Title: Operation of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002912/00001
 Material Information
Title: Operation of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Fla Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collection - Operation of the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District
General Note: Box 12, Folder 1 ( Materials and Reports on Florida's Water Resources - 1945 - 1957 ), Item 26
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002912
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

Operations of the Central and Southern Florida

Flood Control District

In the wake of the devastating flood of 1947, Con-
gress, spurred by local and state pressure, authorized
the Corps of Engineers to develop a comprehensive
program for flood control and water conservation in
central and southern Florida. In the course of the
study, public hearings were held throughout the area
to develop an understanding of the local problems
and viewpoints.
It soon became apparent that correction of con-
ditions was too complex and costly to be accomplished
by state and local resources alone. It was equally ap-
parent that the smaller areas involved were interde-
pendent and that only consideration of the entire
affected area as a unit would yield a sound plan. This
plan resulted in the conception of a district-wide or
comprehensive project plan for flood control, water
conservation and other purposes, with basic engineer-
ing and construction to be done by the Federal Govern-
ment; and a substantial contribution both to works
and maintenance to be made by the state and local
agencies. Thus was born the first realistically compre-
hensive plan for this area.
The new multiple-purpose natural resource pro-
gram included provisions for the rapid removal of flood
waters; flood protection for developed urban and
rural areas; the storage of needed surplus water for
the control of ground water levels and irrigation; the
halting of salt-water intrusion for the protection of
domestic and agricultural water supplies; the pro-
tection of wildlife and the improvement of recreational
facilities, public health, and navigation on inland
waterways. In recognition of the necessity for much
additional study and research in the area, the plan
made provision for later modification.
Concurrently with the progress of Federal plans,
the State of Florida was moving toward adoption of a
policy designed to insure a coordinated and coopera-
tive discharge of joint responsibilities by Federal,
state and local levels of government and by private
interests. The policy recognized that the development
and protection of natural resources depends on eco-
nomically justified projects for flood control and re-

*Executive Director, Central and Southern Florida Flood
Control District, West Palm Beach, Florida.

lated water problems. It also recognized the mutual
obligations and relationships inherent to the duties of
the state and followed closely the principles underlying
Federal flood control legislation.
To carry out the purposes of this legislation, a
law was passed in 1949 creating the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District. The district
was made responsible for carrying out the state's share
of the water control program and for representing
both the people in the project area and the state. In ac-
cordance with the provisions of the Federal Act, the
district, acting for the state, is responsible for ap-
proximately 39 per cent of the total cost of the project,
the Federal Government, for approximately 61 per
In addition to assuming 39 per cent of the costs
for the Federal-State comprehensive plan, local
interests and individuals must bear additional costs
for secondary works not included in the authorized
plan, but essential to the full realization of the flood
protection and water conservation benefits of the plan.
In its position as the link between the Federal and
local elements of the three-way cooperative plan, the
district has assumed leadership and responsibility for
the coordination of efforts at all levels to activate an
over-all water resources program and particularly to
develop the utmost in cooperation and understanding
at the local level.
The Flood Control District because of its unique
position-a state agency with rather broad enabling
legislation and a key link between the Federal and
local interests-has had the opportunity to pioneer
many water policies and individual programs. During
this period, the Flood Control District has promoted a
wide array of activities and procedures. Experience
gained from these endeavors has yielded invaluable
guidance to future district operations.
The Flood Control District has been on an opera-
tional basis for over five years. During that time, it
has been frequently confronted with seemingly in-
surmountable obstacles, particularly when dealing with
the inflexible procedures of the Federal representative.
Throughout this brief career, the Flood Control
District has endeavored to formulate responsive poli-
cies that have encouraged the proper development of
water resources in the public interest and procedures

that are establishing a fair cost-sharing procedure.
Officials of the district have sought the best methods
of effecting water control and have taken advantage
of opportunities to put certain policies and procedures
to the test. From this experience have come the
present operational concepts or patterns. These con-
cepts are providing guidance for the district in meeting
its obligations in an effective manner.

Operational Concepts
Two basic policies of the Flood Control District,
concerning cooperation at the various governmental
levels and the development of secondary works, may be
considered the major guide posts of the Flood Control
District's present operations.
An examination of the developmental patterns
of these policies will provide a significant insight into
the operations of the Central and Southern Florida
Flood Control District. The development of the dis-
trict's policy of cooperation is clearly outlined in a re-
view of the resolutions issued by the governing board
over the past five years.
Only a short period of operation had been com-
pleted when the district's need for background in-
formation of a technical nature became apparent. In
May of 1950, the governing board went on record as
actively supporting and cooperating with the South-
eastern Resources Development Association. The
purposes of the Association, closely related to those
of the Flood Control District, were the development,
use and conservation of soil, water, and other natural
In November 1950, the district made an agree-
ment with the Soil Conservation Service of the United
States Department of Agriculture. It was recognized
that the Soil Conservation Service and its state counter-
part had assumed certain technical responsibilities for
developing the soil and water programs for this portion
of Florida. This agreement between the two agencies
resulted in a valuable interchange of information
that assisted the early determination of hydrologic and
hydraulic factors influencing the maintenance and
operation of the district's works.
The importance of this agreement, aside from the
valuable knowledge and cooperation gained, was the
unique precedent it established. This was the begin-
ning of a series of such cooperative undertakings. The
Soil Conservation Service is still an important link
in the present activities of the district. Close liaison still
exists between the service and staff members.
In December, 1951, the Flood Control District
called upon the services of the United States Geological
Survey. It was known that the Survey had extensive
data on the area in regards to surface and ground water

that was essential to the development of the compre-
hensive plan. Assistance was immediately forthcoming
and today the surface water, ground water and quality
of water branches of the United States Geological Sur-
vey are currently engaged in important studies con-
cerning the upper St. Johns region of the district. The
Flood Control District is providing financial assis-
tance for the furtherance of these studies.
In 1952, the Flood Control District also entered
into mutual agreements with the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service for the development of public
recreational facilities.
Mutually beneficial studies were not limited to
the Federal level. The Flood Control District, acting
in its capacity as a state agency, has received splendid
cooperation from the other state units. Cooperative
undertakings with the various research groups of
Florida and the individual state universities has
proved of great mutual benefit. In these agreements,
the universities provide valuable guidance and as-
sistance to the individual programs of the district. In
addition, data of potential merit is collected and in-
terpreted. Such research projects allow the district
to plan and execute its operations with the greatest
dispatch and effectiveness and provide the universities
with an opportunity to observe and work with a state
body in a practical and advantageous manner.
By adopting the general policy of cooperating at
all levels, the Flood Control District has found it pos-
sible, in many cases, to better coordinate its actions
with those of other interested agencies and to more
effectively deal with the problems at hand. This has
prepared the groundwork for future actions on the
part of the district.
One of the particularly significant features of the
district's policy of cooperation is the opportunity to
prevent overlapping studies or duplication of effort.
This single fact of the district's operations has made
possible the saving of countless man-hours and an
inestimable amount of the taxpayers money.
Furthermore, the Flood Control District has re-
fused to enter into competition with any already
existing agency. This has been made clear throughout
the brief history of the district and has resulted in a
much closer liaison and a freer exchange of informa-
The need for secondary works to supplement those
of the Federal-State plan has been of primary concern
to the district. The Flood Control District has as-
sumed the task of developing these works in an inte-
grated and coordinated manner. Again the history of
the development of this policy is to be found in the
resolutions of the governing board.

-~ r

In February 1951, the governing board passed a
resolution accepting the responsibility for cooperating
with authorized groups, such as county committees
and sub-drainage districts in the development of sec-
ondary works not included in the Federal-State plan.
On this basis, the district encouraged the formation of
citizen groups in many counties. These county ad-
visory groups were to represent all of the local gov-
ernmental and private interests. It was contemplated
that each committee member would present the views
and problems of the group he represented. Technical
advisory or consulting groups were promoted by the
Flood Control District to provide the necessary special-
ized engineering detail. By 1953, the county com-
mittees had organized to a degree which permitted the
Flood Control District to establish a more realistic
policy that recognized the rights and obligations of
the local interests.
In 1954, a new policy was adopted that set up
certain criteria for considering requests for participa-
tion in the planning of secondary works. The reso-
lution stated that participants would furnish the
necessary rights of way and 50 per cent of the con-
struction costs. The district would contribute the re-
maining 50 per cent and retain the right to approve
the maintenance and operation of such works by others.
In a later resolution in 1954, the district reiterated
its interest in the planning of secondary works and
reaffirmed its policy concerning the encouragement of
participation in planning at the local level. Present
procedures call for the county committees to formulate
a plan accepted and supported by the local govern-
ment and private interests.
The planning done on the local level is carried on
in cooperation with the district and furnishes valu-
able guidance to the Corps of Engineers and the dis-
trict in modifying the authorized Federal-State plan
and the Flood Control District's plan for secondary
Although the Corps of Engineers is charged with
the design and actual construction of the authorized
project works, the district has worked closely with
the engineers in these areas. Armed with information
from local interests, the district has been successful
in modifying some project works so as to more readily
meet the needs of a specific area.
The latest thinking on the subject of secondary
plans is significant and challenging. Present feeling
on the part of the district officials favors a new cost-

sharing policy in regard to secondary works. Instead
of an equal sharing of construction costs, between the
district and local groups, there is now a possibility
that criteria will be adopted whereby local projects
will be made eligible for district financial assistance,
on the basis of the percentage of construction costs
which the local interests are willing to assume. For in-
stance, two areas are bidding for Flood Control Dis-
trict assistance. The two individual projects cost
$10,000 each. Local interests at project A require
20 per cent of the costs to be financed by the district,
while project B requests 30 per cent. Other considera-
tions being equal, project A will be given top priority
because it requires the least amount of funds. In
order to make this operational procedure valid, a uni-
form standard of economic justification must be or-
ganized. Work in this direction is underway.

In the course of the past five years the Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District has had to
formulate and test operational procedures directed
toward more effective control of the water resources
of the area. From this practical experience, in ad-
dition to encouraging and facilitating participation at
all governmental levels and the elimination of com-
petition between agencies and duplication of activities,
the district makes the following recommendations:
1. Watershed areas or river basins should be con-
sidered as a complete unit. Projects for such
areas should be planned to best meet the needs
of the entire area.
2. All water control projects should be closely ex-
amined in order to evaluate potential multi-
purpose features. Those features of public in-
terest should be given top priority.
3. In planning water control facilities, the possi-
bility of changing conditions or shifting needs
should be studied.
4. Legal rights and responsibilities should be es-
tablished in connection with Federal-state local
programs. This would institute procedures that
would permit maximum' effectiveness of joint
5. Procedures should be established that require
Federal-state and local interests to pay an equi-
table share of the costs.
6. Uniform standards of economic justification
should be adopted.

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