Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) Planning at the South Florida Water Management District

by Joel VanArman, South Florida Water Management, District, West Palm Beach, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


During the past century, environmental values of Florida's wetlands, lakes and estuaries have been severly impacted by human activities. By 1987, the Florida legislature was prompted to enact the SWIM legislation that a) identified priority water bodies, b) required water management districts to develop SWIM plans, and c) established a trust fund to provide funding. The SFWMD is a 16-county regional agency that has diverse water management responsibilities. Development of SWIM plans had to address water quality, water supply, flood control, recreation, navigation, public information and other issues. Close proximity of planning areas meant that goals and strategies for one plan often created problems for other plans. Initial SWIM plans for Lake Okeechobee, Biscayne Bay and Indian River Lagoon were completed by 1989. Additional water body priorities were established by a unique process involving other agencies, local governments and concerned citizens. The District is presently completing a plan for the first new area identified by that process - The Everglades. Plans were developed by District staff, with help from agencies, local governments, consultants and universities. Review, comment and final approval of plans required from several months to more than a year. Once plans were approved, restoration and preservation activities were undertaken, using funds from District, state, other agency, local government, and private sources.

Subject Headings: Water management | Surface water | Water quality | Water supply | Lakes | Legislation | Water policy | Water-based recreation | Florida | United States

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