Ridge Lakes Stakeholder Workgroup

Drawdowns in aquifer levels in the Southern Water Use Caution Area (SWUCA), due primarily to groundwater withdrawals, have contributed to lowered lake levels in the Ridge Lakes area which extends roughly 90 miles along the center of the state in Polk and Highlands counties.

Minimum levels have been established on 27 Ridge Lakes. Of these, 11 are being met and 16 are not being met. The District will review currently established minimum lake levels to make sure they are consistent with improvements made to the minimum lake level methodologies since the development of the original method in 1999. Lakes identified as not meeting adopted levels will be candidates for projects to achieve adopted levels.

The District has formed a stakeholder workgroup to evaluate and recommend adjustments to the strategies in the SWUCA Recovery Strategy intended to meet the minimum lake levels along the Lake Wales Ridge. Information from the stakeholder workgroup will be used to craft proposals for the District Governing Board to consider.

MIA and Ridge Lakes Stakeholder Outreach Response and Results »

Invited Stakeholder Workgroup

  • District Governing Board, George Mann, Board Member
  • Archbold Biological Station, Hilary Swain, Executive Director
  • Audubon, Charles Lee, Director of Advocacy 
  • City of Avon Park, Julian DeLeon, City Manager 
  • City of Lake Wales, Tom Moran, Public Works Director
  • City of Sebring, Scott Noethlich, City Manager
  • City of Winter Haven,* Mike Britt*, Natural Resources Director
  • Defenders of Crooked Lake, Jack M. Hollis, President
  • Farm Bureau, Curt Williams, Assistant Director, Government Affairs
  • FDACS, Jessica Stempien, Environmental Manager
  • FDEP, Brandon Ivey, Water Reuse Coordinator
  • Florida Citrus Mutual, Michael W. Sparks, Executive VP, CEO
  • Florida Electric Power Coordinating Group, Terry Eastley, Senior Environmental Specialist
  • Highlands County, June Fisher, County Administrator
  • Highlands County Citrus Growers Association, Ray Royce, Executive Director
  • Florida Turfgrass Growers Association, Peter Snyder, Executive Director
  • Lake Region Lakes Management District, Roger Griffiths, Executive Director
  • Lake Wales Lakes Advisory Commission, Nancy Furland, Staff Liaison
  • Mosaic, Subrata Bandyopadhyay, Senior Environmental Compliance Manager
  • Highlands Soil & Water Board, Susie Bishop, Executive Director
  • Polk County, Bill Beasley, Assistant County Manager
  • The Sierra Club – Ancient Islands, Marian Ryan, Vice Chair 
  • South Florida Water Management District, Bill Graf, Intergovernmental Affairs
  • St. Johns Water Management District, Nancy Christman, Intergovernmental Affairs
  • The Nature Conservancy, Steve Morrison, LWR Program Manager
  • Town of Lake Placid, Phil Williams, Town Manager