Hillsborough River News

   A Partners In Planning Publication of

   The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &

   The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission


eNews Issue 3  

Summer 2011  

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In This Issue

Joint Meeting Held
Upcoming Meetings
Less Fertilizer to Improve River
Basin Boards Eliminated
Did You Know? ...River Water Quality is Impaired
Temple Terrace to Add Access/ Parking to Riverfront Preserve
Gage Height

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Upcoming Meetings


AUG 16, 1:30pm - TAC


AUG 22, 1:30pm - River Board


SEP 20, 1:30pm - TAC 


OCT 18, 1:30pm - TAC


NOV 15, 1:30pm - TAC 


DEC 5, 1:30pm - River Board


DEC 20, 1:30pm - TAC 


For more information on the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board & Technical Advisory Council (TAC), please contact staff at 813.272.5940.  Agenda packets and more information is available on the web at:




Foreground: Alison Fernandez, Al Higginbotham Background: (l to r) Peter Owens, Silvia Espinola, Robert Carnahan Jr, Darlene Dannels, Richard Booth, Ben Koplin, Suzanne Cooper

River Board Joint Council Meeting with Technical Advisory Committee 


On March 29th, the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board held a joint meeting (pictured above) with its Technical Advisory Council (TAC). Normally holding separate meetings, this was an excellent opportunity for the River Board, which meets quarterly, to interface with its Technical Advisory Council.


The River Board was able to observe the investigation and consideration that the TAC gives to issues and projects.  Two shoreline construction projects were reviewed as part of the agenda. In addition, Mr. Lee Hoffman, Tampa Riverwalk Development manager, gave a presentation on the status of this very important project in Tampa. Those present considered the meeting success and resolved to hold such joint meetings on an annual basis.



Less Fertilizer to Improve River

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has labeled hundreds of state waters as "impaired" because of nutrient pollution, including parts of Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough and Alafia Rivers.  The federal government is likely to impose requirements on Florida's municipalities to reduce nitrogen in rivers, lakes and other waterways.  Environmental groups argue a four-month fertilizer ban is the least expensive way to clean up area waters and prevent cities and counties from having to spend millions of dollars on treatment as federal regulators increase pressure to clean up waterways.


On June 2nd the city council voted to ban the sale and use of nitrogen and phosphorous based fertilizers during the rainy season, from June 1st to September 30th.  The restrictions must pass a final vote on June 23rd and won't go into effect until June 1, 2012.  The measure was approved 6 to 1, with council member Frank Reddick casting the lone dissenting vote, citing a potential impact on local businesses from the loss of sales.  Mayor Bob Buckhorn has said he will sign the measure if council approves it.


The move comes as the window for local governments to pass point-of-sale restrictions on fertilizers is closing, with a state law prohibiting bans going into effect on July 1st.  "I feel very strongly that this is a good idea," said Councilman Harry Cohen.  "We have an obligation to the community to do what we can to protect the health of our waterways."


Scientists at the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Sierra Club pushed for the tougher rules, arguing that nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers contribute to nutrient pollution that saps the oxygen in waterways and fuels algae blooms that harm delicate marine life.  Ban supporters also argue lawns can stay healthy through the summer with slow-release fertilizers or with fertilizer blends containing iron, magnesium and other minerals.  Phil Compton, a regional representative for the Sierra Club in Florida, pointed out that Tampa is the only Gulf Coast community that hasn't imposed fertilizer restrictions.  "You're not sticking your necks out here," Compton told council members.


Fertilizer and lawn care representatives argued against the proposed ban. They argued that fertilizers are overrated as a source of nutrient pollution and the runoff problems are due to homeowners' ignorance of application techniques.  "There's no science to support this ban," said Hugh Gramling, representing the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association. "There are alternatives to banning it."


The restrictions won't apply to golf courses or agricultural uses.  The cost to remove a single pound of nitrogen about $3,500, according to the DEP.  "Once it gets into the water, it's very difficult and expensive to remove," Holly Greening of the Tampa Bay Estuary program told council members.  Statewide, at least 50 municipalities have approved seasonal nitrogen-based fertilizer bans to varying degrees, including St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Pinellas counties.  Last year, the Hillsborough County Commission stopped short of a full ban, instead restricting homeowners from applying nitrogen fertilizer before heavy rainfalls. The county's rules also prohibit the use of fertilizer within 10 feet of a body of water.


Basin Boards Eliminated

In order to increase efficiency of operations and reduce costs, the SouthWest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board approved a resolution on May 24th to merge the budgets of the District's eight Basin Boards into the Governing Board, while keeping a reduced Cooperative Funding Initiative to fund regional projects.  The District's eight Basin Boards provided guidance for local programs and projects that were specific to the watershed basin they protected.  Through the Cooperative Funding Initiative, the Basin Boards worked with local governments and organizations on water resource projects that benefited local communities.  Half of the money for these projects came from the Basin Boards and the other half came from the local government or local cooperator.


The Hillsborough River Inter-local Planning Board's Technical Advisory Council (TAC) includes a member from the Hillsborough River Basin Board.  With the elimination of the Basin Boards, this seat on the TAC is likely to remain vacant.  Merging the eight Basin Boards into the Governing Board is expected to save the District $350,000 to $400,000 annually.  Under the District's proposed FY2012 budget, $40 million will remain available for cooperatively funded projects throughout the District's 16-county region.  The funding will be administered by members of the District's Governing Board.


"Through the Cooperative Funding Initiative, the Basin Boards have played an integral role in the District's ability to implement water resources projects at the local level and to involve residents, organizations and local governments," said Dave Moore, District executive director.  "We are committed to continuing the work of the Basin Boards through cooperative funding and other initiatives."

Did You Know? ...The Hillsborough River's Water Quality is Designated as 'Impaired'

This Hillsborough River is impaired according to the State of Florida's Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Chapter 62-303 F.A.C. that governs the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) Program or according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Water quality restoration targets, called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), were adopted by DEP that provided numerical water quality restoration targets. The Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) is the implementation plan that identifies actions that will be taken to achieve these restoration targets. Identification of Impaired Surface Waters (IWR) is a scientific approach for guiding Florida Department of Environmental Protection process for identifying and prioritizing impaired surface waters in Florida. The rule evaluates whether waters meet their designated uses for a particular water quality parameter, which include aquatic life use, primary contact and recreation use, fish and shellfish consumption use, and drinking water use. As part of the terms of a court order related to the 1998 303(d) list of impaired waters, some waters are listed as impaired by EPA but not listed by the State of Florida.


The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted the Hillsborough River Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) .  The action plan, developed in partnership with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program; Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk Counties; The Cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace; the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission and the Health Department; the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District; and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences identifies actions that are needed to decrease bacteria for a portion of the Hillsborough River Basin.  The Hillsborough River basin BMAP was developed under DEP's comprehensive approach that builds partnerships with local, regional and state interests to identify and restore polluted waterbodies.  Reducing the discharges of pollutants into these waterbodies will help achieve water quality standards and designated uses established by the DEP.  The phased approach outlined in the BMAP involves implementation of actions such as improved stormwater management alongside activities such as continued water quality sampling to better control and understand the sources of these pollutants.  The implementation of BMAP actions will decrease levels of fecal coliforms in the impaired areas of the Hillsborough River Basin.


Specific actions in the BMAP include wastewater infrastructure and stormwater system management; regulations, ordinances and guidelines; conservation and land acquisition; best management practices for agricultural lands, public education and outreach; and ongoing water quality monitoring.


Temple Terrace to Add Access/ Parking to Riverfront Preserve

On March 20, 1989, Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program (ELAPP) completed the purchase of a portion of the "Florida College site", a 65-acre tract owned by Edward and Ramona Bolding.  The site was purchased for $900,000, which was $425,000 below the appraised value.


On August 31, 1995, the City of Temple Terrace completed the purchase of the parcel by Florida College, known as the Temple Terrace Riverfront Preserve, for $1,800,000.  This 54-acre parcel (plus additional riverine wetlands) was acquired as part of a 50% grant from the Florida Communities Trust and a cooperative agreement between the City of Temple Terrace and the County, using ELAPP funds as the local match (approximately $900,000).  This site is managed by the City of Temple Terrace as a nature park.


While this beautiful site borders the Hillsborough River and is composed largely of natural habitat, access by the public has been limited.  Temple Terrace staff is now in the final stages of planning for an access road and parking for this site.  This much needed access will allow more people to enjoy this jewel along the river.






Gage Height 


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