An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

SWFWMD recognizes 35th anniversary of SWIM program

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board recently recognized the 35th anniversary of the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management, or SWIM program, and its vital contributions to the region’s water resources. SWIM Program manager Vivianna Bendixson explains the positive impacts the program has made on major water bodies in the region.

Q: What is the SWIM Program?

A: The Surface Water Improvement and Management or SWIM Program evaluates priority water bodies, identifies issues and drivers, and implements projects to improve water quality and habitat. In 1987, the Florida Legislature established the SWIM Act to protect, maintain, and restore Florida’s surface water bodies. The Act required the five water management districts to identify and select a list of priority water bodies of statewide significance within their boundaries and develop programs to improve them. With the help of state agencies, local governments and other organizations, the SWIM Program focuses on water quality and natural systems restoration projects to accomplish these initiatives.

Q: What are the District’s priority water bodies?

A: Currently, the District’s 12 SWIM priority water bodies include: Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Weeki Wachee River, Chassahowitzka River, Homosassa River, Rainbow River, Crystal River/Kings Bay, Lake Panasoffkee, Lake Tarpon, Lake Thonotosassa and the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes. The list of priority water bodies is updated every five years. The last update was approved in 2020.