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Little Wekiva River
Many areas of the shoreline along the Little Wekiva River have experienced erosion problems.
The Little Wekiva River flows northward from Lake Lawne just north of State Road 50 in Orange County, through Altamonte Springs in Seminole County. The 15-mile-long Little Wekiva River — a part of the Middle St. Johns River Basin — flows into one of the southern arms of the Wekiva Swamp and into the Wekiva River. The Little Wekiva River watershed receives drainage from an urbanized 42-square-mile area west and north of downtown Orlando.
With each heavy rain, excessive storm water flows through ditches and canals and into the Little Wekiva River. The storm water erodes the river’s side banks and channel bottom, and deposits sediments and pollutants along the way. Development within the floodplain, excessive stormwater flows, and the buildup of sediments has contributed to frequent flooding in the surrounding residential areas and has deteriorated water quality in the Little Wekiva and Wekiva rivers.
The Little Wekiva River has a history of problems, including:
- An increase in rate of water flow and velocities from the area’s urbanization.
- Minimal upstream stormwater storage and treatment due to much development occurring before current stormwater regulations.
- Erosion and flooding, which cause public safety concerns.
- Adverse environmental and water quality impacts from the movement and deposit of sediments.
A variety of strategies have been developed to maintain the Little Wekiva River as a sustainable resource. The St. Johns River Water Management District and its partners are:
- Monitoring wildlife habitat, vegetation, macroinvertebrates and fish to assess river health.
- Monitoring sediment movement in the river annually by surveying and measuring the depth of erosion and the accumulation of sediment in locations along the river.
- Developing a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for the total maximum daily load (TMDL) that has been established for the Wekiva system, including the Little Wekiva River.
Rock-filled baskets known as gabion hold in place the shoreline of the Little Wekiva River.
In addition, the District has worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Department of Transportation, the city of Altamonte Springs, Seminole and Orange counties, environmental interest groups and basin residents to take a basinwide approach to find solutions. Efforts have focused on:
Grass, trees and other landscaping help to hold the shoreline in place, reducing chances of erosion.
- Protecting river beds and banks with structures
- Protecting vegetative banks
- Widening and revegetating channel sections
- Installing grade control structures to stabilize river bed slopes
- Providing sedimentation basins
- Monitoring and evaluating needs based on the dynamics of the river system
Working together, public agencies and private groups have:
- Secured $12 million from the Florida Legislature to combine with $3.5 million from local governments, the District and federal funds for erosion control projects.
- Developed and implemented a basinwide erosion control master plan to reduce erosion and the transport of sediments within the main channel of the river.
- Constructed 16 high-priority erosion control projects in cooperation with Seminole and Orange counties, and the city of Altamonte Springs, which completed the basinwide master plan.
- Initiated vegetation management to enhance recreational attributes of the Little Wekiva River.
- Completed a regional stormwater master plan for the watershed in cooperation with four local governments, which identifies opportunities for retrofitting areas that have no stormwater treatment or that output high levels of pollutants.
Large rocks is another material to help stabilize the Little Wekiva’s shoreline.
Updated on 1-2-2013