District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels and Operational Guidelines for Lakes Hanna, Keene, Kell, and Stemper

News Release

"The Southwest Florida Water Management District":http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/ (District) invites the public to a workshop on Wednesday, August 13 held from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library, located at 2902 W. Bearss Ave in Tampa. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lakes Hanna, Keene and Kell; the existing minimum and guidance levels for Lake Stemper; and structure operational guidelines for all four lakes.

The State Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for priority water bodies within the District. A minimum flow or level is the limit at which further water withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources and/or environment. Minimum levels are established to protect lakes from impacts associated with ground water and surface water withdrawals. Guidance levels are developed as advisory information on expected water level fluctuations within lake basins. Minimum and Guidance levels serve as guidelines for the District's permitting programs and for development of water resource projects.

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed levels for Lakes Hanna, Keene, and Kell, and the existing levels for Lake Stemper which were adopted in 2000. Staff will also discuss the final draft Thirteen Mile Run Operational Guidelines that includes Lakes Hanna, Keene, Kell, and Stemper. The District operates structures on these four lakes and the final draft guidelines were developed to be consistent with the applicable MFLs for the lakes.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed levels and existing levels for these four Hillsborough County lakes. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed levels for Lakes Hanna, Keene, and Kell at the September 30th Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum and guidance levels into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public and brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

Draft reports summarizing the proposed Minimum and Guidance levels for Lakes Hanna, Keene, and Kell will be made available for review one week prior to the workshop and will be posted on the District's Internet site at "www.watermatters.org/projects/mfl/mfl_reports.php":http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/projects/mfl/mfl_reports.php under the Proposed Minimum & Guidance Lake Levels section. In addition, digital copies of the draft reports will be made available at the workshop. For more information regarding the minimum levels, please contact Keith Kolasa at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236. For more information regarding the structure operational guidelines, please contact David Crane at ext. 4535.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome and can be submitted via mail or email to Keith Kolasa, senior environmental scientist, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or "Keith.Kolasa@watermatters.org":Keith.Kolasa@watermatters.org. Comments regarding the structure operations can be submitted via mail to David Crane, structure operations manager at the same address above or "David.Crane@watermatters.org":David.Crane@watermatters.org.