The more I learn about water, “the more I learn what I don’t know”…Federal laws….state laws…and local governments living with the “sins of the fathers,” —just trying to keep up…
Because I taught eighth and ninth grade for so many years, it is my training to try to break down complicated information, so that it can be understood on a basic level and shared. Obviously, I am no expert on water law so please chime in!
Today’s lesson? CLASSIFICATION OF FLORIDA SURFACE WATERS
Classifications and designated uses of water by the state of Florida are required by the Clean Water Act of the United States. “The act requires that the surface waters of each state be classified according to “designated uses.” Florida has six classes with associated designated uses, which are arranged in order of degree of protection required.” DEP
The classes are:
Class I: Potable Water
Class II Shellfish Propagation or Harvesting
Class III Fish Consumption, Recreation, Propagation and Maintenance of a Health, Well-Balanced, Population of Fish and Wildlife
Class III-Limited the same Class III but “with limited physical/habitat conditions…
Class IV Agriculture Water Supplies
Class V Navigation, Utility and Industrial Use.
I wonder what category the St Lucie River/ Indian River Lagoon falls under? This is not easy to find on-line. Let’s guess….Look at the chart above closely….
What do you think?
My guess would be Class III-Limited, but I don’t know. I could not find it “for sure” on-line.
Looking at the chart and reading the DEP website, it sounds like all waters of the state of Florida are “Class III” regular “unless otherwise specified….”
—–Finding a simple list of class designations for waters of the state is not easy. This download is what I found and it does not make sense.
Now to complicate the issue, certain classes of water that are listed as Class III or otherwise can also be listed separately as “Outstanding Waters of the State,” or as “Aquatic Preserves.” How can this be?
—–For instance, the North Fork of the St Lucie River is listed as an “Aquatic Preserve” and “Outstanding Water” of the State. Also the Indian River Lagoon has parts, including parts in St Lucie and Martin Counties, that are also Aquatic Preserves. This doesn’t make sense to me. These bodies of water have been designated as “protected” since the 70s but they are not protected with canals dumping pollution into them. We all see that!
Now I am going to share some photos of the Southern Indian River Lagoon, (an Aquatic Preserve), that my husband, Ed, took last Sunday, September 13th. The photos are of the C-25 canal which is dumping into the Indian River Lagoon in Ft Pierce. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it makes sense to dump pollution into an aquatic preserve, no matter what class the waters are.
To be fair, I must mention that I recently received an email from Mr Glenn Henderson, the senior grants writer for St Lucie County. He noted that a blog reader sent him the shocking photographs of C-25 recently published. Mr Henderson noted that he and others are working together with the St Lucie Issues Team to get a grant from the state for the San Lucie storm water detention project. The San Lucie is an old subdivision that has dirt roads, few swales and no structures to hold stormwater — and it’s less than a mile from the IRL. This is one of the many things running into the lagoon.
Thank you Glenn and everyone! And the state? “Let’s get back to class!”
US Clean Water Act:(http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/history-clean-water-act)
Classification of Waters, DEP (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/classes.htm)(http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/ofw.htm)
North Fork of the St Lucie River Aquatic Preserve Management Plan (http://www.floridadep.org/coastal/sites/northfork/pub/NorthFork_Plan_2009.pdf) (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CZIC-qh90-75-f6-g57-1984/html/CZIC-qh90-75-f6-g57-1984.htm)
Outstanding Florida Waters: (http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wqssp/ofw.htm)
JTL blog “Our Deadly Canals” photos 9/2/15:(http://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2015/09/04/update-our-deadly-canals-and-the-kiss-of-death-lake-okeechobee-slrirl/)