September 25, 2007

2007 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Surface Water Improvement and Management Act

The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board today passed a resolution announcing October 2007 “Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Month” to recognize 20 years of improving water quality and restoring habitats in 10 priority water bodies.

In 1987, the Florida Legislature created the SWIM Act to protect, restoreand maintain Florida’s surface water bodies that have been affected by pollution and habitat loss. Under this act, the state’s five water management districts identify a list of priority water bodies within their authority and implement plans to improve them.

Over the past 20 years, the District’s SWIM Program has completed more than 200 habitat restoration and water quality improvement projects, translating to more than 3,000 acres of restored habitat. The SWIM Program and its partners have received 39 environmental excellence awards for these projects.

Currently, the District’s 10 priority water bodies include Tampa Bay, Rainbow River, Banana Lake, Crystal River/Kings Bay, Lake Panasoffkee, Charlotte Harbor, Lake Tarpon, Lake Thonotosassa, Winter Haven Chain of Lakes and Sarasota Bay. The list of priority water bodies is updated periodically to reflect changes in the health of individual water bodies.

To celebrate the SWIM Program’s success and recognize October 2007 as “Surface Water Improvement and Management Month,” the District will host three events at Lake Hartridge Park in Winter Haven, Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in Punta Gorda and Cockroach Bay in Ruskin.

For more information about the upcoming events, please call Karen Kobil at 800-836-0797, ext. 2101. To request a SWIM 20th Anniversary media kit, please call Robyn Hanke at 800-423-1476, ext. 4770.

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