SWIM Plans are important statutory documents in Florida, developed and used by the state’s five Water Management Districts to define strategies for the improvement and management of water quality, quantity, and natural systems in the highest priority water bodies.

Why does this project matter?

This project involved the consolidation and update of seven outdated SWIM Plans and the development of detailed work plans. The projects that will be implemented over the next 15 years will make significant contributions to the restoration and protection of water and biological resources in two critically important coastal river basins in Florida.

What is ESA doing to help?

Consolidating the original SWIM Plans, ESA compiled extensive information for the Suwannee River Basin and the Coastal Rivers Basin, then conducted detailed status and trends analysis for land use/cover; water quality; water quantity and flows; and biological resources.

Because the project was funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the scope of work included the development of a work plan with specific priority projects and an associated funding request to be submitted to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as part of its Restoration Strategy document. The scope of work also included an extensive stakeholder outreach program involving the facilitation of six public meetings.

A total of 73 projects were identified, with the goal of increasing aquifer recharge; decreasing excessive runoff and evapotranspiration; and reducing nitrogen sources. These projects included agricultural BMPs; hydrologic restoration of over-drained lands; and water reuse/conservation.

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This project resulted in development of water and natural resource management plans for the Suwannee River and Coastal Rivers basins, including the identification of 73 specific water quality and natural systems restoration projects to be implemented using funds generated from the settlement of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Doug Robinson, ESA Project Director

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