Capital Improvement Projects
Leon County funds a number of capital improvement projects aimed at reducing non-point source pollution into our surface waters. These range from localized efforts to reduce erosion of drainage channels to large scale treatment facility construction. Reducing erosion prevents sediment from smothering stream habitat and from undercutting trees in the channel, both of which are concerns for our natural streams which often serve as drainage channels. Large scale construction of treatment facilities, such as Okeeheepkee Park ahead of Lake Jackson, captures sediments and pollutants moving into the natural systems downstream and protects the natural lake.
As Leon County continues to grow, updates must be made to existing facilities and amenities to ensure the needs and safety of citizens as well as protect water quality. The Leon County Minimum Countywide Environmental Regulations are found in the state Environmental Management Act. Construction projects include but are not limited to making drainage improvements, increasing road safety and updating boat landing and other areas for water recreation.
For a list of active, recently completed, and historical construction projects, click here.
How Leon County Works to Protect Water Resources from Impacts Due to Capital Improvement Projects
Leon County protects the water quality of its surface waters by enforcing stormwater standards for both water quality and rate control, implementing an operating permit program for permitted stormwater management facilities and outlining environmentally sensitive features during the development review process.
Protection of Leon County’s surface waters is of the utmost importance. Development can increase pollutant loads into water bodies if there are no appropriate stormwater controls. The stormwater, water quality and flood control protection requirements are found in both local and state regulations. The State regulations are implemented by the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) under a cooperative agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). All new residential subdivisions and commercial construction must meet these water quality and flood control requirements.
An important aspect of water quality protection includes the protection of the County’s natural features and buffers. Leon County has many streams and lakes which are in excellent health, and fully comply with the standards established by the State and Federal governments. These are largely in the undeveloped portions of the unincorporated area. Development or increasing density of existing development can have impacts on nutrients and sediment loads in streams and lakes. As a result, Leon County has recognized the importance of retrofits for existing developments and drainage networks may be needed to help recover impacted streams, lakes and wetlands.
Natural waterbodies, watercourses, cultural resources, wetlands and floodplains as well as other features are protected during the development review process through required setback buffers and in some cases conservation easements. Special Development Zones (SDZ)s have been created for major surface waters such as Lake Jackson, Bradford Brook Chain-of-Lakes, Fred George Basin, Lake Iamonia, Lake McBride and Lake Lafayette. These SDZ's provide development restrictions and limitations, with extra requirements near the waterbody edge. Through strengthening and supporting natural buffers, we can support mother nature's own cleansing abilities. For example, wetlands naturally act as the “kidneys” for the surface water system, filtering out debris and nutrients. These types of protections help preserve the water quality of our surface waters.
All intersection improvements are required to meet the current stormwater treatment and volume control requirements in the County codes as well as State and Federal permitting requirements for stormwater and wetland impacts. The requirements for stormwater treatment, retention and level of services are always incorporated into design and construction of all road improvement projects.
Public Works staff are involved in the public subdivision development process starting with site plan review through final construction plan approval, construction inspection, final acceptance and plat recording. Throughout the entire process, Public Works and Development Support Environmental Management staff work together to ensure that developments are in compliance with the County’s stormwater management requirements and are maintainable by the County. Additionally, erosion control during construction is continuously monitored by construction inspectors.
Low Impact Development
Leon County's Development Support and Envrionmental Management Department works with developers, engineers and designers to encourage the use of low impact design elements when working on a new or exisiting project. Low impact development (LID) is a comprehensive land planning and engineering design approach with a goal of maintaining and enhancing watersheds. The purpuse of using LIDs is to decentralize stormwater treatment by reducing runoff and using alternative techniques to deal with runoff before it utimately reaches a nearby stormwater facility.
Some examples of LIDs can include:
- Pervious pavement;
- Green roofs;
- Rain gardens;
- Rain barrels/cisterns;
- Resource efficient landscapes;
- Swales with vegetation (bioswales); and
- Stormwater reuse.
Recent Projects in Leon County to Incorporate LIDs:
- Fallschase CMX Movie Theater
- Applebee's at Fallschase
- Island Wing Company at Fallschase
- Bannerman Crossing II-Bradfordville
- First Florida Credit Union-Bradfordville
- Centerville Conservation Subdivision