NORTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
GOVERNING BOARD
George Roberts
Chair, Panama City
Jerry Pate
Vice Chair, Pensacola
John Alter
Secretary-Treasurer, Malone
Gus Andrews
DeFuniak Springs
Jon Costello
Tallahassee
Marc Dunbar
Tallahassee
Ted Everett
Chipley
Nick Patronis
Panama City Beach
Bo Spring
Port St. Joe
Brett J. Cyphers
Executive Director
Headquarters
81 Water Management Drive
Havana, Florida 32333-4712
(850) 539-5999
Crestview
180 E. Redstone Avenue
Crestview, Florida 32539
(850) 683-5044
Econfina
6418 E. Highway 20
Youngstown, FL 32466
(850) 722-9919
Milton
5453 Davisson Road
Milton, FL 32583
Tel. (850) 626-3101
Tallahassee
Carr Building, Suite 225
3800 Commonwealth Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 921-2986
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
I
INTRODUCTION
1
STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR 2017-2021
7
IMPLEMENTATION
16
MONITORING AND REPORTING
18
FINANCIAL RESOURCES
20
REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS
21
Cover Art: Econfina Creek in Bay County (Photo: J. Crowe)
Executive Summary
The Strategic Water Management Plan (SWMP or Strategic Plan) describes statutory responsibilities
of the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD or District) and the agency’s
current priorities. These responsibilities and priorities encompass the activities the District plans to
undertake over a five-year planning horizon to accomplish its mission: to implement the provisions
of Chapter 373, Florida Statutes (F.S.), in a manner that best ensures the continued welfare of the
residents and natural systems of northwest Florida.
The District’s four areas of responsibility include water supply, water quality, flood protection and
floodplain systems, and natural systems. To meet these responsibilities, the District will implement
the six strategic priorities listed below.
Strategic Priorities for Fiscal Years 2017-2021
 Springs Protection and Restoration: Protect and restore water quality and flows within the
major spring systems of northwest Florida.
 Minimum Flows and Minimum Water Levels (MFLs): Develop and implement science-based
MFLs that protect water resources and associated natural systems.
 Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin: Protect Apalachicola River and Bay water
quality and freshwater inflow.
 Water Supply: Ensure sufficient water is available for all existing and future reasonablebeneficial uses and natural systems.
 Watershed Protection and Restoration: Protect and restore watershed resources and
functions.
 Flood Protection and Floodplain Management: Maintain natural floodplain functions and
minimize harm from flooding.
A snapshot of major planned activities and implementation schedule within each strategic priority
area are summarized below. Several activities achieve multiple priorities.
Activities
FY 16-17
FY 17-18
FY 18-19
FY 19-20
FY 20-21
Springs Protection and Restoration
Econfina WMA Streambank Restoration
Projects
Holmes Creek WMA Streambank
Restoration Projects
Jackson Blue Spring Basin Agricultural
BMPs
Sod-Based Crop Rotation Demonstration
Project
Gainer, Cypress, and Jackson Blue Spring
Land Acquisition
Completion
Completion
Ongoing
Ongoing
Completion
Completion
Completion
Executive Summary |i
Activities
Claiborne Aquifer Investigation
Jackson County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
Leon County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
Wakulla County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
FY 16-17
FY 17-18
FY 18-19
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
FY 19-20
FY 20-21
Minimum Flows and Minimum
Water Levels
Enhanced District-wide Monitoring
Ongoing
St. Marks River Rise
Ongoing
Wakulla Spring
Ongoing
Sally Ward Spring
Ongoing
Coastal Region II Floridan Aquifer
Ongoing
Jackson Blue Spring
Ongoing
Shoal River System
Initiation
Assessment
Complete
Assessment
Complete
Assessment
Complete
Assessment
Complete
ACF Basin Management
Interstate Coordination and
Technical Support
Apalachicola Bay Water Quality
Projects
Ongoing
Ongoing
Completion
Water Supply
Groundwater and Surface Water
Permitting
Ongoing
Regulation of Wells
Ongoing
Water Supply Assessment
Ongoing
Regional Water Supply Planning
Western District Groundwater
Model
Completion
Region II RWSP
update
Completion
Completion
Central District Groundwater Model
Initiation
Water Supply Development Assistance
Ongoing
Reuse and Conservation Planning
Ongoing
Completion
Watershed Protection and
Restoration
Environmental Resource Permitting
Ongoing
Regional Wetland Mitigation
Ongoing
SWIM Plan Updates
Ongoing
ii | E x e c u t i v e S u m m a r y
Completion
Activities
FY 16-17
FY 17-18
FY 18-19
FY 19-20
FY 20-21
Flood Protection and Floodplain
Management
Environmental Resource Permitting
Ongoing
Regional Wetland Mitigation
Ongoing
Land Management
Ongoing
Flood Hazard Mapping, Assessment and
Planning
Ongoing
Updated DFIRMs
Ongoing
Coastal Remapping Studies
Completion
Progress on projects and assessment of success is reported in an annual performance review via the
March 1 Consolidated Annual Report (www.nwfwater.com/data-publications/reportsplans/consolidated-annual-reports/).
E x e c u t i v e S u m m a r y | iii
1. Introduction
The Strategic Water Management Plan (SWMP or Strategic Plan) describes statutory responsibilities of
the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD or District) and the agency’s current
priorities. These responsibilities and priorities encompass those activities the District plans to undertake
over a five-year planning horizon to accomplish its mission: to implement the provisions of Chapter 373,
Florida Statutes (F.S.), in a manner that best ensures the continued welfare of the residents and natural
systems of northwest Florida. This guidance document is complementary to and implemented by the
District’s annual budget.
The following provides a brief overview of the resources of the District, including a strengths and
weaknesses assessment and general information on the strategic planning process. Section 2
summarizes the strategies employed to accomplish these priorities and outlines success indicators,
funding sources, deliverables, and milestones, as well as associated activities planned over the five-year
planning horizon. Section 3 provides the implementation schedule of major tasks from 2017-2021,
followed by monitoring and reporting of progress in Section 4, financial resources in Section 5 and a list
of referenced information.
About the Northwest Florida Water Management District
The NWFWMD is one of
five water management
districts established by the
Florida Water Resources
Act of 1972 (Chapter 373,
F.S.). Its geographic region
extends from the St.
Marks River watershed in
Jefferson County to the
Perdido River in Escambia
County (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Northwest Florida
Water Management District
A nine-member Governing
Board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the
Senate governs the NWFWMD. The District works with
federal, state, and local governments; water supply utilities;
non-governmental stakeholders; and private citizens to
accomplish its statutory areas of responsibility, as described
below.
Mission
The District’s mission, as established by the Governing Board,
is to implement the provisions of Chapter 373, Water
Resources, F.S., in a manner that best ensures the continued
welfare of the residents and natural systems of northwest
Florida.
Introduction |1
Statutory Areas of Responsibility
Section 373.036, F.S., sets forth four interrelated areas of responsibility (AORs) for the water
management districts: Water Supply, Water Quality, Flood Protection and Floodplain Management, and
Natural Systems. Goals for each of these AORs are:
Water Supply
Promote the availability of sufficient water for all existing and
future reasonable-beneficial uses and natural systems.
Water Quality
Protect and improve the quality of the District’s water resources.
Flood Protection and
Floodplain Management
Maintain natural floodplain functions and minimize harm from
flooding.
Natural Systems
Protect and enhance natural systems.
Characteristics
The District encompasses seven major watersheds, six of which extend to portions of Alabama and
Georgia, with some of the state’s largest rivers and most diverse estuaries (Figure 2). The Apalachicola
River is the largest river in Florida by volume of flow. The Apalachicola, Choctawhatchee and Escambia
rivers comprise three of five largest rivers in the state by volume of flow. The District contains more than
250 springs, including five first-magnitude springs: Wakulla Spring, Jackson Blue Spring, Gainer Springs
Group, St. Marks River Rise, and the submarine Spring Creek Springs Group.
Figure 2. Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Watersheds in the District
The Floridan aquifer is the primary source of water supply across most of the District, while the sandand-gravel aquifer is the primary source in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Bay County relies on
surface water from Deer Point Lake Reservoir and the City of Port St. Joe utilizes the Gulf County Fresh
Water Supply Canal from the Chipola River to meet water supply needs.
2| Introduction
Much of the District’s non-urban land is devoted to forestry and agriculture, with areas of concentrated
development corresponding to population centers. Private forest lands cover much of the District, and
prominent public lands include military bases, state and national forests, national wildlife refuges, state
parks, and District lands. In recent decades, substantial areas have been transformed from forested and
rural in character to suburban and urban.
As of 2015, there were an estimated 1,416,819 permanent residents in northwest Florida (University of
Florida 2016), with much of the population concentrated along the coastal region from Escambia
through Bay counties, as well as in Tallahassee and the surrounding area (Table 1). Population is
projected to grow to 1,706,239 by 2040 (University of Florida 2016), reflecting a 20 percent increase
over 25 years.
Changes in land use and intensity and population growth presents potential water resource challenges,
including increased demand for water supplies, stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution,
increased risks from flooding, reduced groundwater recharge, and fragmentation of wetlands and other
sensitive habitats.
Table 1. Population and Growth by County
County
2010
2015
Population
Population
Estimate
Estimate
Bay
Calhoun
Escambia
Franklin
Gadsden
Gulf
Holmes
Jackson
Jefferson2
Leon
Liberty
Okaloosa
Santa Rosa
Wakulla
Walton
Washington
Total
1
2
2040
Population
Projection1
Percent
Change
2015 - 2040
168,852
14,625
297,619
11,549
46,389
15,863
19,927
49,746
10,417
173,310
14,549
306,944
11,840
48,315
16,346
19,902
50,458
10,246
213,200
16,100
333,600
12,300
51,900
17,600
20,900
52,700
10,939
23%
11%
9%
4%
7%
8%
5%
4%
7%
275,487
8,365
180,822
151,372
30,776
55,043
24,896
1,361,748
284,443
8,698
191,898
162,925
31,283
60,687
24,975
1,416,819
350,200
11,000
223,500
226,600
40,700
96,700
28,300
1,706,239
23%
26%
16%
39%
30%
59%
13%
20.43%
Medium growth scenario
Estimated population within NWFWMD
Sources: 2010 estimates by U.S. Census Bureau; 2015 estimates and 2040 projections by UF BEBR 2016
Introduction |3
Strengths, Opportunities, and Challenges
A strength of the District is the development of effective partnerships and cooperative relationships
with other governmental and private organizations with complementary functions and authority.
Another asset is its extensive water management lands that protect water quality; floodplains; water
recharge areas; and ecosystem health and productivity. The District has also made substantial
investment in developing alternative and inland water sources to meet water supply needs and
interconnecting utilities for system reliability.
Many opportunities exist to: expand water conservation and efficiency; further develop reuse of
reclaimed water and other alternative water supply sources; protect undeveloped floodplains and
important recharge areas; and adopt new technology and data sources.
Northwest Florida faces continuing challenges with respect to water and related resources across all
four AORs. Examples of such challenges are coastal saltwater intrusion, out-of-state water withdrawals,
and nonpoint source pollution.
Current strengths, opportunities, and challenges are outlined in Table 2.
Table 2. NWFWMD Strengths, Opportunities, and Challenges
• Partnership and cooperation with other governmental and private organizations with
complementary functions and authority
• Extensive water management lands and other public lands that protect water quality,
Strengths
Opportunities
Challenges
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
floodplains, water recharge, and ecosystem health and productivity
Ability to leverage external funding
Technical capability and long-term outlook
Improved consumptive use permitting regulations for state-wide consistency and
permit streamlining
Development of alternative water supplies and inland and coastal interconnects
Continued development of alternative water supply sources
Potential for additional water conservation
Potential to acquire undeveloped floodplain and recharge areas
Potential for reuse system development and expansion to meet nonpotable demands,
provide beneficial aquifer recharge, and enhance water quality
• MFL establishment for priority waterbodies; enhanced data collection and technical
analyses
• Federal and other external funding sources that can match and extend existing funds
• New technology and data sources
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
4| Introduction
Out-of-state water withdrawals and wastewater discharges
Diminished water quality at some of the District’s signature springs
Saltwater intrusion in some coastal population centers
Rising demands for potable water for people, business, and agriculture
Extreme weather events (e.g., droughts, floods, and tropical storms)
Nonpoint source pollution
Fragmentation of wetlands and other water-related habitats
Hydrologic and water quality data gaps
Infrastructure funding limitations, particularly on the part of financially disadvantaged
small local governments
Strategic Planning Process
The SWMP reflects priorities of the Governing Board through a five-year planning horizon. The plan is
implemented annually through the District’s adopted budget.
Annual Progress Review and Strategic Plan Update
The SWMP Annual Work Plan Report is incorporated in the Consolidated Annual Report, released each
year by March 1. To meet the requirements of section 373.036, F.S., this report includes qualitative and
quantitative evaluation of the success indicators, deliverables, and milestones identified in Section 2.
The Strategic Plan is updated based on these results and in consideration of emerging issues and the
District’s annual budget.
Operational Plans and Rules
The SWMP is designed as a functional plan to address the District’s statutorily defined AORs and guide,
at a high level, how the agency will carry out major activities over a five-year planning horizon. It is
important to recognize that many of these activities are implemented through subordinate plans,
adopted rules, and programs that directly execute the strategies outlined in the SWMP (Table 3). Thus,
the SWMP reflects an integrated approach to the major water resource challenges facing the District.
Table 3. Operational Documents
Plan / Regulation
Purpose (Primary Statute)
Horizon (Updates)
Establish strategic priorities for a next five-year period;
District-wide plan for water supply, flood protection,
water quality, and natural systems (373.036, F.S.)
Five years; updated
annually
Regional Water Supply Plans
Identify water sources, demands, and alternative water
supply sources (373.709, F.S.)
20 years; updated
every five years
Water Resource Development
Work Program
Development of water sources within regional water
supply planning areas (373.536; 373.709 F.S.)
Five years; updated
annually
Water Supply Assessment
Estimates and projections of District-wide water demand
and source assessments (373.036, F.S.)
20 years; updated
every five years
Five years; updated
annually
Five years; updated
annually
Strategic Water
Management Plan
Incorporates:
Florida Forever Land
Acquisition Work Plan
Florida Forever Capital
Improvements Plan
NWFWMD-FEMA
Cooperating Technical
Partner Risk MAP Business
Plan
Umbrella, Watershed-based
Regional Mitigation Plan
SWIM Priority List
SWIM Plans (multiple)
Hydrologic Monitoring Plan
Minimum Flows and Levels
(MFLs) Priority List
Annual Regulatory Plan
District-wide land acquisition plan (373.199, F.S.)
Short-range plan for implementation of approved capital
improvement projects (373.199, F.S.)
Risk Map, flood mapping and related activities plan for
the Northwest Florida Water Management District
(373.036, F.S.)
District-wide wetland mitigation (373.4137, F.S.; 33
U.S.C. 1344); also incorporates the In Lieu Fee Program
and Instrument and the Sand Hill Lakes Mitigation Bank
Prioritize watersheds and waterbodies for SWIM plan
development (373.453, F.S.)
Watershed protection, management, and restoration
(373.451-459, F.S.)
Surface and ground water hydrologic and water quality
monitoring (373.036; 373.451-459, F.S.)
Five years; updated
annually
Updated annually
Updated annually
Updated as needed
Updated biennially
Priority list for development of MFLs (373.042, F.S.)
Updated annually
Compliance with statutory requirements and schedule
for rulemaking, where applicable (120.74, F.S.)
Updated annually
Introduction |5
Plan / Regulation
Ch. 40A-1, FAC
Ch. 40A-2, FAC
Ch. 40A-3, FAC
Ch. 40A-6, FAC
Ch. 40A-21, FAC
Ch. 62-330, FAC
6| Introduction
Purpose (Primary Statute)
General and Procedural (373.044, F.S.)
Regulation of Consumptive Uses of Water (373.203-250,
F.S.)
Regulation of Wells (373.302-342, F.S.)
Works of the District (373.084-087, F.S.)
Water Shortage Plan (373.246(1), F.S.)
Environmental Resource Permitting (373.4131, F.S.)
Horizon (Updates)
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
Continuous
2. Strategic Priorities for 2017-2021
Implementation of the District’s strategic priorities is accomplished through coordinated activities within
each of the agency’s major divisions: Land Management and Acquisition, Resource Management,
Regulatory Services, and Administration. This section summarizes each of the strategic priorities,
together with indicators, funding sources, milestones, and deliverables that support each goal within the
planning horizon. Milestones are events or dates signifying important points in progress toward each
goal, and deliverables are work products from individual tasks or projects.
Springs Protection and Restoration
Springs protection and restoration is carried out through the District’s SWIM, MFL, Land Management
and Acquisition, and Groundwater and Surface Water Permitting programs. Current initiatives and
priorities include the following:
•
Jackson Blue Spring Basin Agricultural Best Management Practices – The District continues a
major initiative to help agricultural producers in the Jackson Blue Spring basin integrate best
management practices (BMPs) into their farming operations. These practices, implemented in
cooperation with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), the
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Jackson Soil and Water
Conservation District, are expected to continue conserving water and improving water quality
without compromising production yields. Through FY 2015-2016, the program has assisted 43
producers and up to 30 more are anticipated by the end of FY 2017-2018.
•
Sod-based crop rotation demonstration project – The District has partnered with the University
of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) to complete evaluations and
outreach on best management practices for sod-based rotation systems for the last 11 years.
With new grant funding from DEP received in FY 2016-2017, this project will be expanded into a
pilot project providing funding for up to four producers to convert up to 160 irrigated acres and
implement the sod-based rotation through a complete four-year rotation cycle. The goal of the
project is to reduce water use (by up to 60%) and nutrient application rates (up to 50%) while
increasing crop yields (by 15-40%) to lands within the Jackson Blue Spring basin.
•
Land acquisition – The District has been awarded state grant funds for land acquisition to
protect the Gainer Springs Complex and Cypress Spring. The Gainer Springs project includes a
fee simple and less-than-fee acquisition of up to 982 acres and spring bank restoration at first
magnitude springs complex along Econfina Creek in northern Bay County. The Cypress Spring
project involves purchase of a conservation easement on up to 302 acres at a second magnitude
spring along Holmes Creek in central Washington County.
•
Septic to sewer retrofit projects for Wakulla Spring – The District continues partnerships with
Leon and Wakulla counties for five major septic to central sewer retrofit projects in the Wakulla
Spring groundwater contribution area. The Woodside Heights project in southern Leon County
will connect a total of 200 homes to the City of Tallahassee’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment
(AWT) facility. The Magnolia and Wakulla Gardens projects in Wakulla County will connect up to
716 homes to central sewer services. The county is upgrading its Otter Creek WWTF to AWT as
part of this project. The City of Tallahassee will complete a project to connect up to 130 homes
to existing sewer service in the south-western portion of the city. Additionally, a project to
design new central sewer service that connects the Woodville community in southern Leon
County to the City of Tallahassee is planned. In total, these projects are estimated to reduce
nitrogen loading to Wakulla Spring by 29,534 lbs/yr.
Strategic Priorities for 2017-2021 |7
•
Septic to sewer retrofit projects for Jackson Blue Spring – A project underway in Jackson County
will extend central sewer service in the Indian Springs neighborhood for up to 125 septic tanks in
the Jackson Blue Spring and Merritt’s Mill Pond groundwater contribution area. A new project in
Jackson County will extend central sewer service from Marianna up to the Jackson Blue Spring
Recreation Area, eliminating a septic tank at the spring head and up to 56 homes along the
spring run. Both these projects are in partnership the City of Marianna WWTF. Combined, these
septic-to-sewer projects are estimated to reduce nitrogen loading to first magnitude springs by
2,986 lbs/yr.
•
Advanced septic systems pilot project – The District is partnering with the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Health, Leon County, Wakulla County and
stakeholders to develop up to two advanced septic system pilot projects within the Wakulla
Spring BMAP priority focus areas. This project will focus on rural neighborhoods where septicto-sewer connections are not feasible.
•
Bay County Restoration – A three-acre acquisition along Econfina Creek was completed in 2016.
Shoreline restoration including non-structural protection measures to reduce erosion and
improve shoreline habitats will be completed in 2017.
•
Devil’s Hole Spring Streambank Restoration – Also in the Econfina Creek WMA, the Devil’s Hole
spring public access site has experienced bank erosion due to intensive use. The project involves
stabilizing the east and west banks of Econfina Creek in the area of Devil’s Hole Spring. Visitor
facilities will be constructed to direct use to boardwalks, a canoe dock, and an overlook in order
to protect a unique geologic formation and prevent streambank degradation.
•
Holmes Creek Streambank Restoration – Three restoration sites are located along Holmes Creek
in Washington County within the Choctawhatchee River and Holmes Creek WMA. Streambank
restoration and protection activities are planned at Hightower Springs and Spurling landings.
Each site will receive vegetated retaining walls utilizing geotextiles and native vegetation,
stormwater facilities, access road and parking improvements, and protective fencing.
Restoration activities at Live Oak Landing include construction of a fishing pier in cooperation
with Washington County.
•
Cotton Landing Streambank Restoration – Also in the Holmes Creek WMA, a project at Cotton
Landing public access site will stabilize approximately 125 linear feet of shoreline to reduce
erosion and provide stormwater treatment. Streambank stabilization will be accomplished using
primarily natural materials and techniques, such as vegetated retaining walls and native material
revetments. Boardwalks and access points will be installed to prevent future water quality and
habitat impacts while facilitating public access and compatible use.
Blue Spring Campsite Restoration – The District has been awarded funding to complete public
access improvements and shoreline restoration at second magnitude Econfina Blue Spring on
Econfina Creek. The project is anticipated to be completed in FY 2017-2018.
•
•
Claiborne Aquifer Evaluation – The District is continuing an investigation into feasibility of
increased utilization of the Claiborne aquifer within the Jackson Blue Spring contribution area.
The project involves constructing test and monitoring wells and modeling to determine the
aquifer’s viability as a potential alternative water source to offset demand in the Floridan
aquifer, making additional water available to springs.
8| Strategic Priorities for 2017-2021
•
Water Quality and Flow Monitoring – The District is continuing water quality monitoring at
Wakulla, Jackson Blue, Pitt, Econfina Blue, and Williford springs and measuring continuous
spring flows at Jackson Blue, Sally Ward, and Wakulla springs and the Spring Creek springs group
in coastal Wakulla County.
•
Land Management – The Econfina Creek WMA is more than 43,000 acres of District-owned and
managed land that protects groundwater recharge, spring flow, and water quality within the
Econfina Creek springs complex, which includes first magnitude Gainer Springs. This in turn
protects water supply and water quality in the downstream Deer Point Lake Reservoir, the main
source of drinking and industrial water supply for Bay County.
•
Groundwater and Surface Water Regulation – Regulation of ground and surface water
withdrawals is a tool for preventing significant impacts to the water resources contributing to
spring systems and water supplies.
Strategic Priority 1: Springs Protection and Restoration. Improve water quality and flows within the
major spring systems of northwest Florida.
Indicators:
(1) Project accomplishment (percent complete)
(2) Trends in nitrate concentrations
(3) Trends in spring flows
Funding sources:
(1) State Legislative Appropriations
(2) Land Acquisition Trust Fund
(3) General Fund Reserves
Milestones:
(1) Completion of spring streambank restoration projects (2016-2017)
(2) Implementation of funded BMPs for farmers in the Jackson Blue Spring
basin and Mobile Irrigation Lab evaluations (2017-2018)
(3) Completion of Leon, Wakulla and Jackson County septic to sewer retrofit
projects (2017-2019)
Deliverables:
(1) Mobile Irrigation Lab evaluation reports
(2) Water quality data
(3) Spring discharge data
Minimum Flows and Minimum Water Levels (MFLs)
Implementation of an effective MFL program is a major component of the overall effort to ensure the
long-term protection and sustainability of regionally significant water resources. A minimum flow or
minimum water level is defined as the limit at which further withdrawals of water would be significantly
harmful to the water resources or the ecology of the area. The MFL program integrates other efforts,
including consumptive use permitting, regional water supply planning, and watershed management. The
District has developed work plans and initiated enhanced data collection efforts toward completion of
MFL technical assessments. During the next five years, MFL technical assessments will completed for the
St. Marks River Rise (2018), Sally Ward Spring (2020), Wakulla Spring (2020), and the coastal Floridan
aquifer (2020) in Walton, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties. Enhanced data collection, groundwater
and surface water modeling, and development of technical assessments will continue for Jackson Blue
Spring and the Shoal River system, and data collection will be initiated to support MFL development for
the Econfina Creek and Springs Complex.
The MFL program is implemented according to the MFL priority list and schedule, which is updated
annually and submitted to DEP for review. The current schedule may be found online at
www.nwfwater.com/water-resources/minimum-flows-levels/.
Strategic Priorities for 2017-2021 |9
Strategic Priority 2: Minimum Flows and Minimum Water Levels (MFLs). Develop and implement
science-based MFLs that protect water resources and associated natural systems.
Indicators:
(1) MFL technical assessment accomplishment (percent complete per the
approved schedule)
(2) Waterbodies meeting their adopted MFLs (number and percentage)
Funding sources:
(1) General Fund Reserves
(2) State Legislative Appropriations
Milestones:
(1) Completion of technical assessments for the St. Marks River Rise (2018),
Wakulla Spring (2020), Sally Ward Spring (2020), and the coastal Floridan
aquifer in Walton, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa counties (2020)
Deliverables:
(1) Completed MFL technical assessments according to the approved
schedule
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin
An ongoing District priority is working with state agencies and local governments to protect the
economic and ecological viability of the Apalachicola River and Bay and its surrounding watershed in
Florida. Priorities over the current five-year period include continued technical assistance to the
Governor and DEP in the ongoing legal case between the states of Florida and Georgia over freshwater
allocation in the ACF river basin and implementation of several cooperative water quality improvement
projects in coastal Franklin County. The District has developed an updated hydrodynamic model for
Apalachicola River and Bay, including a freshwater flow model for the Apalachicola River and delta and
Tates Hell Swamp, to help support resource assessments and evaluations of potential actions.
Additionally, the District has completed several hydrologic restoration projects in Tates Hell Swamp to
enhance the quality, quantity and timing of freshwater inflows to Apalachicola Bay. The agricultural BMP
program, springs restoration projects, and land acquisition projects to improve the health of Jackson
Blue Spring also support longstanding water conservation and water quality protection efforts. In
addition to technical assistance, continuing initiatives and priorities include:
•
Northwest Florida Mobile Irrigation Laboratory (MIL) – The District continues to support the
MIL, particularly in Jackson County. This effort includes on-site evaluations of agricultural
irrigation systems to evaluate system efficiency and generate recommendations for
improvements and best management practices. These recommendations are designed to
increase irrigation efficiency and minimize over-watering, benefitting both the grower and the
environment. The MIL also works to educate agricultural customers and the general public on
water conservation, irrigation planning, and irrigation management.
•
Apalachicola Bay Water Quality Improvement Projects – The District continues to partner with
the City of Apalachicola to complete three stormwater retrofit projects that will improve the
quality of water entering Apalachicola Bay. The projects will improve the water quality of
stormwater from 175 acres in the downtown area, while also providing flood relief to the
community.
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Strategic Priority 3: Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. Protect Apalachicola River and
Bay water quality and freshwater inflow.
Indicators:
(1) Cooperative project implementation (number and percent complete)
(2) Area restored (acres)
(3) Stormwater treatment area (acres)
Funding sources:
(1) State Legislative Appropriations
(2) Land Acquisition Trust Fund
(3) General Fund Reserves
Milestones:
(1) Completion of three cooperative water quality improvement projects:
U.S. 98 and 16th Street, Prado Outfall, and Avenue I stormwater retrofits
(2016-2017)
(2) Completion of Apalachicola Bay water quality projects (2019)
(3) Continued participation in supporting state ACF Basin issues (2017-2021)
Deliverables:
(1) Grant project completion reports
Water Supply
The District works to ensure availability of sufficient water for all existing and future reasonablebeneficial uses and natural systems through coordinated resource planning and regulation efforts. These
include the following:
•
Consumptive Use Permitting – The Division of Regulatory Services oversees review, issuance,
renewal, and enforcement of ground and surface water use permits that allow for reasonablebeneficial uses of water while protecting existing users and the long-term viability of the
resource.
•
Regulation of Wells – The Division of Regulatory Services coordinates the review, issuance, and
enforcement of well permits and water well contractor licensing. Activities covered are well
construction, repair, and abandonment. This program protects public health and resource
sustainability, while also serving the regulated community.
•
District-wide Water Supply Assessment – This assessment encompasses a periodic District-wide
evaluation of current and future water demands and the sustainability and sufficiency of water
supply sources. The assessment is updated on a five-year basis, with updates to regional water
supply plans following the updated data and analysis.
•
Regional Water Supply Planning – This activity provides for development and implementation of
focused plans, developed in cooperation with regional stakeholders, to identify and develop
alternative water supply sources to meet long-term water supply needs while also sustaining
water resources and natural systems. Related planning activities include completion of the
annual water use report and continued coordination with DACS on statewide agricultural water
use estimates and projections.
•
Water Resource Development – The District implements regional-scale projects that increase
the availability of water supplies to meet long-term water supply needs. Examples of such
projects include planning for water reuse and conservation, data collection, and source
modeling and evaluation. Upcoming efforts include development and refinement of
groundwater flow models in the western, central, and eastern district; and continued efforts in
support of the statewide expansion of alternative water sources.
S t r a t e g i c P r i o r i t i e s f o r 2 0 1 7 - 2 0 2 1 | 11
•
Water Supply Development Assistance – Financial and technical assistance is provided to local
governments and utilities for water supply development. This effort includes grant funding
designed to meet local challenges, such as water loss in aging and small systems, while also
accomplishing regional priorities for resource management.
•
Land Management – Protection, restoration, and management of water management lands is a
major component of the District’s effort to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region’s
water supplies. For example, the Econfina Creek WMA was acquired to secure the primary
recharge area for Floridan aquifer springs that provide substantial base flow to Econfina Creek,
which is the major tributary of Deer Point Lake Reservoir – the primary source of potable water
for Bay County.
Strategic Priority 4: Water Supply. Ensure sufficient water is available for all existing and future
reasonable-beneficial uses and natural systems.
Indicators:
(1) RWSP public supply water demands met (volume [MGD] and percentage)
(2) Public supply uniform gross per capita water use (GPCD and trend)
(3) Public supply uniform residential per capita water use (GPCD and trend)
(4) Alternative water supply made available (volume [MGD] and trend)
(5) Project accomplishment (percent complete)
Funding sources:
(1) Ad Valorem Tax Revenue
(2) General Fund Reserves
(3) Water Protection and Sustainability Program Trust Fund
(4) State Legislative Appropriations
Milestones:
(1) Completion of local government water supply development grant projects
(2016-2019)
(2) Completion of Western District Groundwater Model (2017)
(3) District-wide Water Supply Assessment Update (2017-2018)
(4) Region II RWSP Update (2018)
(5) Completion of Central District Groundwater Model (2019)
Deliverables:
(1) Water use data
(2) District-wide water supply assessment updates
(3) RWSP updates
(4) Grant project completion reports
Watershed Protection and Restoration
Through the SWIM program, the District follows a watershed-based, cooperative approach to protect
and restore water and habitat quality for regionally significant waterbodies. Currently, the District is
focusing efforts on water and habitat quality within Apalachicola and St. Andrew bays. Efforts also
continue to address priority needs for watersheds across northwest Florida. Among current initiatives
and priorities are:
•
Gulf of Mexico Restoration – The District continues to work in cooperation with DEP, the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and other regional stakeholders in Gulf of
Mexico restoration. These activities help to implement the federal RESTORE Act and to
effectively use civil penalty funding from MOEX Offshore, LLC (MOEX) settlement to mitigate
damages incurred from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In addition and through grant
funds from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the District will complete updates to its
SWIM plans for all seven watersheds in late 2017. This effort will help prioritize projects within
each watershed as well as provide a useful tool for local governments.
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•
SWIM Program – The SWIM program provides the planning framework for watershed
management, protection, and restoration District-wide. Plans have been approved for major
riverine-estuarine watersheds from Pensacola Bay through the St. Marks River watershed.
Current projects underway are to implement stormwater retrofits in cooperation with the cities
of Apalachicola and Carrabelle. As noted above, current plans for each of the District’s major
watersheds will be completed by 2017.
•
Seven Runs Streambank Restoration – A streambank restoration and protection project will be
completed at Seven Runs within the Choctawhatchee River Water Management Area. The
project will create a natural vegetative retaining wall, stormwater improvements, and public
access enhancements.
•
Land Management – The District has acquired 211,152 acres of land critical to the protection of
water quality, flood protection and floodplain management, natural systems, and water supply.
In addition to protecting water and related resources, these lands provide for public access and
recreation.
•
Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) – The ERP program integrates stormwater
management and treatment and wetland permitting. Implementation of the program protects
multiple watershed and wetland functions including water quality, fish and wildlife habitat,
flood protection, shoreline stability, and aquifer recharge.
•
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Mitigation – In accordance with section 373.4137,
F.S., the District assists FDOT in developing wetland mitigation for transportation infrastructure
development in service areas not covered by private mitigation banks. In the process, wetland
resources and functions are protected and restored on a landscape scale. Detailed information
on the District’s wetland programs and mitigation projects, as well as information on private
mitigation bank options, is available at www.nwfwmdwetlands.com.
•
Spring Restoration and Protection – Activities described above for spring restoration and
protection are major priorities for watershed management in northwest Florida.
As demonstrated by the set of priority activities described, watershed protection and restoration efforts
address the full range of the District’s AORs. As such, there is significant overlap among the projects,
indicators, deliverables, and milestones with the other strategic priorities described.
S t r a t e g i c P r i o r i t i e s f o r 2 0 1 7 - 2 0 2 1 | 13
Strategic Priority 5: Watershed Protection and Restoration. Protect and restore watershed resources
and functions.
Indicators:
(1) Balance of released mitigation credits, reflective of net functional lift
achieved under the District’s Umbrella Mitigation Plan (credits)
(2) Cooperative project implementation (percent complete)
(3) Area restored (acres)
(4) Stormwater treatment area (acres)
Funding sources:
(1) State Legislative Appropriations
(2) General Fund Reserves
(3) FDOT Mitigation Funding
(4) RESTORE Act and settlement funds
(5) Florida Forever Trust Fund
Milestones:
(1) Completion of three cooperative stormwater retrofit projects in the
Apalachicola River and Bay watershed: US 98 and 16th Street basin, Prado
Outfall basin, Avenue I basin (2016-2017)
(2) Completion of streambank restoration project (2017)
(3) Completion of updated SWIM plans (2017)
Deliverables:
(1) Annual Regional Wetland Mitigation Plan and Mitigation Monitoring
Reports
(2) Draft and updated SWIM plans
(3) Grant project completion reports
Flood Protection and Floodplain Management
Flood protection and floodplain management are essential components of watershed protection.
Several current initiatives and programs address flood protection. These include:
•
Flood Hazard Mapping, Assessment and Planning – 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 (MAP) program. This effort includes collaboration with
state and local agencies to deliver quality data to increase public awareness of and support for
actions that reduce flood-related risks. Risk MAP projects for the lower Ochlockonee River,
Apalachicola River, New River, Chipola River, Pensacola Bay, and Perdido River and Bay, are
underway. In the near term, the District expects to complete detailed coastal remapping studies
for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, and Gulf counties.
•
Land Acquisition and Management – District lands include extensive floodplains along the
Apalachicola, Choctawhatchee, Escambia, Yellow, Perdido, Blackwater and other rivers and
major streams. Tidal wetlands are also protected on the Pensacola, Perdido, and
Choctawhatchee estuaries. These lands maintain floodplain functions and protect natural
systems, water quality, property, and public safety, as well as provide public access and
recreation. Substantial upland acreage owned by the District provides protective buffers.
•
Environmental Resource Permitting – Among the important functions of the ERP program, as
described above, is floodplain resource protection and thus protection of property and residents
from potential flood damage through the regulation and management of surface water. Also
included in ERP is permitting for dam design, construction, and maintenance.
•
Regional Wetland Mitigation – Floodplain functions are protected on a landscape scale through
implementation of the District’s regional wetland mitigation program for FDOT.
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•
Flood Information Portal – The District provides internet access to digital flood maps throughout
northwest Florida through the Flood Information Portal: portal.nwfwmdfloodmaps.com.
•
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data – The District continues to provide the public with
high-resolution topographic elevation data for properties across northwest Florida.
Strategic Priority 6: Flood Protection and Floodplain Management. Protect floodplain functions for
the benefit of human communities and natural systems
Indicators:
(1) Area of floodplain protected through fee or less-than-fee acquisition
(acres)
(2) Percent of the District with updated DFRIMs meeting FEMA standards and
criteria
Funding sources:
(1) Federal Emergency Management Agency
(2) State Legislative Appropriations
(3) General Fund Reserves
(4) FDOT Mitigation Funding
Milestones:
(1) DFIRM completion incorporating coastal remapping studies for Escambia,
Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, and Gulf counties (2017-2018)
Deliverables:
(1) Risk MAP regulatory and non-regulatory products according to discovery
report for each HUC 8 watershed within the District
(2) Florida Forever Work Plan Annual Report
S t r a t e g i c P r i o r i t i e s f o r 2 0 1 7 - 2 0 2 1 | 15
3. Implementation
Table 4 identifies major planned activities within each strategic priority area and outlines the anticipated
schedule of implementation over the five-year planning horizon. Some activities will apply to more than
one strategic priority but are only shown once under the primary strategic priority in the table below.
Table 4. Anticipated Schedule of Major Tasks
Activities
FY 16-17
FY 17-18
FY 18-19
FY 19-20
FY 20-21
Springs Protection and Restoration
Econfina WMA Streambank Restoration
Projects
Holmes Creek WMA Streambank
Restoration Projects
Jackson Blue Spring Basin Agricultural
BMPs
Sod-Based Crop Rotation Demonstration
Project
Gainer, Cypress, and Jackson Blue Spring
Land Acquisition
Claiborne Aquifer Investigation
Jackson County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
Leon County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
Wakulla County Septic-to-Sewer Retrofit
Projects
Completion
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Ongoing
Completion
Minimum Flows and Minimum
Water Levels
Enhanced District-wide Monitoring
Ongoing
St. Marks River Rise
Ongoing
Wakulla Spring
Ongoing
Sally Ward Spring
Ongoing
Coastal Region II Floridan Aquifer
Ongoing
Jackson Blue Spring
Ongoing
Shoal River system
Initiation
Assessment
Complete
ACF Basin Management
Interstate Coordination and
Technical Support
Apalachicola Bay Water Quality
Projects
16 | I m p l e m e n t a t i o n
Ongoing
Ongoing
Completion
Assessment
Complete
Assessment
Complete
Assessment
Complete
Table 4. Anticipated Schedule of Tasks (Continued)
Activities
FY 16-17
FY 17-18
FY 18-19
FY 19-20
FY 20-21
Water Supply
Groundwater and Surface Water
Permitting
Ongoing
Regulation of Wells
Ongoing
Water Supply Assessment
Ongoing
Regional Water Supply Planning
Western District Groundwater Model
Completion
Region II RWSP
update
Completion
Completion
Central District Groundwater Model
Initiation
Water Supply Development Assistance
Ongoing
Reuse and Conservation Planning
Ongoing
Completion
Watershed Protection and
Restoration
Environmental Resource Permitting
Ongoing
Regional Wetland Mitigation
Ongoing
SWIM Plan Updates
Ongoing
Completion
Flood Protection and Floodplain
Management
Environmental Resource Permitting
Ongoing
Regional Wetland Mitigation
Ongoing
Land Management
Ongoing
Flood Hazard Mapping, Assessment and
Planning
Ongoing
Updated DFIRMs
Ongoing
Coastal Remapping Studies
Completion
I m p l e m e n t a t i o n | 17
4. Monitoring and Reporting
Annual Work Plan Report
As required by section 373.036, F.S., the Strategic Plan provides for an annual performance review and
identification of milestones and deliverables to assess implementation. The review is incorporated as
Chapter One of the NWFWMD March 1st Consolidated Annual Report (www.nwfwater.com/datapublications/reports-plans/consolidated-annual-reports/). Elements of the Strategic Plan addressed in
the report are:
a)
b)
c)
d)
Evaluation of progress toward accomplishing strategic priorities;
Evaluation of indicators specified in Section 2;
Accomplishment of milestones and deliverables; and
Project-based accomplishments from the past fiscal year.
The evaluation of indicators serves several purposes within a strategic plan. Beyond providing an
assessment of program implementation, identification and evaluation of indicators helps to further an
understanding of resource conditions and to clarify objectives and intended results. Evaluating measures
and indicators provides internal and external feedback for ascertaining whether a given project or
program is achieving intended results and whether the underlying strategy is appropriate or should be
revised.
Additional Periodic Reporting
The Consolidated Annual Report also includes several other annual reports on District programs:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
Minimum Flows and Levels Annual Report;
Annual Five Year Capital Improvement Plan;
Five Year Water Resource Development Work Program Annual Report;
Alternative Water Supplies Annual Report;
Florida Forever Work Plan Annual Report;
Mitigation Donation Annual Report;
Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Priority List; and
Five-Year Water Projects Work Plan.
In addition to the annual reporting described above, each of the state’s water management districts
completes and submits data for a set of common metrics on a quarterly basis to the Florida DEP. These
metrics focus extensively on process efficiency, while also including a limited set of measures intended
to reflect resource conditions and management (Table 5):
18 | M o n i t o r i n g a n d R e p o r t i n g
Table 5. Statewide Water Management District Performance Metrics
Permitting – CUP, ERP
For closed applications within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, median and mean time to process by permit type
and total
For closed applications within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, the median and mean time in house by permit
type and total, including those applications under legal challenge.
Within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, percentage of individually-processed open applications with > 2 RAIs
Within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, average number of RAIs for individually processed applications that
closed in the last twelve months
Within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, percentage of individually processed open applications that have been
in-house six months or longer
Within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, cost to process for all permit types
Within the CUP and ERP permitting areas, application to staff ratio for all permit types
Permit Process Time for Legislative Extensions and Emergency Orders (ERP only)
Cost to Process Legislative Extensions and Emergency Orders (ERP only)
Mission Support
Administrative costs as a percentage of total expenditures
Water Supply
District-wide, the quantity (mgd) and percentage of the 2015-2035 Public Supply increase in demand that has been
met separately by non-water conservation projects, and by water conservation (only) projects
Uniform gross per capita water use (Public Supply) by District
Uniform residential per capita water use (Public Supply) by District
Natural Systems
Number of MFLs and Reservations, by water body type, established annually (fiscal year) and cumulatively
Number and percentage of water bodies meeting their adopted MFLs
For water bodies not meeting their adopted MFLs, the number and percentage of those water bodies with an
adopted recovery or prevention strategy
MFL Priorities List Table
MFL Priorities List Table
M o n i t o r i n g a n d R e p o r t i n g | 19
5. Financial Resources
The state constitution limits the NWFWMD to 1/20th (.05 mills) of the ad valorem taxing authority
afforded to the other four water management districts. The District’s current ad valorem tax millage
rate, as set by the Governing Board, is 0.0366 mills. To meet its areas of responsibility, the District must
rely on other sources of funding, when available, including the following:
•
•
•
•
•
•
State legislative appropriations – management of District-owned lands, Environmental Resource
Permitting, programmatic operations, water supply planning and development, research and
data collection, watershed restoration and management, spring protection and restoration, and
other state priorities
Land Acquisition Trust Fund – land acquisition, management and restoration of natural systems,
enhancement of public access and recreational opportunities on District-owned lands
Florida Forever – land acquisition and capital improvements for watershed restoration
Dedicated reserves – water supply development, land management, and regional wetland
mitigation
Federal grants – leverage District and state funding
Local government and water supply utility cost sharing – cooperative project implementation
The District’s budget is adopted annually in September. The budget is submitted at a preliminary level in
January of each year and as a proposed budget as the August 1 Tentative Budget Submission. The
District’s current adopted budget, as well as the Preliminary and Tentative budget submissions may be
found online at www.nwfwater.com/business-finance/district-budget/.
20 | F i n a n c i a l R e s o u r c e s
6. References and Additional Documents
University of Florida. (2016). Projections of Florida Population by County 2020-2045, with Estimates for
2015. Volume 49, Bulletin 174. Gainesville, FL: UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research,
January 2016.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Census 2010. Summary File 2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.
http://factfinder2.census.gov.
Additional Documents
Annual Strategic Water Management Plans
http://www.nwfwater.com/Data-Publications/Reports-Plans/Water-Management-Plans
Surface Water Improvement and Management Plans
http://www.nwfwater.com/Water-Resources/SWIM
Water Supply Assessments and Regional Water Supply Plans
http://www.nwfwater.com/Water-Resources/Water-Supply-Planning
District Budget and Financial Information
http://www.nwfwater.com/Business-Finance/District-Budget
Other District Reports and Publications
http://www.nwfwater.com/Data-Publications/Reports-Plans
R e f e r e n c e s | 21