Water Resources Restoration and Preservation Program Projects


Dublin Core


Water Resources Restoration and Preservation Program Projects

Alternative Title

Water Resources Restoration and Preservation Program


Environmental protection--Florida
Water quality--Florida


A document describing the formation of the Water Resources Restoration and Preservation program (WRR&P) within the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (DER), as mandated by legislation passed by the Florida Legislature on July 1, 1977. The document also lists 12 restoration projects, both completed and underway, by the program, and gives updates on the Lake Apopka Restoration Project, including the proposed drawdown of Lake Apopka. Additionally, the document states that work on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was started in March of 1978 and was scheduled to be completed by early 1979. Finally, the document describes public involvement efforts by the program, including a public meeting held in Eustis on March 7, 1978.

Lake Apopka is one of Florida’s largest lakes and was once considered to be one of the world’s best lakes for bass fishing. The lake’s sport fish population began to decline in the 1960s, with major die-offs occurring almost yearly. The lake’s problems are generally considered to be the result of over-nutrification from various sources. Twenty thousand acres of wetlands bordering the lake’s north shore were drained in the 1940s and used for highly fertile “muck farms.” These farms were routinely flooded to protect the fragile soil, and the fertilizer and pesticide-laden water was then discharged back into the lake prior to each growing season. Other sources of pollution include discharge from citrus processing operations, as well as treated wastewater from sewage plants. The nutrient-rich discharge promoted algae growth in the lake, turning the water to a green color, and blocked sunlight from reaching aquatic vegetation, which provided food and habit to the lake’s fish population. The lake’s bottom soil became increasingly “mucky,” also disrupting aquatic vegetation from taking root.

Restoration work on the lake began in the 1960s with attempts by various agencies to remove “trash fish,” such as gizzard shad, from the lake via seining, which would hopefully allow the lake’s sportfish to thrive. The Lake Apopka Restoration Council, an initiative formed under Governor Claude Kirk (1926-2011) in 1967, launched several studies to find methods to improve the lake, though no serious action was taken. Various methods were debated to restore the lake through the 1970s and 1980s, including “drawdown,” which entailed completely draining the lake to allow the mucky bottom to consolidate. Restoration attempts were stalled for lack of funding and research.

The Lake Apopka Restoration Council was reformed in 1985 under Governor Bob Graham (b. 1936), and, in 1987, the Surface Water and Improvement Management Act was passed. Together, these actions allowed comprehensive restoration plans to take shape, such as the Marsh Flow-way, a project by the St John’s Water Management District that uses natural methods to remove nutrients from the lake. The Friends of Lake Apopka, a citizen environmental advocacy group, began to push for further restoration efforts in the 1990s. The lake’s north shore muck farms were eventually purchased by the State of Florida, helping to reduce the amount of nutrient entering the lake.


Original 2-page typewritten document, 1978: binder 1978, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.

Date Created

ca. 1978-04

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original 2-page typewritten document, 1978.

Is Part Of

Binder 1978, Friends of Lake Apopka Archives, Ginn Museum, Oakland Nature Preserve, Oakland, Florida.
Friends of Lake Apopka Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




305 KB


2-page typewritten document






Lake Apopka, Florida
Lake Jackson, Florida
Lake Lulu, Florida
Lake Washington, Florida
Sanibel River, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Bayou Chico, Florida
Bayou Texar, Florida
Pond Creek, Florida
Big Hickory Pass, Florida
Lake Eola, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Civics/Government Teacher


Rights Holder

This resource is not subject to copyright in the United States and there are no copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, or display of the work. Anyone may, without restriction under U.S. of state copyright laws:
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This resource is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only. For more information on copyright, please refer to Secton 24 of the Florida Constitution.

Contributing Project


King, Joshua

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

"History of Lake Apopka." St John's River Water Management District. January 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2016. http://www.sjrwmd.com/lakeapopka/history.html.


“Water Resources Restoration and Preservation Program Projects,” RICHES, accessed May 29, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/7961.