Lake Hancock

The Lake Hancock projects are a critical part of meeting minimum flows in the upper Peace River, improving water quality in the river and protecting Charlotte Harbor.


Lake Hancock is a 4,500-acre lake in the headwaters of the Peace River. From Lake Hancock, the Peace River extends 120 miles south to Charlotte Harbor.


The Lake Hancock projects are two initiatives that are critical to the District’s recovery strategy for meeting the minimum flows in the upper Peace River, improving water quality in the Peace River and protecting Charlotte Harbor.

The goal of the Lake Level Modification Project is to store water by raising the control elevation of the existing outflow structure on Lake Hancock and to slowly release the water during the dry season to help meet the minimum flow requirements in the upper Peace River between Bartow and Zolfo Springs. 

The goal of the Outfall Treatment Project is to improve water quality discharging from Lake Hancock and throughout the entire Peace River and to protect Charlotte Harbor.


Over the last 150 years, the cumulative effects of land use changes and water withdrawals have altered the hydrology of the upper Peace River watershed. 

These activities have significantly reduced the watershed’s ability to store and recharge rainfall, which, in combination with groundwater withdrawals, has resulted in lower local and regional groundwater levels, extended periods of low or nonexistent river flows in the upper Peace River during the dry months, degraded water quality and altered ecosystems.

To address problems with low flows in the upper Peace River, the District developed minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for the river in 2002. An MFL is the limit where reduced flows or further withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources of the area and the related natural environment. Currently, the upper Peace River from Bartow to Zolfo Springs does not often achieve the minimum flows.


The preliminary project schedule for the Lake Hancock projects is shown below. The schedule will be periodically updated as progress is made.

Lake Hancock Lake Level Modification Project

Step 1: Evaluation
May 2003–August 2004

Step 2: Preliminary design, engineering and conceptual permitting
August 2004–June 2007

Step 3: Final design, engineering, permitting & construction documents
October 2007–November 2011

Step 4: Construction
November 2011– April 2015 

Step 5: Post project monitoring
September 2015 – September 2019

Lake Hancock Outfall Treatment Project

Step 1: Feasibility and selection of treatment method
February 2004–February 2006

Step 2: Engineering testing, design, permitting and construction documents
March 2006–October 2010

Step 3: Construction and startup
September 2011– May 2015