Aug. 8, 2019

SFWMD Governing Board Votes  to 
Significantly Expand Water Quality Monitoring in 
Northern Everglades Watersheds and Lake Okeechobee
Increased monitoring will help achieve environmental restoration and protection goals set by Gov. Ron DeSantis

Click on the map to download a larger version showing the location of all of SFWMD's water quality monitoring stations.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  -  The South Florida Water Management District  (SFWMD) Governing Board today voted to dramatically expand water quality monitoring within the Northern Everglades watersheds and Lake Okeechobee

These additional water quality measurements help to fulfill the directives of Gov. Ron DeSantis in his Achieving More Now For Florida's Environment Executive Order which directs water management districts to provide data to support statewide water quality efforts. It also helps to fulfill the initiatives of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force convened by Gov. DeSantis to better understand harmful algal blooms in Lake Okeechobee and the coastal estuaries in the Northern Everglades.

"The South Florida Water Management District is glad to support Governor DeSantis' ambitious effort to improve water quality in the Everglades with today's vote to expand our water quality monitoring," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Chauncey Goss. "More scientific data leads to better decisions and helps us achieve more now for Florida's environment. That is why we are investing in a robust scientific monitoring infrastructure, so we can have the most complete picture possible of the health of this great ecosystem to make the best possible decisions to restore and protect it." 

The program will increase the number of monitoring stations from 161 to 243 monitoring sites. SFWMD will monitor water quality across nearly 5.5 million acres, or approximately 8,600 square miles, of Lake Okeechobee and the three Northern Everglades watersheds. In addition to adding sampling sites, the Governing Board also increased the frequency of sampling
Click on the map to see a larger version showing SFWMD's expanded water quality monitoring in Lake Okeechobee.
from monthly to twice a month. They also expanded the parameters of what water quality indicators SFWMD scientists will be measuring, including tracking nitrogen at sites where it was not previously collected and tracking water temperature and dissolved oxygen.

Within Lake Okeechobee, SFWMD will add 11 new monitoring stations as well as increase the frequency of sampling. Additionally, the parameters for what is being measured, such as algal blooms, will be expanded. Also, in the 3.5 million-acre watershed that drains into Lake Okeechobee, SFWMD will add 37 new sites as well as increase the frequency of sample collection and number of parameters monitored. 

In the St. Lucie Watershed on the east coast, SFWMD will add 15 new sites, many of which will measure the local runoff from basins such as the C-23, C-24 and C-44 that provide a significant amount of the nutrient load reaching the St. Lucie Estuary but had not previously been monitored by SFWMD. 

In the Caloosahatchee Estuary on the west coast, SFWMD will add 15 new monitoring sites that will sample twice a month for a wide variety of critical water quality indicators.

All water quality data from the South Florida Water Management District is readily available on the District's website HERE.

To watch a video on SFWMD's water quality efforts click HERE.

For more updates on SFWMD's work:
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith |   rrsmith@sfwmd.gov    |  Office: (561)-682-6197 | Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to  safeguard and restore South Florida's water resources and ecosystems, protect our communities from flooding, and meet the region's water needs while connecting with the public and stakeholders.

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