Hillsborough River News

   A Partners In Planning Publication of

   The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &

   The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission   


eNews Issue 14  

Spring 2014  


In This Issue

River Facts
Federal Channel designation
Legislation update approved
Twice weekly watering
TAC Elections
Florida Water Star
eBoat tour ICO fundraiser
USGS Charts

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Upcoming Meetings


2014 Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board Meeting Dates:


Tuesday, May 20 at SWFWMD Tampa office 

Monday, August 25


Unless otherwise noted, all River Board meetings will be held at 9:30 a.m. at

Temple Terrace City Hall
(City Council Conference Room) 11250 N 56th St, Temple Terrace, FL 33617

2014 Hillsborough River Technical Advisory

Council (TAC)

Upcoming Meeting Dates:


Tuesday, April 15

Tuesday, May 20

Tuesday, June 17

Tuesday, August 19

Tuesday, September 16

Tuesday, October 21

Tuesday, November 18


All TAC meetings will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Tampa Service Center (Laurel Oaks Room)

7601 US Hwy 301, Tampa, FL 33637



For more information on the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board & Technical Advisory Council, please contact staff at 813.272.5940 or visit:  








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River Facts      

The Hillsborough River is home to many species, and several large bird rookeries exist. When local students reach sixth grade in Hillsborough County, they take a visit to the river for one to three days to learn about the ecosystem, watershed, and native Florida animals at a place called 'Nature's Classroom.'

The Hillsborough River dam (originally built in 1895 and since rebuilt) at Rowlett Park creates a lake covering 1,300 acres and containing 1.6 billion US gallons  of water,  providing fthe water supply for the City of Tampa.

With the re-construction of the dam in 1945, the portion of the
Add a description
River above the dam to approximately Fletcher Avenue is where the City of Tampa is permitted to withdraw water to supply to its citizens and those in Hillsborough County. In addition, Tampa Bay Water is permitted to withdraw water from the River during "high flow" times and under specific conditions. The Southwest Florida Water Management District, the agency required by Florida law to protect and manage the waters in the state, authorizes the permits

River Board supports decommissioning of Federal Channel designation over part of River

Hillsborough River Federal Channel on the southwest side of downtown Tampa
Hillsborough River Federal Channel 

The Federal Channel on the Hillsborough River was established in the late 1800s and is primarily 100 feet wide, centered on the river.South of Kennedy Boulevard Bridge, the channel widens to 200 feet for about .4 of a mile until it terminates in the turning basin just south of the Platt Street Bridge.This wider area may have been due to the increased commercial activity in this particular area.The US Army Corps of Engineers periodically dredges the width of the channel to ensure the proper depths are maintained.


The nature of the 200 foot section has changed considerably over the years.Commercial establishments, such as Mirabellas, have been replaced with parks, hotels, and non-marine office buildings. Water taxi studies recommend a dock for a stop in the MacDill Park area. However, the bend in the 200 foot wide channel is very close to the seawall in this area and precludes any dockage. With the change in the commercial nature of this area, the city has taken the initiative to update this section, making it the same as the rest of the channel north of the bridge. In 2008, the city coordinated with the Coast Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, Port Authority, and city offices to assess any impact of this action. With no concerns found, the city worked with the Corp of Engineers to draft the language provided to Congress to narrow this short stretch of the channel bringing it in line with the rest of the river.


Aerial of Downtown Hillsborough River This action decommissions 50 feet on either side of the channel, resulting in uniform 100-foot channel centered on the river.The action has no effect on environmental permitting and policies, or any marine regulations or ordinances that govern the marine environment. After this action is taken, the same laws and ordinances will continue to govern this area just as it has for the river north of the Kennedy Boulevard Bridge. The Riverwalk currently under construction in this area does not impact the Federal Channel. The city is working with Representative Castor's office and the proposed channel language is included in the  Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), now in the final congressional stages. Should WDRA be passed and signed into law, the linked channel language will also be enacted.  


In summary, this initiative brings a small section of the Federal Channel up to date by making it the same width as the rest of the channel.The primary purpose of this action is to allow for any future dockage along this section of the waterfront. All the current policies and ordinances governing development will remain. Lee Hoffman, City of Tampa staff, presented this information to both the Technical Advisory Council and the River Board.On February 24, 2014, the River Board took unanimous action to issue a letter of support for this proposed action.


River Board approves Florida State Capitalupdate of its Legislation


First established via Chapter 86-335, Laws of Florida, on June 6, 1986, the River Board is a special Board and Council established by the Florida Legislature to monitor activities and actions in the Hillsborough River Corridor. The river begins in west central Florida, and enters Tampa Bay in the center of the City of Tampa. The River Board's recommendations for river management are forwarded to the local political bodies, regulatory agencies, and others involved with the river's overall management for consideration and implementation. Various aspects of the River Board and TAC's made-up and operations are outlined in the legislation. One of the organizations specified in the legislation as having a seat on the TAC no longer exists. This makes it difficult to reach a quorum. At its February meeting, the River Board directed the Executive Director, Shawn College, to pursue this and other minor updates of the legislation.


More information.  

Twice weekly watering returns in Tampa, unincorporated Hillsborough County 

By Tribune staff

Published: February 26, 2014  |  Updated February 28, 2014 

Lawn Sprinklers

The agency that oversees water resources in the Tampa region has loosened its recommended lawn watering restrictions a bit. Beginning Saturday, homeowners who had been under a once-a-week watering restriction can now open up the sprinklers twice a week.

The governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District voted to continue the Phase II water shortage order through July 31, but it did include a provision to allow the twice-a-week watering, recognizing lawns need more water now that the days are getting longer, the temperature is getting hotter and the rain over the next three months typically is scarce.

Here's the schedule for when to water in unincorporated Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa:

* Addresses ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 can water on Mondays and Thursdays
* Addresses ending in 4, 5 or 6, Tuesdays and Fridays
* Addresses ending in 7, 8 or 9, Wednesdays and Saturdays
* Locations with no address such as common areas and locations with mixed addresses, such as office complexes and shopping centers, can water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

All watering must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and only once on the designated days. The restrictions apply to all residences and businesses and includes homeowners with private wells and ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies. Reclaimed water customers are exempt from the water restrictions. Hand watering and low-volume irrigation of plants other than lawns or turf grass, may be done on any day and at any time.

New sod and landscaping may be watered on any day for the first 30 days. On days 31-60, new sod and landscaping may be watered every other day: even-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; odd-numbered addresses, locations with no address and locations with mixed addresses on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. 
Peter Owens,
Vice Chair

River Board's Technical Advisory Council

Annual Election of Officers

11.1 Dr Rich Brown
Dr Richard Brown, Chair 
At its regular meeting of January 21, 2014, the River Board's Technical Advisory Council held its annual election of officers.  Dr. Richard Brown was unanimously elected to continue to serve an additional year as Chair.

 Mr. Peter Owens was also unanimously
elected to continue to serve an additional year as Vice Chair. 


Florida Water Star - Certifying excellence in water conservation, saving resources and protecting the environment

The Florida Water Star program is a statewide, voluntary water conservation certification program for new and existing residential homes and commercial buildings. The program encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes, as well as water quality benefits from landscape best management practices.

The program outlines standards for a broad range of homes - from a residential home on a half-acre lot to a high-rise commercial building. By building to Florida Water Star standards, a multitude of benefits are available including a property requiring less maintenance, lower utility bills, increased home value and peace of mind. Based on estimates, a Florida Water Star homeowner can save up to 20 percent of water use annually. Statewide, nearly 900 residential homes, 14 commercial buildings and seven communities have been certified to meet Florida Water Star standards. Of these, more than 300 residential homes and one commercial building are located within Hillsborough County.  


Why a certification program? Florida Water Star certification provides assurance that a house or building meets a suite of efficiency practices that focus on water use specific to Florida. In addition, Florida Water Star is effectively integrated into projects along with other programs such as ENERGY STAR, the Florida Green Building Coalition's green standards, and the US Green Building Coalition's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.  


To learn more, visit FloridaWaterStar.com or call the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Florida Water Star program coordinator Robin Grantham at 1-800-231-6103 x4779 (Florida only).



Try an eBoat Tour - Inner City Outings fundraiser on May 9th!
Inner City Outings' mission is to take inner city students into our natural environments and experience things that they might not otherwise; creating future stewards of the environment.  ICO is 100% volunteer run and due to support from our volunteers and fundraising efforts, 400 - 500 local students attend ICO outings each year.

On Friday evening, May 9th, the Tampa Bay group's Inner City Outings team is having a fundraiser. One-hour electric boat tours through downtown on the Hillsborough River. The river tour allows unique perspective and beautiful views of Downtown and the heart of Tampa. Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Tickets are $20 per person. Seats are limited, so reserve yours soon!

To ask questions, email Chris Loy.

To register for the 5:30 - 6:30pm trip, click here.
To register for the 6:00 - 7:00pm trip, click here.
To register for the 6:30 - 7:30pm trip, click here.
To register for the 7:00 - 8:00pm trip, click here.




In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.