WELCOME TO WEDGEFIELD - A Deed Restricted Community

Ranger Drainage and Hurricane Irma Update by Dawn Mullins

Hurricane Irma has moved out of Florida but not before she left her mark on the District. However, we were prepared for her and the water she was going to leave behind. We are extremely blessed and are happy to report that to our knowledge no homes took on any water due to high water levels in the street. The District employees work year round to maintain the drainage system. There are several aspects to our “maintenance” and I will go over just a few of them. Our spray program. One of our biggest challenges is keeping the aquatic invasive species such as hydrilla (just to name one) under control. An infestation of such specie can have a negative impact on our lakes and canals, resulting in the obstruction of our drainage systems and its ability to function as designed. When needed, the Echo Harvester Boat is used to remove the invasive species but in addition we treat the body of water with the appropriate aquatic spray. Our licensed, in-house spray tech does a magnificent job with our aquatic spray program including working within a limited budget. The District maintains 6 Lakes, 6 Canals, 12 Ponds in The Reserve and some secondary easements that require weed control by aquatic spraying. We also mow year round. This includes 28 miles of secondary easements, 17 miles of primary canal, 73 miles of roadside swales and 4 miles of lakes bank mowing. Mowing controls the vegetation and allows for better runoff. All of the District’s water makes way to the main canals that run east and west and from there to the Econ River. Driveway culvert pipes. As many of you know, when a culvert is installed within the District a permit is required. This allows for us to, at a minimum, set the grade the pipe should be installed at. Again, this is important to the roadside drainage which carries the water by hydrology to the easements and finally to the major canals. When the District is threatened with a storm event we activate our emergency plan. I would like to take a moment to briefly explain, in short, how we prepared for Hurricane Irma. The District staff meets and assign tasks to each employee. This includes inspecting all 6 Primary Canals to make sure there are no pipes that have failed and no debris on the riser barrels which would interfere with water flowing through to the Econ River. We also inspect every grate/catch basin in the City Area and The Reserve to make sure they are free from debris. Canal 5 (south of Nettleton St.) receives a lot of water from the City Area, Golf Course and portions of Unit 1A including Sand Hill Crane Lake. Prior to Irma a pump was placed on Canal 5
at Structure 19 to pump down the canal to allow for additional storage. We did the same with Sand Hill Crane Lake. During the storm all employees were home with their families but returned on site early Monday morning to assess damages, inspect canals, refuel pumps etc. I am pleased to report that the District did not receive any complaints and only two concerns which were addressed in a timely fashion. Water was high in some of the City and Estate streets and in some cases water was in the yards but no homes were flooded from high water in the streets. We are now in restoration mode. We currently have several trees down on our canals and easements, a few wash outs and down pipes in the canals that have gave way due to the water pressure. We will be working in these areas for the next few weeks then we will be back to our regular maintenance. A thank you to my predecessor Mr. Davis (prior General Manager). Because of his foresight, knowledge of the failing drainage system and determination, Mr. Davis was successful in receiving over $ 8 Million dollars from FEMA to replace the infrastructure (drainage system). In addition to Mr. Davis’ efforts was our very knowledgeable and understanding Board that supported this project to completion. As a result, Hurricane Irma proved to us that our system is functioning as designed and we are extremely proud that we are one of the few communities in Irma’s path that did not flood. With that being said, I would like to thank you, the homeowner, in your part in helping us maintain the system. This includes but is not limited to keeping your swale area mowed and culvert pipe cleaned out. This is an extremely important piece to the puzzle that allows water to flow freely to its appointed place. As a reminder, please do not trespass on any canal or easement. This is strictly prohibited at all times but after a rain event like we just experienced, the possibility of washouts or pipe failure is extremely high therefore very dangerous. Parents remind your children that these areas are off limits. We do not want anyone to get hurt. This is a very short version of the District responsibilities, if you have any additional question or would like more information, please give me a call or stop by to see me. Sincerely, Dawn Mullins General Manager ~Determined People Working Together Can Do Anything~ Jim Casey