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18500 Murdock Circle
Port Charlotte, FL 33948

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Watershed Master Plan

In late 2022, Charlotte County applied for and was awarded from the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Watershed Planning Initiative grant to develop the Watershed Master Plan (WMP) for our area. In 2023, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) was contracted to develop this plan.

The WMP will identify recommendations for potential changes to stormwater management regulations, areas to improve upon the existing stormwater system infrastructure, recommendations for new structural and non-structural practices, and procedures to protect and acquire sensitive natural areas and flood-prone properties.

What is a Watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that drains or ‘sheds’ water into a specific waterbody. Every body of water has a watershed. When water enters the watershed too quickly for the land to absorb it, flooding can occur. Storm runoff can overwhelm the capacity of rivers and streams, leading to increased flood risk downstream. Floods can result from severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, and other precipitation. In the United States, flooding causes billions of dollars in damages and takes dozens of lives every year.

This movement or shedding of stormwater also affects the water quality in the water body that it surrounds. Impervious surfaces (paved roads, parking lots, roofs, etc.) don’t allow water to penetrate the ground, forcing it to run off, carrying pollutants to nearby water bodies. This runoff leads to both flooding and pollution issues.

Healthy watersheds not only help protect water quality, but also provide greater benefits than degraded watersheds to the people and wildlife that live there.


  • Everyone lives in a watershed.
  • In the United States, nearly half of the rivers and streams and more than one-third of lakes are polluted and unfit for swimming, fishing, and drinking.
  • The largest threat to watersheds is runoff and pollution. Leading problems in our rivers and streams include nutrient pollution, loss of shoreline vegetation and excess sediment.

Residents are being asked to fill out the Flood Questionnaire and submit it to: The questionnaire will allow us to identify additional areas of concern. When submitting the questionnaire, please place ‘Flood Questionnaire’ in the subject line of the email.

Watershed Objectives

  • Learn directly from residents and community stakeholders which areas are currently impacted by local flooding.
  • Use models to analyze existing and future conditions in the watershed to better understand its characteristics, including flood vulnerabilities.
  • Identify the potential to implement different types of restoration projects to reduce flooding impacts and improve water quality.
  • Determine mitigation actions that can help to minimize flood-related impacts.

Watershed Development Timeline

WMP Data collection and modeling by FAU.
Draft WMP report to the State of Florida, FDEM/FEMA for review.

Late Summer/Fall:
Public Meeting to discuss WMP findings and gather public comments. Review and incorporate comments into the WMP.
WMP Plan Board adoption.

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