A Southwest Florida Water Management District workshop is scheduled this month to receive public comment on recommended levels for two northwest Hillsborough County lakes: Rogers and Raleigh.
The Florida Legislature requires the agency, commonly called Swiftmud, to set “minimum flows and levels” for priority waters, which includes Lakes Rogers and Raleigh.
A minimum flow or level is the limit at which further water withdrawals significantly will harm water resources and/or the environment, according to the district. Recommended levels are guidelines for the district’s permitting programs and for development of water projects.
To control lake levels in northwest Hillsborough lakes, the district in 1998 launched two temporary augmentation projects to divert a portion of high flows from Rocky Creek at Pretty Lake, said a district spokeswoman. That earliest diversion was to Horse, Raleigh and Rogers lakes. A second project, in 2002-03, again added water to Horse, Raleigh and Rogers, and also included lakes Juanita, Rainbow, Little Moon, Eva and Church.
In the first month of the second program, 95 million gallons was pumped from Lake Pretty into Lake Raleigh, raising the latter’s level by more than 6 feet. Lake Rogers surged a couple of feet, and Horse Lake rose 4 feet.
At the 6:30 p.m. May 29 workshop in the Walker Middle School cafeteria, 8282 N. Mobley Road in Odessa, Swiftmud staff will review the technical basis for the proposed levels. The two-hour workshop allows residents and local government representatives to address proposed levels of the two lakes.
A summary of the workshop will be made available to the district governing board, which is expected to consider the matter June 25.
Written comments prior to then can be sent to Keith Kolasa, 2379 Broad St., Brooksville, FL 34604; or by email: Keith.Kolasa@watermatters.org.