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In this issue:
- Plugging old wells can help save water
- What you need to know about backyard conservation easements
- New environmental resource permitting mapping tool coming in March
Plugging old wells can help save water
Are you aware of a free flowing or abandoned artesian well? A flowing artesian well is an artificial hole in the ground from which water flows to the surface due to natural pressure within a confined aquifer. You can help save water by notifying the district about such wells.
Uncontrolled, improperly constructed or deteriorating artesian wells can have an adverse impact on the quantity and quality of water in aquifers (our groundwater) and other water bodies. Any well that no longer serves a useful purpose can easily transition from being an asset into becoming a liability.
Florida law requires well owners to control the discharge from artesian wells, thereby limiting the flow to the amount of water needed for a reasonable-beneficial use. The district’s abandoned artesian well plugging program is designed to assist well owners in complying with state law by properly plugging (permanently decommissioning) abandoned artesian wells.
Abandoning a well includes the following steps:
- Email Kristi Cushman at email@example.com or call 386-329-4308.
- Provide the property owners’ information (if available), the well location and site-specific directions.
- District staff will contact the property owner to conduct a site visit to collect information about the physical status of the well and install a temporary plug if needed and feasible.
- The district will evaluate the collected well information and, if appropriate, the owner will be contacted regarding possible participation in the district’s cost-share well abandonment program.
- If the well owner is interested in participating in the program, the district will provide a cooperative cost-share agreement which, when executed, will authorize the district to permanently plug the well.
- The district will hire a licensed water well contractor to perform the well abandonment, schedule the work, and observe the contractor’s work.
- The well will be permanently plugged by filling with cement. The driller will be paid and the owners will be billed for their portion of the actual cost of the work, not to exceed the limits described in the well plugging agreement.
What you need to know about backyard conservation easements
Regardless of the season, many homeowners call the district regarding the potential for trees within a conservation easement falling onto their property, potentially causing damage.
If a tree has already fallen but has completely remained within the boundaries of the conservation easement, there is no problem; the tree itself can provide potential habitat for wildlife and does not need to be removed. However, when a tree within the easement appears to be diseased, dying or leaning to the point where the potential for property damage is possible, it is best to call the district and have a staff member visit the site to assess the tree or trees in question.
If the danger is imminent, the property owner can email a photo to the district for immediate assessment. Once permission is granted by the district for removal, there will be specific removal criteria which must be followed. For example, heavy equipment is generally not allowed within the easement itself to avoid additional damage to surrounding vegetation. The district will typically request that the tree be cut in a way that allows the stump to remain. An authorization letter for the removal will be issued to the property owner and copied to the permit holder, which is typically the Homeowners Association.
If you have any questions regarding whether or not there is a conservation easement on a property, please call your closest service center for further information.
New environmental resource permitting mapping tool coming in March
The district is excited to introduce the latest e-Permitting enhancement to the public — the Environmental Resource Permitting (ERP) Mapping Tool, scheduled to be released by the end of March 2016.
The map tool will allow the public to enter a search criteria and zoom in to that location and map the property boundary. Even though the parcel number is the most common search criteria for ERP, you will have the ability to search by address, county or section, township and range (STR). However, if your project boundary is more complicated than selecting one or multiple parcels, you will also have the ability to draw your boundary.
The capability to draw requires you to click into the project location on the map to draw a square boundary, then click and drag the boundary handles to resize/reshape your project border. After saving, the system will automatically save your location information into the appropriate fields, such as STR, and will create the map of your parcel and automatically save it to the district’s system. This mapping tool is also intended to enhance mapping accuracy.
Staff look forward to providing the mapping tool as an enhancement to e-Permitting as an aid for the public when submitting applications. The district’s customer support team is always available to assist and can be reached at our customer service line at 386-329-4570.