A Partners In Planning Publication of

  The Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board &  

  The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission 

eNews Issue 24  

           Fall 2016    


In This Issue

Upcoming Meetings
Meet your River Board
Montelione recognized
Turning water off
PCPPs in water
FDEP approves proposal
New at-risk vessel law
4Rs program helps growers use best management practices for fertilizer use
USGS Charts

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Upcoming Meetings

Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board Meetings
9:30a @ Temple Terrace City Hall
City Council Conference Room 
Friday, December 16 

Hillsborough River Technical Advisory Council (TAC) Meetings
1:30p @ Tampa Union Station
Tuesday, October 18 
Tuesday, November 15

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
Lisa Montelione

Vice Chair
Temple Terrace
Grant Rimbey

Al Higganbotham
Hillsborough County Commissioner
Al Higginbotham

Montelione recognized for service to River Board

After six successful years on the Tampa City Council and River Boa
rd, Lisa Montelione is moving on. Fellow River Board and TAC members recognized Councilwoman Montelione for her service at their regular meeting on August 22, 2016. Councilwoman Montelione is the current Chair of the River Board. Her passion for the Hillsborough River and active participation in the River Board to protect and conserve this unique environmental asset for current and future generations will be missed. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

What's easier, turning off water indoors or outside?
Water faucetApparently, it's more convenient for Florida residents to save water while brushing their teeth than to cut back on lawn irrigation, according to a new report from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension report. 932 people deemed to be high-water users in Orlando, Tampa/Sarasota, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale were surveyed. Respondents were asked how often they engage in water-related behaviors.

Among the results, 68 percent saved water when brushing their teeth, but only 29 percent reduced irrigating their lawns in the summer. To put this into context, about 50 percent of Floridians' daily water use is for outdoor purposes, such as landscape irrigation, according to the South Florida Water Management District. The 50 percent figure is 20 percent more than the national average, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Homeowners can do a lot to become more environmentally friendly, including:
  • Learn more about their irrigation system to ensure it is working properly
  • Manage the amount of fertilizer they use to ensure it is applied appropriately
  • Make sure their outdoor systems don't leak
  • Install moisture sensors
  • Get more engaged, and be part of the decision-making process


New method detects low-dose impacts of man-made chemicals in water
In a new study published in the Science Advances journal, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, researchers say they have found a better way to assess the potential impacts of low doses of man-made chemicals - like pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) - on water bodies and their ecosystems. PPCPS are widely released into the world's freshwaters and oceans, where they mix at low concentrations over long time periods and seep into diverse environmental pathways such as surface water, groundwater, drinking water, or soil.

"The end effect could be degradation of aquatic life," said Rafael Muņoz-Carpena, a UF/IFAS professor of agricultural and biological engineering and a lead author of a new UF/IFAS-led study. "Some pharmaceuticals that individually are typically not toxic at even high doses, can damage aquatic life at very low doses when present in complex mixtures often found in natural waters after wastewater finds its way there." Most PPCPs have been found and analyzed in high concentrations individually, but a new test developed by the UF/IFAS-led team detects the effects of the chemicals in low-dose mixtures.

In the study, the team tested their method in a freshwater environment that they created in their lab. They selected PPCPs including antibiotics, caffeine, analgesics and psychiatric drugs. Researchers then mixed those 16 chemicals with blue algae engineered to produce light. They used changes in the light signal to gauge the toxicity of the different mixtures of chemicals in the bacteria.
Scientists found that a handful of the PPCPs in the mixtures, particularly antibiotics and other commonly used medicines, may impede processes such as growth, assimilation of nutrients, photosynthesis, reproduction and more. Results confirm that PPCP mixtures make freshwater ecosystems more susceptible to stresses such as light, temperature, nutrient availability and competition with other organisms.

FDEP approves proposal to change criteria on water pollutants
Water testingThe Florida Environmental Regulation Commission voted to approve a proposal that would impose new criteria on 39 chemicals not currently regulated and change the regulations on 43 other toxics that include carcinogens. The proposal calls for toxic levels to be increased for known carcinogens and decreased for 13 currently regulated chemicals. The proposal was based on science utilized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Environmental groups warn that the changes will allow for dumping of dangerous amounts of chemicals Florida waterbodies. The groups also point out that the new standards are weaker than federal criteria.
The FDEP will send the proposal to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA must approve the rules before they take effect. Several members of Florida's congressional delegation sent a letter to the head of the EPA asking for a public comment period for them to carefully evaluate each proposed change on human health. FDEP defended the proposal by noting the criteria has been reviewed over ten years. Some critics have expressed concern that the proposal is now being considered prior to the state elections in November.
New at-risk vessel law helps manage waterways
sunken boat A new Florida law, approved during the 2016 Session, will enable county and local authorities along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to more effectively manage the state's waterways. The new law, F.S. 327.4107, allows law enforcement officers to issue non-criminal citations to owners who allow their boats to become "at risk" of becoming derelict.
"This law allows officers to take action before a vessel crosses that line between at-risk and derelict, and hopefully prompts the owner to rectify any issues with the vessel before it reaches a state of disrepair," said Phil Horning, FWC's derelict vessel program administrator. "Prior to this law being enacted, officers had to wait until a vessel met the legal criteria for a derelict vessel before beginning any sort of official interaction with the owner."  Under the new law, a vessel is deemed to be "at-risk" if any of the following conditions are observed:
  • Vessel is taking on or has taken on water without an effective means to dewater
  • Spaces on the vessel designed to be enclosed are incapable of being sealed off or remain open to the elements for extended periods of time
  • Vessel has broken loose or is in danger of breaking loose from its anchor
  • Vessel is left or stored aground unattended in such a state that would prevent the vessel from getting underway, is listing due to water intrusion, or is sunk or partially sunk
If an officer observes a vessel with one or more of these criteria, a non-criminal citation may be issued that requires the owner to correct the problem or face stronger penalties after 30 days have passed. If problems are not fixed, non-compliant vessel owners can face additional fines issued every 30 days until they are. Officials expect that this new law will decrease the number of vessels becoming derelict, a problem which continues to burden the state's public waterways.
"Our goal is to keep Florida's waterways safe and protect their environmental stability," said Horning. "We are committed to protecting this valuable resource for the people of Florida and its visitors." The FWC will be assisting state and local governments with derelict vessel removal grants that will be available soon. The grant funding was also approved by the Legislature and Governor during the 2016 Session. Interested applicants may contact the FWC Derelict Vessel Program office at 850/617-9540 or email DVGrant@MyFWC.com for more information.

UF/IFAS 4Rs program helps growers use best management practices for fertilizer use

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have introduced the Four RIGHT (4Rs) program to help Florida growers maximize the use of nutrients and fertilizers while minimizing the impact on the environment. The program helps growers use the right fertilizer in the right place, at the right time, using the right method. The results are less fertilizer use and improved crops.

Right Source | researchers and growers consider the cost, whether an organic substance should be used and the efficiency of the fertilizer. It might also include considering whether a dry or wet fertilizer should be used and how easy it is to use.

Right Rate | researchers suggest agricultural producers test their soil prior to application for annual crops and at least once per year for perennial crops to see how much fertilizer the soil will need. The right rate refers to UF/IFAS recommendations on the amount of fertilizer needed for the crop production season, and is based on extensive research over locations, crops, varieties and years.It also refers to the amount of fertilizer applied at one or several times during the growing season.

Right Placement | means nutrients need to be placed where the plant will have the best access to the nutrients. For most crops, the right placement is in the root zone or just ahead of the advancing root system. Most nutrient uptake occurs through the root system, so placing the nutrients in the root zone maximizes the likelihood of absorption by the plant.

Right Timing | the growth pattern of the crop is taken into consideration as well as the natural changes in nutrient demand during the season. Crop development begins slowly from seed germination or transplanting, then increases through fruiting, and finally slows down at maturation. Anticipating changes in growth and nutrient demand is important so that fertilizer application can be timed to meet the needs of crop plant growth and yield.

All four elements of the 4Rs program work together to help growers farm in the best possible way, because their efforts impact everyone. The 4Rs elements work together to address such things as food security and safety, soil fertility and quality, and non-renewable resources. All of these things have a direct impact on human wellness and quality of life.
4R Inro
4R Intro

USGS Charts