Providing the District’s Mission and Protecting the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As part of its ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is implementing several safety precautions to keep the public informed on the District's operations.
Dedicated to Our Mission
SFWMD remains dedicated to its core mission of safe guarding and restoring South Florida's water resources and ecosystems, protecting communities from flooding, and meeting the region's water needs while connecting with the public and stakeholders. Executive Director Drew Bartlett signed an Emergency Order to support the continuity of District operations while responding to this public health emergency.
During this time, SFWMD is taking several proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of our staff, stakeholders and members of the public. All official travel has been suspended for SFWMD employees and is limiting in-person meetings.
Buildings Closed to the Public
All SFWMD offices, including field stations, services centers, and the SFWMD headquarters in West Palm Beach are closed to the public until further notice. Most SFWMD staff are working remotely and additional health protocols are in place for all facilities and operations. The District’s main switchboard remains operational between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (561) 686-8800. You can also write to us using the Ask Us button at the top of our website.
Enjoying Florida's Natural Resources
During this time, consider safely enjoying the natural wonders that Florida has to offer while embracing social distancing. All SFWMD-managed public lands are currently open to the public for individuals. We encourage you to visit one of our many recreation sites, but all visitors must practice social isolation and avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more.
For more recreational opportunities, public access lands managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are still currently open to the public. However, all designated camp groups on FWC-managed lands will be closed for a minimum of 30 days, effective March 23, 2020.
To reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, all camping on SFWMD-managed lands has been cancelled until further notice. All Florida State Parks, many local parks, and national parks are closed until further notice. Additionally, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, has ordered a shutdown of the Corps Campgrounds on the Okeechobee Waterway.
The District will temporarily close public access for recreation to several District-managed properties, effective at 6 p.m. (ET) on April 1, 2020. The District-managed properties that have been closed to public access to protect public safety include:
- John C. and Mariana Jones Hungryland Wildlife and Environmental Management Area in Palm Beach County
- Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) 1 West, STA 1 East, STA 2 and STA 3/4 all in Palm Beach County
- A-1 Flow Equalization Basin in Palm Beach County
- Cypress Creek and Loxahatchee River Management Area in Palm Beach and Martin counties
- Site 1 Impoundment Area in southern Palm Beach County
- Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area and Frog Pond Public Small Game Management Area in Miami-Dade County
- Rocky Glades Public Small Game Management Area in Miami-Dade County
- DuPuis Management Area located in Palm Beach and Martin Counties
- Hickory Hammock Wildlife Management Area in Highlands County
- Kissimmee River Public Use Area located in Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee, Osceola, and Polk Counties
- KICCO Wildlife Management Area located in Polk and Osceola Counties
- Lake Marion Creek Wildlife Management Area located in Polk and Osceola Counties
- Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Management Area in Polk and Osceola Counties
Updates about other SFWMD-managed properties will be announced to the public as they develop.
Due to lake conditions, locks on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee are temporarily closed. SFWMD will continue to closely monitor water levels on Lake Okeechobee to determine if other locks should be closed. Closures will be announced to the public through email and posted on this page.
The following locks are temporarily closed for safety:
Martin County: S-135 boat lock, J&S Fish Camp
Okeechobee County: G-36 boat lock, Henry Creek
Glades County: S-127 boat lock, Buckhead Ridge and S-131 boat lock, Lakeport
Also on the north shore, the operating hours for the S-193 boat lock at Taylor Creek in Okeechobee County are Saturdays and Sundays between 5:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. The S-193 lock will close entirely if Lake Okeechobee is below 11 feet NGVD.
Locks will resume normal operations when the lake is at least 12.5 feet NGVD.
SFWMD is making preparations to hold public meetings online to support our mission for strong public participation and engagement. Any changes to upcoming public meetings, including electronic meeting details,postponements and cancellations, will be posted on our Meetings Calendar.
Learn More About COVID-19
SFWMD will continue to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of its staff and members of the public. To learn more about COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread, please refer to the Florida Department of Health.