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GOVERNORS UNDER WHOM THE DISTRICT HAS SERVED
DURING ITS FIRST SIX YEARS
CLAUDE KIRK, JR.
FARRIS BRYANT HAYDON BURNS
Water Management District
ALFRED A. McKETHAN, BrooksvilleE CHARLES K. CHEEZEM, St. Petersburg
Chairman > 1 9 6 1.
EDWARD MEDARD, Tampa sHORACE JONES, Lakeland
THOMAS M. KILGORE, Ocala C. J. KNOWLES, Leesburg
SecretaryJ S O
RUFE C. WYSONG, Lake Panasoffkee JAMES E. CONNOR, Crystal River
E. B. LARKIN, Dade City Dale Twachtmann, Executive Director
May 10, 1967
We feel warmly toward Noah's Ark here at the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District. It reminds us of the continuing need for man to do big jobs and
do them well.
Today the ark of Noah's time has been replaced with the more modern methods
of water management. In the Southwest Florida Water Management District
our "Ark" is the "Four River Basins, Florida" multiple purpose project.
The organizing and developing of this District, and vigorous efforts toward the
construction of the Four River Basins project, have been the principal endeavors
of our Board of Governors since 1961. From a very humble beginning in that
year the District has made progress even beyond the hopes of the Governing
Board itself. We are proud to set out for you on these pages a short chronicld
of the first six exciting years of this dynamic organization.
ALFRED A. McKETHAN
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
In March, July and again in September of 1960 when Hurricane Donna
occurred the citizens of the west-central portion of our state were flooded. A
few years earlier in 1956 and 1957 record dry weather had parched the same area.
The members of Congress and the Legislature, responding to requests for assist-
ance from all of the people, acted quickly.
The 1961 session of the Florida Legislature created the Southwest Florida Water
Management District and directed that it begin the long range planning of water
management on a watershed basin basis. The organizational setup included eleven
separate watershed basins within fifteen counties, each with a local Basin
Board to advise the Governing Board of their needs. Governor Farris Bryant
appointed the original Governing Board and Basin Boards in August of 1961.
All Governing Board members and Basin Board members serve without pay.
FOUR RIVER BASINS, FLORIDA
Congress directed that the Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, investigate
the flooded areas and return to them a comprehensive report advising whether
or not the construction of a water management project was economically feasible.
That report was completed by the Corps of Engineers late in 1961 and stated
that a project was feasible, and would produce $1.50 in benefits for each $1.00
invested in it. They named the project "Four River Basins, Florida" after the
four major streams that had produced the most damage in 1960 the Hills-
borough, the Oklawaha, the Peace and the Withlacoochee. Also included were
plans to solve special isolated problems at Lake Tarpon, the Anclote River and
Brightwater Blvd., Tampa, March 23rd, 1960.
August 28, 1961 The Board of Governors of the Southwest Florida Water
Management District held their organizational meeting in the Cabinet
Room in Tallahassee.
March 6, 1962 The organization of all of the watershed basins was completed.
Green Swamp Oklawaha River
Alafia River Pinellas-Anclote River
Crystal-Homosassa River Pithlachascootee River
Hillsborough River Waccasassa River
Northwest Hillsborough Withlacoochee River
October 23, 1962 After hearing statements by the Governor and Secretary of
State and with the knowledge that the Southwest Florida Water Man-
agement District would accept the responsibility to act as the local
sponsor, the second session of the 87th Congress authorized the Four
River Basins project.
At year's end the Board was fully organized, operating on funds bor-
rowed from the Cabinet, had a staff of three employees and was meet-
ing monthly at their office in Brooksville.
February 13, 1963 The Board contracted with the U. S. Geological Survey for
a continuing program of data collection and research in all phases of
ground water, surface water and quality of water, recognizing that a
vast program of data collection and research concerning the District is
one of the important basic steps that must be taken to provide adequate
The Board commissioned special comprehensive studies on the Alafia
Basin, a conservation dam for Lake Panasoffkee and the Upper Tampa
Bay Fresh Water Lake.
No appropriations for the Four River Basins project were included in
President Kennedy's budget this year and the Board began a concerted
effort to obtain a supplemental appropriation to begin planning on the
June 21, 1963 This is one of the most significant days in the history of the
District and the project. At a meeting in President Kennedy's office the
President made a commitment to Representative Sam Gibbons of
Tampa, that appropriations for planning for the Four River Basins pro-
October 9, 1963 With the assistance of a special delegation of Hernando County
citizens, plans were announced for the construction of a new permanent
District Headquarters Building on Highway 41 south of the Brooksville
OG9100* tte ot aij*03
its first puTbli hearing on the necessity of the creation of a water
A major system of protecting the works of the District through a permit
November 1963 The Board decided to proceed on the engineering planning
for the early acquisition of lands for the Tampa Bypass Canal (C-185)
and made decisions to expand the staff to include a Land Acquisition
Department in addition to the recently established Engineering De-
December 11, 196- The Board began preparation of the Outdoor Recreation
Plan, as suggested by Governor Bryant, to show the outdoor recreational
advantages offered by the project.
Novem tt bee abble t ISiBo
and madot toe dci t n s o e ns
Tampa, that appropriations for planning for the Four River eatinal
The Board enters fully into the field of ground water by
July 8, 1964 Land acquisition started in earnest for the Lake Tarpon Outfall
Canal (C-531) in Pinellas County.
August 31, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Works Appro-
priations Bill for 1964 including $200,000 for detailed planning for the
Four River Basins project.
October 7, 1964 Dedication ceremonies for the new Headquarters Building
were held at the building seven miles south of Brooksville.
February 17, 1965 Land acquisition in the Green Swamp Basin began with
the acquisition of the first lands for the Little Withlacoochee Reservoir.
May 1965 The 1965 Florida Legislature appropriated $5,500,000 to the budget
of the Florida Board of Conservation especially for water storage land
acquisition, bridge construction and cash contribution to construction
of the Four River Basins project.
October 28, 1965 Although the President's budget contained only $130,000
for continued planning on the Four River Basins project the Florida
Congressional Delegation, under the leadership of Senator Spessard
Holland, was able to obtain an additional $750,000 for beginning of
construction on the project.
November 17, 1965 Dedication ceremonies were held for the Rufe Wysong
Dam and Navigation Lock on the Withlacoochee River. This was a
purely local water conservation project and featured the use of the
The Southwest Florida Water Management District
can view its history of active participation in 137 separate projects,
ranging in size from $3,700 for a cleaning and snagging operation on the Little
Withlacoochee River to over $1,800,000 for construction of the Moss Bluff Lock and
Spillway (S-251, S-252).
is coordinating over $3,000,000 in bridge and utility relocation work on
the Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal (C-531), Moss Bluff Lock and Spillway (S-251)
S-252) and the first excavation contract and first water control structure of the
Tampa Bypass Canal (C-135, S-160).
has acquired over 24,800 acres of land valued at $3,755,667. The largest
transaction has been in the Lower Hillsborough Reservoir where 6,150 acres were
purchased from one owner for $1,800,000.
in preparation for project construction has appraised 201 parcels of
land, while 398 parcels have been surveyed and had legal descriptions prepared.
has invested over $485,000 in surface water, ground water, and quality
of water research and data collection through a cooperative water resources
program with the United States Geological Survey.
-- manages 20 lakes within desirable ranges of fluctuation.
-is operating and maintaining 19 water control structures and 3 naviga-
-- is operating and maintaining over 50 miles of canals.
has designed and constructed over $400,000 worth of wholly local
water management structures and maintenance support facilities with the District.
When the Corps of Engineers created the "Four River Basins, Florida" project
in 1961, a construction time of 15 years was estimated. After six years of existence,
of which only two have been construction years, it is as yet uncertain whether
that timetable can be met. To date less than 10% of the project is under con-
struction, but steady progress is being made. So far the determination of the
Congressional Delegation, the Florida Legislature, the Board of Conservation and
the Governing Board has been steadfast. We are confident such cooperation and
diligence will continue and the Ark will be ready for "The Flood."
0 I 2 3
Millions of dollars appropriated to
Four River Basins project