The Big Cypress Basin Board and Big Cypress Basin Service Center manage a network of 153 miles of primary canals, 45 water control structures and four pumps providing flood control during the wet season and protecting regional water supplies and environmental resources from over-drainage during the dry season. The basin includes Collier County and part of Monroe County.
Members of the Big Cypress Basin Board, like members of the SFWMD Governing Board, are appointed by the Governor and must be approved by the Florida Senate. This Board sets the Basin regional policy, budget and millage rate. The Governing Board member appointed to represent the Southwest region on the SFWMD Governing Board also serves as the Basin Board's Chairman. Board members include Chair Rick Barber, David Farmer, Ralph Haskins, Marielle Kitchener, John Vaughn and David Weston. The Basin Board typically meets once every quarter, unless otherwise announced. Meetings are open to the public. Big Cypress Basin staff work in administration, planning, environmental permitting, right-of-way permitting and operations and maintenance. Tasks related to Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) project management are also supported by this office.
Big Cypress Basin Service Center
Administration Building 2660 Horseshoe Drive North
Naples, FL 34104
Fax: (239) 263-8166 Google Map Map [PDF]
Big Cypress Basin Field Station
3875 City Gate Blvd. N.
Naples, FL 34117
Fax: (239) 348-7535 Google Map
GOVERNING BOARD MEMBERS
Rick Barber, an appointee representing areas including the Big Cypress Basin
Mitch Hutchcraft, an at-large appointee representing areas including the Big Cypress Basin
The Big Cypress Basin's annual operating budget is funded by a combination of property taxes and other sources such as permit fees and investment income. The budget supports water management goals within the Basin, including maintenance of the primary flood control system, protection of regional water supplies, water quality improvements and ecosystem restoration.
Following adoption by the Basin Board, the budget is included as part of the overall South Florida Water Management District budget for approval by the SFWMD Governing Board. The Big Cypress Basin's Fiscal Year starts October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year.
The subtropical weather of southwest Florida, its low relief topography and rapid human encroachments into our natural wetlands have made us vulnerable to frequent floods and droughts. The flood conveyance capacity of our drainage system, particularly in the Golden Gate Estates, is limited, as the canals were primarily constructed to lower the water table for building home-sites, and not designed to effectively carry runoff from large storm events. In spite of numerous enhancements made to our canals and water control structure network, they remain deficient for providing the desired levels of flood protection of the Estates area.
In order to provide more efficient flood protection services to residents, Big Cypress Basin staff worked with modeling, scientific data and information systems staff together developed a real-time flood modeling and decision-making support system for operation of the water control gates. The project uses the Basin's real-time meteorological and hydrologic data for surface and groundwater levels and gate positions to model and forecast both surface water and groundwater stages, and provide flood warning and real-time decision-making information to the field staff to operate the control gates accordingly. The information on real-time surface and ground water levels, flows, rainfall, gate positions and forecasted water levels are available here.
Task Force and Coordination Teams
Regulatory Partnering Sessions: The South Florida Water Management District Lower West Coast Service Center management team is conducting quarterly meetings to coordinate with consultants and members of the regulated community who conduct business with our agency.
Collier County American Red Cross, Services to the Armed Forces Unit: Assists members of the armed services and their families during times of family crisis.
Conservation Collier: Oversees the Collier County land acquisition program.
Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed Trust: A not-for-profit organization with adjacent landowners, agency, business, environmental groups and local governments to support the acquisition of approximately 60,000 acres in the Corkscrew region and to protect and conserve this unique ecosystem.
Greenscape Alliance: a collaborative endeavor to streamline community awareness, compliance and education efforts about Florida Friendly Landscaping.
Lake Trafford Taskforce: An advisory and oversight body on Lake Trafford restoration activities reporting to the Board of Collier County Commissioners.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine and Research Reserve Advisory Council: Advises and reviews the reserve's management plans.
Southwest Florida Land and Preservation Trust: Focuses on land acquisition in Collier County to create greenways for public use.