Hillsborough River News

   A Partners In Planning Publication of

   The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &

   The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission 

eNews Issue 20  

Fall 2015  


In This Issue

River Facts
Restoring ELAPP $
Stewardship Award
Springs Science
Stormwater Fees
New TAC member
ELAPP Photo Contest
Congratulations EPC
USGS Charts

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Upcoming Meetings

Hillsborough River
Interlocal Planning

Monday, November 30  


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:


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:
Tampa Riverwalk

Things To Do:
The Riverwalk connects Tampa's dynamic cultural venues, family oriented parks and the city center's vibrant business community creating connectivity and eclectic synergy.
Tampa's Riverwalk Park Map
Locals and visitors alike gather in parks and state-of-the-art facilities to enjoy special events and ongoing exhibitions as they stroll along the historic Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel.
River walk Downtown Tampa
Get Involved:
With a contribution of time or financial resources you become a "Friend of the Riverwalk" and establish your legacy through the reality of a vibrant, invigorated downtown.

For more information go to:
Hillsborough restoring money to land-buying program
Barge near Coackroach Bay
ELAPP funds acquired Big Cockroach Mound from private owners last year. TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO
By Mike Salinero, Tampa Tribune Staff
Source:  Tampa Tribune, Published: September 10, 2015 
Updated: September 10, 2015 at 09:10 PM

TAMPA - Hillsborough County's conservation lands program, which was practically bankrupt, is getting an infusion of money thanks to better-than-expected property tax revenues. County Administrator Mike Merrill amended his fiscal 2016 budget to include $15 million for the Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program, known as ELAPP. County Commissioners gave the budget preliminary approval Thursday night.
The popular land-buying program was down to just $3.5 million - all that remained from a $59 million bond issue county commissioners approved in 2009. The previous year, nearly 80 percent of voters approved continuing the program, authorizing the county to borrow up to $200 million to buy conservation land. But the ballot measure did not include a small property tax that had financed the program in earlier years.

In May, Commissioners Stacy White and Les Miller proposed replenishing the fund with part of a $22.8 million settlement from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The other commissioners, however, opted to save the oil-spill payout until next year for yet-to-be-determined projects. The prospect of the conservation program failing alarmed the environmental community. Merrill said he realized a sizeable segment of county residents and their representatives wanted something done.

"There was the proposal to use the BP settlement for ELAPP and there was support from a segment of the environmental community and from some of the board," Merrill said. "So we offered it as an option as we were fine-tuning the budget." Merrill said he was able to "make room" in the budget for ELAPP because the county is getting $6 million more in property tax revenue than was projected when he presented his budget in June. An additional $5 million is coming from the Sheriff's Office, which often returns money it does not spend out of its yearly county appropriation.

The surplus will also allow the county to spend an additional $6 million on road resurfacing. Residents polled this year by the Go Hillsborough transportation initiative listed road resurfacing as a top priority. White, though happy about Merrill's decision, said he and Miller deserve some of the credit for pushing ELAPP's financial plight into the limelight, "I believe wholeheartedly that because of my advocacy and Commissioner Miller's advocacy (Merrill) saw it as a priority and decided to put this in the budget," White said.

Miller also said he was glad to see the program funded but he was perplexed about the method Merrill chose. "Either we're going to have to bond the money or borrow it, but we have to pay the money back," Miller said. "At the same time, we have the BP money sitting there." Another supporter, Commissioner Al Higginbotham, said some of the money appropriated for ELAPP should go to maintaining the conservation land already acquired. "We need to start working on the invasive species," Higginbotham said. "The BP funds should be used to address the maintenance."

Environmentalists say preserving ELAPP is especially important now that the county is in the throes of another population boom and development is threatening sensitive lands. "As we look at the amount of growth we're going to have ... it's a little scary," said Jan Smith, chairwoman of the ELAPP General Committee. "People want to have places to walk in the peace and quiet and explore these pristine sites to enjoy the outdoors." Smith said the conservation program has 22 parcels on an acquisition priority list totaling 27,129 acres. The priority list was developed after nominated sites were vetted by employees from the county parks department and volunteer biologists. Their recommendations are made to the ELAPP General Committee, which in turn recommends parcels to a site selection committee.

The lands are evaluated using a number of criteria and given A, B or C rankings. Factors considered include whether the land helps protect water quality or is home to endangered or threatened species, if there are archeological features such as Indian mounds, geographic proximity to other ELAPP lands or to important waterways, and the site's value for long-term scientific study and education. Popular support for a certain site and its cost also weigh in the decision. The ELAPP committee always strives to get the A-listed sites unless they are too expensive or owners are not willing to sell, Smith said. "It's always been our goal to get sites that we have a reasonable expectation of acquiring,"
Smith said, "sites that we see fit into the whole scheme of those we already have and what they do."

River Board to recognize outstanding stewardship of the river

At their August 24th regular quarterly meeting, the River Board approved the inaugural Hillsborough River Stewardship Award. This award, sponsored by the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board and Technical Advisory Council, will recognize persons who have made a significant contribution to the health, well-being and stewardship of the Hillsborough River. This prestigious award will be given out at the Planning Commission's 33rd Annual Planning & Design Awards presented by Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas.

This awards program is a well-respected tradition honoring the very best in planning and design in Hillsborough County. Winning projects contribute to a better quality of life in our community and serve as models to learn from and emulate. With the emphasis on the importance of great planning in our own region, the awards program is held in October to align with the many national festivities during the American Planning Association's (APA) National Community Planning Month and celebration of Great Places in America

Hosted by ABC Action News Anchor Brendan McLaughlin, the Planning & Design Awards will be held on Thursday, October 29, 2015 from 6:15 PM to 9:00 PM at T Pepin's Hospitality Centre. Tickets are $50 per person and must be purchased no later than Thursday, October 22nd. Registration and more information:

SJRWMD and UF scientists discuss
progress made on springs science investigation
People Enjoy the cool waters of Ginnie Springs in High Springs Florida
Swimmers cool off in Gini Springs
More than 50 scientists and engineers with the St. Johns River Water Management District and University of Florida (UF) met on September 1 to report on progress made in the first year of a three-year partnership to enhance the scientific foundation needed to develop solutions to restore and protect Florida's springs. Among accomplishments:
  • Installed wells in the Silver Springs springshed to measure water quality changes that occur as water moves through soil layers and the aquifer system
  • Began assessing how nitrogen sources vary within the springshed according to differences in land uses, land cover and soils
  • Assessed the importance of conduits in the aquifer system to better understand most cost-effective and feasible projects to reduce nitrate loading to the aquifer and the springs
  • Initiated field and laboratory studies in the Silver Springs ecosystem to investigate physical, chemical and biological factors that contribute to the overgrowth of algae and diminish the health of native plant communities
  • Measured flow patterns, sediment characteristics, and vegetation character and distribution in the Silver Springs system to help develop a hydrodynamic model that will predict influences of velocity, vegetation and flow characteristics of the river
  • Continued to measure the chemistry of sediments and water quality in the springs system to assess their effects on the health of the ecosystem

Science is the foundation of the decision making that we have to do real-time," said Dr. Ann Shortelle, District executive director. "While this work has been under way, the District has been actively engaged in dozens of projects, many now under construction, to help protect and restore major spring systems. The science will help to ensure that those investments bear productive fruit." The District has invested in approximately $120 million worth of projects to improve water quality and/or enhance flows in Volusia Blue Spring, Silver Springs, the Wekiva River system springs and Lower Santa Fe River springs in cooperation with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and local partners.

"St. Johns is responsible for the public policy for managing our fragile springs," said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. "The University of Florida's Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is dedicated to the science behind sustainable agriculture and natural resources. So our collaboration is a natural fit." 
"This team of investigators is seeking to unravel the complexities associated with the transport, transformation and fate of contaminants in our groundwater and surface water systems so that we are better positioned to repair the damage and more effectively manage springs in the future," said Tom Frazer, director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment and acting director of the UF Water Institute.
"The springs not only reflect the status of the aquifer but also influence the ecological health of many of Florida's most significant surface water ecosystems," said Dr. Ramesh K. Reddy, graduate research professor and chair of the UF/IFAS Soil and Water Science Department. "This multidisciplinary research effort is aimed to understand more fully the complex processes regulating health of these fragile ecosystems."
"Florida is rich in water resources and its springs are, perhaps, the most exquisite expression of this wealth," said Dr. Ed Lowe, chief scientist for the District. "This partnership is an unprecedented, giant step forward toward understanding how we can restore and protect these natural gems and the aquifer on which they, and we, depend."
Tampa City Council approves increase in stormwater fees
Tribune staff 
PublishedSeptember 3, 2015   |   Updated: September 4, 2015 at 05:52 AM

Yearly assessments for stormwater services will go up from $36 to $82 for the owner of an average size home in Tampa, the first hike in a decade. Tampa City Council on Thursday unanimously approved the increase, the proceeds of which will be used to increase the frequency of street sweeping and the clearing of ditches and outfalls.

  A more difficult vote still looms, however, with council members scheduled to discuss on Oct. 1 introducing a new "improvement assessment" that would tack on another $98 a year for most city homeowners. The new tax, which likely would be phased in, would raise $251 million over 30 years to go toward major drainage projects intended to reduce flooding across the city.

The hit to pocketbooks from the increased stormwater service fee will be more immediate, with the new rate set to be included in property tax bills that residents will receive later this year. The new rate will increase the city's stormwater yearly revenue from $6.4 million to about $14.2 million and mean streets can be swept every 60 days instead of the current 90-day cycle.
Ditches will be cleaned every seven years instead of every 10, and outfalls, currently only serviced every 15 years, will now be cleaned every five years under the city's plan. Tackling the city's flood-prone areas has become more pressing since an 11-day deluge that left parts of Tampa under several feet of water. Council members say many residents now want the city to take action. Still, the mailing of notices to homes detailing new maximum assessments led to a rash of complaints to the city's stormwater department and dozens of residents lobbying the council at a recent meeting. By contrast, only a handful of residents attended the public hearing on the service fee increase.

John Moll of Southwest Seminole said he should not be charged any stormwater fees because his property has a retention pond that captures any storm runoff. "It's the principle of being charged for something you're not getting," he said. Stormwater fees for homeowners are based on the size of their house. The calculation that the city is using for non-residential properties and condo and apartment dwellers is based on the amount of impervious surfaces on each parcel. That has resulted in big potential increases for churches and businesses like car dealerships that have a lot of paved areas leading to dozens of complaints to the city's stormwater department.

Mike Peterson of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors said he hopes council members will address these concerns before they agree on introducing the additional assessment. "This fee I believe you are about to pass is based on a methodology a lot of people have concerns with," he said.

Welcome new Technical Advisory Council Member Stephanie A. Agliano

TAC Member Stephanie Agliano The Planning Commission recently appointed Ms. Stephanie Agliano as their representative to the River Board's Technical Advisory Council (TAC). A fourth generation Tampa native, Ms. Agliano brings more than 26 years of utility and energy industry knowledge and experience to the TAC. Her years of working in the utility industry also included extensive experience in working with local government including the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, and Temple Terrace, as well as, the community.
Ms. Agliano has been involved with numerous organizations, both past and present, as a board member and/or member including the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Westshore Alliance, Downtown Partnership, Ybor Chamber, Barrio Latino, Visit Tampa, Hillsborough County EDC, Temple Terrace Chamber, as well as, worked with the Planning Commission throughout the years and participated in community comprehensive plan meetings. Currently, Ms. Agliano is owner and President of Agliano Utility Solutions, LLC-a utility consulting company that provides a comprehensive utility and energy approach to project planning, coordination, and execution. We look forward to her valuable insights! 

Enter the 2015 ELAPP Calendar Photo Contest
ELAPP photo contest
The Jan K. Platt Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program's (ELAPP) Calendar Photo Contest invites all photographers (amateurs and professionals of all ages) to unlock the many natural treasures hidden within more than 60 Hillsborough County's nature preserves. All photos must be taken at a Hillsborough County ELAPP Site. View the list of all sites at Parks and Facilities Information and Locations, use the "Preserved Lands" facility type search criteria.

Each photographer can submit up to five photos via email no later than November 2, 2015. Besides being included in the 2016 ELAPP Calendar, the top 13 photos could be featured in County Center window cases, posted on the County's website, and used in other Hillsborough County publications. For the full contest details, rules, and judging, visit http://hillsboroughcounty.org/index.aspx?NID=4020 or contact Conservation & Environmental Lands Management at 813/672-7876.

Congratulations to Hillsborough's Environmental Protection Commission! 
On October, Sustainable Florida awarded its Community Engagement Best Practice Award to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) of Hillsborough County for its Clean Air Fair. The Clean Air Fair is organized by the EPC Air Division as a community celebration of May as Clean Air Month (as designated by EPA) with the goal of promoting a healthy environment through public education. The fair also seeks to recognize environmentally-conscious organizations and companies in Tampa Bay and is free to both exhibitors and visitors. View the HTV news brief video (above) to learn more about the 2015 Clean Air Fair with more than 1,000 participants and more than 50 environmental and community exhibitors, many demonstrating their efforts to reduce environmental impacts and improve sustainability through innovative energy efficiencies, alternative technologies and fuel sources, and other actions. The fair also features live entertainment, complimentary refreshments and prize drawings.   

Sustainable Florida advances the vision of sustainability by identifying, supporting and communicating best management practices - those which protect and preserve Florida's environment while building markets for Florida's businesses by enhancing their competitive advantages today. It promotes sustainable best management practices through collaborative educational efforts throughout Florida.

"We consider public outreach to be very important in promoting environmental and sustainable practices," said Jeff Sims, general manager in the Air Division. "The Clean Air Fair is our largest single event where we engage directly with the public and local businesses. We have been proud to provide this forum for the past 14 years to showcase local environmental efforts, and we are honored to be recognized with this prestigious award." For more information on EPC and its programs, go to www.epchc.org.  


USGS Precipitation Fall 2015

USGS Discharge Fall 2015
USGS Gage Fall 2015

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.