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Stormwater to Florida's Lake Lafayette Will Be Controlled

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, March 21, 2008 (ENS) – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $85,496 in grant funding to the Ochlockonee River Soil and Water Conservation District to help control stormwater runoff.

The project will capture and clean urban runoff before entering the Lake Lafayette watershed in Tallahassee, as well as provide stormwater education and outreach opportunities in the community.

“Upgrading stormwater systems to provide treatment to remove pollutants in urban neighborhoods built before the state required stormwater treatment is one of the best ways to restore Florida’s rivers, lakes and streams,” said DEP Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration Director Jerry Brooks.

“DEP’s grants promote innovative solutions, including cutting edge technologies, which will help prevent pollution in the future,” he said.

The project involves the construction of a small stormwater treatment facility at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee and will serve as a “live” stormwater lab, used to educate students and the community about best management practices for urban stormwater runoff.

Retention and detention ponds will be constructed, along with several rain gardens, for the treatment of incoming pollutants.

The facility will be maintained and monitored by the faculty and students of the school, serving as a teaching and learning tool.


Lake Lafayette receives runoff from the
city of Tallahassee. (Photo courtesy
Leon County)

Lake Lafayette is a prairie lake located in the coastal lowland in eastern Tallahassee. The Lake Lafayette basin is the most intensively developed of the larger lake basins in Leon County.

This basin contains most of central and northern Tallahassee. It is the most modified major lake basin in North Florida and no longer functions naturally due to human occupation and altering of the lakes.

Lake Lafayette functioned as one hydrological unit until 1948 when the owners of Piney Z Plantation constructed two earthen dikes in the middle of the lake and turned the central part of Lake Lafayette into a farm pond.

More dikes were constructed and the lake was further broken up creating three separated lake sections, beginning its transformation into a vegetated marsh.

Nonpoint source pollution is the largest single cause of impairment to Florida’s waters because it can originate from a variety of sources such as homes, yards, streets and farms. As rain falls on a watershed, it washes contaminants from the land, erodes sediments and unloads them into rivers, lakes, the underground water table, wetlands and coastal areas.

Each year DEP provides about $7 million in nonpoint source pollution grants, using funds provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act, to implement projects or programs that will help reduce nonpoint sources of pollution flowing to rivers, lakes and estuaries.

Funds are used to restore water bodies and make them safe for drinking, swimming, boating, fishing and shellfish consumption. All projects must include at least a 40 percent non-federal match and be cost effective in reducing pollutant loads.

Projects selected for funding are determined by a competitive selection process and may include: demonstration and evaluation of Best Management Practices, public education programs on nonpoint source management, nonpoint pollution reduction in priority watersheds, ground water protection from nonpoint sources, development of constructed wetlands, streambank restoration, improved management of onsite sewage systems, and monitoring to provide water quality data.

Since the approval of Section 319 of the Clean Water Act in 1987, the DEP has awarded more than $102 million to protect and restore Florida’s waters through this grant program.

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