A Partners In Planning Publication of

  The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &  

  The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission 

 eNews Issue 21  

Winter 2016    


In This Issue

Upcoming Meetings
Meet your River Board
New year, new look!
Board opposes Morris Bridge sink project
Peter Owens retires
Welcome back Commissioner Doughty
River clean up events
Flannery receives Stewardship Award
Keep pollutants out of your pond
Central Florida regional water plan
USGS Charts

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Upcoming Meetings

Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board Meetings
9:30a @ Temple Terrace City Hall
City Council Conference Room 

Monday, February 29 
Tuesday, May 17 ** 
Monday, August 22 
Tuesday, November 28

Hillsborough River Technical Advisory Council (TAC) Meetings
1:30p @ Tampa Union Station

Tuesday, February 16 
Tuesday, March 15 
Tuesday, April 19 
Tuesday, May 17 ** 
Tuesday, June 21 
Tuesday, August 16 
Tuesday, September 20 
Tuesday, October 18 
Tuesday, November 15

** Joint Meeting of the  
Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board & TAC will be held 1:30p @ Tampa Union Station.

View the full meeting calendar. Agendas are posted one week prior to each meeting.

For more information on the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board & Technical Advisory Council, call 813.272.5940 or visit:

Meet your Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board
Tampa City Council Member Lisa Montelione
Tampa City Councilwoman
Lisa Montelione

Temple Terrace Vice Mayor Grant Rimbey
Vice Chair
Temple Terrace
Vice Mayor
Grant Rimbey

Al Higganbotham
Hillsborough County Commissioner
Al Higginbotham

New year, new look for the River Board
Your River Board has a new look.
The logo of the River Board has been updated. We hope you like this fresh now look!

The River Board is part of a consolidated agency that includes the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission. All three have updated logos. This update to the agencies look keeps the general theme across each agencies logo consistent, reflecting our agencies coordination under "one roof." The update also includes a consolidated logo that can be used when all three agencies are working together.

River Board issues Letter of Opposition to water withdrawals from the Morris Bridge sink
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has submitted a water use permit application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to use up to 3.9 mgd of water from Morris Bridge Sink for diversion through the Tampa Bypass Canal to the base of the dam on the Hillsborough River. The DEP has issued its notice of intent to permit the project. The project also includes design and construction of a permanent pump station at the Morris Bridge Sinkhole.

The City of Tampa and the SWFWMD contend that this water supply is needed to meet the minimum flow requirement on the Lower Hillsborough River. Opponents of the project contend that adequate water is available from other sources and that withdrawals from Morris Bridge Sink could damage wetlands and other natural resources. On December 7, 2015, the River Board joined the Environmental Protection Commission and the City of Temple Terrace and issued a letter to DEP outlining their opposition to the project.

Read more about the Morris Bridge sink project.
Email your comments to the DEP. 

TAC Vice Chair Peter Owens retires
Pete Owens
After 38 years of public service to the citizens of Hillsborough County, Pete Owens retires. For 18 years, Mr. Owens has served as the Environmental Protection Commissions representative to the River Board's Technical Advisory Council, and much of that time he has served as Vice Chair.
"I am very proud to have been a team member of the EPC and truly believe the efforts of this agency have made this area a much better place to live, work, and play," said Owens. His career has included involvement in such projects as restoration and protection of the hydrology of the wetlands, lakes, creeks, and rivers that flow to Tampa Bay, as well as construction of the regional reservoir, desalination plant, and numerous other sustainability projects that have helped the environment and stabilized the region's water supply. Mr. Owens has also worked in development and phosphate mining review and restoration work involving the creation of critical wildlife habitat and corridors.

We wish Pete all the best in retirement.

TAC welcomes back Commissioner Doughty
The River Board is honored to announce that Planning Commissoner Derek Doughty has rejoined the TAC as the Planning Commission appointee. A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Mr. Doughty has focused on the development of hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of stormwater conveyance systems and management facilities. He brings extensive experience in Land Engineering and Planning, Roadway Design, DRI and Stormwater Projects, and commercial and multi-family site development engineering. A resident of Hillsborough County for 38 years, he is the Vice President of Applied Sciences Consulting, Inc.

Mr. Doughty has served on many local boards and committees, including the Environmental Protection Commission's Technical Advisory Committee and SWFWMD's Surface Water Advisory Group. He was the Project Manager and Lead Technical Engineer for the preparation of the Hillsborough River Watershed Management Plan for Hillsborough County, which won an Award of Excellence at the Planning Commission's 2002 Community Design Awards.

Public private partners clean up river
The City of Tampa, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, FDOT and Zephyrhills Water are collaborating on a watershed stewardship project to reduce the non-point source pollution and improve the water quality of the Hillsborough River. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is hosting a series of land and water-based cleanups, storm drain markings and watershed education activities throughout 2016 to develop environmental awareness, stewardship and a respect for our natural resources.
The first event was held in Tampa on January 16 at various locations. Several volunteers helped to protect the Hillsborough River in communities such as Robles Park, Tampa Heights and at Rowlett Park by teaming up to remove trash along the river, installing storm drain markers, and placing door hanger educational materials in residential neighborhoods. See upcoming events.

According to U.S. EPA studies, it is estimated that more than 80% of litter on land ends up in our waterways. The ever-increasing volume of trash and debris entering inland watersheds, coastal waters and oceans creates a water quality and habitat challenge that warrants attention. The focus of these cleanups will drive volunteer efforts to counteract behaviors that damage water quality and cause aesthetic blight and significant ecological effects on native plants and wildlife... Not to mention the damaging economic impacts and possible health risks to residents.

Sid Flannery receives inaugural Hillsborough River Stewardship Award
The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board and Technical Advisory Council awarded its first annual Hillsborough River Stewardship Award recognizing leadership and dedication in the protection of the health and well-being of the Hillsborough River. Tampa City Councilwoman and Hillsborough River Board Chair, Lisa Montelione presented a specially engraved oar to Sid Flannery at the Planning Commission's 33rd Annual Planning & Design Awards on October 29.

An oar represents the perfect award for a pragmatic advocate for the overall health of the Hillsborough River watershed. Mr. Flannery began working for the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1985. He served as a Chief Environmental Scientist until he retired in 2014 and contributed to the development of one of the state's most robust programs for implementing and re-evaluating Minimum Flows and Levels for nearly thirty years. The pioneer of the application of the "percent-of-flow" approach in West Central Florida that emphasizes the critical interactions where saltwater and freshwater mix as well as the fish and other organisms that depend on it, Sid Flannery was key to the environmental recovery of the Lower Hillsborough River. And for that, we all thank you, Sid Flannery!

Strategies to keep pollutants out of your neighborhood storm water pond
A sign near Lakewood Ranch Town Hall on Lake Uihlein describes the Florida-Friendly Landscaping_ Principle Protect the Waterfront
Many people live in subdivisions with storm water ponds, which collect water from the neighborhood and help keep pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and pet waste from getting into the broader environment. Now, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF | IFAS) researchers and Extension faculty have devised strategies to help homeowners limit their pollution contribution.
Before they crafted the strategies, outlined in a  new Extension document, "Strategies to Encourage Adoption of Storm Water Pond Best Management Practices (BMPs) by Homeowners," UF/IFAS research and Extension faculty surveyed a large planned community in Manatee County, Florida. Among other things, they found that nearly half the homeowners either didn't know what storm water runoff was or did not know where storm water runoff goes.
Paul Monaghan, an associate professor of agricultural education and communication and a co-author of the document, said the survey result is fairly typical of homeowners across Florida and elsewhere. "They see the curb and gutter, and they think the water is going to be treated at a plant," Monaghan said. "They don't really know their water runs off into the storm water pond. It's all accumulating. It matters what you do and what your neighbors do. If we can get homeowners to understand that and know it has an effect, we will be taking a step in the right direction."

Many planned communities in Florida have man-made ponds. Some residents call them lakes. Many people buy homes adjacent to these so-called "lakes" because the property values are higher. But these ponds are designed to collect, store and treat storm water. Pollution in the form of nutrients get to the storm water ponds by falling off of rooftops and car tops and into streets and going into drains that eventually empty into the ponds. But other sources of pollution such as lawn fertilizer get into the ground and leach into ponds.
If too many nutrients get into these ponds, problems arise in the form of algal blooms, fish kills and adverse effects on wildlife, according to the paper. Polluted storm water runoff can also lead to increased maintenance costs and lower property values.
Strategies to avoid high pollution in storm water ponds include:
  • First, educate homeowners about the function of a storm water pond.
  • Use best management practices (BMPs) to keep grass clippings in your yard, sweep them off of sidewalks and driveways and out of streets and gutters.
  • Scoop pet waste and put it in the trash.
  • Make sure contractors are licensed and certified green industry professionals.
  • Extension professionals should help homeowners adopt a low-maintenance shoreline and aquatic plants for ponds.
UF/IFAS Extension and research faculty are currently conducting a follow-up survey in the same Manatee County development in to see if their suggestions to avoid storm water pollution yielded any positive results.

SWFWMD approves regional water supply plan for Central Florida
The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board approved an important water supply plan for Central Florida in November. The strategy charts a long-term course of more aggressive water conservation, expanded and more efficient water reuse projects and alternative water-supply project options to ensure adequate water supplies for the region through 2035. The plan was developed as part of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI), which includes Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and south Lake counties.
Water supply plans identify future water supply needs for a 20-year planning horizon, and programs and projects needed to ensure sustainable supplies. However, the plans do not require that specific projects be implemented. Decisions to choose project options are made at the local level by water supply utilities. The RWSP was also approved by the St. John and South Florida's Water Management District's Governing Boards. The CFWI is a collaborative effort that engages three water management districts, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, central Florida utilities and stakeholders representing agricultural interests, the business community, local governments and the environmental community. The CFWI process identified project options that can meet the region's future water supply needs.
The plans represent more than five years of a coordinated effort led by the CFWI involving many experts in the fields of water supply and water management. More than 6,000 stakeholders participated in the process by attending public meetings and providing comments that helped shape the plans.

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