Conservation measures limit lawn and landscape watering to specific days and times based on the property address
When are my watering days?
It's a question many may be asking.
In unincorporated Hillsborough County there are two sets of water use restrictions, depending on the property location. A new address look up tool can help individuals find the correct days and times for a specific address.
Most properties south of the Alafia River are under a temporary one-day-a-week schedule and special morning irrigation hours until Dec. 31, 2022:
Mondays for addresses ending in 0 or 1; Tuesdays for those ending in 2 or 3; Wednesdays for those ending in 4 or 5; Thursdays for those ending in 6 or 7; Fridays for those ending in 8 or 9; and Saturdays for properties with no or a mixed address.
Except for hand-watering and low-volume irrigation, landscape watering must take place either between 8:30 a.m. and noon, or from 6 p.m. to midnight on the allowable day.
These temporary restrictions apply to all within the South County variance area using potable (drinking) water supplied by Hillsborough County Public Utilities for irrigation. Other water sources, including private wells, and ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies continue to follow year-round water restrictions.
Most properties north of the Alafia River follow the year-round, twice-a-week schedule:
Mondays and Thursdays for addresses ending in 0, 1, 2, or 3; Tuesdays and Fridays for those ending in 4, 5, or 6; and Wednesdays and Saturdays for addresses ending in 7, 8, or 9.
Except for hand-watering and low-volume irrigation, landscape watering must take place before 8 a.m. or afte
UPDATE: Health Advisory LIFTED for Davis Island Beach
The Hillsborough County Dept. of Health re-tested the water at Davis Island Beach on Wed., July 20th, and the bacteria count has come down to a level that is in the "good" range. See test results »
Original notice follows:
The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has issued a public health advisory for Davis Island Beach due to high bacteria levels. This should be considered a potential risk to the bathing public and swimming is not recommended.
Samples taken, were above the threshold for enterococci bacteria. The beach will be re-sampled in a week. When re-sampling indicates that the water is within the satisfactory range, the advisory will be lifted.
About Health Advisory for High Bacteria Levels
An advisory is issued when the beach action value is 70.5 or higher. This is set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County has been conducting coastal beach water quality monitoring at nine sites once every two weeks since August 2000, and weekly since August 5, 2002 through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program.
The water samples are being analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. The purpose of the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program is to determine whether Florida has significant coastal beach water quality problems.
For updates, please visit the Florida Department of Health's Beach Water Quality website. To review the beach water sampling results for reporting counties, click on a county name.
FWC approves derelict Vessel Turn-In Program
Commissioners approved a final rule establishing a Vessel Turn-In Program as part of derelict vessel prevention efforts
At its July meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the final rule establishing a statewide Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) as part of the Derelict Vessel Prevention Program. The new rule will create a voluntary program to remove at-risk vessels before they become derelict, which helps Florida’s environment and public safety.
The Division of Law Enforcement’s Boating and Waterways Section is spearheading a multi-year effort to dramatically reduce the backlog of derelict vessels currently on Florida’s waters. These vessels cause the destruction of valuable seagrass resources and endanger marine life. They also threaten human life, safety and property as they drift on or beneath the surface of the water or block navigable waterways, posing a navigational hazard to the boating public.
Recent legislation enables the FWC to create a Derelict Vessel Prevention Program, and the VTIP is one component of the FWC’s approach to derelict vessel prevention.
“Commissioners receive numerous contacts from the public about derelict vessels and I know the establishment of this new program will really make a difference,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “Thanks to the efforts of Senator Ben Albritton, Representative Josie Tomkow, Representative Jay Trumbull and Senator Kelli Stargel, we’ve received the resources and the legislative support to make this program a reality.”
Derelict vessels are more costly and complicated to remove than at-risk vessels. A VTIP will prevent vessels from becoming derelict by removing them from the state’s waters when they are at risk of becoming derelict, which will result in cost savings for taxpayers and ultimately fewer DVs appearing on Florida waters. The VTIP is designed to allow owners of vessels at risk of becoming derelict the ability to voluntarily turn the at-risk vessel over to the state for removal and destruction.
“Derelict vessels are a priority for the FWC. Establishing the Vessel Turn-In Program provides a voluntary pathway for owners to remove at-risk vessels from the water before becoming derelict, thereby reducing future costs of removal. Removing at-risk vessels from Florida’s waterways before they become derelict is not only a win for the environment but also for public safety, taxpayers and the vessel owners,” said Col. Roger Young, director of the FWC Division of Law Enforcement.
View the Commission meeting agenda and documents at MyFWC.com/Commission by clicking on “Commission Meetings” and the agenda under “July 13-14, 2022.”
Rattlesnake Key slated to become a state park
The Manatee County island, just south of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Terra Ceia Bay, is a slice of undeveloped Old Florida.
Those living closest to the ocean have a unique role in conserving wildlife habitats increasingly under threat during a time when development is undergoing a local boom.
That’s why the acquisition of Rattlesnake Key in Manatee County is a win for lovers of unspoiled Old Florida and local conservation advocates.
“Our region is continuing to develop, so there are fewer and fewer opportunities to restore habitats that can improve our quality of life,” says Ed Sherwood, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP), an intergovernmental partnership that includes Manatee County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
“It has critical coastal habitat like mangroves and is adjacent to significant seagrasses that are key to addressing future climate change because they absorb and sequester carbon,” Sherwood continues. In fact, mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows sequester and store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests. The island was identified as a conservation priority by the TBEP last year, and for decades, local advocates have highlighted the importance of preserving the 830-acre property.
In the past, plans for a cruise ship terminal, homes and more had been proposed for Rattlesnake Key.
UF research: Norms, not knowledge, drive irrigation habits
Norms beat knowledge when it comes to irrigating homeowners’ lawns, new University of Florida research shows.
For example, science tells us that if you replace at least one-third of the irrigated area of your yard or landscape with non-irrigated beds, you could save an average of 50,000 gallons of water per year.
But homeowners take their irrigation cues from their own personal norms and those of their neighbors, the new research shows.
Laura Warner surveyed 315 Florida homeowners to see what motivates them to replace highly irrigated areas of residential landscapes. In this survey, she specifically wanted to know what would compel homeowners to remove high water-using plants from their landscapes and replace them with conservation in mind.
“People can save an incredible amount of water by changing a portion of their yard, so it no longer needs to be irrigated,” said Warner, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural education and communication. “But some homeowners either don’t know or aren’t swayed by the benefits of reducing water use. Instead, they’re motivated to make these types of changes when they either feel like others around them would approve or have a personal commitment to doing so.”
Here’s one sample question from the survey to measure personal norms: “Tell us on a scale of 1 to 5 how strongly you agree or disagree with this statement: “I feel a personal obligation to eliminate at least one-third of the irrigated area in my yard/landscape in the next 12 months.”
Based on responses, most homeowners said they feel obligated to remove plants and grass that are high-water users.
To coax people into getting rid of water-needy vegetation, people like UF/IFAS Extension agents and government officials should focus on personal norms and social pressure, she said.
Now that researchers have found social and personal norms trigger irrigation habits, what does Warner suggest we do to encourage homeowners to conserve more?
“Based on our findings, we should be using tactics to build social pressure and/or personal obligation,” she said. “Some UF/IFAS Extension agents use innovative methods to do this — like social campaigns to communicate approval for engaging in these types of practices and mindfulness activities to develop more internal connections to water.”
TBEP now accepting 2022 Bay Mini-Grant applications
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is now accepting 2022 Bay Mini-Grant applications from community organizations for projects that implement water quality, habitat restoration, invasive species, fish and wildlife, and public education priorities outlined in the TBEP Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for Tampa Bay.
Funded by revenues from the Tarpon Tag plate sales, Bay Mini-Grants are competitive, cash awards (up to $5,000) provided to community organizations in the Tampa Bay Watershed for projects that protect and restore Tampa Bay.
Priority will be given to cost-effective projects that focus on the priorities outlined below:
Support prevention, eradication, or management of invasive species (IS-2)
Promote public involvement in bay restoration and protection (PE-1)
Promote public education about key issues affecting Tampa Bay (PE-2)
THE DEADLINE FOR ALL APPLICATIONS IS 5:00PM ON SEPTEMBER 16, 2022.
Applications must include the following documents to be considered for funding:
a detailed scope of work
a project budget
For more information, visit: https://tbep.org/our-work/restoration-research/bay-mini-grants/
Questions? Contact Sheila Scolaro: SScolaro@tbep.org or 727-893-2765