Leon County is laced with miles of lakes, rivers, streams and springs. These waterbodies are an integral part of the County and our region's ecosystem and provide us with various recreational opportunities including: fishing, bird watching, hunting, boating and swimming. These waterbodies also serve as stopping off points for migratory birds as well as provide food and habitat for fish, amphibians, aquatic insects, mammals and reptiles. Certain waterbodies eventually drain into sinks and enter the Floridan aquifer, which functions as a primary source of drinking water for much of the state. For these reasons as well as others, it is very important to protect these waterbodies for our physical, mental and economic health, as well as the health of future generations.
Surface waters are affected by natural events as well as human activities within the drainage area. Natural event examples include drought, flooding and sinkhole development. Human activities are not limited to the obvious draining of wetlands and stream channelization, but also include large-scale vegetation changes, introduction of exotic/invasive plants or animals, pollution, illegal dumping and site development.
Water Conservation Efforts
Leon County amended its County Charter in 2010 to establish minimum environmental regulations, standards, procedures, requirements and regulations for the protection of the environment within the unincorporated areas of the County. The standards, regulations, procedures and requirements include tree protection, landscaping, aquifer protection, stormwater maintenance, conservation and preservation features among others. These set standards place emphasis on supporting healthy natural systems in our environment.
Prior to amending its Charter, Leon County also created the first Sustainability Action Plan in 2008 which included 77 initiatives to raise community awareness of sustainability best practices. In 2019, Leon County passed an updated Integrated Sustainability Action Plan to identify strategies to improve water and energy conservation, waste reduction, transportation, internal protocols, food systems and the community. See below for the specific water conservation efforts included in the plan below:
Goals by 2030
- Have all County facilities integrate Florida Friendly Landscaping practices;
- Reduce number of gallons consumed in County facilities by 2% each year;
- Install efficient watering systems at parks and County facilities;
- Incorporate low impact development at more County facilities and right-of-ways;
- Identify opportunities to pilot permeable pavement;
- Explore opportunities to pursue SITE Certification;
- Explore use of rainwater, greywater, and A/C condensate for irrigation;
- Limit use of herbicides and pesticides in landscape management for County facilities and parks;
- Transition departments to use water bottle filling stations;
- Identify any unused irrigation meters to turn off;
- Identify opportunities to pilot stormwater demonstration projects;
- Continue water quality testing; and
- Explore opportunities to improve water efficiencies.
Science Advisory Committee
The Science Advisory Committee is a joint County and City Board-appointed nine-member committee tasked with evaluating and reporting findings to the County Commission on scientific evidence and making recommendations concerning policies and programs that pertain to environmental issues in developed and developing areas. The Comittee also evaluates the need for further data collection and analysis on issues approved by the Board of County Commissioners or the appropriate administrator. They meet the first Friday of each month at the Development Support and Environmental Management (DSEM) office, located at 435 N. Macomb St. For more information on this committee, contact (850) 606-1300.
Water Resources Committee
The Water Resources Committee considers the value provided to the public by the various lakes and related water resources of Leon County -including groundwater- and recommends to the Board policies, regulations, management activities and long-term funding strategies that protect or enhance these values. The Committee also considers the various impacts to our water resources from accelerated runoff -including flooding and surface and groundwater degradation- and reviews waterbody conditions and impacts of development. For more information about this committee, contact the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department at (850) 891-6408.
How You Can Conserve Water
Check out the Office of Sustainability's website to learn how you can conserve water both inside and outside your home.