Water-Related News

FWC launches new statewide Fishing Pier Finder

Are you looking for a place to fish from shore? Check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) new Florida Fishing Pier Finder, an interactive map that allows anglers to find publicly-accessed fishing piers, jetties and fishing-specific bridges in freshwater and saltwater locations throughout the state. It is best viewed using a computer or tablet with a larger screen.

Visit MyFWC.com/PierFinder to search for a location by county, city, feature name and type of feature (such as a bridge or pier). These structures give anglers who enjoy fishing from shore or do not have a boat an opportunity to catch a variety of species. Some fishable structures extend a few feet into the water, while others extend 2,000 or more feet into the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean. A majority of these structures are free to use. For those fishing piers where a fee is required, almost all have a pier license that covers anglers, resident and non-resident, that fish on the pier.

“I am thrilled with the FWC’s new Florida Fishing Pier Finder. This innovative platform helps anglers find areas where they can enjoy the diverse fishing opportunities found here in Florida, the Fishing Capital of the World,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester. “Providing shore-based anglers with easy-to-use location information for fishing piers, bridges and jetties increases access options and possibilities for new and experienced anglers.”

The Florida Fishing Pier Finder was created through funding from the federal Sport Fish Restoration program, which collects taxes from purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel to fund projects that provide enhanced fishing opportunities. Learn more at MyFWC.com/SFR.

So, what are you waiting for? With a wealth of different ways to fish Florida waters, we encourage you to check out the new Florida Fishing Pier Finder and make some fishing memories! Interested in learning more about how to fish in Florida? Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click “Learn to Fish.” Questions? Contact Marine@MyFWC.com.

Your purchase of fishing equipment, motorboat fuel and a fishing license supports outreach and education efforts like this article and the new Florida Fishing Pier Finder.

Governor announces $148M in local resilience funding

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that more than $148 million has been awarded to communities through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program.

The program is administered by DEO and will assist local governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects to make communities more resilient to future disasters, including storm water improvements.

“My administration remains committed to providing the resources necessary for Florida communities to build back stronger and be more resilient to future storms,” said Gov. DeSantis, reported the state of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity website. “This transformational mitigation funding will go a long way in helping Florida’s communities invest in their futures through critical infrastructure improvements.”

The funds are allocated to the state through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program, reported the state of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity website.

Senate passes bipartisan $35B water infrastructure bill

A bipartisan bill to boost funding for states' water infrastructure passed the Senate 89-2 Thursday, sending it to the House of Representatives.

The measure, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, would put $35 billion toward state water infrastructure programs. It authorizes gradual increases in funding for state water infrastructure systems from fiscal 2022 through 2026, beginning with $2.4 billion and ending with $3.25 billion.

The bill also establishes an operational sustainability program for smaller water systems such as those under the jurisdiction of Native American tribes, and authorizes $50 million annually for fiscal years 2022-2026.

It also creates a separate grant program for large and midsize drinking water systems, with 50 percent of the funding required to go to systems that serve between 10,000 and 100,000 people. The other half must be used for systems serving populations of at least 100,000.

The bill would nearly double funding for grants aimed at removing lead from drinking water, from $60 million to $100 million per year. The Biden administration, as part of its infrastructure plan, has pledged to replace the entirety of the nation’s lead pipes. Lead in drinking water has been linked to brain and neurological damage in children, including in the case of Flint, Mich., which saw its water supply contaminated by lead.

$43M in State resiliency money going to Lakeland park project

LAKELAND – Governor Ron DeSantis made a visit to the City of Lakeland to announce the award of a $42.9 million grant for a multi-component project in partnership with Bonnet Springs Park. The City of Lakeland, in partnership with Bonnet Springs Park (a non-profit organization), applied to the Department of Economic Opportunity for a grant in the amount of $52 million to address flood hazard risks within the Lake Bonnet drainage basin. The grant and project implementation will be completed by Lakes & Stormwater, a division within the Public Works Department. The project will be initiated over the next several months and the overall project is expected to be completed over a 10-year period.

DeSantis said, “This project will provide social benefits to a community that sits in a county with one of the nation’s highest suburban poverty rates. The project will focus on mitigation efforts that will add flood storage capacity to the drainage base and the project will include improvements to stormwater infrastructure and watershed resilience.” He added, “We think that this mitigation is important for safety. It’s important for shelter, transportation, and combatting hazardous materials during severe weather.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity administered the grant as part of the Rebuild Florida Mitigation Infrastructure Program. Grants were awarded to complete large-scale infrastructure projects that would help mitigate risks from natural disasters including severe flooding and hurricanes.

Laurie Smith, Manager of Lakes & Stormwater said, “We are extremely excited and grateful to the Department of Economic Opportunity for the award of this grant which will allow us to focus on flood control and hazard mitigation in one of our more vulnerable drainage basins within the City. The area surrounding Lake Bonnet was mostly developed during a period before stormwater control regulations were in place, therefore the drainage systems within these communities are undersized and unable to appropriately convey stormwater runoff.”

Governor DeSantis speaking at Bonnet Springs press conference with City Commission and others in background

The project will include:

  • Mitigating flooding hazards, improving watershed resilience, and reducing future flood damages through improvements to stormwater infrastructure and the natural environment.
  • Improving stormwater storage capacity through innovative stormwater treatment and retention basins and through sediment removal and treatment actions within Lake Bonnet.
  • Surface water from Lake Bonnet will be restored through an innovative harvesting technology using a pump and treatment system designed to physically remove nutrients that fuel algae growth that negatively impacts surface water and downstream flows.

Smith said, “Some of the physical elements that will be part of the project include the dredging accumulated sediment from Lake Bonnet to allow for lowering the operational level of the lake to better accommodate inflow from upstream areas, increase retention volume and time, and decrease the amount of downstream flow into flood-prone areas during severe storm events. There will also be improvements to the drainage system downstream of Lake Bonnet through a combination of engineered projects designed to provide flood protection. These improvements will increase stormwater conveyance, capacity, and storage.”