SWFWMD Newsroom

Fact Sheets


The following fact sheets provide information about District programs and projects.

The Alligator Creek Habitat Restoration Project

The Alligator Creek Habitat Restoration Project is located on a 1,600-acre site that is owned and managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and is part of the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. The site is located south of Punta Gorda and abuts Charlotte Harbor proper.

The restoration activities in the current phase of work include construction of six project areas (4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 15), which were identified in an overall site feasibility study completed in 2000. The six areas identified involve the restoration of approximately 125 acres of coastal ecosystems through hydrologic restoration of mosquito ditches, removal of exotic plant species, the creation of a filter marsh system, and one year of quarterly site maintenance. This project is adjacent to and will complement 735 acres of previously restored habitats on site. The project includes areas that have been extensively ditched. While some native plant communities exist, some areas are dominated by various non-native and nuisance plant species such as Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius). This is a Surface Water Improvement and Management Program (SWIM) sponsored project of the District. The overall project is being performed in conjunction with FDEP.

Restoration objectives for this project include:

  • Restore/enhance over 84 acres of freshwater wetlands, through restoration of seasonal wet and dry patterns and removal of extensive Brazilian pepper cover
  • Restore/enhance over 21 acres of low saline, estuarine wetlands by ditch plugging, spoil pile and berm removal, including removal of the extensive Brazilian pepper cover
  • Creation of 2.2 acres of freshwater, emergent wetland and filter marsh littoral zones
  • Enhance over 21 acres of upland habitats by mechanical removal of extensive Brazilian pepper cover along with replanting of native upland/transitional plant species
  • Enhance water quality entering Whidden Branch Creek and Charlotte Harbor by constructing a 1.8-acre filter marsh to remove pollutants and sediments entering the site.
  • Quarterly maintenance of all enhanced/restored/created wetland and upland habitats for a three year period to insure the success of these habitats


Prescribed Burns

The District’s land management section conducts prescribed burns on approximately 30,000 acres each year. Here’s a quick look at what it’s like along the fire line.


Withlacoochee River Watershed Initiative (WRWI)

The initiative was designed to better understand the dynamics of the river and watershed, identify how alterations have affected the system, and evaluate alternatives to better manage the water resources.

Project Overview

The District is studying the Withlacoochee River and its surrounding watershed from the Green Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico. This watershed contains a variety of natural environments and man-made alterations which affect the behavior of the river. In addition, the river system has experienced extreme high and low conditions in recent decades due to fluctuations in rainfall.

Download Full Fact Sheet »


Florida Water Star

Program Overview

Florida Water StarSM is a voluntary certification program for builders, developers and homeowners. It encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes. The program uses best management practices for landscapes and irrigation to benefit water quality.

Program Details

  • Florida Water StarSM was designed to specifically address efficient water use in Florida.
  • Florida Water StarSM is a program that supports sustainability.
  • The Florida Water StarSM program consists of criteria for three types of construction/development — residential, commercial, community.
  • Residential certification uses points-based criteria and is suitable for high-, medium- and low-income housing projects.
  • Residential certification can be at the Silver tier for basic certification or the Gold tier for a higher water-conserving performance level.
  • A Retrofit program is available for existing homes and their owners as well as government-sponsored Neighborhood Stabilization Programs.
  • The Commercial and Institutional program focuses on performance-based conservation criteria, such as meeting a reduced water budget outdoors.
  • The Community version focuses on water efficiency and water pollution reduction on a community-wide level. This version encourages low impact development approaches as well as maximizing water efficiency at the residential level.
  • Landscape criteria are based on the “right plant, right place” principle.
  • Irrigation criteria are designed to increase the overall efficiency of irrigation systems and promote correct scheduling.
  • Indoor criteria help meet the needs of the occupants while reducing wasted water.
  • Florida Water StarSM aligns with other green certification and recognition programs, such as ENERGY STAR©, the Florida Green Building Coalition’s green standards and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program.
  • Landscape and irrigation professionals are provided training courses that teach how to incorporate Florida Water StarSM criteria into their designs and installations.
  • The District certified its first Florida Water StarSM Gold home in March 2009.

For More Information

Robin Grantham
Southwest Florida Water Management District
2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604
1-800-423-1476 (FL only) or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4752
Fax: (352) 754-6883
Email: FWS@WaterMatters.org
Visit: FloridaWaterStar.com


District Water Control Structures

The Southwest Florida Water Management District maintains and operates 81 water control structures throughout the District’s 16-county region. These structures help provide flood protection, manage lake water levels and prevent salt water from flowing up freshwater streams and creeks.

Charlotte County

Citrus County

Hernando County

Highlands County

Hillsborough County

Levy County

Marion County

Pasco County

Pinellas County

Polk County

Sumter County


Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program (Water CHAMP)

Program Overview

The Water Conservation Hotel and Motel Program, better known as Water CHAMP, is a free towel and linen reuse program that encourages hotel and motel guests to use their linens and towels more than once during their stay.

Program Details

Participating lodging facilities receive free materials that explain Water CHAMP to staff and guests. Materials include towel reuse cards, linen reuse cards, environmental table brochures, guest comment cards, staff training materials and an environmental self-audit checklist. District staff are also available to provide educational workshops to participants on additional ways to save water.

Water CHAMP boasts a 96 percent guest approval rating, indicating that guests like the program and believe conserving water makes a difference to the environment.

A five-year follow-up audit of water use before and after implementing Water CHAMP was completed in 2007. The results showed that of the 115 participants studied, these properties averaged a savings of 17 gallons of water per day per occupied room.

Water CHAMP also helps lodging facilities save on energy costs and staff time.

Additionally, participation in Water CHAMP gives lodging facilities a head start toward meeting the water criteria for the Florida Green Lodging Certification Program offered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Lodging facilities can sign up for Water CHAMP and order free materials online at WaterChamp.org.

For More Information

Water CHAMP Coordinator
Southwest Florida Water Management District
2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604
1-800-423-1476 (FL only) or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4782
Fax: (352) 754-6883
Email: WaterChamp@WaterMatters.org
Visit: WaterChamp.org



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