D R A F T 10/15/81
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
WATER MANAGEMENT LAND ACQUISITION
The Southwest Florida Water Management District would acquire the
following types of lands under the "Save Our Rivers" Program pursuant to
Chapter 373.590 Florida Statutes:
1. Completion of the land acquisition necessary to the Four River
Basin, Florida Project, is providing environmentally sound flood
control and other multi-purpose uses. This includes such areas
as the Green Swamp, Lower Hillsborough and Cypress Creek projects.
2. Commence acquisition of riverine swamps and corridors (especially
floodways) downstream of flood detention areas and in areas of
heavy developmental pressure or adjacent to other District land
holdings. These lands are necessary to allow the proper functioning
of existing and proposed water management systems as well as
protecting or restoring natural water management functions such as
water quality and recharge maintenance.
3. Acquisition of other lands having some unique water management
function, such as special recharge areas or water supply protection.
An example would be a creek that would be a direct tributary to a
well field or reservoir serving a public water supply source.
Following is a list and brief description of lands which the District
envisions acquiring under the "Save Our Rivers" Program. The five-year
plan is to be dynamic in order to allow flexibility both in the lands
selected for acquisition and to permit negotiation simultaneously with
numerous property owners (within the projects listed) in order to
assure the most effective utilization of funds available at that parti-
1. Green Swamp Project
As part of the Four River Basin, Florida Project, the District has
acquired over 75,000 acres in the Green Swamp area. An additional
21,971 acres are needed to complete this project which would
provide flood control and water storage while protecting and
restoring wetlands, water quality, flood plains, recharge areas,
and providing a good potential for recreation and water supply
2. Withlacoochee and Hillsborough Riverine Corridors
The acquisition of these lands in concert with completion of the
Green Swamp Project, would put the headwaters flood plains of the
Hillsborough and Withlacoochee Rivers entirely in public ownership.
These corridors cover over 15,000 acres and consist primarily of
hardwood forests and swamps. These lands function as a natural
conveyance for flood waters and have natural water storage capabilities.
3. Anclote Water Storage Lands (Starkey)
The District has acquired 5,400 acres in the flood plains of the
Anclote and Pithlachascotee Rivers, which also serve as a well
field for New Port Richey. Approximately 4,000 adjacent acres are
currently being considered for additional flood plain and wetland
protection. This area is under considerable development pressure.
4. Sawgrass Lake Addition
The District has acquired 360 acres in Pinellas County as a water
retention area which protects the surrounding communities from
flood damage. The District operates the retention area in a manner
which preserves and restores the natural wetlands of the area. In
1977, the District built an environmental education center in
cooperation with the School District and Parks Department of
Pinellas County. The complex contains 5,700 feet of boardwalk and
2,900 feet of footpaths which provide opportunities for a close
examination of local flora and fauna. The acquisition of 40
additional acres would provide for expansion of the complex and its
water management capability.
5. Cypress Creek
This area includes about 7,250 acres of riverine forest associated
with the downstream drainage of the Cypress Creek Flood Detention
Area. This part of the Hillsborough and Pasco Counties is under
intense development pressure. Acquisition would provide natural
flood control and water supply protection.
6. Lower Hillsborouqh Project
As part of the Four River Basins, Florida Project, the District has
acquired nearly 15,000 acres of riverine forest and adjoining water
storage areas along a ten (10) mile reach of the Hillsborough River
downstream of the Hillsborough River State Park. Approximately 160
acres of additional land along Flint Creek, from the river upstream
to Lake Thonotosassa are needed for water management, water storage
and floodway purposes.
1. Mac Arthur Tract
This 30,000-acre site could provide various water management
functions; including water conservation, wetlands protection and
water supply. The site is in an area under development pressure
and is within a region of limited naturally-available potable
2. Medard Reservoir Floodway
The District owns approximately 1,250 acres in the upper reaches of
the Alafia River in Hillsborough County. A reservoir and park
exist on the land already owned. An additional 140 acres are
necessary along the river as a floodway to allow maximum discharges
to occur safely without additional structural modifications.
3. Jack Creek
This 865-acre site in Highlands County represents the ten-year
flood plain of Jack Creek. The land is necessary to allow safe
discharges to occur from the upstream structures regulating lake
levels in the area. This area is under residential development
pressure on its south and east boundaries.
4. Brooker Creek Riverine System
Brooker Creek originates in the marshes and swamps of northwest
Hillsborough County and travels less than ten (10) miles into Lake
Tarpon in Pinellas County. These 1,015-acres of wetlands remain
essentially intact in an area of extremely rapid suburban development.
5. Cypress Creek/Trout Creek
The 9,984 acres of flood plain adjacent to these tributaries of the
Hillsborough River are primarily mixed swamp forests composed of
cypress and other hardwoods. At present, this area of Hillsborough
and Pasco Counties is under development pressure. Acquisition of
these low-lying forested swamps would prevent future flood problems
while preserving the natural resources of the swamps.
6. Manatee Reservoir Floodway
Manatee County Reservoir upstream of this 2,600-acre site provides
potable water for Manatee and part of Sarasota Counties. Acquisi-
tion of this floodway along the lower Manatee River will allow safe
discharges to occur through the dam. The floodway is under consider-
able developmental pressure. Acquisition would prevent further
flooding problems and protect natural resources.
1. Lithia Springs
This 160-acre tract, traversed by the Alafia River for over one-
half mile, also contains the main spring head of Lithia Springs.
Hillsborough County currently leases this property as a public
park. Acquisition of the spring head, the riverine forest system
and adjoining uplands would prevent future flooding problems,
protect natural resources, and secure recreational utilization.
2. Gum Slough
The 4,416 acres designated for purchase along Gum Slough represent
the ten-year flood plain in this portion of the Withlacoochee River
(Sumter County). The area is primarily extensive hardwood swamps
that extend to the northeastern shore of Lake Tsala Apopka.
Purchase of these lands would preserve large areas of relatively
undisturbed wetlands and swamp forests along with their wildlife
and water resources.
3. Prairie Creek
As a tributary to Shell Creek, the potable water supply source for
the city of Punta Gorda, the 2,752 acres of hardwood flood plain
forest along Prairie Creek represent an important natural resource
to the area. Land acquisition would ensure the protection of water
supply sources in these traditionally water-poor areas of DeSoto
and Charlotte Counties, as well as protect other natural resources.
4. Anclote River Floodway
This 4,328-acre site, in concert with the Starkey lands in item
number 3 above, would provide public ownership of the Anclote
River from Seven Springs to the headwater. The flood plain consists
of riverine forests and wetlands which are under considerable
5. Squirrel Prairie
Squirrel Prairie is a limestone sink region in southern Hernando
County and northern Pasco County. The area's 1,728 acres normally
receive drainage through the numerous sinkholes, ponds and sloughs.
Acquisition of the Squirrel Prairie area would preserve the area's
recharge capabilities and limited flood abatement role.
6. Blackwater Creek
Blackwater Creek, a tributary of the Hillsborough River, has been
subject to the same suburban encroachment generally associated with
many areas within this basin. Purchase of approximately 12,224
acres of Blackwater Creek's flood plain would protect an essential
floodway, prevent further urban encroachment and help alleviate
flooding problems which have developed in the poorly drained
7. Tatum Sawgrass
Located in Sarasota County, the 4,300 acres proposed for acquisition
would include large areas of marshlands and peripheral hammocks
that may provide flood storage within the area, as well as ensuring
water conservation both in supply and quality. Additionally,
acquisition would prevent agricultural encroachment upon wetlands
and, therefore, preserve the wildlife resources of the area.