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~DEP, Seminole County, St. Johns River Water Management District collaborate on construction of Black Hammock Water Quality Improvement System~

SANFORD – Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. today committed $2 million to restoration efforts for Lake Jesup by partnering with the St. Johns River Water Management District and Seminole County on construction of the Black Hammock Creek water quality improvement system.

This project will restore the natural landscape and improve water quality draining from the creek and into Lake Jesup, reducing phosphorus by 2,200 pounds per year. Other projects identified in the 2010 basin management action plan for Lake Jesup have already realized reductions of 9,000 pounds of phosphorus, which is 50 percent of the plan’s 15-year targeted goal of phosphorus reductions. Through partnerships between the Department, the St. Johns River Water Management District and local governments, we are ahead of schedule. 

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida has the best beaches and waterways in the world – and this commitment of $2 million for Lake Jesup further ensures that we continue to prioritize and enhance water quality in the state. Families everywhere treasure Florida’s incredible environment, and we are working hard every day to protect our lakes, rivers and waterways so future generations can enjoy everything our state has to offer.” 

As part of Vinyard's two-day Central Florida waterbodies trip, the Secretary this afternoon took a boat tour of Lake Jesup with officials from Seminole County and the St. Johns River Water Management District. The Department's commitment continues its focus on restoration projects.

"This project is just one of many the Department has planned," said Secretary Vinyard. "The Black Hammock Creek project investment adds to the momentum already started under the Department's restoration plan. It is achievable through this partnership with Seminole County, especially the work of County Commissioner John Horan, and the St. Johns River Water Management District, with the guidance of Chairman Lad Daniels.”

A basin management action plan is the implementation plan that identifies actions that will be taken to achieve restoration targets. The plan lists responsibilities for each stakeholder, projects lists over a five-year period and a monitoring plan to track improvements in water quality. The plan was put in place to reduce excess phosphorus into the waterbody, which can trigger algal blooms.

The 16.7-square mile lake is part of the St. Johns River and drains a watershed of about 136 square miles. In May 2010, the Department adopted the Lake Jesup Basin Management Action Plan, implementing the total phosphorus restoration goal for the lake, which includes portions of Seminole and Orange counties.

On Thursday, Vinyard will be at Veterans Memorial Park in Sanford to make a major announcement on Lake Harney, Lake Monroe and the Middle St. Johns River restoration efforts. The public ceremony starts at 9 a.m.