June 28, 1977
TO: DONALD R. FEASTER, Executive Director C /
FROM: E. D. VERGARA, Director, Department of Interagency Coordination
RE: DER Review of Four River Basins
1. Memo from Dave Puchaty to Robin Fletcher commenting on the Public Works
Program for FY 79 as it pertains to FRB.
The memo was written by Allen Burdett who works for Puchaty.
The memo needs to be reviewed by the Environmental Section in conjunction with
our FRB engineer's office. Basically, it suggests some major changes which I
think have already been suggested by our own people. Apparently, Burdett re-
viewed an old plan.
I suggest a letter to Robin Fletcher might be in order addressing Burdett's
criticisms even though we have not officially been given a copy. If its observa-
tions and recommendations are off base, we should notify Fletcher because DER's
support of the project will assure the Governor supports it in Washington. Lack
of support by the State will terminate federal funding in all likelihood.
2. Letter from James Brindell, DER, to Loring Lovell, DOA, commenting on our
draft EIS on C-132.
The letter essentially states we did a fine job on the EIS pointing the
problems with C-132 and based upon our report they strongly urge the Corps,
in its EIS, to address the District's points and give strong consideration to the
"no project" alternative.
I presume we'll be sent a copy of Brindell's letter by DOA as part of the
EIS clearinghouse review process, so no action is needed at this point.
It appears DER will soon have "go or no go" authority over FRB. Both
pieces of correspondence are conspicuously negative toward the project. To me,
DER seems to be making sweeping suggestions that would significantly modify the
project out of consideration for the environment, but with no thought as to the
original need for it and the social value it will represent as a flood preventive
tool when completed.
EDV:mls f, o. ^
cc: B. R. Laseter with attachments
3 B. Butler JJ! 2J 197 i j
C M Blain i ; I
I~~~~~~~i ~ij ^ ..r..',.. _u 1
June 7, 1977 None
FRB Review by DER
TO: DONALD R EAS ER, Executive Director
FROM: E. D. VERGARA, Director, Department of Interagency Coordination
RE: DER Review of FRB
It has recently come to my attention that DER has initiated a review of
all projects for which federal funding has been requested and which
the state is expected to support in Washington.
After several telephone conversations with DER personnel I've learned
that the reason for this DER "in house" review is because DER does not
normally comment to DOA in the regular clearinghouse review process.
For some reason DER now feels it should and Tallahassee has instructed
its regional managers to review those projects proposed for funding in
This, of course, includes FRB; even those parts that have already been
scrutinized by an in-house (SWFWMD)EIS and a Corps EIS; has gone through
the clearinghouse review including state and private environmental agencies;
and which have been reviewed and approved by the President's Council on
Environmental Quality in Washington.
It is my understanding that the Regional Manager's comments will be
forwarded to Tallahassee and eventually to Jay Landers who will include
them when DER makes its recommendations to the Governor and Cabinet
regarding state support.
It seems like a superfluous DER action. Many of our contracts run for
2 or 3 years which means each time a particular aspect of FRB comes up for
funding it will be re-evaluated again by DER, even after all the other
I've asked Scott Benyon to send us copies of their current review which has
a deadline for submittal to Tallahassee of June 15.
cc: B. R. Laseter
C. H. Miller / *
L. M. Blain -
J. T. Ahern
t j/ .
# a- ob
June 21, 1977
Loring Lovell, Chief .
EBureau of Intergovernmental Relations -
Department of Administration
Division of Sta-te Planning -
660 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, Florida 32304 ..
"Dear Ir. Lovell
Southwest Florida W"ater Management District,
Environmental Assessient of the Thonocosassa
Bypass Canal (C-132), Hillsborough County,
SAI 11niaber 77-2656E -
The Department of Enviroinental Regulation has-reviewed the
above referenced assessment and submits the following comments.
1. The assessumint thoroughly and acutely addresses the potential
environmental impact of the proposed bypass canal. A number o-
adverse environmental impacts are expected to occur as a result
of the proposed project:
(a) The potentiometric surface of the Florida aquifer-
will be lowered over an extensive area.
(b') Water will be discharged from the Florida aquifer
at the rate of 5 mgd.
(c) Spring flow in adjacent areas will be reduced.
(d) As the potentiometric surface is lowered, chlorides
and dissolved solids concentrations will increase in
deeper wells. .
(e) The water table of the shallow aquifer will be lowered;
marshes and swaps near the canal will dry out.
(f) Local lateral drainage, encouraged by'the presence
of the proposed canal, will aggravate the problem of
lowering the water table and draining marshes and swamps.
S... .... -- -, -
June 21, 1977
(g) Spoil'disposal will contribute to the destruction of
(h) The proposed channelization of Flint Creek will re-
sult in degradation of water quality in the creek
and the Hillsborough River.
(i) Development, which can be expected to occur in the
drained wetlands, will further degrade water quality
and stress the stream ecosystems.
2. It is our understanding that- the Corps of Engineers will
prepare an updated environencal impact statement. The environmental
impact and the cost-benefit ratio should be investigated individually
for the Thonotosassa bypass canal; we.understand that the previous
environmental impact studies lumped the Thonotosassa bypass canal
in with the entire Four River 3asins project. The costs of long-
term maintenance and adverse-environrental effects should be
included in the bost estimations, and the total cost should be
compared to the cost of purchasing flood prone areas. Scientific
investigations of completed drainage project in florida are,
more and more, providing evidence that natural stream systems
(including the swamps and marshes) provide more benefits to man-
kind per costs than channelized systems.
3. The assessment makes excellent racor endations to mitigate
the projected adverse e-nvironmental impacts; however, we are
concerned rhat even the modified project would hava significant
adverse environmental inpacts. In light of the limited potable
water reserves in the Hillsborough region and the recent investigations
of channelization in the Kissiziee River Basin, we strongly
recommend that the EIS fully address the Southwest Florida Water
I ana),ement Dist ct s reccuzenda ons and the 'no pro ect:i alter-
We appreciate the opportunity to review this environmental
assessment and woult like to review the draft environmental -
inpact scatement to be prepared by the Corps of Engineers. "
Sincerely yours, -
James R. Brindell, Director :
Division of Environmental
S.... Permitting .-
cc: Dave Puchacy
Ronald L. Mu e
STAl JF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
TO: Robin Fletcher
IROM: P. David Puchaty
DATE: June 16, 1977
SUBJECT: Public Work Program for Fiscal Year 1979
Attached are comments on the public works proposals in our dis-
trict as submitted to the Clearinghouse on April 22, 1977.
If you have any questions concerning these comments, feel free
to contact Suzanne Walker, whose section compiled the comments,
TO:' Su ine P. Walke
SFROM: Allen Burdett
(1) Levee 112 North may pose a problem to Long Pond Creek Swamp,
a tributary of Trout Creek, which is located near the mouth
of Trout Creek and extends westward to SR 581. Potential
flooding of this large swampy area and surrounding upland
could have significant adverse effects on established plant
communities. The justification for extensive levee construc-
tion in the area should be reevaluated. It would appear that
the proposed 1-75 road could function as a potential levee
and/or that the ridge along Trout Creek Road would form a
natural boundary for allowing extreme high flood waters to
back upstream into the natural swamps and tributaries of Trout
Creek. The potential effects of Levee 112 North on Trout Creek
need to be better understood to avoid damaging this unspoiled
stream. Levee 112 South Contract for about 2.5 miles has evi-
dently been let. (See attachment.)
(2) Hillsborough River Structure S-155: The operational effici-
ency of this structure in conducting flood waters both down
the Hillsborough River and the Tampa Bypass Canal is very im-
portant in order to reduce the height of proposed levees and
to eliminate the possible need for C-132 (Lake Thonotosassa
(3) Structure 163 is evidently important in maintaining natural
flow in Cowhouse Creek and should be approved because they
have already constructed the floodway.
(4) Lower Hillsborough River Flood Detention Area (multi-use
development): This appears to be something which should be
supported; however, I am not aware of the detailed plans.
Public use of the area in its natural or semi-natural state
is presently high and over development of this wooded wilder-
ness should be avoided. Back pack camping and canoeing are
popular. Bicycle trails should be considered. I do not believe
hunting and motorized vehicles should be allowed due to the large
number of people anticipated in the area. Outboard motors, ex-
cept small electric motors, should not be used on the river with-
in the detention area in order to prevent noise and bank erosion,
and to provide public safety for small boats, swimmers, and snork-
elers. Bank fishermen and boat fishermen are often disrupted by
(5) Canal 135, Section 4B: The contract has evidently been let
(6) Structure 159: Since contract has been let for Section 4B of
C-135, this structure should be built.
Squirrel Prairie Flood Detention Area: I am'not very familiar
with this project; however, in talking with SIWWMD personnel,
it is my understanding that the proposed canal would be ecologi-
cally damaging and should not be built. The purchase of the
property may provide some multiple use benefits.
(8) Cypress Creek Flood Detention Area: Construction on Levee-115,
Structure-157 and Structure-158 is evidently scheduled to start
in FY 77-78; however, studies are still being conducted regard-
ing this project.
With increased water consumption in and adjacent to the project
area, coupled with drainage ditches associated with agricultural
or residential developments, periods of low water would be ex-
pected to become more intense both in Cypress Creek and in the
Periodic inundation and drying of the wetlands provides a basis
for rejuvenation and maintenance of a variety of wetland plant
communities. The proposed project will provide a means for
maintaining higher water levels in the upper portions of the
creek at the expense of reducing flow and flood levels down-
stream which are vital in maintaining aquatic plant and animal
Increased emphasis should be given to maintaining natural flows
and mean annual flood levels along the entire length of Cypress
Creek. Restrictions should be placed on construction and de-
velopment within flood prone areas along the entire creek and'
ultimate purchase of a corridor for the creek may be desirable.
The proposed levees and structures appear to be over designed
in providing maximum water depths of 13' and 15' for the upper
and lower pools, respectively. High water levels, even half
this maximum depth, could be devastating to plant and animal
life particularly on the low hammock islands along the creek.
Low level spillways which have a design elevation approximating
the mean annual flood level should be considered as a more en-
vironmentally acceptable method of increasing water retention
while still protecting the ecology of the area.
Water control structures should be designed so that aquatic
life can migrate upstream particularly during periods of high
water flow. The vegetation map prepared by the SWFWMD in April
1975, is not accurate and sufficiently detailed to provide an
adequate basis for determining the impact of the proposed pro-
ject. It is my understanding that additional biological, hydro-
logic and management studies are currently underway.
.. ".- Jr
I find it difficult to contemplate the proposed Cypress Creek
Flood Detention Area as a project which is needed for flo
control when the entire creek is generally undeveloped and
swampy. Cypress Creek functions in its natural state as a
retention area for flood waters. The Tampa Bypass Canal
(C,135) may already be adequate to handle flood problems on
the Hillsborough River without necessitating the need for
additional projects on Cypress Creek. The drawdown of sur-
face water by well field pumping in the project area would
tend to increase the natural retention capacity of swampy
areas for storing flood waters.
The purchase of lands within the proposed detention area
would provide multiple use benefits to the public in terms
of camping, hiking, and nature study, and would allow for
some flexibility in the management of water levels.
The key issue to the Cypress Creek Project is the develop-
ment of monitoring criteria and management practices (includ-
Ing limitations on freshwater withdrawal in well fields) which
will protect established plant and animal communities along
Cypress Creek both within the proposed detention areas and
(9) Canal 132 (Tampa Bypass Canal to Lake Thonotosassa and
from Lake Thonotosassa to the Hillsborough River): The pro-
posed canal, C-132, from Lake Thonotosassa to the Tampa By-
pass Canal (C-135) would follow the present alignment of
Baker Creek south of the lake and then proceed westward
through ditched wetlands. An overland crossing would be re-
quired through Sections 21 and 22 (Township 28 South, Range
20 East) before the canal could enter and follow the align-
ment of an existing drainage canal extending through the
Harney marsh flats and wooded swamp, where the proposed canal
would connect with C-135.
The water level of Lake Thonotosassa is listed in the Lake
Gazetteer at 30' above mean sea level, the high water level
of the Baker Creek marsh flats is indicated at 40' abcve mean
sea level, the normal high water level of the Harney Flat
swamps and marshes is indicated at about 20' above mean sea
level, and the adjoining Hillsborough River reservoir is main-
tained at a crest elevation of 22.5' mean sea level. The pro-
posed design water surface for Lake Thonotosassa would be 34'
! mean sea level and the SWFWMD Environmental Report (March 1977)
recommends a design water surface of 37' mean sea level. The
design water surface for C-135 (Tampa Bypass Canal) is approxi-
mately 15' mean sea level. The design bottom elevation of
C-132 would range from -1.4' mean sea level at C-135 to 23.6'
mean sea level at Lake Thonotosassa.
SConsiderable attention should be given to the potential loss
of ground water and surface water from the.construction of
C-132. During the present construction of C-135 in the Harney
flats, water levels have reached record low levels, springs
have dried up and from 15 to 20 million gallons are being dis-
charged daily into the bay (up to 34 MGD).
At the same time record low water levels were reached in the
spring of 1977, within the Hillsborough River reservoir.
Existing low water conditions and the increased demand for
water emphasize the need for water conservation measures
throughout the area.
The proposed canal could further deplete ground and surface
water supplies, adversely affect water quality and further
reduce available marshland for fish and wildlife.
The proposed canal, C-132, linking Lake Thonotosassa to the
Hillsborough River, should definitely not be funded; however,
the dam (S-154) may be useful in regulating water levels and
flows. The proposed C-132 canal to the Hillsborough River
would cause significant damage to wooded bottomlands, adver-
sely affect water quality, and spoil the largest swamp and
one of the most scenic canoeing areas on the Hillsborough
Purchase of right-of-way and construction on the canal from
Lake Thonotosassa to C-135 should not be implemented until a
thorough reevaluation is made including a careful examination
of alternatives such as improving the design and operational
efficiency of proposed structure S-155 across the Hillsborough
River so that flood waters may be directed both down the
Hillsborough River and down C-135 (Tampa Bypass Canal), and
thus reduce a flood water backup into Lake Thonotosassa.
The watersheds draining into Lake Thonotosassa have been
channelized and natural wetland ponding areas have been ex-
cessively drained. The installation of water control struc-
tures and the utilization of natural wetland ponding areas for
storing flood waters within the Lake Thonotosassa Basin should
be studied and implemented. Additional storage and ponding
areas should also be developed in the Harney flats.