Champions of the Little Wekiva River in Longwood are anxiously awaiting the beginning of sediment removal, where thousands of tons of sediment have filled the river channel and diverted the flow in multiple directions. Seminole County has said the project is on track to begin later this year at the end of the rainy season in October/November.
In May, Florida Fish and Wildlife and Seminole County began spraying to eliminate some of the invasive plants that have taken root in the sediment, turning the river channel into a jungle. As part of the project, following sediment removal the County will replant with native species.
On May 23, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy held a media event on site to announce the contribution of $688,000 in federal dollars to the remediation project made possible by her advocacy. She also reported that she has asked the federal Army Corp of Engineers to look into the cause of the catastrophic sedimentation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding a similar problem occurring in the future.
Here is a clip from Congresswoman Murphy’s visit showing some of the problem area.
We recently learned that Governor DeSantis vetoed a $500,000 appropriation that had been approved by the legislature in the 2022 legislative session for the Little Wekiva River restoration. This is of course very disappointing. We checked with Kim Ornberg at Seminole County who confirmed that this veto does not affect the appropriation from 2021 and will have no impact on the County’s project that begins in the Fall. The County is looking into why the 2022 appropriation was vetoed.
FOWR and residents along the Little Wekiva River continue to monitor the worsening condition of the river and the risks to adjacent home and look for both immediate and long-term solutions.