District to Hold Workshop on Minimum and Guidance Levels for Lakes Letta and Lotela in Highlands County

News Release

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) invites the public to a workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Jack Stroup Civic Center, located at 355 W. Center Ave. in Sebring. The purpose of the workshop is to allow for public comment on the proposed minimum and guidance levels for Lakes Letta and Lotela in Highlands County.

The Florida 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 flows are established to protect streams and rivers from impacts associated with ground water and surface water withdrawals, while minimum levels are established to protect lakes and wetlands. Minimum flows and 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 minimum levels for Lakes Letta and Lotela.

The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local government, citizens, and others to be part of the development of the proposed minimum levels for Lakes Letta and Lotela. Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the District's Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed minimum levels for Lakes Letta and Lotela at the December Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum 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 levels will be available for review and posted on the District's website at WaterMatters.org under the Proposed Minimum & Guidance Lake Levels tab in the Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports section. For more information regarding the proposed minimum levels, please contact Donna Campbell at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236.

Written comments regarding the minimum levels are also welcome. They can be submitted via mail or email to Donna Campbell, Environmental Scientist, Water Resource Bureau, at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or donna.campbell@watermatters.org