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Water bodies, watersheds and storm water

The district’s role in flooding, storms

The St. Johns River Water Management District works with local governments and other agencies before, during and after a flood event. The district’s role is:

A District engineer inspects a stormwater system in St. Johns County.

A District engineer inspects a stormwater system in St. Johns County.

Drainage improvements

Through its permitting program, the district ensures that new drainage ditches and significant changes to existing ditches are coordinated regionally across county and city boundaries. Such coordination ensures that there are no downstream impacts, such as flooding or water quality degradation. Routine ditch maintenance by local governments, including removal of debris and vegetation, does not require a District permit. Maintenance that alters the historic contours of a drainage system does require a District permit.

Emergency response

During flooding events, the district partners with other state agencies to assist local governments in emergency response and recovery efforts.

Environmental resource permits (ERPs)

The district and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) both have environmental resource permitting programs. These programs ensure that storm water is managed on development sites to avoid off-site water quality and flooding impacts. The program also helps avoid and minimize wetland impacts, preserving the flood-protection benefits of wetlands. If stormwater systems are not maintained and functioning properly after a permit is issued, the district works with permit holders to correct the problems.

Floodplain restoration

The district is restoring floodplain and wetland systems throughout the 18 counties within its service area in north and east-central Florida. The projects focus on restoring and enhancing wetlands for flood protection and wildlife habitat, emphasizing the natural function of the environment with limited reliance on structures such as dams and weirs.

Local government planning assistance

The district assists local governments incorporate flood protection elements into their comprehensive land use plans.

Mapping database

The district uses its geographic information system (GIS) of floodplain and wetland maps in its work with local governments to plan for future growth.

Preserving wetlands

One of several spillways built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and managed by the district as part of its Upper St. Johns River Basin Project.

One of several spillways built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and managed by the district as part of its Upper St. Johns River Basin Project.

The district’s permitting program ensures that wetlands are preserved, enhanced, restored or created, thus protecting their critical flood protection benefits.

Water control structures

The district has no ability to control water levels within communities because it does not have any water control structures within local drainage systems. However, the district does operate and maintain more than 100 major and minor water control structures, including 11 spillways, three navigational locks, approximately 300 miles of levees, and 30 pump stations, such as the Moss Bluff Lock and Dam in Marion County, Lake Washington Weir in Brevard County, Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam in Lake County, the Burrell Lock and Dam in Lake County, and the Harris Bayou between lakes Harris and Griffin in Lake County.


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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922