Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007
INTEGRATING LAKE AND STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS FOR MAXIMUM WATER QUALITY BENEFITS
Timothy J. Egan City of Winter Park, Public Works Department, Lakes Division Winter Park, FL
The City of Winter Park, Florida has integrated all aspects of stormwater and lake management under one office, with a dedicated funding source, to increase the efficacy of stormwater retrofit efforts, and to accelerate water quality improvements. As with most lake management efforts, the Winter Park program has gone through several iterations as long-term problems became apparent, and as the research and knowledge base regarding the causes of these problems increased.
Winter Park’s early efforts in lake management centered on control of the invasive, aquatic plant hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata). Heavy infestation of the city’s lakes in the 1960’s lead to the formation of a citizens advisory board to work with staff and make recommendations to the City Commission. Although still a significant management issue, hydrilla was brought under maintenance level control by the mid 1970’s. As hydrilla coverage decreased, residents became concerned by more frequent, and severe planktonic algae blooms. Documented declines in water quality during the 1970’s led city staff, and the Lakes and Waterways Advisory Board (Lakes Board) to focus on stormwater runoff as a significant threat to the health of the city’s lakes.
In 1990, the city implemented a stormwater utility to help fund the construction and maintenance of stormwater retrofits. This revenue was used in addition to existing general fund allocations, rather than as a replacement for them. One of the first tasks accomplished was to partner with the U.S. Geological Survey to perform a detailed nutrient budget on the chain of lakes to help prioritize the retrofit program. Management of the stormwater utility, as well as other lake and stormwater operations still funded through the general fund was put under control of the Public Works Department, with oversight by the Lakes and Waterways Advisory Board. One office oversees all activities related to aquatic plant management, access management, water quality monitoring, development review (for stormwater requirements), shoreline permitting, street sweeping, public education, and flood control, as well as the planning, design, construction and maintenance of all stormwater retrofit systems.
This integrated approach to stormwater and lake management allows for maximum efficiency and flexibility in planning and executing elements of the program. Flexibility has proved critical in securing outside funding to augment the City’s retrofit construction program. Having the ability work with the Lakes Board and the City Commission to restructure the capital project list has helped Winter Park to secure $1,340,000.00 in State and Federal grants over the
Session 5B – Page 2