Hillsborough River News

   A Partners In Planning Publication of

   The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &

   The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission 

eNews Issue 19  

Summer 2015  


In This Issue

River Facts
Hydrobiological Assessment
Storwater controls
River Board Legislation
Answers on Tap
EPA water protection
USGS Charts

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Upcoming Meetings

Hillsborough River
Interlocal Planning

Monday, August 24

Monday, November 23 


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

Hillsborough River
Technical Advisory 
Council (TAC)

Upcoming Meetings:


July (No Meeting)

Tuesday, August 18

Tuesday, September 15

Tuesday, October 20

Tuesday, November 17

December (No Meeting) 


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 call

813.272.5940 or visit:




River Facts

The Hillsborough River arises in the Green Swamp near the juncture of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk counties, and flows 59 miles through Pasco and Hillsborough Counties to an outlet in the city of Tampa on Tampa Bay. The name Hillsborough River first appeared on a British map in 1769. At the time, the Earl of Hillsborough was the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, and thus controlled the pensions of the surveyors working in the American colonies, which included East Florida.

Entrance to Hillsborough River State Park

Hillsborough River State Park
includes 2,990 acres along the Hillsborough River in northeastern Hillsborough County. It supports many Floridian environments such as swamps and oak hammocks and many endangered species. The park's purpose is to preserve the "real Florida." Visitors to the park can participate in picnicking, camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing and swimming in a constructed pool. There is also a designated place to observe the river's class II rapids. It is one of the only rivers in Florida with rapids. The park opened in 1935 making it one of Florida's oldest state parks.

SWFWMD releases Hydrobiological Assessment
Hillsborough River Reservoir and Dam
The Hillsborough River Dam, showing the middle and lower Hillsborough River.

Mr. Douglas A. Leeper, Chief Advisory Environmental Scientist with the Water Resources Bureau of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), gave a presentation to the River Board's Technical Advisory Council on June 16 on SWFWMD's Hydrobiological Assessment of the Minimum Flows for the Lower Hillsborough River. The recovery strategy that was adopted with the minimum flow rule for the Lower Hillsborough River in 2007 required that in 2013, and for each five-year period through 2023, SWFWMD evaluate the health of the river achieved from implementation of the recovery strategy for the previous five years. This first five-year report addresses the objective by examining changes in the hydrobiological characteristics of the lower river in response to the minimum flows that were implemented between 2002 and 2013.


Mr. Leeper explained the following from the report: "The implementation of minimum flows for the Lower Hillsborough River, below the Hillsborough River Dam, began in the spring of 2002. Until 2008, minimum flows were comprised solely of diversions from Sulphur Springs, usually at a rate of 10 cubic feet per second (cfs). Beginning in 2008, diversions from Sulphur Springs were accompanied by freshwater releases from the Hillsborough River Reservoir / Tampa Bypass Canal (TBC) system. Beginning in the spring of 2012, total minimum flow rates from 18 to 27 cfs were achieved because modifications to the pumping facilities at Sulphur Springs allowed for the diversion of greater quantities of springflow to the base of the dam. The minimum flow rates achieved after the spring of 2012 met the minimum flows for the lower river on many days."*


"A principal goal of the minimum flow rule for the Lower Hillsborough River is to extend a zone of oligohaline water (i.e., water with salinity < 5 psu) from the base of the Hillsborough River dam toward Sulphur Springs. The results of this study demonstrate the benefit of increased minimum flows for achieving that goal. Based on data from continuous recorders upstream of Sulphur Springs, it appears that minimum flow rates in the range of 23 to 26 cfs produce significantly lower and less variable salinity conditions compared to a minimum flow rate of 20 cfs." * 


The report concludes: "In general, the findings of the study supported the validity of the minimum flows that were adopted for the Lower Hillsborough River in 2007."*


*Source: A Hydrobiological Assessment of the Phased Implementation of Minimum Flows for the Lower Hillsborough River, Southwest Florida Water Management District and Atkins North America, Inc., March 3, 2015.


Stormwater controls reported to River Board

With concern regarding the relatively rainy winter and the upcoming summer rainy season, the River Board requested presentations by the respective government stormwater departments having responsibility adjacent to the Hillsborough River. Specifically the River Board wanted to understand the effort of the stormwater departments in mitigating the risk of flood events during the summer rainy season.

Mr. Bob Gordon, Temple Terrace Public Works Director, began the presentations at the May 19 River Board and Technical Advisory Council Joint Meeting. Mr. Gordon reported the City is replacing pumps, cleaning out ditches and ponds, installed a new emergency generator, and placed a fence around the intake units to prevent debris from getting in and limiting pumping capacity. He also mentioned that street cleaning is being performed monthly.


Hillsborough County and City of Tampa Staff also discussed similar preparations for the rainy season. The River Board heard that there are many efforts ongoing by the stormwater departments; nevertheless, the rare unprecedented rain event can, at times, overwhelm some areas of the stormwater system.



River Board Legislation Update signed by Governor

Florida State Capital

Updating the River Board's authorizing legislation, untouched since its inception in the 1980's, was one of the priorities of the River Board this year. Chapter 86-335, Laws of Florida, establishes the River Board (Board), its Technical Advisory Council (TAC), and its mission. The legislation details the composition of the Board and TAC, how they are appointed, establishes terms of office, and quorum requirements.  


Of particular note is that the original legislation included a seat for the Water Management District's Hillsborough River Basin Board. This board no longer exists. This can make it difficult to meet the quorum requirement in the legislation. The update of the legislation sought to correct this by eliminating this seat and reducing the quorum requirement. With guidance and support from our bill sponsors, local legislative delegation Chair Representative Dan Raulerson and Senator Tom Lee, this legislation passed both houses and was signed by the Governor.  


Other minor updates to the legislation include more local government flexibility in how appointments are made and in establishing terms of office. The River Board and TAC are now positioned to continue to provide their valuable service to the health and vitality of the Hillsborough River and the community at large into the future.

Discover amazing stuff about your water
The Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education (NIE) program is a cooperative effort between schools and the Times to promote the use of newspapers in print and electronic form as educational resources. Since the mid-1970s, NIE has provided schools with class sets of informational text in the form of the daily newspaper and our award winning original curriculum, at no cost to teachers or schools. In the Tampa Bay area each year, more than 5 million newspapers and electronic licenses are provided to teachers and students free of charge thanks to our generous individual, corporate and foundation sponsors.

The most recent NIE supplement features of Answers on Tap from Tampa Bay Water. It includes 16 pages jam packed with information on the sources of our drinking water, how water is treated, source water protection and conservation. It also includes several career options to explore in the world of water designed to inspire middle school students.

Clear protection for clean water




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