For more information, please email the Community & Legislative Affairs Department.
The Upper Peace River Watershed Restoration Initiative objectives include restoration of surface water storage and flows, aquifer recharge and improvement to water quality and ecosystems that have been lost, degraded or significantly altered. The initiative will provide a critical link to a major greenway that extends from Florida’s lower west coast up through the Peace River watershed and Green Swamp, and north to the Ocala National Forest. Projects under the initiative will include the identification of alternative water supply opportunities for Polk County along with the significant restoration efforts for Lake Hancock and the upper Peace River.
Projected cost*: $770 million through 2025
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Polk County
- City of Lakeland
- City of Lake Alfred
- City of Auburndale
- City of Winter Haven
- City of Haines City
- City of Davenport
- Town of Dundee
- Town of Lake Hamilton
- Enhancement and restoration of natural systems
- Flood protection
- Water quality improvements
- Restoration of minimum flows
Upper Peace River region in the SWUCA
Lake Hancock Lake Level Modification and Outfall Treatment Projects
The goal of these projects is to store water and then slowly release the water during the dry season to help meet the statutory minimum flow requirements.
The Lake Level Modification Project will allow for the continued withdrawal of approximately 600 million gallons per day of ground water in the Southern Water Use Caution Area, provide for approximately 50 percent of the minimum flow requirements and up to 25 cubic feet per second of recharge to the Upper Floridan aquifer through sinks.
Lake Hancock is recognized as having some of the poorest water quality in the state. Subsequently, a benefit of the Outfall Treatment Project is improved water quality discharging from the lake that, in turn, will improve water quality in the Peace River and protect Charlotte Harbor.
It is anticipated that approximately 1,000 acres will be constructed in wetland treatment to reduce nitrogen loading to the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor by 27 percent.
Further work in the upper Peace River includes the potential to develop additional surface water storage to store water in the wet season along with dry season discharge. The work also involves the identification and evaluation of potential water resource development projects in the upper Peace River watershed above Zolfo Springs.
Upper Peace River watershed includes sub-basins Saddle Creek, Peace Creek, Payne Creek and Peace River above Zolfo Springs.
* Several components of the WRAP are still undergoing feasibility studies. Any costs associated with these projects are therefore estimated.