• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Maps
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Acknowledgement
 Introduction
 Summary and recommendations
 Water resources
 Terrestrial and wetland resour...
 Wildlife resources
 Appendix C: Wildlife species list...
 Bibliography
 Historical resources














Group Title: Special publication
Title: Econlockhatchee River basin natural resources development and protection plan
ALL VOLUMES CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00016653/00001
 Material Information
Title: Econlockhatchee River basin natural resources development and protection plan final report to St. Johns River Water Management District
Series Title: Special publication
Physical Description: 3 v. in 1 : maps (some folded) ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brown, Mark T ( Mark Theodore ), 1945-
St. Johns River Water Management District (Fla.)
Publisher: St. Johns River Water Management District
Place of Publication: Palatka Fla
Publication Date: 1990
 Subjects
Subject: Water resources development -- Environmental aspects -- Florida -- Econlockhatchee River Watershed   ( lcsh )
Econlockhatchee River Watershed (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mark T. Brown ... et al..
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00016653
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA9251
oclc - 26576078

Table of Contents
    Maps
        Map 1
        Map 2
        Map 3
        Map 4
        Map 5
        Map 6
        Map 7
        Map 8
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    Acknowledgement
        Acknowledgement
    Introduction
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Summary and recommendations
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
    Water resources
        Page 1
        Page 1-1
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    Terrestrial and wetland resources
        Page 2
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    Wildlife resources
        Page 3
        Page 3-1
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    Appendix C: Wildlife species list for the Econlockhatchee River basin
        Appendix
        Appendix 1
        Appendix 2
        Appendix 3
        Appendix 4
        Appendix 5
        Appendix 6
        Appendix 7
        Appendix 8
        Appendix 9
        Appendix 10
        Appendix 11
        Appendix 12
        Appendix 13
        Appendix 14
        Appendix 15
        Appendix 16
        Appendix 17
        Appendix 18
        Appendix 19
        Appendix 20
        Appendix 21
        Appendix 22
        Appendix 23
        Appendix 24
        Appendix 25
        Appendix 26
        Appendix 27
        Appendix 28
        Appendix 29
        Appendix 30
        Appendix 31
        Appendix 32
        Appendix 33
        Appendix 34
        Appendix 35
        Appendix 36
        Appendix 37
        Appendix 38
        Appendix 39
        Appendix 40
        Appendix 41
        Appendix 42
        Appendix 43
        Appendix 44
        Appendix 45
        Appendix 46
        Appendix 47
        Appendix 48
        Appendix 49
        Appendix 50
        Appendix 51
        Appendix 52
        Appendix 53
        Appendix 54
        Appendix 55
        Appendix 56
    Bibliography
        Appendix 57
        Appendix 58
        Appendix 59
        Appendix 60
        Appendix 61
        Appendix 62
        Appendix 63
        Appendix 64
        Appendix 65
        Appendix 66
        Appendix 67
    Historical resources
        Page 4
        Page 4-1
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Full Text

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RESPONSIBILITY DEPT. OF WILDLIFE I RANGE SCIENCES P.O. BOX 1702
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ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN
NATURAL RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND
PROTECTION PLAN



VOLUME I
RESOURCE INVENTORIES



Final Report to St. Johns River Water Management District

October 1990


Mark T. Brown and Charles S. Luthin
Center for Wetlands
University of Florida


Joseph Schaefer
Urban Wildlife Program
Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida


John Tucker and Richard Hamann
Center for Governmental Responsibility
University of Florida


Lucy Wayne and Martin Dickinson
SouthArc Inc.
Gainesville, Florida


1











TABLE OF CONTENTS


VOLUME I: RESOURCE INVENTORIES

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Summary and Recommendations

Chapter 1: Water Resources
Chapter 2: Terrestrial and Wetland Resources
Chapter 3: Wildlife Resources
Chapter 4: Historical Resources

Appendix


VOLUME II: REGULATORY FRAMEWORK OF THE ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER

Acknowledgements
Introduction

Land Use Planning and Regulations
Environmental Regulations
Significant Development Structures and Activities
Conclusions

Appendices


VOLUME II: CRITICAL AREAS MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION PLAN

Acknowledgements
Introduction

Management and Development Guidelines
Regulatory Initiatives
Acquisition Suggestions
Summary and Recommendations










ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


We are grateful to Tom Ziegler and the staff of the St. Johns River Water Management District
in Palatka, including John Hendrickson, Hal Wilkening, Lataine Donelin, and Librarian Judith Hunter, for
unfailing attention to and friendly assistance on the project We are particularly indebted to Colleen Logan
(Seminole County Planning Department) and Sherry Hooper (Orange County Planning Department) for their
special help in providing useful resource information for the Econlockhatchee River Basin Natural Resources
Development and Protection Plan project.

We acknowledge the following individuals for sharing information and materials for preparation
of this report:

Wes Biggs (Florida Audubon Society, Maitland)
Ken Bosserman (Friends of the Econ, Winter Park)
Jim Bradner (Department Environmental Regulation, Orlando)
Greg Brock (Florida Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee)
Jim Crall (Orlando Utilities Commisision, Orlando)
Fred Cross (Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, Melbourne)
Jay Davoll (Florida Department of Transportation, Winter Park)
Michael Dennis (Breedlove, Dennis and Associates, Orlando)
Jim Farr (Department of Community Affairs, Tallahassee)
Richard Fowler (Florida Department of Transportation, Deland)
Chris Frye (Osceola County Planning Department)
Albert Gregory (Florida Department of Natural Resources, Tallahassee)
Michael Gilbrook and other staff, (East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Winter Park)
Ellen Hemmert (East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Winter Park)
Jim Hulbert (Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Orlando)
Linda Jennings (Orange County Environmental Protection Department, Orlando)
Herb Kale (Florida Audubon Society, Maitland)
Dainne Kramer (Oviedo Planning Department)
David Kriz (USDA Soil Conservation Service, Orange County)
Roland Magyar (Orlando Planning and Development Department)
Bill Masi (Orange County Engineering Department, Orlando
Donald McIntosh (Donald W. McIntosh Associates, Inc., Orlando)
Rick Smith (Office of the Governor, Tallahassee)
Jack Stout (University of Central Florida, Orlando)
Henry Whittier (University of Central Florida, Orlando)












INTRODUCTION


Managing the Resources of the Econlockhatchee River Basin



This document is the first of three volumes of planning documents prepared for the St. Johns
River Water Management District. It is a Phase I report in the two-phase program to develop a
Basinwide Natural Resources Development and Protection Plan for the Econlockhatchee River. The
three volumes are entitled as follows:

VOLUME I: Resource Inventories
VOLUME I: Economic and Regulatory Framework
VOLUME III: Synthesis: Critical Areas Management and Protection Plan

Volume I contains reports prepared by scientists and planners who studied the environment and
resources of the Econ Basin. Their studies were intended to provide an inventory of and generalized
management suggestions for the resources of the basin that form the basis for preparing a regulatory
framework with which the special qualities and environmental resources of the Econ River Basin might
receive protection.
Studies were undertaken to investigate three basic concerns related to environmental
degradation. This volume presents an inventory and makes management suggestions addressing the
following: (1) protection and enhancement of water quality; (2) protection of biological diversity and
endangered species; and (3) protection of aesthetic, recreational, archaeological, scientific, or economic
values. Each subsection in Volume I is organized to first present the issues surrounding each resource,
review related literature, describe the resource, and finally, make management and regulatory
suggestions to effectively manage and protect the resource. These management suggestions are general
in nature and reflect the level of analysis in this first phase of the overall project. Volume II contains
an analysis of the existing Regulatory Framework of the basin including land use regulations and
planning policies, environmental regulations, and significant development, structures and activities.
Volume III contains specific management and regulatory suggestions gleaned and sharpened from these
Resource Inventories.
Chapter 1 discusses the water resources of the basin. There have been significant changes in
water quality in the Little Econ River over the past several decades--first deteriorating, then showing
marked improvement as state agencies worked to remove sewage outfalls from the river. Better
stormwater management is still needed. The Big Econ River has altered little in quality over the period
of record, but new development within the basin suggests this may soon change.











Chapter 2 is the resource management plan for terrestrial and wetland ecological systems.
Major community types are discussed and the overall landscape scale organization of the basin is given
as a means of developing a rationale for basinwide landscape management.
Chapter 3 discusses wildlife resources of the Econ Basin. Wildlife management should be
approached from two perspectives: protection of habitat and maintenance of viable populations through
landscape-scale wildlife management. This chapter provides the habitat values of the Econ Basin as
well as suggestions for maintaining viable populations.
Chapter 4 presents the historical and archaeological resources of the Econ Basin with emphasis
on the documented Indian sites. Additionally, suggested sites based on soil and elevations are provided
with recommendations for a basinwide survey since this region of Florida has such a large number of
potential sites and few systematic surveys have been completed to date.
While the organization of this report is divided along resource lines for the purposes of efficient
research effort, the authors recognize that it is not a series of separate layers of resources, but an
aggregate... a mosaic of historical resources and wetlands, wildlife, and water whose sum is far greater
than its parts.



Background

In August 1989, the St. Johns River Water Management District contracted with the Center for
Wetlands at the University of Florida to develop a basinwide management plan for the Econlockhatchee
River. Often referred to as the "Econ" River, it is located in the eastern portions of Orange, Seminole,
and Osceola counties in central Florida (see Figure 1) near the rapidly growing Orlando metropolitan
area.
The overall program for development of a basinwide management plan was organized into two
phases. The first phase was to be a five-month study to prepare a Critical Areas Management and
Protection Plan (CAMP Plan) that would provide short-term suggestions for management, regulation,
and acquisition as a first step in developing a long-term management strategy. The second phase will
provide a more detailed look over a longer time period at the basin and its resources, fill gaps in the
knowledge base, and develop a basinwide surface water improvement and management plan.
Concurrent to the work on Phase I, a citizen task force was appointed by the Water
Management District to lend critical insight and public support to the process of developing a Basin
Management Plan.




The Econlockhatchee River Basin



The Econlockhatchee River Basin is located in central Florida, in portions of eastern Seminole,
Orange and Osceola counties (see Figure 1.1). The Big and Little Econlockhatchee rivers divide into










two sub-basins, converge in Seminole County, and flow eastward into the St. Johns River. The Big
Econ River flows from south to north through a basin that is approximately 38 miles long and 25 miles
wide; while the Little Econ River flows from western portion of the basin north and east to the
confluence. Faced with concerns over urbanization of the Econlockhatchee River Basin, especially
within the Big Econ Basin, a fresh look at its resources and its future are necessary. As one of the few
intact river systems in central Florida, its water, wetlands, and wildlife have recently become the focus
of intense scrutiny related to how best to protect its resources in the face of strong development
pressure. Basinwide management that acknowledges the interrelationships between components of wild
landscapes and developed land and that minimizes the impacts of human uses is required. To achieve a
landscape that is simultaneously a place for humans and a wild habitat, and that maintains good water
quality will require an approach to planning, designing, and engineering that is cognizant of the
ecological communities and hydrology of the basin.



The Econ River. A Study in Juxtaposition

Water quality is a telltale sign of how well a landscape is managed. The Econlockhatchee
River exhibits both good water quality and less-than-adequate water quality simultaneously. The Big
Econ, flowing through a relatively undeveloped landscape from its origins in large headwater swamp,
runs clear with few if any water quality problems. The Little Econ, for years impacted by sewage
outfalls from 11 sewage plants, is channelized through much of its headwaters and receives stormwater
runoff from a relatively urbanized watershed.
The challenge is to develop a management scheme that will improve the quality of the Little
Econ and prevent water quality deterioration in the Big Econ. While stormwater management over the
past several years has helped to improve water quality and offers significant protection, the fact still
remains that it is not 100% effective. Better development patterns, better means of trapping and
filtering stormwaters, and better engineering are needed if the Big Econ is to remain the high quality
river it now is, and if the Little Econ is to ever flow clear again.



The Econ Basin: Vital Link in a Regional Wildlands Network

The Econlockhatchee River Basin is strategically located in eastern Orange, Osceola, and
Seminole counties to become the focal point of a regionwide wildlands network and management
program. To the east are the wildland resources of the St. Johns River floodplain, Tosohatchee State
Wildlife Area, and the Orlando Wilderness Park. To the south are the lands of the Desseret Ranch
containing large areas of wetlands; and to the north and east are the wildlands associated with the
Wekiva River system. Because of its location, central to these important regional resources, the Econ
River system is a critical link in a regional network of wildlands that preserve biotic diversity and
ensure access to a wilderness experience for all central Floridians. On the other hand, it could easily
resemble a stumbling block that, because of insensitive development, becomes a broken link in the chain











of wildlands which will someday be as widely known and regarded in the public perception of central
Florida as the theme parks of western Orange County.
Unlike higher relief landscapes to the west, the Econ River Basin is extremely flat and "poorly"
drained. As a result, the water resources of the Econ River are affected to a larger degree by alterations
of surface water flow rates, and groundwater table elevations in the surrounding landscape. Because of
the low relief there are large numbers and total acreage of wetlands that provide surface water storage.
In addition the water table is very close to ground surface for much of each year. Changes, runoff
rates, extent of surface water storage, and levels of groundwaters are possible with development. With
such changes, changes in the quality and quantity of water in the river is likely.
It is the goal of this natural resource development and protection plan to establish a framework
to ensure no net loss of water quality or wetland wildlife species. To achieve this goal, the resources
are first inventoried, their sensitivities documented and management suggestions formulated.
The challenge of developing a basinwide management plan for the Econ Basin is to provide a
framework within which both humanity and nature exist in a partnership relationship where both benefit
from our experience and expertise.



Development Issues

The resource management issues surrounding development of the Econ Basin might be
summarized as follows:
1) Development impacts on surface and groundwater quality and quantity,
2) Development impacts on terrestrial and wetland ecological communities,
3) Development impacts on wildlife, and
4) Development impacts on historical and archaeological resources.

Effective and vital development of the Econ Basin should establish a balance between full
development on the one hand and full preservation of the environment on the other. The balance sought
is one of compatible development at a scale and intensity, and with appropriate environmental
safeguards, that will ensure the long-term viability of the terrestrial and water resources of the basin.
Ultimately, the affairs of humans, their economies and their social fabric depend on the
surrounding environment. It is quite obvious that the tourism and the service economy it stimulates are
dependent upon a healthy environment. Where environmental deterioration has occurred, and where
environmental values are low, economies do not flourish. The greater the environmental values, the
greater the potential for a flourishing economy. That is why it is of utmost importance that the
environment, both the terrestrial and water resources of central Florida, are protected and their continued
health become the concern of all citizens.
Sustaining a healthy terrestrial environment (that is, one which is productive, green, not prone
to erosion, and does not pollute downstream aquatic environments) is an integral part of balancing
development with environmental protection. Increased pollution and erosion of the terrestrial
environment ultimately means increased pollution and sedimentation of the aquatic environment.


1

































































SMiles
Location map of Seminole, Orange, and Osceola counties and the Econlockhatchee
River Basin. The Econlockhatchee River has two main tributaries--the Little Econ and
the Big Econ.


Figure 1.











Scientists and planners associated with this project embarked on this first phase of this study of
the social, cultural, physical, and biological environment of the Econ River Basin with these implications
in mind. Our goals were to discover, study, and communicate the special qualities of the basin that are
important to the economy and citizens of central Florida and to develop management strategies, plans,
and a regulatory framework that would protect those special qualities. Taken one at a time, each of the
Resource Inventories explores the issues, suggests sensitivities, and suggests management alternatives for
individual aspects of the Econ Basin. Taken as a whole, and searching through each for common
suggestions and a collective approach to landscape management, we have produced the CAMP Plan that
is published as Volume III of this tripartite set of planning documents. The following summary is a
synthesis of the most critical issues and collective suggestions from each of the Resource Plans and is
intended as an overview from which an overall strategy for balancing development interests and
environmental protection may be derived.




Summary and Recommendations



Issues and Management Suggestions

In this volume, each of the four issues listed above are discussed separately and management
suggestions are summarized from the resource management plans that follow. The resource
management plans give detailed discussions of the issues and recommendations for management from
which the following have been summarized. Volume III gives not only management suggestions but
also recommended regulatory actions.

ISSUE 1: Development impacts on surface and groundwater quality and quantity
The impacts of urbanization on surface water quality are well known. In general, as the result
of increased runoff from impervious surfaces and other developed lands, stormwaters carry numerous
pollutants and increased nutrient loads; the net result of which is a decrease in water quality in
downstream receiving water bodies.
Groundwater quality is also affected, but probably of greater importance is the lowering of
groundwater tables that results from construction of stormwater management systems. Lowered
groundwater tables in the long run decrease base flows of streams and rivers, cause loss of hydroperiod
in wetlands, and cause drought stress in terrestrial vegetation.
Management Suggestions:
1) Dechannelize streams, rivers, and tributaries of the basin.
2) Manage surface waters based on their nutrient status.
3) Avoid alteration of river and stream flow patterns.
4) Avoid alteration of natural vegetation in stream and river floodways and adjacent
areas.










5) Design stormwater systems as networks of streams and wetlands and increase the use
of wetland retention and detention basins and forested drainage swales.
6) Manage surface and groundwaters to minimize runoff.
7) Protect surficial aquifer levels.
8) Re-hydrate the landscape through recycling of wastewaters on the land in headwater
areas and flatwoods/isolated wetland landscape associations to receive maximum
treatment potential.
9) Maintain separate surface and deep aquifer groundwater systems.
10) Maintain "pre" development hydrology on all developed sites.

ISSUE 2: Developmental impacts on terrestrial wetland ecological communities
The loss of natural lands that may occur in the Econ Basin as developed lands increase will
result from three different mechanisms. First, there will be the direct losses associated with clearing of
vegetation and cuts and fills for building sites, roadways and miscellaneous facilities. Second, there will
be secondary impacts caused by erosion and sedimentation from newly cleared lands and uncontrolled
stormwater runoff. Third, there will be impacts associated with alteration of the landscape hydrologic
regime. In all cases, the net result is increased fragmentation of the landscape, loss of ecologic
functions, loss of visual amenities, and loss of wildlife habitat.
Management Suggestions:
1) Institute a controlled burning program and better controls on burning throughout the
Econ Basin, but especially in the Big Econ Basin.
2) Develop performance standards for the design and construction of stormwater
management systems as natural wetland sloughs and streams to minimize runoff, filter
stormwaters, and maintain high water tables.
3) Begin a program of public education to reinforce the value of natural lands to wildlife
and their scenic qualities in general and of the Big Econ in particular as a means of
focusing public attention on management of the basin.
4) Cluster development whenever and wherever possible to minimize the aerial extent of
clearing.
5) Areas of most intense development should be located at the greatest distance from
surface water bodies and floodplains.
6) Seek protection of best examples of scrub forests, pine flatwoods, and other terrestrial
communities.

ISSUE 3: Development impacts on wildlife
As development spreads across the Econ Basin, local extinctions of wildlife will result from
several mechanisms. Natural habitats will become fragmented into sizes too small to provide adequate
spatial requirements for some species. Genetic viability of wildlife populations in isolated habitat
islands surrounded by development will diminish. Traditional wildlife travel lanes will be severed.
Reductions in landscape diversity will eliminate essential wildlife nesting and feeding areas. The quality
of habitats will decrease as the intensity of land use increases. Noise, cat predation and other factors










associated with encroaching development will penetrate into adjacent natural areas and adversely affect
wildlife. The increase in recreational activities such as canoeing and hiking along the Econ will create
greater disturbances for wildlife.
Management Suggestions:
1) Identify and delineate a contiguous Basin Preserve consisting of large diverse habitat
areas connected by effective corridors.
2) Identify the best lands within the Basin Preserve and place them into public ownership.
3) Develop and implement standards for the Basin Preserve that are compatible with
wildlife protection objectives.
4) Extend boundaries of the Basin Preserve where necessary outside the Econ Basin to
include sites where listed species have been documented.
5) Apply buffers (development set-backs) to significant wetlands within the basin.
6) Design and implement an effective corridor that ecologically connects the southern part
of the Econ Basin to the Tosohatchee State Preserve and Seminole Ranch.
7) Design and construct a system of underpasses for the major roads intersecting the Econ
Basin that will provide for safe passage of wildlife.
8) Develop and implement standards for land uses that minimize impacts on wildlife.
9) Landscape with plants indigenous to communities in the basin and restrict the removal
of understory vegetation so that developed areas will blend into the natural areas.
10) Develop stormwater control ponds that use native emergent vegetation, littoral zones,
and native vegetation along the shore.
11) Develop educational programs and incentives to encourage pet owners to keep pets
confined to their property.

ISSUE 4: Development impacts on historical and archaeological resources
The historical resources of the Econ Basin are poorly documented by comparison with other
areas of the state. Only 17 sites have been recorded within the entire study area, and only four of these
are significant sites. The major reason for this lack of information is the limited amount and level of
surveying that has been completed within the basin. The majority of the recorded surveys consist
primarily of surface inspections along roads, ditches, and streams. Little systematic subsurface testing
has been completed. As a result of this lack of basic data and lack of data collected in a consistent
manner, it is extremely difficult to make valid predictions of the potential losses of historical and
archaeological resources within the basin that may result from development. With development of a
predictive model, targeted areas could be systematically surveyed and other areas given only cursory
attention. The protection of these resources is extremely important, for just like species extinction, loss
of historical resources is forever.










Management Suggestions:
1) Future development projects within areas having high probability of historical
resources should conduct systematic surveys including subsurface testing to locate
cultural resources.
2) Implement a project to develop a predictive archaeological and historical location
model for the basin.


In all, the issues and policy decisions facing the people of central Florida relating to
development of the Econ River Basin are complex and will be difficult to make. The greatest concern
and the toughest question is simply how to balance development interests and environmental protection.
It is the same question faced by all developing regions and growing economies. The Resource
Inventories that follow were researched and written in the hopes that the detailed information they
contain will be of value to the Econ River Task Force, the St. Johns River Water Management District
and the citizens of central Florida as they begin to make the difficult decisions necessary to ensure a
robust economy and healthy environment. Each Resource Inventory contains detailed analysis and
discussion of issues and more detailed regulatory and management suggestions than are summarized
above.











ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN NATURAL
RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND PROTECTION PLAN



Chapter 1

WATER RESOURCES OF THE ECONLOCKHATCHEE.RIVER BASIN


Prepared for

St. Johns River Water Management District


October 1990










Chapter 1


WATER RESOURCES OF THE ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN


Charles S. Luthin & Mark T. Brown





INTRODUCTION




Importance of Water Resources



Along with sunlight and clean air, clean water is often taken for granted. This is especially true in
Florida because of abundant rainfall, numerous spring-fed rivers, and seemingly unlimited supplies of
pure, underground drinking water. The case for water conservation and proper water quality standards
often seems counterproductive and a waste of time and energy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Water is the single most important driving energy of the landscape; both the affairs of humans and the
processes of nature depend upon it.
In earlier times, when the numbers of humans and the spatial extent of their land uses were small, it
was often assumed that "the solution to pollution was dilution." There is a limit, however, and
throughout Florida (especially in central Florida), the limits are being realized. To reverse trends of the
past, to begin the process of restoring good water quality, and to protect existing water quality requires
cooperative efforts on the part of all agencies involved in development regulation and re-evaluation of
old thought patterns. No longer can we assume the land and its resources are unlimited or that the
affairs of humans are somehow apart from the cycles and processes of the landscape mosaic. The
affairs of humans are part of the cycles of the landscape. To better understand how to fit the patterns of
human affairs into a landscape dominated by water, we begin with the hydrologic cycle.




The Hydrologic Cycle



Rainfall powers the hydrologic cycle, recharging the land and surface waterways, and eventually the
deep artesian aquifers. Much of what falls as precipitation is lost to the atmosphere due to evaporation
from land and water surfaces and transpiration by vegetation. That portion which runs off the landscape











(about 25% on the average) develops a network of lakes, streams and rivers that carry valuable nutrients
and organic matter ultimately to the sea.
Human activities that alter this delicate and dynamic cycle at any stage result in impacts throughout
the system. Often the kind and magnitude of these impacts are unknown. Water extracted from one
area results in reduced water quantities elsewhere. Water which is contaminated is eventually carried
downstream or recharged to the Floridan Aquifer, the primary source of much of Florida's drinking
water. The draining of surficial groundwater by ditches and canals lowers the water table for a
considerable distance from the waterway, resulting in the eventual desiccation of adjoining wetlands and
other ecological communities.
The loss of wetlands with their inherent ability to slow flood waters, filter and clean surface runoff,
and maintain hydrologic homeostasis in the local environment further contributes to problems of rapid
runoff, water contamination, soil erosion and reduced base flow of rivers. This is in essence
desertificationn," often read about in relation to the "Third World" but seldom considered a problem in
Florida.



Contaminants

Potential contaminants of surface waters are many. These include inorganic and organic substances,
both naturally occurring and man-made. The variety and quantity of environmental contaminants have
increased in the past several decades as new agricultural and industrial chemicals have been introduced
into the environment. Some of these pollutants are by-products of industrial and/or technological
activities, including complex organic compounds and heavy metals.
The primary nutrients associated with eutrophication of water bodies are phosphorus and nitrogen,
as they are required nutrients for plant growth. Both elements can occur in organic and inorganic form,
but for general purposes in this report reference is made to "Total Phosphorus" (TP) and "Total
Nitrogen" (TN) by combining all forms of these nutrients. Whereas small quantities of these nutrients
are necessary for a healthy aquatic environment, surplus nitrogen and phosphorus can lead to
degradation of water quality due to accelerated plant growth, thereby "choking out" the waterway with
vegetation.
Many diverse organic compounds in water are degraded through biological or chemical processes
requiring (or "demanding") oxygen. One parameter in establishing water quality criteria is Biological
Oxygen Demand (BOD), or the oxygen demand for degradation/decomposition of dissolved or
suspended substances (Brown et al. 1987). A high BOD is an indication of large quantities of organic
compounds in the water; their source may be natural (e.g., wetlands associated with the waterway) or
unnatural (industry, agriculture, urbanization).
In converse, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) is an indication of a healthy river or lake; the higher DO the
better the water quality in supporting higher biological diversity and activity. DO is another parameter
frequently monitored in waterways. DO may be naturally low in blackwater systems.
Various metals are known contaminants of waterways, as they can impair normal biological
processes in numerous species of organisms. These substances usually originate in urban or industrial











areas, and can be extremely toxic in even minute quantities in water systems. Examples include lead,
copper, cadmium, mercury, and many others.



Point and Non-point Source Pollution


Most attention on sources of pollutants in waterways in general, and in the Econ River specifically,
has focused on point sources. Point sources include site-specific discharges from sewage treatment
plants, agricultural drainage canals and ditches, industrial waste discharge points, and channelized runoff
from impervious surfaces. The amount of contamination coming from a point source is relatively easy
to determine, as samples can be taken directly from the area of discharge, and monitored at known
distances from source. Most studies of water quality use a point source (e.g., sewage treatment plant) as
a point of reference for comparisons of nutrient loadings further downstream (e.g., Alt et al. 1974).
As suggested by the name, non-point sources have no single defined site of discharge. Rather, the
origin of non-point pollutants may be over large areas, such as agricultural fields, construction sites,
parking lots, or other surfaces. These pollutants may eventually be concentrated via channelized runoff
or drainage ditches prior to discharge into a stream or river, or may enter a waterway through diffuse
means.
Izzo (1975) uses the EPA definition of non-point source pollution: "A pollutant which enters a
water body from diffuse origins on the watershed and does not result from discernible, confined, or
discrete conveyances." Major agricultural non-point sources of contamination for the Southeast United
States include soil erosion and sedimentation, and seepage of agricultural wastes and man-made
chemicals into the waterways. These can be conveyed to water surfaces by direct runoff, by infiltration
to subsurface water, or by wind (Izzo 1975).
Construction activities near waterways can contribute considerable non-point source contaminants to
the water system. Impacts from construction are most detectable during and immediately following
construction activities. Brown et al. (1987) list three broad classes of construction impacts:
1) Impacts associated with erosion of loose soils and their subsequent deposition in downslope
wetlands (and waterways);
2) Suspended sediment increases in surface waters, resulting in increased turbidity; and
3) Introduction of unusual levels of chemical compounds that may have negative effects on
resident fish and wildlife populations.
The sediments which spill into a water body from construction sites will result in direct negative
biological impacts on the waterway due to increased turbidity, more suspended solids, and
sedimentation. The final water quality effect during the construction phase is related to the release of
chemicals, the levels of which may be harmful to downstream fish and wildlife or negatively affect
ecosystem function. When areas are cleared, runoff increases, carrying with it increased volumes of soil
and sediment (Brown et al. 1987).


L









Water Quality Criteria


Federal and state regulatory agencies (e.g., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Florida
Department of Environmental Regulation) establish standards for nitrogen, phosphorus and BOD levels
in waterways, as well as for numerous other contaminants, for different "classes" of water (Fernald and
Patton 1984, Hand et al. 1988).
A waterway is assigned an overall water quality index (WQI) that represents an average of six
water quality index categories (clarity, dissolved oxygen, oxygen demand, nutrients, bacteria, and
biological diversity) which, in turn, are averages of the component parameter index values taken from a
table of fixed values. The WQI is a percent value; low WQIs have the best quality, and high WQIs
have the worst quality (Hand et al. 1988). Reference is made to WQIs for the several parameters
discussed in this volume.
For the purposes of this report, we have selected three parameters commonly used for water quality
analysis: Total Nitrogen (TN), Total Phosphorus (TP) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD). Both
point and non-point sources contribute to loading of these three nutrients. State criteria for Florida
streams for these three parameters are listed in Table 1.1.



Water Quantity

The Econ River Basin receives on average 50-52 inches of rainfall per year. This rainfall occurs
during a relatively short season; more than 60% falls between June and October (COE 1973). This
short-season rainfall coupled with a relative lack of topography and slightly notched rivers make the
Econ Basin prone to occasional natural floods.
Flood conditions are dependent upon numerous interconnected factors: existing water table level,
level of soil saturation, period and intensity of rainfall, amount of vegetated surface adjacent to the
waterway, and degree of human impact on the natural flow of waters (channelization, dams, urban and
agricultural runoff, point discharges, etc.). Flooding in the Econ Basin is not uncommon at 10-25 year
intervals.
Floods of large magnitude occur due to an unusual combination of meteorologic and hydrologic
phenomena. However, man-made alterations in river basin hydrologic characteristics can also
contribute to increased flooding. For instance, urbanization and associated floodplain
encroachment, if not accompanied by proper design, can increase the rate and volume of runoff
produced during a storm event. (Rao 1986) [emphasis ours]
Drainage and channelization of the Econ River Basin, particularly in the Orlando metropolitan area
and more recently in rapidly developing areas further east and north, could potentially contribute to
increased impacts from major storm events. Large impervious surfaces (parking lots, highways,
buildings, etc.) deflect water during storms. These waters, if not properly diverted and retained
elsewhere, can result in flooding of the natural waterways. Furthermore, removal of vegetation from the














Table 1.1 Florida Stream Water Quality Index Criteria (Percentile Distribution of STORET Data)


GOOD


FAIR


POOR


Best Median Worst
Quality Quality Quality

Parameter* Unit 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%

OXYGEN DEMAND
BOD mg/1 0.80 1.10 1.10 1.30 1.50 1.90 2.30 3.30 5.10

NUTRIENTS
TN mg/l 0.55 0.75 0.90 1.00 1.20 1.40 1.60 2.00 2.70
TP mg/1 0.02 0.03 0.05 0.07 0.09 0.16 0.24 0.46 0.89

METALS
CD ug/1 2 4 8 12 17 20 -- -- 40
CU ug/l 12.5 25 50 75 100 125 -- 250
PB ug/1 50 100 150 200 250 300 -- 1000

Parameters*
BOD = Biological Oxygen Demand CD = Cadmium
TN = Total Nitrogen PB = Lead
TP = Total Phosphorus
Sources: Hand et al. 1986, Hand et al. 1988











soil during construction phases of urban or industrial development will accelerate runoff, thereby
increasing short-period water flow following a period of rainfall.
Ironically, a contrasting problem in the Econ Basin is a significant drying trend throughout the
region. Water drawdown of the surficial water table occurs through pumping (e.g., for agricultural and
urban use), drainage via ditches, and loss of surface storage in wetlands. The huge water needs of the
Orange-Seminole urban area are met by pumping water from the Floridan Aquifer; since this is
ultimately recharged by the surficial waters, a lowering of the Floridan water level causes a drawdown
in the surficial water table. Disruptions of the normal hydrologic balance are most noticeable in the
eastern portion of the Orlando metropolitan area. The rapid urban development of the Orlando area
"will require extensive drainage since a significant portion of the watershed consists of marginal lands
containing a very large number of small swamps" (ECFRPC 1978a). Expanding drainage will result in
further impacts on the natural hydrologic balance. Lowered water tables will result in reduced flow in
the rivers. Reductions in the water table will stress water-dependent vegetation, and may result in its
eventual death. Loss of wetlands will further result in reduced water levels and accelerated runoff
during heavy storms. Finally, a reduction in base flow in the rivers will tend to concentrate
contaminants, thereby accelerating eutrophication of the waterways and degrading water quality.
Steward (1984) states:
Among the natural factors affecting water quality in the southern Middle St. Johns River, water
quantity is most significant. It directly influences water quality through dilution and indirectly
through hydraulic residence times.

With a predicted doubling of population in 20 years, the unnatural stress on the hydrologic patterns
in the Econ Basin due to human perturbations will increase. This will result in greater extremes in
water excesses and shortages. Only through carefully controlled growth and wise resource use can the
water balance in the region be maintained.
Additional summaries are included for three metals: lead (PB), copper (CU), and cadmium (CD).
These three metals are indicators of non-point source pollution, usually from urban areas. Criteria are
listed in Table 1.1.
To avoid losses of water quality and subsequent loss of overall environmental quality, the following
list of principles of good water management are offered as components of a wise water management
program.



Principles of Good Water Management Strategy

Keep deep groundwater and surface waters separate.
Plan activities and developments within, not around, the limitations and capabilities of
existing water resources and cycles.
Conserve water resources at all stages, from consumption to disposition of waste waters.
Allow the water table to maintain its normal fluctuation.
Eliminate sources of contamination in and near sources of water.










Manage surface waters based on their natural nutrient status.
Avoid alteration of river and stream flow patterns.
Avoid alteration of natural vegetation in stream and river floodways and adjacent areas.
Design stormwater systems as networks of streams and wetlands.




Rationale



The Econlockhatchee River Basin is composed of two major subbasins: the Big Econ, which flows
from its origins in a huge, intact headwaters swamp through a relatively undeveloped landscape of pine
flatwoods and wetland sloughs; and the Little Econ, whose headwaters and channelway have been
urbanized for several decades (Map 1.1). In essence, the two tributaries could not be more different.
Much of the Little Econ has been ditched and channelized, and in the past was the receptacle of treated
wastewaters. The Big Econ remains one of the few unchannelized and "pristine" rivers in central
Florida. In these differences there are lessons to be learned. There is still much potential to reverse
trends of the past by restoring the urbanized Little Econ River and protecting the future of the Big Econ.
For years, the Little Econ River has been a waterway of special concern because it once carried
some of the most contaminated waters in the St. Johns River Basin. Eleven years ago the Little Econ
was ranked first of 17 waterways for levels of point source pollution and overall third in priority for
cleanup within the St. Johns River watershed (ECFRPC 1978c). Although the quality of water in the
Little Econ has improved within the past six years as the result of removal of wastewater discharges
(Hulbert 1988) non-point pollution continues to be a major concern within the watershed.
Non-point source pollution from urban stormwater run-off and agricultural drainage is now one of
the most significant water quality concerns within the Econ Basin (FRSC 1985). The problem is
especially acute in the Orlando metropolitan area which constitutes a major portion of the headwaters of
the Little Econ.
In contrast to the Little Econ, the Big Econ has consistently been noted for its clean waters and
pristine condition. In the same study cited above (ECFRPC 1978c), the Big Econ was the lowest ranked
river of concern of 17 within the St. Johns watershed; that is, it was the cleanest of all rivers in the
basin with the least threat of reduced water quality.
Until several years ago, the Big Econ was subject to extremely low pressure from urban
development Presently, however, there are no less than 10 major residential and industrial
developments within its watershed (Map 1.2). These combined developments constitute a major threat
to both water quality and quantity within the river resulting from increased stormwater runoff and loss
of natural filtration due to soil and vegetation disturbance.
Stormwater management regulations within the Big Econ Basin, while requiring reductions of 80%
of pollutant loadings in surface waters leaving developed lands, will still allow increased cumulative
loading of the river. Without a non-point pollutant loading allocation for specific reaches on the entire











basin, the cumulative impacts resulting from the 20% of pollutant loadings allowed could cause
significant declines in water quality.




Scope of the Study



This volume summarizes the water resources of the Econ River watershed, which includes the Big
and Little Econ Rivers and several smaller tributaries and lakes in a three-county area: Osceola, Orange
and Seminole. This information was taken from historic and recent studies of these resources. The
regional climate, hydrological characteristics of the waterways and adjacent areas, flood data, water
quality, and the impacts of recent and future development are discussed.
A special emphasis of this volume is on water quality, as this has been the primary focus of
numerous studies and management activities by state and county agencies, particularly in Orange
County. A significant amount of water quality data over many years exists for the Econ River, these
data are presented in graphic form and summarized to illustrate recent water quality trends and to
highlight historic and potential threats. Several parameters, including Total Nitrogen (TN), Total
Phosphorus (TP), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and several metals (cadmium, copper, lead) will
be discussed for both the Little and Big Econ rivers. Although data exist for numerous other water
quality parameters, these will be analyzed in Phase II of this study.
Very few studies have addressed water quantity in the region, other than its relationship to flood
conditions. Significant drainage has occurred in much of the Little Econ and parts of the Big Econ
(e.g., Ranger Drainage District). This has reduced water table levels in the vicinity, lowered base flow
rates for the river, and resulted in the desiccation and destabilization of wetland areas. Waters of the
Econ Rivers are prone to flooding at frequent intervals, various studies have been undertaken to
delineate floodway, flood prone areas, and floodplains of the rivers (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1973 and ongoing, FEMA 1987); other studies have investigated flood frequency, stage maxima, and
ways to alleviate damage due to flooding within the floodplain (Ghioto et al. 1985, Rao 1985 and 1986).
Water quantity issues are of importance in developing a regional water management plan.











Definition of Terms


Acronyms Used in this Chapter

COE = U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
DER = Florida Department of Environmental Regulation
DNR = Florida Department of Natural Resource
ECFRPC = East Central Florida Regional Planning Council
EPA = Environmental Protection Agency
FRSC = Florida Rivers Study Committee
SJRWMD = St. Johns River Water Management District
USGS = United States Geological Survey




Terms Used in this Chapter



(Definitions from Snell and Anderson 1970, Fernald and Patton 1984)

Aquaclude -- A layer impervious to the flow of water, for example, the thick confining beds between the
surficial and Floridan aquifers.

Aquifer -- A formation or group of formations that is water-bearing. Often called "ground-water reservoir."

Artesian water -- Water under hydrostatic pressure confined in an aquifer by relatively impervious
materials, which rises in a well above the top of the aquifer.

Drainage basin -- An area in which surface runoff collects and from which it is carried by a stream and its
tributaries.

Eutrophic -- Rich in nutrients. When used to describe a body of water, a eutrophic condition often is
accompanied with seasonal deficiencies in dissolved oxygen.

Eutrophication -- The natural aging process which results in the total sedimentation of a water body.
Nutrient enrichment results from eutrophication.

Floodplain -- Relatively level valley floor built of material transported by a stream and deposited beyond
the stream channel during floods.











Groundwater -- Water beneath the land surface in zones of saturation.

Nonartesian water -- Water in the surficial aquifer which is not artesian.

Non-point source pollution -- Pollution that is generated over a relatively wide area (such as a city or
cropland) rather than at a specific site, and that is discharged into receiving waters at irregular
intervals as a consequence of storm runoff.

Oligotrophic -- Deficient in nutrients. When used to describe a body of water, a oligotrophic condition
often is accompanied with abundant dissolved oxygen with no marked stratification.

Piezometric level -- (See potentiometric level.)

Point source pollution -- Contamination from a single source, for example sewage plant discharge or
industrial waste pipeline, discharged into receiving waters generally at a continuous rate.

Potentiometric level -- The level to which water will rise in tightly cased wells that penetrate aquifers.

Potentiometric surface -- The cumulative levels to which water will rise in an infinite series of imaginary
wells that penetrate the same confined aquifer.

Recharge -- Water added to an aquifer by infiltration of precipitation into the soil or rock, by seepage
through the soil or sinkholes, by seepage from streams and other surface water bodies, by flow from
one aquifer to another, and by artificial introduction into recharge wells.

Runoff -- The part of precipitation that appears in surface streams after having reached the stream channel
either by surface or subsurface routes.

Surface-water discharge -- The rate of flow of streams, expressed in cubic feet per second (cfs).

Surficial aquifer -- (See Water Table.)

Water table -- The surface of an unconfined aquifer, defined by the level at which water stands in wells
that penetrate the water body far enough to hold standing water.


1-10












Review of Literature



Physical Characteristics of Econlockhatchee River System

The Econlockhatchee (Econ) River Basin is comprised of the Big and Little Econ Rivers and 83
small to large lakes (Map 1.1). The Big Econ River, a typical blackwater system, originates in an
extensive flat lowland in northern Osceola County, the Econlockhatchee Swamp. The Big Econ,
intermittent south of SR 50, flows northward 35.8 miles through eastern Orange County into
southeastern Seminole County, then eastward into the St. Johns River, south of Lake Harney. The Little
Econ originates in the relative highlands of central Orange County on the eastern edge of the Orlando
metropolitan area. The Little Econ is 14.8 miles long and drains an area of 71 square miles (18,389
hectares or 45,420 acres) (Lichtler et al. 1968 and Gerry 1983).
The total watershed covers approximately 260 (Snell and Anderson 1970) to 280 sq. mi. (72,520 ha
or 179,000 acres) (Alt et al. 1974, ECFRPC 1978a), and is the second largest tributary of the Upper St.
Johns River Basin. (The Econ River is considered by some as the southern limit of the Middle St
Johns River Basin, e.g., FRSC 1985.)
The headwater elevation of the Big Econ is 68 feet above mean sea level (msl). Much of the Big
Econ drains a region of coastal lowlands called the Osceola Plain. This broad, flat plain reaches its
highest elevation (90 feet msl) at the western edge of the Big Econ watershed and its lowest elevation in
the Econ River Valley (30 feet msl). This north-south aligned ridge of slightly rolling hills forms a
divide between the Big and Little Econ watersheds. The Osceola Plain is characterized by nearly level
topography, very poorly drained soils (Manatee, Delray, Leon, Rutledge, Plummer), and scattered
swamps with limited flow (Alt et al. 1974, Knockenmus 1975, ECFRPC 1978a). The average fall
gradient for the Big Econ is 1.8 ft/mi. (Gerry 1983).
The headwaters of the Little Econ near Conway Manor and Azalea Park drain eastern Orlando.
The southern reaches of the Little Econ are underlain with somewhat poorly drained soils (Leon,
Immokalee, Pomello, and St. Johns), whereas the northern portion occurs on moderately drained soils.
These latter soil types (Lakeland, Eustis, Blanton, and Orlando) constitute recharge soils (ECFRPC
1978a). The Little Econ is a typical blackwater system, as it has traditionally drained swampland.
Little remains of the original stream channels at the headwaters, as the Little Econ is now a series
of box-cut drainage ditches in much of Orange County (Fitzgerald et al. 1988). Elevations range from
50 to 90 feet msl, and fall gradient is 3.5 ft./mile. Elevation at the confluence of the Little Econ with the
Big Econ at State Road 419 in Seminole County is 25 feet msl (Gerry 1983).
Several miles past the community of Oviedo the Econ River makes an abrupt eastward turn south of
the Geneva Hill, at which point the river channel changes from a broad, flat valley to a valley with
steep narrow walls. The river cuts through the escarpment dividing the Osceola Plain and the Eastern
Valley and debouches into the St. Johns River (White 1970, Knockenmus 1975). The elevation at the
confluence with St. Johns is 5 feet msl (U.S. Army COE 1986).










Climate of the Econlockhatchee River and Vicinity


Climatic and rainfall data for the St. Johns River Basin, which includes the Econ River system,
have been gathered and summarized by the St Johns River Water Management District and published as
several technical publications: Rao et al. (1984), Rao and Clapp (1986), Jenab et al. (1986), and Rao et
al. (1989). Ghioto et al. (1985) summarizes rainfall data in relation to flood conditions.
The climate of this region is characterized as subtropical; the average annual temperature is 22C
(71'F) (Knockenmus 1975). Average rainfall was between 50.04 inches (Orlando area) and 52.41 inches
(Bithlo) for a 38-year period 1947-84. The eastern region of the watershed receives slightly more
rainfall than in the west. The majority of this rainfall occurs during a four-month period, June through
September. Using the 1947-84 data for rainfall at Bithlo and Orlando, an average of 28.99 inches
(57%) was recorded for these months (Jenab et al. 1986). The months of November through May are
considered the dry season (Rao et al. 1989). These rainfall patterns have an important influence on the
flow rates of the Econ River, which may fluctuate widely over a 12-month period.
The region is susceptible to occasional brief periods of extremely high rainfall, which may result in
varying degrees of flooding. Twenty-four hour, high rainfall events have reached 12.05 inches (Bithlo
1961) and 11.86 inches (Orlando 1951) in the past 40 years. Ten-day highs in rainfall were 15.36
inches and 18.62 inches for Bithlo and Orlando, respectively (Rao and Clapp 1986).



Water Resources of the Econlockhatchee River Basin

White (1970) describes the geomorphology of the Florida Peninsula. Original hydrologic studies
that encompassed the Econlockhatchee River Basin were prepared by Snell and Anderson (1970) for
Northeast Florida, by Joyner et al. (1968), Lichtler et al. (1968) and Tibbals and Crain (1971) for
Orange County, and by Stubbs (1938), Heath and Barraclough (1954), Barraclough (1962) and Tibbals
(1976) for Seminole County. Additional hydrologic studies that have covered the Econ Basin include
Anderson and Hughes (1975), Knockenmus (1975), Foose (1983), Rao et al. (1984), Phelps (1984),
Phelps and Rohrer (1987) and Skipp (1988).
The Econlockhatchee River Basin is underlain by two distinct aquifer systems, the uppermost
surficial (nonartesian) aquifer and the deeper Floridan (artesian) Aquifer. The surficial aquifer is 40-
100 feet thick and is composed of fine quartz sands (late and post-Miocene sediments) which become
finer with depth, eventually dominated by low-permeability clays. Generally, below 20 feet this aquifer
contains a zone composed partially or entirely of shells with considerable permeability (Tibbals and
Crain 1971, Knockenmus 1975).
A confining layer 10-150 feet thick composed of clay often mixed with sand and shells lies below
the surficial aquifer. This is the Hawthorn Formation of Miocene age (Stubbs 1938, Barraclough 1962).
This relatively impermeable layer separates waters from the surficial and Floridan aquifers (Joyner et al.
1968).
The Floridan Aquifer is from 100 to 350 feet below the surface, and is composed of dolomitic
limestone of Eocene age. This layer ranges from 1300 to 2000 feet thick, and supplies the majority of










drinking water in Seminole and Orange counties (Joyner et al. 1968, Lichtler et al. 1968, Tibbals and
Crain 1971).



Surficial Water

The surficial water table is usually within 0-20 feet of the surface over much of the Econ Basin,
although it may be slightly lower in areas of highest elevation (Knockenmus 1975, Phelps and Rohrer
1987). In much of the basin, where pine flatwoods predominate, the water table is at or near the surface
for much of the year (Tibbals 1976).
The surficial aquifer is recharged primarily by local rainfall. Water leaves the aquifer by
evapotranspiration (as much as 70% of total rainfall) from open water surfaces and vegetation, seepage
to lakes and rivers and by human extraction from wells or drainage ditches (Joyner et al. 1968). The
water table has been lowered by drainage ditches in many urban and agricultural areas (Tibbals 1976).
Downward leakage of water into the Floridan Aquifer is negligible in many parts of the basin due
to limited permeability of the confining layer (Lichtler et al. 1968, Knockenmus 1975). However,
certain regions of the Econ Basin have a thinner and/or more permeable confining layer between
surficial and Floridan aquifers. In these areas, and where the potentiometric surface is below the water
table, there is recharge to the Floridan Aquifer from the surficial aquifer. The areas of highest recharge
to the Floridan Aquifer within the Econ Basin are eastern Orlando south to Lake Conway (Orange
County) and the Geneva Hill (Seminole County) (Phelps 1984, Phelps and Rohrer 1987). The majority
of the Upper Econ Watershed contains areas of low to moderate recharge, and the Lower Econ below
the confluence of the Little and Big Econ rivers has virtually no recharge to the Floridan (Phelps 1984).



Floridan Aquifer

The Floridan Aquifer is the major source of fresh drinking water throughout much of central and
north Florida. Because this water is under pressure due to the impermeable aquaclude above it, water
will rise above the top of the aquifer when penetrated by a well. The level to which water rises under
such conditions is called the piezometric or potentiometric level. If the potentiometric level is above the
surface of the land, water tends to flow freely from a well at that point Many Florida springs are
artesian flow of water from the Floridan Aquifer through thin, permeable or noncontinuous confining
sediments.
In the Econ River, the potentiometric surface ranges from 60 feet below the land surface in areas of
high relief (e.g., eastern Orlando) to several feet above the land surface near the St. Johns River (Joyner
et al. 1968, Lichtler et al. 1968).
The Floridan Aquifer is not recharged by waters from as far away as Georgia as is commonly
believed, but rather almost entirely by rainfall within the region. Recharge occurs when the Floridan
Aquifer is relatively close to the surface, when the confining beds are thin or permeable, and when the
water table is higher than the potentiometric surface creating a "downhill" gradient Recharge potential


1-13











within the Econ Basin varies from good in western portions of the Little Econ Basin to poor in most of
the Big Econ River (Phelps 1984).



Big Econ River

Until recent years, the Big Econ has remained in relatively pristine condition with limited impacts
due to development. The majority of activities in the Upper Big Econ up to the 1970s had been grazing
and some agricultural use (citrus groves).
The Ranger Drainage District, a major drainage project encompassing more than 6,000 acres east of
the Big Econ in Orange County (Alt et al. 1974), was constructed in the early 1970s. Secondary and
tertiary canals form a drainage network throughout the area; these empty into straight canals which lead
directly into the Big Econ or smaller tributaries (SJRWMD 1980b).



Little Econ River

The water quality of the Little Econ, has received considerable attention throughout the past three
decades. Reports include: Smith et al. (1954), Goolsby and McPherson (1970), Kaleel (1972), Alt
(1974), Izzo (1975), Auth (1976), ECFRPC (1978a, 1978b, 1978c), SJRWMD (1979, 1980), Seminole
County (1982), Hand and Jackman (1982), Gerry (1983), Hand and Jackman (1984a, 1984b), Steward
(1984), ECFRPC (1985), Fall (1985), Hand et al. (1986), U.S. Army COE (1986), Fitzgerald et al.
(1988), Hand et al. (1988), and Hulbert (1988).
In direct contrast to the Big Econ, the Little Econ has been one of the most heavily impacted
waterways within the SJRWMD. Many miles of the original watercourse have been channelized,
essentially creating a network of drainage ditches carrying surplus waters from the Orlando metropolitan
area into the Econ system and ultimately to the St. Johns River.
For many years, the Little Econ received much treated sewage effluent from the Orlando
metropolitan area. Prior to 1978, no less than 12 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in eastern Orlando
were delivering a total of nearly 8 million gallons per day (MGD) of secondarily treated wastewater
directly to the Little Econ. The total existing capacity at the time was 13.4 MGD with an additional 4.8
MGD proposed. At the time that was the highest domestic wastewater load for the entire St. Johns
River Basin (ECFRPC 1978a).
Aggravating the problem of sewage effluent in the Little Econ was urban runoff carrying surface
pollutants from the Orlando area into the Econ Basin. Since the river is channelized in much of its
headwater zone and the original vegetation cover was altered, the normal filtering "service" of natural
wetlands adjacent to the river was lost and the runoff discharged directly into the river and washed
downstream. This has contributed a significant load of contaminants to the already overtaxed waterway
(Seminole County 1982, Gerry 1983, Steward 1984).
Numerous reports have detailed the historic conditions of the Little Econ River. Its pollutant
loading has been so great that, despite considerable dilution by the Big Econ at the confluence with the


1-14










Little Econ near Oviedo, the Econ waters have had detrimental impact on Lake Harney in the St. Johns
River system 20 miles downstream (Goolsby and McPherson 1970, Alt et al. 1974, Auth 1976,
ECFRPC 1978a, SJRWMD 1979 & 1980, Seminole County 1982, Hand and Jackman 1982 & 1984b,
Gerry 1983, COE 1986). The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission considered the Econ
River the single most disruptive influence on the Upper Basin [of the St. Johns River]; a massive fish
kill (ca. 10 million) in 1980 below Lake Hamey was attributed to the nutrient loading in the Econ River
(Gerry 1983).
Considerable improvement in average water quality was observed following the completion of
Orlando's 24 MGD capacity Orlando Easterly Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) Sewage Treatment
Plant (STP) in 1977 (ECFRPC 1978c), and the 24 MGD Iron Bridge Regional Wastewater Treatment
Plant in January 1982 which began tertiary treatment of 12 MGD of sewage originally treated at the
Bennett Road STP. Additional lines from other STPs to Iron Bridge were completed in the subsequent
year or two (Gerry 1983, Hand et al. 1986). As a result, the quality of water in the Econ River has
improved considerably compared to the previous two decades.



St. Johns River

The Econ River is a major tributary of the Upper (Middle) St. Johns River. Many of the studies of
water quality in the St. Johns River, therefore, have included specific information about the Econ. The
highly eutrophic conditions in Lake Hamey, which originates shortly below the mouth of the Econ
River, have been directly related to significant nutrient loading from the Econ River for decades
(Goolsby and McPherson 1970, ECFRPC 1978b, Gerry 1983).
Whereas "the area from Lake Washington Dam [on the St. Johns River] to the confluence with the
Econ River is generally in fair condition," Hulbert (1988) continues,
This [Econ] drainage system, in the past, has been a source of nutrients from urban runoff and
effluents from sewage treatment plants to downstream Lake Harney. Lake Harney has
experienced accelerated eutrophication consisting of massive algal blooms causing pea-soup
green water, especially during the summer.
Furthermore, the Florida Rivers Study Committee (1985) appointed by the Governor stated that
Lake Harney has been, "plagued with intermittent destabilizing events associated with eutrophication
(algae blooms, highly fluctuating D.O. [dissolved oxygen] levels, and fish kills)."
In its Draft Upper St. Johns River Basin Surface Water Management Plan, the SJRWMD (1978b)
reports that
The high levels of phosphorus at SR 46 appear to be due to the influence of the
Econlockhatchee River, which had an average total phosphorus concentration of 1.5 mg/l
(milligrams per liter). This is nearly 17 times higher than the average for the basin (0.09 mg/1).
[emphasis ours]
In discussing water quality on the Middle St. Johns River during the 1980-81 drought, Steward
(1984) states, "...the Little Econ River contributed significantly to nutrient levels in the St. Johns
downstream from its confluence, particularly during low flows." Although total phosphorus levels











decreased in Lake Harney between 1975 and 1979, they increased two- to threefold during the 1980-81
drought Total nitrogen, rising since 1974 in Lake Harney, doubled the 1974-75 level during the same
drought. Steward (1984) concludes:
During low flow months the Econ has its greatest impact on Lake Harey as a result of
lowered dilution of nutrient loads from treated sewage effluent.


1-16












RESOURCE DESCRIPTIONS


Water Quality



One of the greatest issues facing the Econ River Basin is related to restoration and maintenance of
water quality. Many aspects of human activity in the region are dependent upon this single resource.
Clean water is required for individual use and consumption, for use in industry and agriculture, for
recreation, and for the maintenance of ecological function. Water use and consumption inevitably
results in the production of waste waters, which must be properly disposed of if negative impacts to the
clean water supply are to be avoided. Termed point sources of pollution, waste waters result from
industrial processes, human waste treatment plants, and some agricultural operations such as feedlots.
Development of lands within a river's watershed can affect both the quantity and quality of surface
waters that drain into the water course. Referred to as non-point source pollution, stormwater runoff
from developed lands carries with it many constituents that can degrade water quality if present in
sufficient quantities. The data suggest that the Big Econ is relatively unimpacted by non-point source
pollution. Its watershed, especially its headwaters, have until recently remained undeveloped. Current
development trends, however, suggest that changes in its "pristine" character are in the offing. On the
other hand, water quality in the Little Econ is significantly below that of the Big Econ despite
considerable improvement in the past five years.
As the discussion which follows demonstrates, water quality in and downstream from the Econ
River has historically been degraded. Although some positive changes have taken place in recent years,
considerable threats to the future regional water quality and supply exist.



Water Quality Analysis

Water quality data for the Econ River System have been recorded for many years by state and
county agencies. Summaries of these data have appeared in numerous reports (e.g., Alt et al. 1974,
Seminole County 1982, Gerry 1983, Steward 1984, Fall 1985, Hulbert 1988). This report summarizes
recent water quality data from 1972 to 1988 for the Econ River, taken from 14 sample sites: six sites
along the Big Econ upstream from the confluence with the Little Econ, six sites along the Little Econ,
one site at the confluence, and one site below the confluence. These sample sites are described in Table
1.2 and located on Map 1.1.
The data are stored in EPA's "STORET," a nationwide data base of water samples that include
those of Florida state and county agencies. The STORET identification codes for the sites used in this
report are included in Table 1.2. The data were analyzed and plotted by the St. Johns River Water
Management District. Raw data for Figures 1.1 to 1.6 exist in tabular form in Appendix A-1.


1-17


I










Table 1.2 Econlockhatchee River Water Quality Sample Site Descriptions (See Map 1.1 for
locations.)


BIG ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER

Sample Storet Primary Station # Location and Description
Site # (Agency Code)


BEH (FLORAN)
SOR58010 (FLWQA)

BEA (FLORAN)
SOR58020 (FLWQA)

BEG (FLORAN)


BEF (FLORAN)
SOR58030 (FLWQA)

BEB (FLORAN)
SOR58040 (FLWQA)

BEC (FLORAN)
SOR58050 (FLWQA)

BED (FLORAN)
SOR58120 (FLWQA)

BEE (FLORAN)
SOR58130 (FLWQA)
ECH (21FLSJWM)

LEE (FLORAN)

LET (FLORAN)
SOR58060 (FLWQA)

LEH (FLORAN)
SOR58080 (WQA)

LEP (FLORAN)

SOR58100 (FLWQA)

LEZI (FLORAN)
SOR58110 (FLWQA)


Big Econ R. at Weewahootee Rd., Orange Co.


Big Econ R. at Beeline (528), Orange Co.


Big Econ R. at powerline rt-of-way, below Ranger D.D., Orange
Co.

Big Econ R. at "Old Cheney", SR 50, near Bithlo, Orange Co.


Big Econ R. at SR 420, Orange Co.


Big Econ R. above confluence with L. Econ R., Seminole Co.


Big Econ R. confluence with L. Econ R. at bridge, SR 419,
Seminole Co.

Econ. R. at Snowhill Rd., Chuluota, Seminole Co.



Little Econ R. at North-South Canal, SWD 2, Orange Co.

Little Econ R. at gauging station, Berry-Deese Rd., SWD 6, Orange
Co.

Little Econ. R. at SR 50, above Orlando STP, Orange Co.


Little Econ R. at Econlockhatchee Trail, below STP, Orange Co.

Little Econ R. upstream from Iron Bridge STP, Seminole Co.

Little Econ R. 100 yds below Iron Bridge STP, Seminole Co.










For the purposes of this report, three parameters commonly used for water quality analysis: Total
Nitrogen (TN), Total Phosphorus (TP) and Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD). Both point and non-
point sources contribute to loading of these three nutrients. State criteria for Florida streams for these
parameters are listed in Table 1.1 Additional summaries are included for three metals, lead (PB),
copper (CU) and cadmium (CD). These three metals are indicators of non-point source pollution,
usually from urban areas. Water quality criteria are also listed in Table 1.1 for these metals.
Figures 1.1 to 1.6 illustrate trends in TN, TP, and BOD for the Econ River prior to and after 1984.
Between 1982 and 1984, the 24 MGD Iron Bridge Regional Advanced Water Treatment Sewage
Treatment Facility came into operation, diverting wastewaters from Orlando-area secondary treatment
plants for tertiary treatment. The secondary STPs have since gone off-line. Conversion to advanced
wastewater treatment was a turning point in water quality in the Econ River. The figures represent data
averaged from 1972-83 ("pre-1984"), prior to Iron Bridge, and averaged during 1984-88 ("post-1984").
A Median Water Quality Index (WQI) value of 50% ("fair" water quality) is shown on several
graphs as a standard of reference for the various parameters discussed. These values are taken from
Florida Water Quality Index Criteria listed in Table 1.1.
There are obvious differences in water quality between the Little Econ and the Big Econ for all
three parameters prior to 1984 (Figures 1.1, 1.3, 1.5). Water samples at each site along the Little Econ
were in excess of the median value for TN, TP and BOD. These same parameters were within median
values for the entire Big Econ upstream from the confluence with the Little Econ, suggesting a river in
excellent condition during the period 1972-1983.
Although the levels of all three contaminants dropped after 1984, the median values are still
exceeded in the Little Econ and Lower Econ (downstream from the confluence). Discussions of each
parameter for both sample periods follow.

Nitrogen. Total Nitrogen Concentrations along the Little Econ were above the 80% WQI value (poor),
and four of the six were above the 90% value, or "worst quality" before 1984. A large increase in
nitrogen levels between sites C and D undoubtedly reflects the discharge from the Orlando STP (which
has subsequently been phased out).
Before Iron Bridge came on-line, there was so much nitrogen loading upstream from the confluence
of the Big Econ that even after the rivers met and waters mixed, TN levels were still in the "worst
quality" category (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). These high nitrogen levels have been implicated in
eutrophication of Lake Hamey many miles downstream (Hulbert 1988). In the past two years that
nitrogen levels downstream from the confluence of the two rivers have begun to compare with TN
levels of the Big Econ upstream from the Little Econ (Figure 1.2).
Figure 1.2 shows a doubling of TN concentration in 1981 compared to the previous year for the
Little Econ River. The period 1980-81 was a period of drought which resulted in reduced flow rates in
the Upper St. Johns River system, including the Econ River (Steward 1984). Annual rainfall in Orlando
for 1980 was 41.2 inches, almost 10 inches below normal (50.85 inches). Furthermore, rainfall in 1981
was more than 3 inches below the mean (Rao et al. 1989). A similar doubling of TN in Lake Harney
on the St. Johns below the Econ River was observed during the drought years 1980-81, probably
reflecting water quality conditions in the Econ. Whereas the total nitrogen loading likely remained










much the same or increased slightly in 1980-81 compared to previous years, the increase in apparent TN
concentration may be a result of flow rate reductions and reduced dilution of nutrients. The Little Econ
seems to be particularly prone to low flow that may be the result of loss of wetlands in its headwaters,
channelization which has increased the efficiency of drainage, and increased wet season runoff.
Total nitrogen in the Big Econ prior to 1984 consistently hovered near the median value (Figures
1.1 and 1.2); these slightly high values probably reflect a natural nitrogen level in the blackwater
system, although there may have been some loading due to grazing by cattle or other agricultural
activities in the basin. Interestingly, the Big Econ did not experience any significant changes in TN
concentration during the 1980-81 drought as did the Little Econ. This is further indication of a healthy
river experiencing little supplemental nutrient input.
Nitrogen levels decreased in the Little Econ after 1984 (Figure 1.1). Only at sample sites E and F
(above and below the Iron Bridge STP) were the nitrogen levels excessively high, above the 90% WQI
value ("worst" quality). These high nitrogen levels remained above the WQI at the confluence with the
Big Econ. Figure 1.2 indicates that there may be a recent reduction in nitrogen loading in the Little
Econ.
Nitrogen levels in the Big Econ remained near the standard median value during the post-1984
period, rising above the median only after the confluence. This has further improved in the past two
years (Figure 1.2).

Phosphorus. Total phosphorus in the Little Econ prior to 1984 exceeded the "worst quality" value at
four of six sample sites (Figure 1.3). During the same time period, phosphorus in the Big Econ
remained at a relatively stable level near the median value. Phosphorus levels below the confluence
were well above the 80% WQI prior to 1982 (Figure 1.4). Total phosphorus more than tripled below
the confluence of the Little and Big Econ during the drought period 1980-81, compared to the previous
year (Figure 1.4).
During the post-1984 period, phosphorus levels dropped considerably in the Little Econ (Figure
1.3). The point source loading between sites A and B and between C and D prior to 1984 were
subsequently eliminated, and phosphorus levels decreased at these sites. The relatively high values for
phosphorus are consistently in the "poor" category for these WQI values.
The reduction of distinct peaks in Figure 1.3 (post 1984) in the Little Econ suggests that point
source pollution has been curtailed; the remainder of phosphorus likely comes from non-point sources
from the urban areas drained by that portion of the Little Econ. The phosphorus levels in the Big Econ
during the post-1984 period were almost identical to those prior to 1984 (Figures 1.3 and 1.4),
indicating that land use has probably changed little during the past two decades. Figure 1.4 shows a
general reduction in overall phosphorus levels in the Lower Econ River with time.

BOD. BOD levels in the Little Econ before 1984 varied from site to site, but were extremely high
along its entire course to the Big Econ (Figure 1.5). A surge in BOD between sites C and D is related
to discharge from a former STP. All six sites had WQI values above 80% ("poor") and three above
90% ("worst" quality). BOD at the confluence of the Big and Little Econ Rivers was also in the poor
category during this period. BOD, as with TN and TP, increased three-to fourfold in the Econ River










during the drought years 1980-81 (Figure 1.6). Again, a reduction in flow in the river likely resulted in
higher concentrations.
Median concentrations of BOD in the Big Econ appear somewhat higher than the median WQI
value prior to 1984 (Figure 1.5). The peak during drought year 1981 has undoubtedly skewed the
average BOD value for the Big Econ during the pre-1984 period, suggesting a higher BOD loading than
what may have actually occurred. BOD levels were slightly higher at the headwaters of the Big Econ
(Figure 1.5) compared to downstream, reflecting the naturally high biological activity in the river. The
BOD levels decreased slightly further downstream until the confluence with the Little Econ.
Post-1984 BOD levels are rather high for both the Little and Big Econ rivers. The BOD levels in
the Little Econ and downstream from the confluence are still considered "poor." Variations in seasonal
rainfall and subsequent runoff may influence levels of BOD and the other nutrients; drought years tend
to result in higher BOD loading in the river.

Metals. Figures 1.7, 1.8, and 1.9 illustrate the percent of time that cadmium (CD), copper (CU) and
lead (PB) levels exceeded the standards set for these parameters in samples from the same sites along
the Little and Big Econ rivers. Specific values are not plotted, but are listed in Appendix A-2. The
data do not suggest any clear differences with respect to tributary in CD and CU concentrations. Lead,
a common contaminant of urban and industrial zones, shows progressively increasing exceedences from
upstream to downstream along the Little Econ River. These values are consistently higher than from the
Big Econ. Lead is one trace metal so ubiquitous in urban surroundings that this is a good indicator of
specific land use activities; the same is not true for copper and cadmium.



Point vs Non-point Source Pollution in the Econ Basin

Most discussions of, present and future water quality problems in the Econ River Basin suggest
non-point source pollution originating primarily from urban sources in rapidly developing areas as the
primary problem. The following are a selection of comments supporting this concern.
"...better technology, increased efficiency, and increasing regulations will soon minimize their
[point source] effect on the environment. ...non-point source pollution appears to be the prime
cause of water quality degradation. Stormwater run-off, agricultural drainage, and the many
waterfront lots contribute the majority of pollutants to [Seminole] County waters." (Seminole
County 1982) [emphasis ours]

"Much of the nutrient loading into the southern Middle St. Johns River [including the Econ
River] is of non-point origin.... Despite efforts toward reducing point source discharges, net
increases in phosphorus and BOD, loadings are expected as urban development in the basin
continues, ...primarily through non-point source urban runoff." (Steward 1984) [emphasis ours]











"Land use intensification, particularly the urban expansion in Seminole County and in the Econ
River basin (Orlando metroplex) is the most important factor deleteriously affecting water
quality." (Steward 1984)

"Nutrient and coliform levels have improved in the Econ in recent years, probably due to
improvements in sewage treatment plants. However, increases in non-point source pollutant
loadings are expected to offset reductions in point source loadings as urbanization continues."
(Fall 1985) [emphasis ours]

"Studies have concluded that mitigation of point sources alone is not sufficient. Non-point
sources from urban, agricultural, and silvicultural activities are significant and may dominate
the total nutrient input." (Governor's Florida Rivers Study Committee 1985) [emphasis ours]

"... untreated urban stormwater and cattle grazing in the area [Econ River above Lake Harney]
continue to pose a problem." (Hand et al. 1988)

Steward (1984) states that "urban-related annual loadings for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus
(TP) and biological oxygen demand (BODs) are expected to nearly double by the year 2000;" this
parallels the projected doubling of the human population in the basin within 20-30 years.
The greatest potential immediate non-point source pollution loading may come from the large
number of extensive developments, some considered "Developments of Regional Impact" (DRIs), both
for residential and industrial expansion, which are either under construction or are planned for the Econ
River basin south of Oviedo (Seminole County) to the Beeline (Orange County). These will contribute
non-point source pollutant loading from construction activities and stormwater runoff as a result of
increased impervious surfaces (roads, parking areas, buildings), loss of natural vegetation, and disturbed
soil conditions.
The Econ River is classified as a "Class III" waterway by the Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation. A Class III waterway should meet water quality standards for "recreation, fish and wildlife"
(Fernald and Patton 1984). Class I (potable water) and Class II (shellfish) have criteria more stringent
than Class III, whereas Class IV (agriculture) and Class V (industry) criteria are less stringent (Hand
and Jackman 1984).


1-22


i











MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES FOR WATER RESOURCES


With the removal of wastewater discharges from the Little Econ, there has been marked
improvement in water quality, yet it has also revealed how much is left to be done. Without
wastewater to overshadow the poor water quality, it becomes apparent that stormwater runoff impacts
are still to be dealt with. Removal of the waste treatment plant discharges was direct and significant
The management of stormwater is much more difficult and requires more concerted effort to maintain
high water quality.
The impacts of urbanization on surface water quality are well known. In general, as the result of
increased runoff from impervious surfaces and other developed lands, stormwaters carry numerous
pollutants and increased nutrient loads; the net result of which is a decrease in water quality in
downstream receiving water bodies.
Groundwater quality is also affected, but probably of greater importance is the lowering of
groundwater tables that results from construction of stormwater management systems. Lowered
groundwater tables in the long run decrease base flows of streams and rivers, cause loss of hydroperiod
in wetlands, and cause drought stress in terrestrial vegetation.
As we see it, there are three main goals to achieve in this Management and Protection Plan that will
ensure high quality and a sufficient quantity of water resources in the Econlockhatchee River Basin:
1) Restore water quality where it has been degraded.
2) Prevent any declines in water quality in the rest of the basin.
3) Manage water tables at their historic levels.
To achieve these goals we offer the following management suggestions.




Management Suggestions



Dechannelize Streams, Rivers, and Tributaries of the Basin

Dechannelization is not easy to do, and is not recommended lightly. The net effect of
dechannelization of the Little Econ and other ditches and tributaries is an increase in water table levels,
an increase in residence time of stormwaters within the systems, and most assuredly an increase in
flooding. It will take serious and creative "ecological engineering" to achieve a natural drainage
network given the levels of urbanization that now exist in much of the basin. If the basin were brought
up to current stormwater standards, much of the need for channelization would be eliminated.










The benefits of dechannelization would be threefold:
1) improved water quality,
2) decreased flooding in downstream areas, and
3) a rehydrated landscape having higher water tables.

Likewise, existing constructed drainage ditches are good candidates for dechannelization. There are
numerous ditches throughout the basin that traverse miles without so much as a one degree bend. Their
effect is to lower water tables, increase storm peak flows, and degrade surface water quality. They
should be re-engineered as first- and second-order forested streams.
A regional approach to non-point source treatment where large wetland detention basins are
constructed for stormwater treatment in conjunction with dechannelization may offer both treatment and
storage protection from flooding.



Avoid Alteration of River and Stream Flow Patterns

Not only should existing channelized portions of the River Basin be restored, but it goes without
saying that further channelization should be avoided. Where road crossings have constricted flows,
additional bridging and culverts should be installed to reduce velocities and the potential for downstream
scouring.



Manage Surface Waters Based on their Nutrient Status

High nutrients and sunlight combine to produce high biomass. Where surface waters are high in
nutrients, there is always sufficient sunlight (unless of course the water body is a forested stream) to
drive large gross productions and thus standing stocks of biomass. If nutrients are not used (that is,
stored in plant tissue or dead organic matter) they are passed through the system.
When eutrophic surface water bodies are managed as if they should be oligotrophic (for instance,
when vegetation is prevented from growing) the net result is shunting the problem downstream to
another portion of the system. Nutrients should be treated as close to their origin as possible. Once
eutrophic, keeping a water body free of vegetation is not only extremely difficult but may be
undesirable water and ecological management Most often it requires herbicides or other chemicals
which have many side effects on organisms other than the target. Additionally, the dead plants most
often sink in place, adding to water quality problems as they decompose. We strongly suggest that state
agencies rethink their current policies of maintaining appearances of oligotrophic lakes and streams
when if allowed to vegetate, waters farther downstream would have lower nutrient concentrations and
higher quality.










Avoid Alteration of Natural Vegetation in Stream and River Floodways and Adjacent Areas

Vegetated water courses have better water quality and are better protected against erosion and
sedimentation. Vegetation acts to increase friction over the surface of the landscape, slowing down
runoff water and stream velocities. Often in the belief that vegetation "clogs" stream channels and
causes flooding, channels and ditches are maintenance dredged to improve their drainage capacity. The
net effect of such management activities is to reduce treatment capacity of the channelway and to
increase water velocities.



Design Stormwater Systems as Networks of Streams and Wetlands

Current stormwater networks only superficially resemble natural drainage networks. In appearance
they are composed of straight ditches, swales, and lakes that most often have to be maintained to keep
them open water bodies rather than vegetated wetlands. The average watershed size for a first-order
stream in lands like those of much of the Econ Basin is one square mile. Its slope is roughly 1.3 feet
per mile and sinuosity is about 1.3 (i.e., for every mile of distance as the crow flies, the stream channel
is 1.3 miles long). It starts as a wetland slough with no definable stream channel. At its mouth, it has
a storm channel measuring approximately 5 m and a base flow channel of less than 1 m, and a 10-year
floodplain measuring about 70 m wide on the average.
In most first-order Florida watersheds the majority of wetlands are associated with the headwaters,
not the outfall. Storage is accomplished where runoff occurs and not at the bottom of the system.
Wetland storage is first in isolated wetlands, then through slight depressions swaless) where it may
coalesce into sloughs (elongated wetlands with imperceptible flows) and finally into the headwaters of
the stream.
Designed in this manner, stormwater management systems would minimize runoff, maintain higher
water table elevations, have higher quality runoff, and incorporate wildlife habitat into development
plans. Most importantly, post-development hydrology would more closely approximate to
redevelopment conditions.



Manage Surface and Groundwaters to Minimize Runoff

Current stormwater management regulations more or less are designed to ensure that the quantity of
water leaving a site, following a rainfall event, does not cause a decline in receiving bodies. However,
there is little in current regulations that suggests that runoff should be minimized. There is no emphasis
of storage and recharge, or maintenance of desirable water table elevations. Rules should emphasize the
goal matching post-development runoff with redevelopment conditions.


1-25









Protect Surficial Aquifer Levels


In the process of stormwater management, often the net result is lowered groundwater tables.
Reversing these trends requires that roadway and building elevations may need to be raised to
accommodate some flooding during extreme events. Now that the lands with higher topographic relief
have been mostly developed, the trend is to use less and less suitable lands. The application of more
and more engineering while possibly solving the short-term problem, can only lead to gross losses of
environmental quality as the landscape undergoes desiccation.



Increase the Use of Wetland Retention Basins, and Forested Drainage Swales

To protect water quality and still provide for stormwater management, systems should be designed
purposely as vegetated stream channels and wetland storage systems instead of ditches and
detention/retention ponds. The added treatment, friction and aesthetics, not to mention wildlife benefits
are important contributions to a regionwide water quality program.



Re-hydrate the Landscape through Recycling of Wastewaters on the Land in Headwaters Areas and
Flatwoods/isolated Wetland Landscape Associations to Receive Maximum Treatment Potential

It has now become more and more acceptable to recycle wastewater through wetland systems as
integral parts of our development patterns. These trends need be encouraged. Smaller treatment
facilities scattered throughout the landscape make recycling easier to accomplish because sewage is not
concentrated, more wetlands are available, and wetland sizes can be smaller. In view of our past
experiences with treatment plants discharging directly to surface water bodies, and lacking the many
improvements in technology that present day plants have, small plants have acquired a bad reputation.
Large regional plants are encouraged and landscape recycling made extremely difficult and costly.
These trends need be reversed so that sewage does not have to be pumped from one location to
others many miles away in zones of favorable percolation rates or sites for constructed wetlands.



Maintain Separate Surface and Deep Aquifer Groundwater Systems

Until recently, surface waters and groundwaters were more or less separated by intervening layers
of sands, clays, shells, and so forth. Now as a means of stormwater management, surface waters are
shunted directly into underground aquifers where they might mingle with drinking water. Numerous
deep "recharge" wells in Orange Co. directly carry surface water into the Floridan Aquifer. These
waters are frequently contaminated with urban, agricultural or industrial wastes, thereby contaminating
our drinking water. Where these conditions exist and as a means of protecting groundwater quality,
wetland filters sufficient in size to have treatment potential should be used to provide some filtering
action prior to release, and every effort should be made to eliminate "recharge" wells.



1-26












SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Management procedures for the water resources of the Econlockhatchee River Basin offer the
opportunity and challenge to design and ecologically engineer better systems for both humans and
nature; but to do so, we must be willing to work toward that common goal.
Admittedly, the management suggestions given above are quite general in their tone. We believe
that they can be used to set guidelines and policy for attainment of good water quality throughout the
basin, and can act as a catalyst for research that will be necessary if good design and sound ecological
engineering is the end point we seek to achieve.
In this report, we have tried to describe the resource and its past and present condition, and then lay
the groundwork for further detailed studies of the basin, potential re-engineering of its parts, and
adoption of a regulatory framework for administering a management program. Obviously, the detailed
studies that will follow need time to come to fruition; unfortunately, development of the basin does not
seem to be slowing down. Might it be appropriate to consider slowing the speed at which things are
changing within the basin long enough to determine how best to manage it?
Drawing from this inventory of the water resources and knowledge of potential future problems
associated with further development of the basin, Volume III, the Critical Areas Management and
Protection Plan, provides short-term management and regulatory suggestions to achieve the desired goal
of no net determination of water quality within the basin.


1-27
















BIBLIOGRAPHY


Alt, Richard, R. T. Kaleel and T. L. Stoddart. 1974. Econlockhatchee Basin Report. Orange County
Pollution Control Department.

Anderson, W. and G. H. Hughes. 1975. Hydrology of Three Sinkhole Basins in Southwestern Seminole
County, Florida. (Report of Investigations No. 81.) Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Natural
Resources, Division of Resource Management, Bureau of Geology. 35 pp.

Auth, B. D. 1976. A Preliminary Plan for Water Management of the St. Johns River in the Upper Basin
Area. Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water Management District. 87pp.

Barraclough, J. T. 1962. Groundwater Resources of Seminole County, Florida. (Report of Investigations
No. 27.) Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Board of Conservation, Division of Geology, Florida
Geological Survey. 91pp.

Brown, M. T., J. M. Schaefer, K. H. Brandt, S. J. Doherty, C. D. Dove, J. P. Dudley, D. A. Eifler, L. D.
Harris, R. F. Noss and R. W. Wolfe. 1987. Buffer Zones for Water, Wetlands and Wildlife: A
Final Report on the Evaluation of the Applicability of Upland Buffers for the Wetlands of the
Wekiva Basin. Gainesville, FL: Center for Wetlands, University of Florida.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 1978a. Orange-Seminole-Osceola Metropolitan Water
Quality Management Study. Part 1. Winter Park, FL: ECFRPC.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 1978b. Orlando Metropolitan Areawide Water Quality
Management Plan. Vol. 2. Winter Park, FL: ECFRPC.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 1978c. Orlando Metropolitan Areawide Water Quality
Management Plan. Vol. 3. Winter Park, FL: ECFRPC.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 1984. Orange-Osceola-Seminole Counties Statistical Data
1980-2005. Winter Park, FL: ECFRPC.

East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. 1989. Perspective on Regional Growth 1988-1992. Winter
Park, FL: ECFRPC.


1-29










Fall, C. J. 1985. Interim Water Quality Management Plan. Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water
Management District, Department of Water Resources.

Fernald, E. A., and D. J. Patton. 1984. Water Resources of Florida Institute of Science and Public
Affairs, Florida State University Tallahassee, FL.

Fitzgerald, E., G. P. Hadley, J. L. Hulbert and N. Medlin. 1988. St. Johns River Basin Assessment
Report, October 1987 September 1988. Orlando, FL: Central District, Florida
Department of Environmental Regulation. 154 pp.

Florida Rivers Study Committee. 1985. Report to the Governor.

Gerry, L. R. 1983. Econlockhatchee River System: Level I Report. (Technical Publication SJ 83-5).
Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water Management District, Department of Water Resources.

Goolsby, D. A. and B. F. McPherson. 1970. Preliminary Evaluation of Chemical and Biological
Characteristics of the Upper St Johns River Basin, Florida (Open File Report 71001.)
Tallahassee, FL: United States Geological Survey.

Hand, J. and D. Jackman. 1982. Water Quality Inventory for the State of Florida. Tallahassee, FL:
Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Bureau of Water Analysis.

Hand, J. and D. Jackman. 1984a. Criteria Exceedences by River Basin 1982 and 1983, A 1984
305(b) Technical Appendix. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Environmental
Regulation.

Hand, J. and D. Jackman. 1984b. Water Quality Inventory for the State of Florida. Tallahassee,
FL: Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Bureau of Water Analysis.


Hand, J., V. Tauxe and J. Watts. 1986. 1986 Florida Water Quality Assessment 305(b) Technical
Report. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, Water Quality
Monitoring and Quality Assurance Section.

Hand, J., V. Tauxe and M. Friedmann. 1988. 1988 Florida Water Quality Assessment 305(b)
Technical Appendix. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Environmental Regulation,
Standards and Monitoring Section.

Heath, R. C. and J. T. Barraclough. 1954. Interim Report on the Ground-water Resources of
Seminole County, Florida. (Information Circular No. 5.) Tallahassee, FL.: Florida Board of
Conservation, Florida Geological Survey.


1-30










Hulbert, J. L. 1988. St. Johns River Water Quality from the Headwaters (Indian River County) through
Lake George (Volusia County). Orlando, FL: Central Florida District, Florida Department of
Environmental Regulation. 46 pp.

Izzo, J. T. 1975. An Application of "STORM" Mathematical Modeling for Evaluation of Non-point Source
Water Pollution for a Non-urban Watershed (Econlockhatchee River). M.S. Thesis, Florida
Technical University. Orlando, FL. pp. 103.

Jenab, S. A., D. V. Rao and D. Clapp. 1986. Rainfall Analysis for Northeast Florida Part II: Summary of
Monthly and Annual Rainfall Data. (Technical Publication SJ 86-4). Palatka, FL: St. Johns River
Water Management District.

Joyner, B. F., W. F. Lichtler, and W. Anderson. 1968. Water in Orange County, Florida. United States
Geological Survey, Leaflet No. 8. 18pp.

Knockenmus, D. D. 1975. Hydrologic concepts of artificially recharging the Floridan Aquifer in Eastern
Orange County, Florida--A Feasibility Study. (Report of Investigations No. 72.) Tallahassee, FL:
Florida Department of Natural Resources, Division of Resource Management, Bureau of Geology.

Lichtler, W. F., W. Anderson and B. F. Joyner. 1968. Water Resources of Orange County, Florida (Report
of Investigations No. 50). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Board of Conservation, Division of
Geology. 150 pp.

Marella, R. and B. Ford. 1983. St. Johns River Water Management District Current Population and
Projections- 1980. (Technical Publication SJ 83-2.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water Management
District

Phelps, G. G. 1984. Recharge and Discharge Areas of the Floridan Aquifer in the St. Johns River Water
Management District and Vicinity, Florida. (Water-Resources Investigations Report 82-4058 Map).
Tallahassee, FL: U.S. Geological Survey.

Phelps, G. G. and K. P. Rohrer. 1987. Hydrogeology in the Area of a Freshwater Lens in the Floridan
Aquifer System, Northeast Seminole County, Florida. (USGS Water Resources Investigations
Report 86-4078.) Tallahassee, FL: United States Geological Survey.

Rao, D. V., W. Osborn and R. Marella. 1984. Annual Report of Hydrologic Conditions 1983 Water Year.
(Technical Publication SJ 84-7.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water Management District, Water
Resources Dept











Rao, D. V. 1985. The Mean Annual, 10-Year, 25-Year, and 100-Year Flood Profiles for the Upper
St. Johns River under the Existing Conditions. (Technical Publication SJ 85-3.) Palatka,
FL: St Johns River Water Management District, Dept. Water Resources. 33pp.

Rao, D. V. 1986a. Magnitude and Frequency of Flood Discharges in Northeast Florida. (Technical
Publication SJ 86-2.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water Management District, Dept. Water
Resources. 86pp +29.

Rao, D. V. and D. Clapp. 1986b. Rainfall Analysis for Northeast Florida, Part I: 24-Hour to 10-
Day Maximum Rainfall Data. (Technical Publication SJ 86-3.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River
Water Management District.

Rao, D. V., S. A. Jenab and D. A. Clapp. 1989. Rainfall Analysis for Northeast Florida. Part l:
Seasonal Rainfall Data. (Technical Publication SJ 89-1.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water
Management District.

St. Johns River Water Management District 1979. Upper St. Johns River Basin Surface Water
Management Plan, Vol. 1. (Phase 1 Report, First Draft.) Palatka, FL: SJRWMD. 394 pp. +
86 + Maps.

St. Johns River Water Management District. 1980a. Upper St. Johns River Basin Surface Water
Management Plan, Vol. 2. (Phase 1 Report, First Draft.) Palatka, FL: SJRWMD. 500 pp.

St. Johns River Water Management District 1980b. Notice of Staff Intent to Recommend Denial
of Permit Application and Notice of Opportunity to Request Hearing, Ranger Drainage
District, Application #4031778784. Palatka, FL: SJRWMD. (unpublished.)

Seminole County. 1982. Surface Water Quality Report. Sanford, FL: Seminole Co. Dept Public
Works, Div. Environmental Services.

Skene, E. T., and E. L. Melear. 1988. Implementation and Enforcement of the Industrial Waste
Pretreatment Program in Orlando, Florida. pp. 7-13 IN: Proc. 42nd Industrial Waste
Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, May 12-14, 1987. Chelsea, MI:
Lewis Publishers, Inc.


Skipp, D. 1988. Groundwater Flow Model of Brevard, Indian River, Orange, Osceola, and
Seminole Counties, Florida. (Technical Publication SJ 88-2.) Palatka, FL: St Johns River
Water Management District.

Smith, D. B., J. W. Wakefield, H. A. Bevis and E. B. Phelps. 1954. Stream Sanitation in Florida.
Florida Eng. Series No. 1. Gainesville, FL: College of Engineering, University of Florida.


1-32










Snell, L. J. and W. Anderson. 1970. Water Resources of Northeast Florida. (Report of Investigation No.
54.) Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Geology. 77pp.

Steward, J. 1984. Water Quality of the Southern Reach of the Middle St. Johns River: A Focus on the
Drought of 1980 through 1981. (Technical Publication SJ 84-8.) Palatka, FL: St. Johns River Water
Management District, Dept. Water Resources.

Stubbs, S. A. 1938. A Study of the Artesian Water Supply of Seminole County, Florida. Proc. Florida
Academy of Sciences 1937, Vol. II: 24-36.

Tibbals, C. H. and L. J. Crain. 1971. Hydrologic Records for Orange County, Florida 1970-1971.
Tallahassee, FL: United States Geological Survey, Water Resources Division.

Tibbals, C. H. 1976. Availability of Groundwater in Seminole County and Vicinity, Florida. U.S.
Geological Survey.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1973. Survey-Review Report on Central and Southern Florida: Project
Econlockhatchee River, Florida. Jacksonville, FL: Corps of Engineers.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1986. St. Johns River Basin, Florida: Interim Water Quality Management
Plan Findings. Jacksonville, FL: COE.

White, W. A. 1970. The Geomorphology of the Florida Peninsula. (Geological Bulletin No. 51.)
Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Geology.

Wilson, W. L., K. M. McDonald, B. L. Barfus and B. F. Beck. 1987. Hydrogeologic Factors Associated
with Recent Sinkhole Development in the Orlando Area, Florida. Orlando, FL: Florida Sinkhole
Research Institute, University of Central Florida. 109 pp.











11 D Pre 1984
I\
10 -

9 -. Big Econ
\ -" Little Econ
8 -
0)
E 7
S F
Z 6 \ WQI
I- /Median
a 5 \' / Value
SA 1.2 mg/l
) 4 A\ E
N- 1 7
3 8

2 1 2

1 4 5 6


SR 528 Ranger DD SR 50 SR 410 Snowhill R


11 Post 1984

10

9 Big Econ
Little Econ
8
7
E
F 6
I WQ-
-o 6


S/ /MValue
3 / a 1.2 mg/I
2 / \7 8

2 3 4D5 6

SR 528 Ranger DD SR 50 SR 410 Snowhill R



Figure 1.1 Median total nitrogen concentration in mg/l for periods 1972-1983 (PRE 1984) and 1984-
1988 (POST 1984) for 14 sample sites along the Econlockhatchee River. WQI median
value is from Table 1.1. Sample locations on the X-axis are for the Big Econ River and
correspond to the following: SR 526 = State Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger Drainage
District, SR 50 = State Road 50, SR 410 = State Road 410, Snowhill R = Snowhill Road.
























A

/ \ Up

/ \ .--. D(
I

\
\


>-.


)stream L. Econ
)wnstream


/ \A
\ /\
\ I \
\ / \


v
\ /

\
a,\
V\
a
a\\


S 1 1
1974 1976 1978


1980 1982 1984
1980 1982 1984


Figure 1.2 Median annual total nitrogen concentration in mg/l for Big Econlockhatchee River above
and below confluence with Little Econ River for period 1975-1988.


1-35


/
I

I
/
/


1986
1986


I
ra88



































SR 58 Rangr DD
SR 528 Ranger DD


SR 50


SR 410 Snowhill R


SR 528 Ranger DD SR 50 SR 410 Snowhill R


Figure 1.3 Median total phosphorous concentration in mg/1 for periods 1972-1983 (PRE 1984) and
1984-1988 (POST 1984) for 14 sample sites along the Econlockhatchee River. WQI
median value is from Table 1.1. Sample locations on the X-axis are for the Big Econ
River and correspond to the following: SR 526 = State Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger
Drainage District, SR 50 = State Road 50, SR 410 = State Road 410, Snowhill R =
Snowhill Road.


1.6


1.4


1.2


U.4 -


0.2 -







1.6


1.4


1.2 -


-


-


-1


I \ Pre 1984

I \
I '
/ \ -Big Econ
I \' --. Little Econ
I \
I \


I WQI
S\ Median
S/ Value
S" /0.09 mg/l
Im
7 8


I
I

























1.2-


A\
'I
/ '
/


'
/
/



I


0.6 -



0.4-



0.2-


I I 1 1
1974 1976 1978 1980


- Upstream L. Econ
- Downstream


I I
1982 1984


I
1986


Figure 1.4 Median annual total phosphorous concentration in mg/1 for Big Econlockhatchee River

above and below confluence with Little Econ River for period 1975-1988.


1988
1988


C


%%












Pre 1984


D



V \
I \


I \

B *
\ ...-


SR 528 Raner DD
SR 528 Ranger DD


SR 50


Big Econ
Little Econ


WQI
Median


S
SR 410 Snowhill R


SR 528 Ranger DD SR 50 SR 410 Snowhill F



Figure 1.5 Median total BOD in mg/1 for periods 1972-1983 (PRE 1984) and 1984-1988 (POST 1984)
for 14 sample sites along the Econlockhatchee River. WQI median value is from Table
1.1. Sample locations on the X-axis are for the Big Econ River and correspond to the
following: SR 526 = State Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger Drainage District, SR 50 =
State Road 50, SR 410 = State Road 410, Snowhill R = Snowhill Road.


1-38


2

1-





10

9

8-


4 5


























It


- Upstream L. Econ
--- Downstream


/

% /
% /
-d


2-





1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988


























Figure 1.6 Median annual BOD concentration in mg/l for Big Econlockhatchee River above and below
the confluence with Little Econ River for period 1975-1988.


1-39

































,B 4 F/'
0B
x 2

S 10- / \
SI
5
/ J

/ '
A \
\ I
\ I
0o- E

SR 528 Ranger DD Sr50 SR 410 Snowhill R


















Figure 1.7 Percent of cadmium (Cd) analyses exceeding standards (0.01 mg/1) for water quality
samples from Big and Little Econlockhatchee Rivers for period 1981-1988. Sample
locations on the X-axis are for the Big Econ River and correspond to the following: SR
526 = State Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger Drainage District, SR 50 = State Road 50, SR
410 = State Road 410, Snowhill R = Snowhill Road.






























10
. 3



10 / Y \
x \ \
W 10o

.4 1/ \ I
/ T\ I
/ C\
II


0- 5-- 6

SR 528 Ranger DD Sr50 SR 410 Snowhill Rd


















Figure 1.8 Percent of copper (Cu) analyses exceeding standard (0.03 mg/1) for water quality samples
from Big and Little Econlockhatchee Rivers for period 1973-1988. Sample locations on
the X-axis are for the Big Econ River and correspond to the following: SR 526 = State
Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger Drainage District, SR 50 = State Road 50, SR 410 = State
Road 410, Snowhill R = Snowhill Road.


- Big Econ
"- Little Econ


























80 --- Big Econ
.-- Little Econ /
/E

.E 60 -






0-
/ /D
x I
IU.
S40-
," 4

20 /


A,/ 3
0

SR 528 Ranger DD Sr50 SR 410 Snowhill R

















Figure 1.9 Percent of lead (Pb) analyses exceeding standard (0.03 mg/1) for water quality samples
from Big and Little Econlockhatchee Rivers for period 1981-1988 (majority of data are
from sample years 1987-1988). Samples locations on the X-axis are for the Big Econ
River and correspond to the following: SR 526 = State Road 526, Ranger DD = Ranger
Drainage District, SR 50 = State Road 50, SR 410 = State Road 410, Snowhill R =


1-42


I














I MAP LEGEND: I


IE-

0 miles


> >






z
C)
to


SAMPLING SITES


Prepared Under Contract
To
ST. John's River Water
Management District
By
Center For Wetlands
Remote Sensing & GIS Lal
University of Florida
January 1990


MARK T. BROWN RICHARD HAMANN/JOHN TUCKER JOSEPH SCHAEFER LUCY WAYNE t MARTIN DICKINSON
CENTER FOR WETLANDS CENTER FOR GOVERNMENTAL URBAN WILDLIFE PROGRAM SOUTHARC, INC.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA RESPONSIBILITY DEPT. OF WILDLIFE & RANGE SCIENCES P.O. BOX 1702
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA GAINESVILLE, FL. 32102











ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN NATURAL
RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT AND PROTECTION PLAN



Chapter 2

TERRESTRIAL AND WETLAND RESOURCES
OF THE ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN


Prepared for

St. Johns River Water Management District


October 1990












Chapter 2


TERRESTRIAL AND WETLAND RESOURCES OF THE
ECONLOCKHATCHEE RIVER BASIN

Mark T. Brown





INTRODUCTION




The Econlockhatchee River system, its waters, wetlands, and wildlife, is more than just a slowly
meandering river in central Florida. It is the manifestation of centuries of geologic processes, ecological
succession, and human use. The Econ River is the ultimate expression of the physical, chemical, and
biological processes of its entire watershed. It might be said (with great certainty)...as the basin goes, so
goes the river. To manage a river one must manage its entire basin.
Located in central Florida and covering the eastern portions of Orange, Seminole, and Osceola
counties, the Econ River Basin is composed of approximately 280 sq. mi. of nearly flat, poorly drained
sands dominated by pine and palmetto flatwoods with numerous wetland sloughs, and relic beach ridges
dominated by scrub communities. Until quite recently the main land uses within the basin were
rangelands and some improved pasture. Within the past two decades, several development projects
ranging from housing developments to regional landfills have begun to appear within the basin. Most
recently, the pace of development has quickened, and with it an increased awareness of the potential for
loss of resources of the basin--suggesting to many that it is time that a basinwide resource management
plan be implemented.




Rationale



The landscape is composed of a mosaic of ecological communities driven and sustained by
environmental forces like sunlight, winds, and rain and constantly "influenced" by the forces of humans
and their development actions. Combined development within the Econ River Basin will change many
characteristics including the balance between human activities and the environment. Scarce ecological
communities will become even more scarce and sensitive communities will show signs of loss of










ecological function. Landscape scale management of development within the basin may help to
minimize those consequences of development. Management of landscapes can be broken into two
elements, (1) manipulation of landscape components (resource management), and (2) regulation of
developmental forces. Within both elements there are several issues that form the basis for an approach
to ecological management.



Issues of Resource Management

The issues surrounding sound resource management in a developing landscape are related to how
best to plan, design, and then manage to ensure viable resources and sustainable use. The overriding
issue is loss of ecologic function. That is, through mismanagement, or inadequate planning or design,
the resource is degraded and ecologic functions and values are lost. Such things as pollution of lakes
and streams, overharvest of fish and wildlife, or overdrainage and loss of wetland hydroperiod are
examples of mismanagement The increased fragmentation of the landscape into smaller and smaller
fragments of ecosystems with subsequent loss of habitat value and ecological health is an example of
poor planning and design. Avoidance and regulation are the simplest solutions; avoid the practices that
lead to degraded conditions, or regulate them to ensure that they are kept within acceptable limits. Both
strategies require a knowledge of the resource and the activities that may cause degradation and a
willingness to use that knowledge.
A subset of resource management issues that follow loss of ecologic function are threefold:
1) loss of environmental services,
2) loss of biotic diversity, and
3) loss of aesthetic qualities.
Humans interact with their environments through direct use and indirect consumption of "services."
Pure water, clean air, productive soils, waste assimilation, to name a few, are the products of
environmental services. Whenever the demands are higher than the supply, or wherever the
environment's ability to function has been degraded, free services are replaced with purchased ones.
The loss of environmental services can easily be avoided through effective management that minimizes
degradation of ecologic functions and that does not overtax the environment's ability to provide these
services.
Biotic diversity is landscape scale diversity of organisms of differing types. Through differences in
moisture, nutrient availability, and driving energies, the landscape is fashioned into a mosaic of
communities each having its own special assemblages of organisms. Taken in aggregate, small-scale
community diversity generates a higher diversity at the larger landscape scale. As lands are developed
and landscapes are fragmented, small-scale biodiversity may be maintained in refugia, but many
components of the larger scale are lost. The best examples of loss of biodiversity are the precipitous
declines in large animals (panthers and bears) as development fragments habitats and increases exposure
to accidental death. Accounting for biotic diversity requires not only protection at the species level, but
also habitat protection at the landscape scale.










Environmental quality (i.e., its aesthetic quality) is an important yet often neglected element of
landscape management most often because a description, much less measurement of the aesthetic
experience, is no simple task. It is through a juxtaposition between wilderness and civilization that the
aesthetic quality of a landscape can be enhanced. An integrated landscape of developed lands and
undeveloped wildlands increases total environmental quality and is the result of foresight, and effective
planning and design.
In all, good resource management (that is, good planning, design, and management) should be
measured through how well we achieve a balanced and functioning resource base as the landscape
changes and our demands increase.



Issues of Landscape Development

The dominant issue surrounding landscape development is how best to accommodate economic
development and ecologic processes within the same landscape. In other words, how do we achieve a
fit of humanity and nature in a ecological setting in such a way to maximize both human-oriented
potentials (most often measured in economic terms) and the normal processes and functions of the
landscape that support those potentials? And how do we do it in a way that is both "cost effective" and,
to some degree, aesthetically pleasing?
It is fairly well known and easily visualized that, as a landscape develops, the amount of "pristine"
wilderness diminishes and, therefore, its ability to provide services. Either extreme, full development on
the one hand or zero development on the other, is "limiting" since in either case one or the other
potential does not exist Thus, through relatively simple reasoning, some middle ground seems to be the
most logical development scenario. However, there is a confounding aspect of landscape development
that makes simple logic less than adequate. As the amount of development increases, the need for
environmental services increases; thus, as an area becomes more and more developed, there is more and
more of a need for an environment that will supply raw resources, absorb wastes, and provide
recreational opportunities. The relationship suggests that as the amount of development increases, there
is some optimum point where further development has diminishing returns.
Next, assuming that some portions of the landscape should remain undeveloped to provide these
services, in what spatial configuration should these developed and undeveloped lands be arranged? It
has often been suggested that large parks or reserves are sufficient to preserve vestiges of the
undeveloped landscape and can serve as the required undeveloped lands. And to some extent this is
true. State parks, national forests, and wildlife preserves are important components of a developed
landscape. Yet, they cannot serve as the only undeveloped areas for they would soon become
overtaxed, overused, and degraded. Parks by their very definition cannot be "used" or fully integrated
into the developed landscape for they are preserves, designed, managed, and maintained to ensure that
some vestiges of the undeveloped land are retained. Use implies consumption unless the use is strictly
regulated to balance consumption with production. While parks are important parts of a developed
landscape, they represent the extreme, the portion within which there is no development. What is











needed is a continuum of preserves--some fully integrated into the developed landscape, others
somewhat isolated and still others set aside as environmental reserves.
Finally, a third issue needs to be explored if we are to achieve a balanced landscape of developed
and undeveloped lands. This third issue is related to the mix of ecological communities that should be
integrated into the developed landscape. Without question, wetland communities are important resources
because of their position as places of convergence of water, energy, matter, and wildlife. They are by
far the most productive communities of the landscape. Yet a landscape composed entirely of developed
lands and wetlands lacks the balance afforded by a heterogeneous mix of uplands and wetlands, forests
and prairies. A landscape stripped of its uplands and replaced with developed lands is lopsided in its
ability to function and provide the services required by a growing human population. What is needed
then is an interconnected, heterogeneous mosaic of ecological communities to ensure a viable and
functioning landscape.
In summary, the three issues can be distilled to the following:
How much is enough?
Where should it be?
What kind should it be?
Development of a management plan for the Econlockhatchee River Basin that protects the resources
of the basin and yet fosters development offers the opportunity to test our resolve, experiment with the
future, and propose a developed landscape as a balance of humanity and nature. This resource inventory
is a component of the overall management plan. It is a summary of what is known about the terrestrial
and wetland communities of the Econ River, a synopsis of the issues surrounding preservation on the
one hand and development on the other, and a guidance mechanism with suggestions for managing the
basin's resources to ensure long-term ecological viability.




Plan of Study



The process of developing a basinwide management plan for terrestrial and wetlands resources of
the Econ Basin is driven by an overall set of goals and objectives, fostered by the collection of all
relevant information about the current status of the resource, and organized around sound ecological
planning, design, and engineering. In this study, as a consequence of the short time frame that was
imposed, existing sources of information and data have been relied upon. Current comprehensive plans
from the various governmental agencies that have major roles in shaping the future of the basin were
consulted and relevant goals and objectives concerning natural resources were summarized.
While numerous reconnaissance field trips (both on the ground and in the air) were made, no
contemporaneous field data collection was undertaken. All agency files and reports were searched,
computerized library searches were acquired, and agency personnel were interviewed to collect all
relevant sources of information and insights concerning the past, present, and future status of the











resources of the basin. To that end, for the most part, data collection has produced a complete project
file of all relevant information and data.
Finally, over the past several years, a number of studies have been undertaken by the author that
have lead to recommendations for planning guidelines, model ordinances, design criteria and engineering
principles that have been drawn upon to develop recommended management and development
alternatives for the Econ Basin.












Definition of Terms


The following terms, some in common use, are defined to ensure meaning and help in the
task of developing a clear understanding.

Biotic Diversity -- The assemblage of biotic (living) components of a landscape expressed as a
measure of contrast. That is, the number of different organisms. Diversity is most often
considered a desirable trait of ecological communities--the more diverse, the more valued
the community.

Buffer -- A zone of transition between two different land uses that separates and protects one from
another. In this report, the word "buffer" refers to the zone between a wetland and a
developed or developable area.

Channelway -- That portion of a river basin that is dominated by river or stream channel and that
is composed of all lands that drain into that portion of the basin that is delimited by the
mouth and point where the stream channel is no longer evident.

Community, Ecological -- A natural assemblage of plants and animals that live in the same
environment, are mutually sustaining and interdependent, and are constantly fixing,
utilizing, and dissipating energy.

Diversity, Biological -- The composition of a particular environment or habitat as it relates to the
plant and animal species present and their relative abundance.

Drawdown -- The lowering of the upper surface of a water table.

Floodplain -- Pertaining to the area of lands adjacent to a water course that are periodically
inundated during flood events.


Groundwater -- See Surficial Aquifer.

Hammock -- A common named used throughout Florida in reference to uplands forested
ecological communities (See Hydric, Mesic, and Xeric).

Headwaters -- The area of a watershed or river basin that is farthest from the mouth of the stream
or river and that does not have a defined river or stream channel, but is dominated by
isolated wetlands and overland flow.











Hydric -- Of or pertaining to wet conditions; used in this context as a description relating to forested upland
ecosystems (see Hammock).

Hydroperiod -- The length of time during which there is standing water in a wetland.

Integrity, Biological -- All of the plants and animals that are characteristic of an area and all of the
processes that result from interactions between these species and their environment.

Landscape -- A heterogeneous land area composed of a cluster of interacting ecological systems that are
repeated in similar form throughout Landscapes vary in size, down to a few kilometers in
diameter. (Forman and Goodron 1986).

Landscape Association -- An assemblage of ecological communities with similar topography and geology
which are hydrologically connected.

Landscape Dynamics -- The areal and functional relationships between different parts of the landscape, e.g.,
the distribution, sizes, and topographic and hydrologic connections among ecosystems in a
landscape association.

Mesic -- Midway between very wet and very dry. Used in this report as a description relating to forested
upland ecosystems (see Hammock).

Overstory -- The layer of foliage (leaves and branches) formed by the largest trees in a forested area.

Riparian -- Of or relating to or living or located on the bank of a flowing watercourse (as a river or stream)
and also an isolated water source such as a pond or lake.

Seepage, Groundwater -- Slow, vertical or horizontal movement of groundwater in the soil.

Silviculture -- Activities of humans involving regeneration, tending, and harvesting a forest.

Slough -- A linear wetland drainage feature usually dominated by cypress (Taxodium spp.) lacking a
perceptual water flow and open channelway.

Species Richness -- The number of different species in an area.

Strand -- A linear wetland drainage feature usually dominated by cypress (Taxodium spp.) having water
flow, but not in an open channelway.

Succession, Vegetational -- The process of change in the types of plants occupying an area as plants
mature, are replaced, and otherwise respond to the environment.












Surficial Aquifer (Groundwater) -- The unconfined aquifer that is nearest the ground surface and
is open to the air.

Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) -- A practice that allows the transfer of development
density from one site (usually based on sensitivity of the site) to another site so as to
protect the first site from adverse development impacts or as a means of ensuring lower
densities or no development.

Transfer of Mitigation Requirements (TMR) -- A practice that allows the off-site transfer of
requirements for mitigation for destruction of some vegetative community. The mitigation
most often required is creation of an equal of greater area of like kind community but can
include fee simple purchase.

Turbidity -- The concentration in water of suspended solids (such as silts, clays, and small particles
of organic matter).

Understory -- The foliage lying beneath the tallest trees consisting mainly of seedling trees, small
trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.

Vegetation Areas, Transitional -- Areas that contain plants that are characteristic of identifiable
adjacent plant communities.

Wetland -- Lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems where the water table is
usually at or near the surface such that the lands are inundated or saturated by surface or
groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal
circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated
soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

Wetlands, Ephemeral -- Areas temporarily or seasonally supporting wetland conditions.

Wetlands, Jurisdictional -- Wetlands that can be legally regulated by government.

Wildlands Management -- An approach to regulating the use and development of the landscape in
such a way that portions of the landscape remain in a wild and scenic character. It is more
regulation and control of the actions of humans than management of the wildland itself.
Most wildlands are composed of self-sustaining ecological communities. However, in
some situations it may be important to manage the wildlands area, or portions there of,
through actions like controlled burs, tree planting, re-introduction of wildlife, controlled
hunting, etc.












Wildlands Management Area (or Wildlands District) -- An area of the landscape that is designated as a
wildlands. It is a management area where special attention is given to ensuring that human uses
and development actions do not detract from its wild and scenic character, thus human uses are
minimized and controlled. Districts that are designated as Wildlands Management Areas do not
preclude human uses for development or recreation, only that human uses is a minor portion of the
whole district. Wildlands areas are managed through development controls, regulatory actions, and
in some cases through resource management to remain wild and scenic in character.

Xeric -- Of or relating to an extremely low amount of moisture available for the support of plant life. Used
in this context as a description relating to forested upland ecosystems (see Hammock).










Review of the Pertinent Literature


Like many areas of Florida, the Econ River Basin is relatively undeveloped and contains many
areas of interest from a natural resource perspective. Despite this, there is a paucity of specific
literature about the terrestrial and wetland communities or landscape scale ecological organization of the
basin. Be that as it may, the following is a brief review of the pertinent literature concerning the
terrestrial and wetland resources of the basin. The literature review is organized in chronological order
to give some temporal perspective to past scientific studies and reports.



Descriptions of the Econlockhatchee Basin

White (1970) devotes two pages to the Osceola Plain and one paragraph to the eastern portion of
the plain within which the Econ Basin falls.
...there is nonetheless a notable distinction in the terrain east and west of a line running
approximately parallel with the axis of the peninsula, following in general the route of United
States Highway 441 between Fort Drum at the south through Osowaw Junction, Yeehaw
Junction and Kenansville, to Cat Lake and then passing just east of the eastern edge of the
Orlando Ridge to become the trend followed by the Sanford-Palatka reach of the St. Johns
River Valley. This line is almost straight throughout its length and seems to mark a relict
Atlantic shore. Where it traverses the Osceola Plain the terrain east of it has a drainage pattern
and topography which shows it to be composed wholly of relict beach ridges and their
intervening swales. But to the west of the dividing line the topography and drainage pattern are
more indeterminate and randomly arranged.
The area occupied by the Big Econ and for the most part that occupied by the Little Econ lies in the
Osceola Plain, and is composed of alternating relict beach ridges and swales (White 1970). These are
readily apparent from aerial photography and vegetation maps that show wetland sloughs and strands
occupying the lower swales and scrub communities on the "higher" ridges.
In the early 1970s a group of citizens from the Orange County area, sponsored by Orange County
Audubon Society, carried out a year-long study of the Big Econ River and its floodplain (Orange
County Audubon 1972). The study is remarkable in its breadth and in that it was carried out with little
or no funding, involved volunteers, and extended over a period of one year. This study seems to be one
of the earliest sources of data on water quality, flora, and fauna of the river. A preliminary draft of a
report containing an introduction, methods, and results and discussion was published in December 1972.
No further updates or drafts have been found. In general, the study focused on physical and chemical
water parameters, aquatic vertebrates, terrestrial invertebrates and vertebrates and floodplain vegetation.
Twelve sampling locations (four on the Little Econ, four on the upper Big Econ, one at the confluence,
and three downstream of the confluence) were sampled at monthly intervals from November through


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October. Sampling at some sites was not carried for the full year, presumably as a result of loss of
interest by that team member.
Summarizing the floodplain botany, H. O. Whittier suggested that...
To the biologist, the Econlockhatchee River represents, for much of its length, a
relatively undisturbed sanctuary for plants and wildlife, a rather rare commodity in central
Florida, where he can find the basis for useful studies on both plants and animals in relation to
each other and their natural Florida environment. Botanical studies show the existence of a
number of rare or unusual plants such as the Whisk fern (Psilotum nudum); carnivorous plants
such as narrow-leaved sundew (Drosera intermedia), hooded pitcherplant (Sarracenia minor),
butterwort (Pinguicula spp.), bladderwort (Utricularia spp.); orchids such as the rare leafless
Harrisella porrecta...two other epiphytic orchids, and no less than five terrestrial orchid
species....These and a number of others provide especial interest to students of natural history
and nature lovers, in their own right, but in addition, many make special contributions to the
diets of the various wildlife of the river region, forming essential components of an ecosystem
unique in its state of preservation and continuity.
A survey report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) (1973), that considered the flood
problems in the Econlockhatchee River Basin (apparently issued approximately five months after
publication of the Audubon draft report), put to rest citizen concerns related to channelization. The
District Engineer found that:
...construction of flood-control works are not needed in the sparsely developed floodplains of
the Econlockhatchee River Basin... [and] there is a definite need to leave the environment of the
Econlockhatchee River floodway undisturbed, both to preserve the vegetation balance in the
natural floodway and to protect the spawning run of the American and hickory shad in the
Econlockhatchee River.
Their descriptions of the basin support the findings of others of an "...essentially...wild, undeveloped
stream that provides the outdoor enthusiast with recreational opportunities...[and] has remained relatively
undeveloped due to poor drainage and frequent low floods which make it unsatisfactory for agricultural
or residential use." The proximity of the river to the rapidly expanding Orlando urban area is suggested
as the reason for gradual depredation of its natural values. In apparent disagreement with White (1970),
the corps report suggests that "the topography of the area is influenced more by underground solution
activity than by any other natural process." In addition the report contains strong recommendations that:
In view of the drift of urban development into the floodprone areas, it is recommended that
local agencies implement to the maximum extent possible a floodplain management program to
reduce the potential for future flood-damage problems.
In a report on water quality of the Econ River, Alt et al. (1974) provide a general description of the
drainage basin, its vegetation and soils. Most notable is their description of the Big Econ south of the
Beeline Highway as being in a "natural state" and "one of the few remaining 'clean' aquatic habitats in
the county. Water quality is good and the ecological aspects of the stream are balanced as of this time."
Changes in the Big Econ Basin were noted with the most important change "...the Ranger Drainage
District which will discharge to the upper reaches of the Big Econ....[and] drain approximately 6,000
acres of what is presently pine flatwoods..."


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The East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (1978) in a report on the 208 Area Wide Water
Quality Management Plan give a brief description of the Big and Little Econ watersheds with some
comparisons. Generally, they conclude that the majority of the Big Econ is dominated by pine and
palmetto flatwoods with mixed hardwood swamp forests along water courses. There are several very
gently sloping, low ridges but changes in elevation for the most part are so gradual as to be barely
perceptible. In many respects they suggest the physical characteristics of the Little Econ are similar to
those of the Big Econ, except in the extreme western portion of the basin where elevations are in excess
of 90 feet and are occupied by xeric communities with a majority of the lakes of the basin.
Describing the Osceola Plain from a "soils" perspective, Readle (1979) wrote that...
Elevations range between 25 and 80 feet above sea level. The vegetation consists mostly of
pine and palmetto flatwoods with numerous large to small lakes and fewer areas of broad,
grassy sloughs and depressions and poorly defined drainageways. The soils are predominately
nearly level, wet, and sandy. The sandy subsoil is weakly cemented with organic matter.
Some of the soils have a loamy subsoil, and some are organic. Large areas of this region are
used for range and improved pasture.
In a study initiated for the purposes of determining existing water quality problems within the Little
Econ watershed, identifying the sources of pollutants, and recommending methods of restoring the river
system to a more ecologically diverse and aesthetically pleasing water body, Miller and Miller (1984)
described that portion of the river within Orange County as a river that has experienced severe water
quality problems. Their description of the basin is one of low topographic relief with numerous swamps
and sloughs, and several gently sloping, low ridges. The natural setting is described as dominated by
pine palmetto flatwoods, with lesser areas of longleaf pine and xerophytic oak forests occurring on the
higher lands in the western portions of the basin. The mixed hardwood swamp forest is common along
water courses and in sloughs and swamps. They suggest that prior to development the Little Econ
Basin's land cover was composed of 58% flatwoods, 25% swamp, 15% well drained, and 2% open
water.
Wilson et al. (1987) concluded in a study that analyzed the causative factors related to sinkhole
development in the Orlando area that the Osceola Plain in eastern Orange, Osceola, and Seminole
counties exhibits conditions that are not suitable for sinkhole development. Much of the Big Econ Basin
is within areas where conditions are unsuitable for sinkhole development, while most of the Little Econ
Basin is within an area that is marginally suitable, but where none have been reported. They suggest
that "ancient sinkhole lakes occur in scattered localities, but are not common overall." Recharge rates
seem to be a positive indicator of potential sinkhole development Most of the Econ Basin is situated
within an area of very poor recharge potential (less than 3 inches per year) while portions of the upper
Little Econ occupy areas having moderate recharge potential (3 to 10 inches per year).
The Conservation Element of Seminole County (Seminole County 1988) describes the portion of the
Econ River within Seminole County as "...one of the most natural settings in central Florida. This
pristine bottomland hardwood forest is surrounded by a watershed of undisturbed ranchlands." The
conservation element proposed that the county pass a resolution in favor of acquisition of the proposed
lower Econ River parcel under the state CARL program.


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Descriptions of Ecologic Communities


Some of the most useful information concerning the terrestrial and wetland community resources of
the Econ Basin are contained in numerous Applications for Development Approval (residential
developments) and environmental evaluations related to utility siting studies. While these studies were
conducted for specific tracts of land scattered throughout the basin (see Map 2.1), they serve as an
important resource in developing an overview of the vegetation and characteristics of ecological
communities.
In its Site Certification Application, the Orlando Utilities Commission (ca. 1981) described eight
plant communities occupying the approximately 5 sq. mi area of the Stanton Energy Center. They
included: pine flatwoods, xeric oak scrub, pond cypress, pond pine, bay hardwood, oak hardwood,
mixed forested wetlands, and wet prairie. In addition to species lists, the studies provide quantitative
data on community composition, aerial extent of communities, discussion of importance of fire in
succession, and soil moisture control of plant community composition.
Best et al. (1982) described the site of the Easterly Regional Waste Treatment Plant finding seven
communities including: sand pine scrub, xeric oak scrub, mixed hardwood swamp, longleaf pine-
palmetto flatwood, pond pine flatwood, wet prairie, and cypress dome. Community surveys were
conducted in each community and species composition determined. They discussed the importance of
both wetland communities and, in particular, the scrub communities which they felt were endangered
ecosystems. Their closing remarks include:
Large areas of sand pine scrub are preserved in the Big Scrub of the Ocala National Forest, but
outside the national forest the scrub is one of the endangered ecosystems of the state. There
are currently no regulatory restrictions to development of upland habitats, and subsequently the
development pressures in the central Florida region represent chronic threat to what little scrub
habitat remains.
The Andean Group of Florida (1985) identified six "vegetation associations" in their ADA for the
Riverwood development project including: pine flatwoods, xeric oak, other hardwoods, pond pine,
wetland hardwood forest, and freshwater marsh. Some species lists for wetland communities were
given, but relatively little information on other ecological communities was included.
In the Application for Development Approval for the International Corporate Park, Inc. Canin and
Associates (1985) classified vegetation uses into three classes of Rangeland, Upland Forest, and
Wetlands. Rangeland included pastureland, palmetto prairie, and shrub and bushland. There were six
upland forest types, including pine flatwoods, longleaf pine, xeric oak, other hardwood mixed forest, and
clear-cut. The wetlands class included cypress, pond pine, freshwater swamp, mixed forest, and
freshwater marsh. In an apparent contradiction, pond pine communities are classified as wetlands for
the purposes of mapping, but considered uplands and included in developable portions of the tract In
later submittals (Canin Associates September 1985), the contradiction is explained as differences in
classification between the FLUCC system and jurisdictional determination because of understory
vegetation.
Level IV classification (FL Dept. of Administration 1976) was used by Orange County Research
and Development Authority (1987) to classify more than 26 different community types in one of the


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most detailed vegetation classifications found in any ADA. The community types are too numerous to
list here, but of particular interest is their splitting of pond pine communities between a wetland variety
and an upland variety.
Defining wetlands as stressed and healthy, on a site near the Orange County Landfill, Glatting,
Lopez, Kercher, Anglin (1988) in the ADA for Young Pine showed very graphically the impact of
drainage canals on wetlands. The East Orlando Canal bisects the Young Pine site dewatering the
majority of wetlands (about 73%). They attributed the stress to interruption of surface-water flows in
the wetland strands and general lowering of the groundwater. The effects of the canal appear to extend
as far away as 2700 feet, where stressed wetlands extend off-site on the southside of the canal. They
suggest that:
Evidence of stress attributed to the artificial dewatering caused by the canal system
primarily takes the form of vegetative succession favoring upland species within the historic
strand. Pine, myrtles, wild grape, and fennels have become established within this wetland
system, extending several hundred feet in each direction from the drainage canal.
Further, they state that one isolated wetland near the canal was particularly stressed due to long-term
dewatering as a result of its close proximity to the canal.
Several other ADAs (Canin Associates 1982, 1984, 1987) provide further documentation of
ecological communities found throughout the Econ Basin. For the most part, their community analysis
shows the same basic array of communities.


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THE TERRESTRIAL AND WETLAND RESOURCES


The terrestrial and wetland resources of the Econlockhatchee River Basin are as varied as the river
itself. Beginning as a broad expanse of wetland slough dominated by forested areas of cypress and bays
with extensive areas of marsh, the Big Econlockhatchee River flows northward from northeast Osceola
County through eastern Orange and Seminole counties and takes an abrupt right turn to exit eastward to
the St. Johns River. Abundant rainfall, relatively flat terrain, and the poorly drained character of the
soils are the main factors that have produced a basin dominated by pine flatwoods interspersed with
significant areas of cypress domes, strands and sloughs. The biggest recent changes in the vegetative
communities of the basin have resulted from improved drainage and conversion of flatwoods to pasture
and rangeland. Serious loss of wetland and pineland habitat have occurred recently as the result of fire
and conversions to other uses. For example, the area immediately south of the Orange County Landfill
know as Wide Cypress Swamp, experienced a disastrous fire after the construction of a 10-mile
drainage canal that significantly lowered water tables in the area. The fire reduced what was once a
1200-acre cypress slough to a shrub wetland composed of young big trees and large expanses of cattail
(Typha spp.) in impounded areas to the north of the canal. Areas south of the canal are still overdrained
and dominated by bay trees and wax myrtle (M. cerifera).
The river has a second major tributary, the Little Econlockhatchee River which joins the Big Econ
approximately two-thirds of the distance from headwaters to the mouth. The Little Econ drains higher
lands in the extreme western portions of its basin that were dominated by gently rolling hammocks and
sandhill communities, but most of the basin was relatively flat, poorly drained and dominated by pine
flatwoods. In the early 1980s, the basin had more than 50% of its land area in urban, agricultural or
other uses (Miller and Miller 1984).
Map 2.2 shows urban and agricultural land uses within the basin. Table 2.1 gives total area in
urban and agricultural uses and their percent of the total land area. Obvious is the extent of urban uses
in the Little Econ Basin when compared to the Big Econ. Most agricultural uses are confined to the
Big Econ Basin.
As a means of simplifying the complexity of the basin into larger scale classes of ecological
systems, the basin was classified and mapped in what might be called a FLUCC Level 0 classification
by "lumping" or aggregating ecological communities into landscape associations. Map 2.3 shows the
landscape associations of the basin. The following section describes associations and their topographic
and hydrologic characteristics.


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Table 2.1 Land use in the Econlockhatchee River Basin.


Region Area (acres) Percent of
Region




Seminole County
Urban 2563 8.2%
Agriculture 3475 11.1%
Wooded 17142 54.7%
Wetlands 6787 21.6%
Lakes 1387 4.4%
Total 31354

Orange County
Urban 39734 31.2%
Agriculture 11790 9.3%
Forested (300,400) 43601 34.2%
Wetlands (600) 28934 22.7%
Lakes 3256 2.6%
Total 127315

Osceola County
Urban 0 0.0%
Agriculture 180 1.1%
Range 8550 52.8%
Wetlands 7473 46.1%
Total 16203


Total Basin


174872


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Landscape Associations



From previous studies (Brown and Best 1985; Brown, Schaefer and Brandt 1989) a technique of
landscape scale classification has been developed that generalizes somewhat characteristics of ecological
organization with topographical and hydrological gradients. Called landscape associations, they are an
assemblage of ecological communities classified on the basis of similarity of topographic, geologic, and
hydrologic conditions as well as landscape position. Using this system of classification, the central
Florida region within which the Econ Basin is found is composed of eight associations. Three
landscape associations are characteristic of the Econ Basin and they are
1) pine flatwoods with isolated wetlands,
2) pine flatwoods with flowing water wetlands, and
3) pine flatwoods and/or hammocks with hardwood swamps wetlands.
The following paragraphs describe the associations. For complete descriptions of the communities
that comprise these associations see Brown (1980) and Brown and Starnes (1982).



Landscape Classification 1. Flatwoods/Isolated Wetlands

This association is characterized by very low topographic relief and very minor surface drainage
features. As a result, overland flow during the wet season and significant storm events is quite
common. During normal years, water tables are at or near the ground surface for about six months of
the year.
Pine flatwoods are so named because of the flat topography on which this association is typically
found. The lack of gradient results in frequent flooding during the summer rainy season (Brown 1980).
Often underlain by a "hardpan" of organic materials, clays or accreted oxides, that retard downward
migration of groundwaters, flatwood soils are often poorly drained and flood easily. Many grassy
scrub areas and palmetto prairies were probably once pine flatwoods that have been converted to grassy
scrub by tree harvest, increased drainage, and/or greater fire frequency (Brown 1980).
Interspersed throughout the flatwoods are topographic low areas, which are occupied by patches of
wetlands of various types. Wetlands are typically circular in shape and vary from quite small (less than
one-half acre) to large (tens of acres). Depth of standing water in isolated wetlands during the rainy
season is typically 18 to 24 inches. Wetland types include cypress domes, bayheads, wet prairie, and
shallow marshes (Brown and Schaefer 1987). Occasionally deep freshwater marshes (Brown 1980) are
found although they most often are associated with areas of higher relief and greater surface water
drainage. The wetlands in this association are relatively oligotrophic whose main source of nutrients is
rainfall and a minor surface drainage from small surrounding watersheds.
Cypress domes are dominated by pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens). Dominant tree species in
bayheads include red bay (Persea borbonia), sweet bay (Magnolia virginiana), loblolly bay (Gordonia
lasianthus), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), red maple (Acer rubrum), pond pine (Pinus serotina), and
slash pine (Pinus elliottii). Typical wet prairie plants include St. John's wort (Hypericum fasciculatum),


2-17











primrose willow (Ludwigia spp.), elderberry (Sambucus simpsonii), panicum grasses (Panicum spp.),
soft rush (Juncus effusus), spike rush (Eleocharis cellulosa), and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata).
Deepwater marshes are usually dominated by free-floating plants such as water hyacinth
(Eichhornia crasspipes) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiodes) or rooted aquatic plants such as water lily
(Nymphaea odorata) and spatterdock (Nuphar luteum). Shallow marshes may be dominated by one of
the following species: pickerelweed (P. cordata), sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), arrowhead (Sagittaria
spp.), fire flag (Thalia geniculata), cattail (Typha spp.), spikerush (E. cellulosa), bulrush (Scirpus spp.),
or maidencane (Panicum hemitomon); some marshes contain patches or mixtures of some or all of these
species (Brown and Starnes 1983).
The flatwoods/isolated wetland association is found throughout the Econ Basin occupying the flat
table lands between drainage features and as the headwaters areas of many first order streams.



Landscape Classification 2. Flatwoods/Flowing Water Wetlands

The soils in this category are poorly drained and have higher percentages of clay and organic matter
than do those of the flatwoods/isolated wetland association. Unlike the table lands of the first
association, the topography of this association is more variable. Having somewhat greater relief, the
flatwoods of this association have surface drainage features that resemble elongated swales dominated
by wetland vegetation. Both surface and groundwaters contribute water flows to the wetland drainage
features.
Sloughs or strands are elongated wetlands with no open water channels; however, water flows
imperceptibly slow as sheet flow during the wet season and through small, braided channels during drier
times.
Flowing water wetlands include both bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and southern mixed
hardwood forests growing throughout sloughs and strands. Common hardwood species include red
maple (A. rubrum), water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), swamp black gum (Nyssa sylvatica var. bflora),
sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), pop ash (Fraxinus caroliniana), Florida elm (Ulmusfloridana),
and cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) (Brown 1980).
The seasonal flooding that is characteristic of flowing water wetlands provides the nutrients needed
for plant growth. Water levels can fluctuate about 2.5 feet between the wet and dry season in an
average year. The normal depths of inundation are about 24 to 30 inches. Often deeper pools in a
slough may be as deep as 5 feet (Brown and Stares 1983). Flooding is also important for seed
distribution, seed scarification, and elimination of upland plant species (Brandt and Ewel 1989).
The flatwoods/flowing water wetlands association is the most common association of the Econ
Basin. The southern and central portions of the basin where alternating relic beach ridges and sloughs
are characteristic (Osceola and Orange counties) are dominated by this association type. The linear
drainage features of this portion of the basin are an easy means of identification.


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Landscape Classification 3. Flatwoods/mesic hammocks/hydric hammocks/hardwood swamps

More moderate to moderately well drained sandy soils and level to sloping topography characterize
the uplands of this association. Between the upland communities of flatwoods and mesic hammock and
the lower zone communities of hardwood swamp or marsh, hydric hammocks often occur where
moisture conditions maintain soils in constant saturation but rarely, if ever, flood.
The excellent growing conditions and good soils foster the development of quite diverse and robust
pine flatwoods. If fire is excluded, the mesic hammocks that follow are the most diverse of the upland
communities in the central Florida region and may contain between 8 and 35 tree species. Overstory
species in mesic hammocks include Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), laurel oak (Quercus
laurifolia), red bay (P. borbonia), pignut (Carya glabra), American holly (Ilex opaca), water oak
(Quercus nigra), black cherry (Prunus serotina), and live oak (Quercus virginiana). The canopy is so
dense that little sunlight reaches the forest floor. Soils are moderately well drained to somewhat poorly
drained. Rainfall is the major water source for mesic hammocks, although seepage and runoff may
provide water to some stands (Brown 1980).
Soils in hydric hammocks are generally shallow and sandy, and limestone (either in bedrock or in
nodules in the soil) is most often present (Vince et al. in press). Hardpans (weakly cemented Bh
horizons) do not occur in hydric hammocks, but clay layers that support surficial water tables occur in
some hammocks (Vince et al. in press).
Where high water tables are characteristic hydric hammock soils are saturated most of the year
(Brown and Schaefer 1987). Sources of water to hydric hammocks include groundwater seepage,
rainfall, stream overflows, and aquifer discharge (Simons et al. in press); groundwater seepage from
uplands is the major source of water for many hydric hammocks found bordering floodplain swamps.
Hydric hammocks have the most diverse flora of any wetland in central Florida. Species include pop
ash (F. caroliniana), live oak (Q. virginiana), laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), water oak (Q. nigra), Southern
magnolia (M. grandiflora), red bay (P. borbonia), sweet bay (M. virginiana), tulip poplar (Liriodendron
tulipifera), red maple (A. rubrum), red cedar (Juniperus silicicola), cabbage palm (S. palmetto), slash
pine (P. elliotti), and blue beech (Carpinus caroliniana) (Brown and Starnes 1983).
Hardwood swamps are characterized by seasonal flooding of the flowing waters along which they
are found. Species composition depends upon the flow rate, water quality, and turbidity of the adjacent
waterway. The most common species are red maple (A. rubrum), water tupelo (N. aquatica), swamp
black gum (N. sylvatica var. biflora), sweet gum (L. styriciflua), bald cypress (T. distichum), pop ash (F.
caroliniana), Florida elm (U. floridana), and cabbage palm (S. palmetto) (Brown 1980). Soils
associated with this community are nearly level, very poorly drained, and dark in color. They are either
organic or have coarse- to medium-textured surfaces underlain by finer textured material (Brown and
Starnes 1983).
The higher relief and better drained topography of the lower Econ near and below the confluence of
Little and Big Econ rivers are dominated by this landscape association.


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Ecological Communities


Generalized land cover for the Econ Basin are shown in Maps 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6. Because of the
limited size of maps that may be included within the report, land cover categories have been greatly
simplified. Larger detailed maps at a FLUCC Level 3 classification are available from either the Center
for Wetlands, University of Florida, or the St. Johns River Water Management District, Palatka, FL.
Land use and land cover have been generalized and are shown on separate maps for clarity. Urban and
agricultural uses are shown on Map 2.3; xeric forests are shown on Map 2.4; pine flatwoods and mesic
hammocks on Map 2.5; and wetlands are shown on Map 2.5. Quite obvious is the difference between
the Little Econ Basin and the Big Econ Basin in the extent of ecological communities in both basins
reflecting the greater urbanization of the Little Econ.



Xeric Communities

Xeric communities in the Big Econ Basin are given in Map 2.4. They have been mapped
separately because of their limited distribution and status as communities of special concern. As a result
of their limited distribution and integral relationship within the ridge and swale system of the basin, they
are of special significance. The best remaining examples can be found in the western portions of the
Big Econ Basin along the "ridge" between the Big and Little Econ watersheds. This ridge occupies a
line that runs through the Stanton Energy Center and the Easterly Waste Treatment Plant, and east of
Lake Mary Jane in Orange County. Unfortunately both the Stanton Energy Center and the Easterly
Waste Treatment Rapid Infiltration Basins (RIBs) were constructed on relatively intact xeric
communities, reducing the total area of these communities significantly. The International Corporate
Park ADA lists a total of 225.3 acres of xeric oak community on their site now approved for
development, of which all are subject to development. Some relatively intact scrub exist on the UCF
Campus, but recently portions were developed.
Xeric communities occupy topographic ridges, in some locations the ridges can be many meters in
height, but in the Big Econ Basin they are often less than a meter higher than the surrounding
landscape. Often called xeric oak scrub, xeric scrub, or scrub oak communities, they are characterized
by soils that are well drained droughtty, often white and well washed, with little herbaceous cover.
When fire has been withheld, the shrub layer can become extremely dense. Most often the sole canopy
species is sand live oak (Quercus geminata) growing in a relatively open and discontinuous canopy of
individuals that are low, arching and mostly less than 10 meters in height. The shrub layer is composed
of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), live oak (Q. virginiana), myrtle oak (Quercus myrtifolia), staggerbush
(Lyonia fruticosa), Chapman's oak (Quercus chapmanii), and fetterbush (Lyonia lucida). Rosemary
(Ceratiola ericoides), tarflower (Befaria racemosa), and gopher apple (Licania michauxii) are also
encountered in the shrub layer. Herbaceous species are relatively uncommon and, when encountered,
they occupy open patches of bleached white sand. Most frequently encountered herbaceous species


2-20










include: wire grass (Aristida stricta, roserush (Lygodesmia aphylla), reindeermoss (Cladonia spp.),
beak sedge (Rhynchospora dodecandra) and others.
The sand pine scrub, a variation of the xeric scrub community, is apparently even less common than
the xeric oak scrub in the Econ Basin (the only mention of sand pine scrub is by Best et al. 1982), and
the RIBs of the Easterly Waste Treatment Plant now occupy the site where they were documented).
Like the xeric oak scrub, the sand pine scrub canopy is composed of a single species; sand pine (Pinus
clausa), whose spacing is quite variable such that the canopy is not fully closed in most places. While
there is no woody subcanopy, the shrub layer is well developed and often extremely dense, impenetrable
thickets are formed. In general, the shrubs are the same as are found in the xeric oak scrub, as are the
herbaceous species.



Pine Flatwoods

The pine flatwoods ecosystem is the most common and widespread in Florida. Given its extensive
coverage, the pine flatwoods exhibits a broad variety of growth forms from communities resembling
prairies with widely scattered longleaf pines (Pinus palustris) to extremely dense communities of
longleaf pine (P. palustris) and slash pine (P. elliottii) on moderately drained soils, to dense
communities of pond pine (P. serotina) often growing in poorly drained sloughs. Most frequently, pine
flatwoods occupy nearly level, poorly drained soils that are strongly acidic, and have a "hardpan"
several feet below the ground surface. These conditions lead to frequent flooding during the wet season,
and often flatwoods are flooded from June through September. However, just as they are prone to
flooding during the wet season, they are also prone to drought conditions during the dry season (October
to May). With the dry season drought and the flammable nature of the litter layer, fire is a common
occurrence in the pine flatwoods. The community is adapted to fire and often referred to as a "fire
climax" community; if fire is withheld, the community often succeeds to a hardwood forest or
hammock.
Throughout the Big Econ Basin, the flatwoods are dominated by longleaf pine (P. palustris). In
many locations, as the result of logging and killing fires, the canopy of longleaf pine (P. palustris) has
been almost eliminated. Where the canopy is open and much sunlight can reach the understory
vegetation, a dense layer of saw palmetto (S. repens) often becomes the dominant species in the shrub
layer. Other species in the shrub layer include: fetterbush (L. lucida), staggerbush (L. fruticosa),
pawpaw (Asimina reticulatus), shiny blueberry (Vaccinium myrsinites), sparkleberry (Vaccinium
arboreum), tarflower (B. racemosa), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), gallberry (Ilex glabra), and dwarf
huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa).
While quite common, "healthy" examples of robust flatwoods are increasingly hard to come by.
The majority of the drier longleaf communities seem to occupy an area along a line through the Easterly
Waste Treatment Plant, Stanton Energy Center southward, east of Lake Mary Jane. The headwaters
area of the Big Econ south of the Beeline Highway is dominated by relatively open canopied flatwoods
and palmetto prairies. The palmetto prairies may have once been pine flatwoods, but due to fire,
logging, and cattle grazing the canopy has been much reduced.


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Mesic Hammock


The mesic hammock community is a hardwood forest ecosystem also called a southern mixed
forest The term "hammock" seems to be an old colloquial term meaning grove or stand of trees. Over
the years it has come into common usage and is often used to describe forested communities in
conjunction with the terms xeric, mesic and hydric, to differentiate between dry, moist, and wet
hammocks, respectively.
The mesic hammock occupies moderately well-drained, neutral soils and is believed to be the latter
successional stage resulting from the absence of fire in pine flatwoods. The canopy is quite diverse and
dominated by any of the following: Southern magnolia (M. grandiflora), laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), red
bay (P. borbonia), pignut (C. glabra), American holly (I. opaca), water oak (Q. nigra), black cherry (P.
serotina), live oak (Q. virginiana), sweet gum (L. styriciflua), and cabbage palm (S. palmetto). The
understory is often composed of seedlings of the overstory as well as saw palmetto (S. repens), wax
myrtle (M. cerifera), persimmon (Dispyros virginana), fetterbush (L. lucida), and various grasses and
sedges.
The most extensive areas of this community type occur in the Lower Econ Basin and along the Big
Econ, south of the confluence, mostly within Seminole County.



Wetland communities

There are several types of wetlands occurring within the Econ Basin. In general, community
structure of wetlands is controlled primarily by hydrologic parameters (hydroperiod and depth of
inundation) and then by other factors such as soils, recent fire history, and logging activities. The types
of wetlands occurring within the basin are as follows: Pond pine communities (sometimes considered
an upland or transitional community), bayheads, cypress domes/strands/sloughs, mixed hardwood
swamps, hydric hammocks, wet prairies, shallow marshes, and deepwater marshes. Each is discussed in
some detail below.

Pond pine community The pond pine community is found on poorly drained soils downslope from
flatwoods, often in transitional areas between flatwoods and cypress or mixed hardwoods swamps. The
soils of the pond pine community remain wet to flooded throughout much of the year. As a result, the
community, while adapted to fire, does not bur as frequently as the drier flatwoods. When the
community does burn, fire is often disastrous, killing canopy trees, but releasing new seedlings from
serotinous (meaning fire loving) cones that are held on branches unopened for several years at a time.
The canopy is principally composed of pond pine (P. serotina) but intergrades on the upland edges
with longleaf pine (P. palustris) and along the wetland edge with cypress and several of the bay species.
Distributions of the shrub species varies along the soil moisture gradient. On the drier soils, saw
palmetto (S. repens) and gallberry (I. glabra) predominate, while on the wetter soils, fetterbush (L.
lucida) and St John's wort (H. fasciculatum) are quite common.


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Most all wetland sloughs of the Big Econ Basin have adjacent pond pine communities; some of the
best examples are along the line running from the Easterly Waste Treatment Plant southeast through the
Stanton Energy Site into southern Orange County east of Lake Mary Jane, and along the Big Econ and
its tributaries between the Beeline Highway and Highway 50.

Bay swamp communities The bay communities of the Big Econ Basin are, for the most part, quite
young, suggesting recent changes in wetland community structure and ecological organization. Often,
wetland community structure can be radically reorganized as the result of changing groundwater
conditions (drier or wetter). This may be the case throughout the basin. Many observations by
ecologists documenting community structure allude to increased fire, drier conditions, drained and
burned wetlands, and so forth; suggesting that the overall trend throughout the basin has been one of
decreasing water table levels. Young bay communities suggest that recently some change has occurred
that is more conducive to bay trees (shorter hydroperiods, with minimal inundation) than for other
forested wetland community types.
Bay swamps naturally occur where ground surfaces are rarely inundated to any degree for long
periods of time, but saturation is quite common for most of the year. Seepage areas at the base of
sandy ridges are often dominated by bay communities. Experience has shown community shifts from
cypress wetlands to bay swamps in response to lowered groundwater tables and fire.
Bay swamps are dominated by sweet bay (M. virginiana), loblolly bay (G. lasianthus), and, to a
lesser extent, swamp red bay (Persea palustria). Other species sometimes reaching canopy stature
include: wax myrtle (M. cerifera) and dahoon holly (Ilex cassine). The understory often resembles a
thicket dominated by wax myrtle (M. cerifera), fetterbush (L. lucida), and vines like wild grape (Vitisis
rotundifolia) and catbrier (Smilax laurifolia).
Numerous throughout the Big Econ Basin some of the areas within and adjacent to the
Econlockhatchee River Swamp in northern Osceola County are dominated by bay swamps, interdigitated
with marshes, cypress and wet prairies. Many of the cypress domes and swamps of the central portions
of the Big Econ are increasingly becoming dominated by bays, presumably resulting from lowered
groundwater tables and increased fires.

Cypress Swamps Cypress swamps are probably one of the most common forested wetlands in
Florida. When circular in shape and isolated they are called cypress domes. When elongated and
exhibiting sluggish surface-water flow in nondistinct channels, they are called cypress sloughs; and when
surface flows are evident but still without distinct channels, they are referred to as cypress strands.
Riverine cypress occupy the margins of channelways of streams and rivers. Lake border swamps are
often dominated by cypress along the lake margins. Growth rates, density of trees and basal area all
seem to increase with increasing hydrologic function and access to nutrients from cypress domes
(smallest trees and lowest growth rates) to riverine cypress swamps (largest trees and highest growth
rates).
Cypress domes, sloughs, and sometimes strands are dominated by pond cypress (T. ascendens)
while riverine swamps and lake border swamps are more characteristically dominated by bald cypress
(T. distichum). Other trees sharing the canopy include black gum (N. sylvatica), pond pine (P.


2-23











serotina), slash pine (P. elliotti), red maple (A. rubrum), and one or more of the bay species. The
understory can be relatively diverse having fetterbush (L. lucida), wax myrtle (M. cerifera), dahoon
holly (I. cassine), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Virginia willow (Itea virginica) and numerous
others.
Cypress domes, sloughs and strands are quite common throughout the Big Econ Basin. Although
many show successional trends and the effects of earlier logging to the extent that they are now co-
dominated with other tree species, some have only remanent cypress trees. The large headwater swamp
called the Econlockhatchee River Swamp in northern Osceola County has extensive stands of cypress,
although a recent over flight revealed significant logging in some portions of the swamp.
When the dominance of cypress gives way to other species, especially in the riverine floodplain
swamps of the river, the community is classified as a mixed hardwood swamp.

Mixed hardwood swamp When hydroperiods are short, inundation is moderate, and ground
topography is relatively rough, the diversity of plant species that can colonize, survive and grow is
richer. Mixed hardwood swamps have the highest diversity of the forested wetland communities,
primarily as a result of the variation in hydrologic regimes of "micro-sites" within the wetland.
The canopy in these wetlands is a rich assemblage of hardwood species and cypress such that no
single species dominates. Canopy species include: red maple (A. rubrum), water tupelo (N. aquatica,
swamp black gum (N. sylvatica var. biflora), sweet gum (L. styriciflua), bald cypress (T. distichum),
pond cypress (T. ascendens), pop ash (F. caroliniana), Florida elm (U. floridana), cabbage palm (S.
palmetto), sweet bay (M. virginiana), and loblolly bay (G. lasianthus). The understory is similar to
cypress swamps.
The preponderance of mixed hardwood swamps are associated with the riverine swamps of the
floodplain of the Big and Little Econ rivers, although there are numerous isolated wetlands that
resemble cypress domes or strands but, because of hydrologic conditions, have mixed canopies.

Wet prairies Surrounding many forested wetlands in a transitional zone from several meters to as
much as 50 meters wide, and in isolated depressions, wet prairies are found. Wet prairies are essentially
treeless wetlands inundated for short periods of time, and often ravaged by fire. Wet prairies often
occur on mineral soils and do not exhibit accumulations of organic matter; however, when fire is not a
recurrent element, minor organic accumulations may occur. Wet prairies are maintained by high water
tables, infrequent inundation, frequent fires, and most recently, heavy grazing. Changes in groundwater
table elevations as a result of "improved drainage" is practically disastrous to wet prairies, often
eliminating them entirely from the landscape after only two dry years.
St. John's wort is often the only woody species present. Sometimes on the drier margins dense
stands of wax myrtle (M. cerifera) may grow to heights of 4 meters or more. There is a wide variety of
herbaceous species associated with wet prairies including: grassy arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea),
pipewort (Eriocaulon decangulare), capitate beaked-rush (Rhynchospora microcephala), mermaid-weed
(Proserpinaca pectinata), yellow-eyed grass (Xyris caroliniana), bloodroot (Lachnanthes caroliniana),
red ludwigia (Ludwigia repens), Virginia chain-fern (Woodwardia virginica), Baldwin's spikerush









(Eleocharis baldwinnii), maidencane (P. hemitomon), water smartweed (Polygonum punctatum),
(Pluchea rosea, (Cyperus spp.), and water pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata).
Wet prairie communities are common throughout the headwater and channelway of the Big Econ
River Basin, but are not as common throughout the Little Econ Basin and below the confluence in
eastern Seminole County.

Shallow marshes Where inundation is more frequent, depths of inundation are around 0.5 meters,
and fire is somewhat less frequent than wet prairies, shallow marshes are common. With deeper
inundation, longer hydroperiods and accumulations of organic matter, broad-leaved marshes occur
(sometimes called flag ponds) dominated by the following species: pickerelweed (P. cordata),
arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), fire flag (T. geniculata), and cattail (Typha, spp.). Dominant in the grassy
shallow marshes are sawgrass (C. jamaicense), spikerush (E. cellulosa), soft rush (J. effusus), bulrush
(Scirpus spp.), maidencane (P. hemitomon), to name but a few.
Shallow marshes are common throughout the Big Econ Basin, where they appear as isolated
flatwoods marshes and sometimes as fringing forested swamps. The magnificent headwaters swamp of
the Big Econ River is an extensive, shallow marsh intermixed with cypress wetlands, bays, and shrubby
swamps. Like wet prairies, shallow marshes are particularly susceptible to lowered groundwater tables.

Deepwater marshes Where hydroperiods are long, and depths of inundation greater than 0.5 meters
to a much as 1 m., deepwater marshes prevail. Often found as deeper pools within other wetland
systems (including forested wetlands) they are usually dominated by free-floating plants such as water
hyacinth and water lettuce if nutrients are high, or rooted aquatic plants such as water lily and
spatterdock in lower nutrient conditions.
The extent of deepwater marshes is usually small and relatively local in occurrence. Their spatial
distribution within the basin is unknown at this time.


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MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES


Landscape management in developing regions must be approached from two perspectives. First,
from the perspective of resource management, that is, manipulating ecological communities directly as a
means of controlling growth, productivity, or species composition. Silviculture is one of the most
common landscape management techniques, native range cattle grazing is another. In both of these
schemes, the ecological communities of the landscape are manipulated (burned, planted, harvested,
ditched, etc.) to increase yields and direct ecological succession in "desirable" directions. Examples of
resource management are creating ecological communities, recycling treated sewage effluent through
wetlands, controlling burs, manipulating of groundwater levels, and enhancing natural succession.
The second approach is controlling or managing development actions. How much development and
how it is placed on the landscape are probably the most important factors affecting overall landscape
"health." Management of development includes such things as wetlands protection, zoning, habitat set-
asides, floodplain ordinances, and wetland buffers.
Management suggestions for maintenance of a vital and sustainable landscape for the Econ River
Basin are included in this chapter. First are resource management alternatives followed by suggestions
for managing development impacts.




Managing the Terrestrial and Wetland Resources
of the Econlockhatchee River Basin



Principles

The ecological communities of the Econ Basin are self-organizing systems driven by natural forces
of sunlight, wind and rains and reorganized through the actions of pulses of flood, drought and fire.
The development actions of humans often create conditions that increase the frequency and severity of
pulses. Good landscape management does not interrupt natural cycles or alter driving forces. It fits
development into the landscape instead of upon it. Effective landscape management balances a
symbiotic relationship between ecological communities and human uses for a long-term sustainable yield
rather than short-term gain.


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Management Suggestions


Managing Fire The ecological communities of the basin suffer from overexposure to fire.
Throughout the Econ Basin fire has increased in severity and frequency as a result of increased presence
of humans and lowered water tables. Increased frequency has the net effect of decreasing ecological
potential because vegetation is killed and survival of many seedlings is greatly reduced by recurrent
fires. Severity of fire is from two sources: first, when fire is suppressed, the buildup of understory
vegetation and litter causes fires to burn hotter, and second, many fires result from the actions of
humans and occur during the driest portions of the year increasing the likelihood of a hot, killing fire.
The drier conditions resulting from combinations of natural drought cycles and drainage activities by
humans has dried many ecological communities (especially wetlands) that now bur on a regular basis,
killing indigenous species and opening the system to invasion.
To minimize the impacts of fire several management strategies are important
1) Control bur all terrestrial communities on proper frequency and during wet season when
fires are better controlled.
2) Maintain a strong fire control presence in the basin to extinguish fires quickly prior to their
getting out of control.
3) Re-establish historic groundwater levels to minimize burning of wetland ecological
communities.



Managing Silviculture Often silvicultural operations are managed for short-term gain with little
attention to long-term sustainability or to concepts of multiple use. Cutting practices that cut all timber
including wetland timber, site preparation practices that ditch and drain wetter sites, and clear-cutting in
general should be discouraged. Sustainable yields can easily be achieved through selective harvesting,
and/or rotating clear-cutting in smaller strips leaving uncut trees in alternating rows. Sustainable
management alternatives are as follows:
1) Observe best management practices throughout all logging operations.
2) Suspend large clear-cutting in favor of harvesting in small clear-cuts in alternating strips of
cut and uncut lands.
3) Suspend clear-cutting in wetlands and wetland buffers in favor of selective logging on a
long-term saw timber rotation.
4) Suspend all cutting in wildlands management areas.



Establish Wildlands Management Areas Fragmentation of landscapes into ever smaller parcels has
the net effect of reducing biotic diversity by elimination of wildlife habitat To ensure that there are
some wild landscapes, especially around fast urbanizing metropolitan areas, wildlands management
districts need to be established. Through purchase, transfer of development rights (TDR), and transfer
of mitigation requirements (TMR), portions of the developing landscape that are wild in character, large
enough in size, and a network in design should be set aside.


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Wildlands greenbelts that contain and give definition to urban areas and that provide close
proximity to a wild and scenic landscape for urban dwellers need to be planned far in advance of their
actual need. Once the landscape is developed, reversing urbanization and retrieving a wild landscape,
while desirable, becomes impossible. The great greenbelts of Europe were not afterthoughts, but
planned well in advance.

Establish Wetlands Buffer Requirements The purpose of setting aside buffer zones between a
wetland and a developed upland area is to protect the integrity of the wetland's water supply, it's water
quality, and associated wetland dependent wildlife. A buffer can be thought of as a zone of transition
between two different land uses that separates and protects one from the other. Based on previous
studies (Brown and Schaefer et al. 1987; Brandt and Brown 1988; and Brown, Schaefer, and Brandt
1989) it is recommended that a wetlands buffer be established that protects wetland integrity and
wildlife habitat.
In general, a buffer is necessary to ensure against the degradation of adequate quantity of water
(i.e., hydroperiods and depths of inundation are not negatively effected by drainage activities in
surrounding lands), adequate quality of water (protection from erosion and sediment) and wildlife habitat
value for wetland and aquatic-dependent species. Methods for determining appropriate buffers for
landscapes typical of the Econ Basin are provided in Brown, Schaefer, and Brandt (1989).

Dechannalize Streams and Rivers Natural drainage patterns are organized to minimize slope and
water velocities, and to maximize potential use of surface waters. Engineering that reverses these basic
organizational principles is destructive to ecological processes landscape wide. Deep drainage canals
and ditches lower water tables and cause increased drought in wetlands and uplands alike. Straight
ditches increase velocity and allow waters with suspended nutrients and pollutants to quickly exit the
upper reaches of a watershed and carry materials far downstream where they contribute to water quality
problems. Meandering wetland drainage structures retard runoff during low flows, filter runoff, act as
wildlife habitat corridors, and provide aesthetic buffers between lands uses.

Manage for both eutrophy and oligotrophy conditions Much of the Florida landscape is naturally
high in nutrients, while other areas have become nutrient rich as a result of runoff from urban and
agriculture lands. Policies trying to maintain nutrient-rich areas (eutrophic areas) as if they were
nutrient poor (oligotrophic) run counter to good ecological management Vegetation should be
encouraged to grow, wetlands planted, and surface waters routed so as to maximize the filtration
capacity and uptake capacity of ecological communities. Where sunlight and nutrients are abundant,
vegetation will invade, taking advantage of these conditions. Herbiciding invading vegetation only
allows nutrients and other pollutants to move farther downstream spreading the eutrophic conditions
across a wider portion of the landscape.


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Managing Development Impacts on
Terrestrial and Wetland Ecological Communities



The key to minimizing developmental impacts on the Econlockhatchee River is managing
development throughout the basin. Water quality and quantity are fundamental to maintaining a high
quality environment and are dealt with in detail in the first chapter of this volume. However, to
maintain good water quality, adequate water quantity, and productive wildlife habitat, development of
ecological communities throughout the basin needs to be controlled. How much development, where it
is located, and how it is designed are important factors that will determine the fate of the
Econlockhatchee River.



Principles

Those managing development to minimize impacts to ecological communities should be cognizant
of two basic postulates: (1) There are few abrupt changes in nature, and (2) increased economies of
scale may apply to economic systems but are often detrimental to ecologic systems. In the first
postulate the concern is related to transition. In the second postulate the concern is with "bigness" and
the ability of the environment to assimilate wastes. These two postulates lead to the following
management suggestions.



Management Suggestions

Confine intense land uses to least sensitive lands As the intensity of use increases, so do the
impacts to the environment. A general environmental planning principle that makes good ecological
sense is to confine intense uses (industry, landfills, and commercial uses that have significant impacts on
ecological communities) to locations where there is sufficient distance to mitigate negative effects prior
to impacting sensitive communities. Intense uses should be confined to areas at the greatest distance
from surface-water bodies; and stormwater runoff should be routed through wetlands and other
ecologically engineered ecosystems to filter nutrients and pollutants.

Confine development to 50% of land As a general rule, at least 50% of lands should be left intact
as integral urban/ecological communities. These wildlands can be so designed and located as to form an
ecological system of corridors and habitats of connected uplands and wetlands that will provide open
space and enhance property values. They are necessary components of a landscape and, as such,
landowners should be given tax incentives to ensure they are justly compensated for their contribution of
these environmental values to society.


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Preserve landscape associations instead of communities It is well known that no ecological
community can be isolated from the landscape within which it is imbedded and hope to maintain
ecologic functions. Once a community becomes isolated and is driven by a different suite of
environmental conditions, it becomes host to a different suite of wildlife. Recent trends in wetlands
preservation have left numerous wetlands isolated within large expanses of developed lands. Wetlands
found in these situations often have degraded ecologic function and have lost much of their habitat value
by virtue of the fact that they are isolated from other interdependent communities. Where trade-offs are
appropriate, healthy "mosiacs" of landscape associations of uplands and wetlands should be preserved
within developed areas to ensure viable and effective ecological communities. These mosaics should be
connected to local and regional wildland corridors in a effort to achieve an integrated wildlands network.

Design stormwater systems as forested ecosystems There are numerous reasons why stormwater
conveyance systems should resemble natural watersheds, the most important are:
1) Natural systems are self maintaining. Wetlands and first-order stream floodplains need no
maintenance once they have become established.
2) Constructed wetland retention ponds and first-order stream floodplains provide wildlife
habitat.
3) Constructed wetland retention ponds and floodplain ecosystems retard the flow of water.
4) Constructed wetland ecosystems conserve water over open water ponds.
5) Constructed wetland ecosystems provide visual buffers.



Maximize use of native vegetation in landscaping Maintain existing vegetation, both overstory and
understory plants, as elements in developed landscape design wherever possible. They provide food and
shelter for native wildlife species and are self maintaining. The use of sod as a ground cover should be
minimized because of its lack of wildlife value, its requirements for fertilizer and watering, and the fact
that it increases stormwater runoff.

Minimize use of pavement Use permeable materials for paved surfaces so as to minimize
stormwater runoff wherever possible. The design of all paved areas should be such that surface water
runoff is routed through constructed wetland filters for sufficient distance and time to remove 99% of
sediments, nutrients, oils and greases, and other pollutants.

Minimize groundwater drawdown When groundwater tables are lowered, soils are drier,
hydroperiods shorter and depths of inundation shallower in all communities of the affected area. Soil
moisture conditions in upland ecological communities and hydroperiods and depths of inundation in
wetland communities are important parameters that control species distributions, productivity, and
overall community organization.
Groundwater tables are often manipulated within developments as part of stormwater management
Surrounding ecological communities, preservation areas, and wetlands within the development are
adversely affected by the loss of soil moisture and flooding. The overall ecological health declines and
their habitat value deteriorates as the landscape becomes more desiccated.


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SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Probably the single most important factor to consider in managing the Econlockhatchee River Basin,
is the interconnections between elements of the landscape mosaic. Vital and sustainable economic
development should not be separated from sound environmental and resource management. River water
quality should not be separated from wetlands protection and sound development planning. Healthy
wetland ecosystems cannot be separated from the landscape within which they are embedded. Effective
management of the water resources of the basin requires effective management of the land resources of
the basin. Basin management must recognize the inseparability of good water quality from sound
environmental and land use planning. To achieve basinwide management, it is recommended that a
special planning district be formed to encompass the Econ Basin and that basin-specific planning criteria
be developed to protect the resources of the basin.
It is strongly recommended that in order to achieve some measure of control over the way in which
the basin develops, detailed planning studies be conducted to evaluate the resources and condition of the
basin in great detail, and then a detailed basin development plan be generated. The plan should be
driven by the natural resources of the basin and how best to protect and enhance them. It should be
basinwide in scope and include an overall evaluation of the developmental carrying capacity based on
maintenance of environmental quality and good water quality in the Econlockhatchee River.
The Econ River Basin is not remarkable in its flora. There are numerous areas throughout central
Florida where these same communities can be found. What makes the Econ unique is the fact that
much of the basin (Big Econ) is still relatively intact What is worrisome is the number of new
developments and DRI proposals that have recently been made known. Development of a basinwide,
cohesive planning initiative offers the opportunity to plan ahead of time how the basin will look and
how it will function ecologically and hydrologically.
The Econ River Basin unlike other basins that have greater relief is dominated by slow runoff, high
surface storage of stormwaters in wetlands, and high groundwater tables. Development actions within
this landscape and studies (Brown, Schaefer, and Brandt 1989) have shown that the flatter a landscape
the greater the spatial impacts of drainage structures. Greater care is required in developing the poorly
drained lands of the Econ Basin, for the potential negative impacts are larger.












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