RECOVERY FOR KEYSTONE HEIGHTS AREA LAKES
Recovering stable lake levels in the Keystone Heights area is not only possible, but very “doable”. The Save Our Lakes Organization (SOLO) has been working with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and elected officials as well as with corporations holding Consumptive Use Permits (CUPs). This has not been a quick or easy process.
From the 1990s through 2005 the focus of the Lake Brooklyn Civic Association (LBCA) was on clearing Alligator Creek. Alligator Creek connects the lakes in the Etonia Chain (Blue Pond, Lake Lowry, Lake Magnolia, Lake Brooklyn, Little Lake Keystone and Lake Geneva, Old Field Pond and Half Moon Lake). Over decades of drying lakes, the Creek bed became clogged with silt, erosion, vegetation and debris. LBCA was successful in their efforts. In 1994-97 a survey of the Creek was completed and clearing began. Water began to flow through the Creek and into Lake Brooklyn. LBCA continued working on projects to increase the water flowing through Alligator Creek.
SOLO picked up the gauntlet and continued their efforts to bring more water through Alligator Creek into Lake Brooklyn and on into Lake Geneva. As with LBCA, a lot of man hours (turning into decades) have been spent in studying data, attending meetings, and trips to Tallahassee to get to the bottom of why the Keystone Heights area lakes began a steady decline beginning in the mid1970s. Details of the why can be found on our website.
2017 – BLACK CREEK WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Using only the excess water flowing into Black Creek for Floridan Aquifer recharge has been a consideration by the SJRWMD for some time. Engineering and hydro-geologic studies have been done by SJRWMD to determine the feasibility (benefits/impact) of such a project. Study results indicate the Black Creek Project (BCP) is a win-win in the effort to manage Florida’s water resources.
The Black Creek Project will take the excess water flowing into Black Creek at State Highway 16 (east of State Highway 21) and direct that water, via a 30 inch pipeline, to an area adjacent to Alligator Creek just north of Lake Brooklyn (a major Floridan Aquifer recharge area). The flow is expected to bring an average of 7.5 MGD (million gallons per day) into Alligator Creek. The impact on Lake Brooklyn levels is expected to be an increase of approximately 10 ft in elevation.
2021 – RECOVERY BEGINS
After several years of red tape dealing with filtration, engineering, permitting and other issues, bids for construction are expected to go out this year (2021). Construction of the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project is expected to begin in early 2022, with an 18-24 month expected construction window.
The next step will be to clear the outflow of Lake Brooklyn into Little Lake Keystone and on into Lake Geneva. This will bring these lakes to healthy levels, restore the flow of Alligator Creek throughout the Etonia Chain of Lakes AND revitalize our beautiful Keystone Heights Lake Region.