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Management of Freshwater Resources in Florida: A History of Environmental Change and Economic Development. History of Water Management in South Florida. 1845: Florida officially becomes the 27 th state

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Management of Freshwater Resources in Florida: A History of Environmental Change and Economic Development

history of water management in south florida
History of Water Management in South Florida
  • 1845: Florida officially becomes the 27th state
  • 1850: U.S. Congress passes the “Swamp and Overflowed Lands Act” with state ownership of these areas implemented with intentions of reclaiming the land with support from sale to private interests
  • 1862: President Lincoln creates the Natural Resources Conservation Service located within the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • 1879: United States Geological Survey created by Congress. Studies nation’s groundwater resources and is involved in research and monitoring associated with water quality in aquatic ecosystems
  • 1905: The State Legislature turns over previously acquired lands to the newly formed board of Drainage Commissioners. Authority, “to establish drainage districts and to fix the boundaries thereof in the State of Florida". They were ... "to establish a system of canals, levees, drains, dikes, and drain and reclaim the swamp and overflowed lands within the State of Florida”
  • 1930’s: Atlantic Inter- coastal waterway constructed
  • 1937: The Okeechobee Waterway completed providing a connection to the Gulf Coast Inter- coastal Waterway
  • 1948: The Central and Southern Florida Flood Control Project authorized by Congress. A multi- purpose project aimed at providing flood control, municipal, agricultural, and industrial water supply, and protection of wildlife resources.

History & Environmental law

  • 1961: Southwest Florida Water Management District created in in association with the “Four River Basins, Flood Project” following impacts of Hurricane Donna. Major flood control program involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who constructed flood control structures and water detention areas.
  • 1969: NEPA, National Environmental Policy Act established the broad national framework for environmental protection
  • 1972: Clean Water Act, establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into waters of the U.S. and regulating quality standards for surface waters
  • 1972: Water Resource Act established to manage and protect water and related natural resources. Also broadened priorities of the district from strictly flood control to include resource management and public service sectors.
  • 1972: The Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act established Areas of Critical State Concern in order to protect highly sensitive geographic areas
  • 1974: Safe Drinking Water Act established to protect the quality of waters actually or potentially designated for drinking use in the U.S., authorizes the EPA to establish minimum standards
  • 1994: SWFWMD Comprehensive Watershed Initiative Program established to employ a watershed based approach to water and related natural resource management
History: Important federal agencies which implement resource management and environmental protection efforts
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (D.O.C.)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (D.O.D.)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency: Implements National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and provides disaster relief assistance to coastal states and local governments (Homeland Security)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife (D.O.I.)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (D.O.I.)
  • National Weather Service
state and regional agencies responsible for water management in southwest florida
State and regional agencies responsible for water management in Southwest Florida
  • Department of Environmental Protection
  • Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Public Service Commission
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Community Affairs
  • Water Management Districts
  • Regional Planning Councils
  • Water Supply Authorities
  • Special Districts
Florida Statutes require each district to prepare and update a District Water Management Plan every five years
  • Consistency maintained among the

separate districts by focusing

planning on four resource- based

areas of responsibility:

water supply, water quality

management, natural systems,

and flood protection

  • SWFWMD is divided into nine

basins and is the only district which

implements the Basin Boards governing

system which addresses water- related

issues through approved state programs

environment climate of the southwest florida water management district
Environment & Climate of the Southwest Florida Water Management District
  • Floridan Aquifer System & Karst topograpgy:
  • 11 Watersheds and 13 major rivers
  • identified in the district
  • Surface water & groundwater features
  • Terrestrial & Aquatic/ freshwater ecosystems
  • Humid sub- tropical climate with average
  • rainfall of ~ 53inches for the district
science technology
Science & Technology
  • Ecological and biological professionals are involved in the process of freshwater resource management and associated environmental/ social concerns.
  • Hydrology and climatology are important aspects of science applicable to freshwater water resources. (Flow and discharge rates, flooding, drought, etc.)
  • Ecosystem studies and research focusing on effects of human modification of freshwater systems and mitigation efforts. Limnology & wetland ecology.
  • Natural, undisturbed ecosystems structure and function versus those altered by human activities.
essential scientific concepts
Essential Scientific Concepts
  • Aquatic ecosystems : Rivers, lakes, swamps, wet prairies, sloughs, estuaries.
  • Landscape ecology & heterogeneity
  • Biological communities
  • Ecological Connectivity
  • Hydrologic cycle & Watershed Management Approach
regional management the watershed approach
Regional Management & the Watershed Approach
  • “Regions are geographic areas that share
  • common issues of public policy, administration,
  • resource management, pollution control,
  • economic development, or other social,
  • political, or environmental concerns for which
  • no govermental body exists” (CZM, 2002).
  • (Lack of centralized regulatory planning/
  • management agency)
  • A watershed approach to management
  • incorporates important
  • relationships between interconnected terrestrial
  • uplands and lowland aquatic ecosystems
  • and complex ecological and hydrological
  • Systems
  • Employed by the E.P.A. to help in the
  • management of environmental resources
  • through application of ecological risk
  • assessment principles
  • The management of freshwater resources in Southwest Florida should not degrade the structure and function of native ecosystems and the species which occupy them.
technology water resources
Technology &water resources
  • Four main drivers of human alterations
  • or change that affect ecological systems.
  • Human demography
  • Social organization
  • Technological development
  • Resource uses
disturbances in natural ecosystems resulting from human activities
Disturbances in natural ecosystems resulting from human activities
  • Patterns of land use change/ alteration
  • Use of land in the district is a strong indicator of water needs
  • Urbanization/ construction development
  • Industrial, agricultural, commercial,
  • and residential
  • Agricultural land use accounts
  • for the greatest percentage,
  • ~ 31%.
  • Urban/ build up ~ 20%
technology population
Technology & Population
  • The human population in South Florida has increased progressively as a result of various technological developments utilized by humans.
  • As a result of improved transportation (roads & bridges) and construction methods, urbanization has impacted native ecosystems, especially those characterized by the presence of freshwater.
  • Control of water resources is made more effective through the implementation of specific technologies
  • Anthropogenic disturbance: a human- mediated

event or activity that is virtually unknown in

natural systems in terms of type, frequency,

intensity, duration, spatial extent, or predictability

over the last century .

technologies historical trends in water use
Technologies: Historical Trends in Water Use
  • Three categories of human activities present the

greatest threat to aquatic ecosystems and others

  • Flow control measures: Canals,

dams, levees.

  • Land- cover changes
  • Water withdrawals: Pumping stations, transport
water use permits
Water use permits
  • A water use permit is a state license to use ground or surface water resources

-Water use is divided into five use types

  • Public supply
  • Agriculture
  • Recreation or aesthetic
  • Industrial or commercial
  • Mining
  • An environmental resource permit (ERP) is required before beginning any construction activity that would affect wetlands, alter surface water flows, or contribute to water pollution.
  • A Well Construction Permit is required prior to installation of a water well within the District. The permits ensure that wells are constructed by qualified contractors and meet specific safety and durability standards.
society culture environmental relations
Society & Culture: Environmental relations
  • Cultural ecology is concerned with human socio- cultural features and the use of technologies in relation to the environment
  • Conflicting interests associated with water resources management are heavily influenced by the application of science and technology through different cultural, social, political and historical perspectives
future implications
Future Implications
  • Sustainable water resource systems are those designed and managed
  • to fully contribute to the objectives of society, now and in the future,
  • while maintaining their ecological, environmental, and hydrological
  • integrity" (ASCE, 1998).
  • Conflicting and competing interests of development & conservation
  • Need to integrate science with society to solve environmental problems
  • Ecosystem Management:
  • Complexity of ecological processes
  • Change in the environment
  • Scale of different ecosystems
  • Uncertainty in nature
  • Humans as part of the ecosystem
eco hydrological concept
Eco- hydrological concept
  • Alternative approach to the management of freshwater resources for human usage.
  • Eco- hydrology: Integration and quantification of biological and hydrological processes at the basin scale
  • The enhancement of basin ecosystem absorbing capacity against human impact
  • Use of ecosystems & properties as a management tool.
adaptive management
Adaptive Management
  • A resource management approach that focuses on “learning by doing” through the use of the most efficient procedures from a political, social, and scientific point of view.
  • Living resources are to be protected and restored
  • Projects are to be viewed as experiments
  • Management action is overdue and can not wait until scientific information becomes available
  • Information has value as the product of an action
  • Even though protection measures may be limited, management is forever

American Society of Civil Engineers (1998). Sustainability Criteria for Water Resource Systems. Reston, VA: Library of Congress

The Florida Council of 100. (2003). Improving Florida's Water Supply Management Structure: Ensuring and Sustaining Environmentally Sound Water Supplies and Resources to Meet Current and Future Needs. Russ Kramer Creative, Inc. Rinaldi Printing. Tampa, FL

Naiman, R.J., Decamps, H., McClain, M.E. (2005) Riparia: Ecology, Conservation, and Management of Streamside Communities. Burlington, MA:Elsevier Academic Press

Zalewski, M. (2002). Ecohydrology- the use of ecological and hydrological processes for sustainable management of water resources. Hydrological Sciences, 47 (5), 823- 832.

Alden, P., & Cech, R., & Nelson, G. (1998). National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. New York: Chanticleer Press, Inc.

Falkenmark, M., & Rockstrom, J. (2004). Balancing Water for Humans and Nature: The New Approach in Ecohydrology. Trowbridge, Wiltshire: Cromwell Press

Lindenmayer, D.B., & Fischer, J. (2006). Habitat Fragmentation and Landscape Change: An Ecological and Conservation Synthesis. Washinton, D.C. : Island Press

Zalewski, M. (2002). Ecohydrology- the use of ecological and hydrological processes for sustainable management of water resources. Hydrological Sciences, 47 (5), 823- 832.