington County), assistance implementing agricultural best management practices (BMPs) for irrigation and fertilization and funding irrigation retrofits in the Jackson Blue Springs basin (Jackson County), and enhanced monitoring and resource assessment for major systems District-wide. 

Surface Water Improvement and Management

The Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program provides the planning framework-based on the District’s major riverine-estuarine watersheds-for addressing watershed protection and restoration. Implementation is accomplished through a variety of projects, including stormwater retrofits for water quality improvement and protection from flooding, wetland and aquatic habitat restoration, and resource assessments.

Agriculture

A focused effort of the District has been cooperative stormwater retrofit, water quality, and habitat restoration projects in the Apalachicola River and Bay and St. Andrew Bay watersheds. Specific efforts include financial support of a Mobile Irrigation Laboratory (MIL) in cooperation with Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), cooperative funding with producers for agricultural BMPs within the Jackson Blue Spring groundwater contribution area, financial support for research and outreach on University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS) Sod-Based Crop Rotation Program, restoration of Williford Springs and stormwater retrofit projects to improve water quality in St. Andrew Bay and Apalachicola Bay.

Minimum Flows & Minimum Levels

The District is expending significant effort to develop minimum flows and minimum levels (MFLs) according to the approved schedule. Beginning in FY 2014-2015, recurring program costs are estimated to average $2.3 million annually. By 2016, the current schedule will have six waterbodies in various stages of assessment simultaneously. Work planned for FY 2014- 2015 includes data collection to support hydrologic and hydrodynamic modeling for St. Marks River Rise and Wakulla Springs and data collection to support development of groundwater flow and saltwater intrusion models for the coastal Floridan aquifer in Franklin County and in Planning Region II (Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties). Work planned for the following year includes technical assessments for the St. Marks River Rise and Wakulla Systems, coastal Franklin County and coastal Region II, as well as enhanced hydrologic data collection for Jackson Blue Spring.

Water Supply Planning

Section 373.701, F.S., declares the state’s policy to promote the availability of sufficient water for all existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses and natural systems. The District implements this policy through cooperative, interrelated initiatives, and programs focused on the water resources of Northwest Florida. Among these are water resource development, water supply development assistance, regional water supply planning, regulation of wells and consumptive uses, and development of MFLs.

The Northwest Florida Water Management District is divided into seven regions for the purpose of evaluating current and anticipated water supply needs. Regional Water Supply Plans are developed for regions where existing sources of water are considered inadequate for meeting water demands over a 20-year planning horizon while also sustaining water resources and natural systems. These plans include water resource and water supply development components with supporting data and analysis and they identify priority projects and funding strategies.

Funding Programs

The Northwest Florida Water Management District provides or assists in developing funding opportunities for projects that help protect, maintain, or improve water resources. When available, project funding may be awarded to local governments, utilities, agricultural producers, and other entities.

Conservation

All District priorities are consistent with the broader state goal of enhanced water resource protection and conservation to promote Florida’s economic well-being and quality of life.

Hurricane Michael

The District continues to work in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on flood map modernization and the Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP)program. Detailed floodplain and elevation data respectively are provided to the public online at portal.nwfwmdfloodmaps.com and www.nwfwmdlidar.com.