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Lakes Division Most Common Lake's Questions and Answers

Guidelines and Regulations for Waterfront Improvements (i.e. plant removal permits, clearings restrictions on the Shoreline, establishing a sandy beach, muck removal, lake irrigation, etc.)

1. Where do I get a permit application for a shoreline plant removal?

An aquatic plant removal permit can be obtained free of charge by calling the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Invasive Plant Management, at 407-275-4004. If you have additional questions, speak to Ed Harris, the Regional Biologist for the Maitland lakes.

2. How much can I clear on the shoreline without a permit?

A homeowner can maintain fifty (50) feet or fifty percent (50%) clear, whichever is less, without a permit, provided that you do not use herbicides for plant control. The homeowner is also allowed to remove the muck (organic sediment), provided there is a sandy bottom, within three (3) feet, in that exempted area ONLY. (Per DEP guidelines, native plants/weeds may be removed from within access corridors. DEP generally do not permit the removal of beneficial plants form other areas of the shoreline.)

3. What if I want to clear more than that?

With a DEP permit, a homeowner can clear the entire shoreline of all invasive, exotic plants. The cleared shoreline, described above, MUST then be replanted with beneficial, native shoreline plants within 180 days to meet DEP's permit criteria. The Lakes Management Coordinator is available to meet with any resident to determine what plants can be removed and what plants are most beneficial to keep or replant. Email the Lakes Management Coordinator, at

4. Can muck be removed along with a shoreline plant removal permit?

The homeowner is allowed to remove muck, up to three (3) feet in depth, provided that there is a sandy bottom, in those areas where aquatic plants have been removed, ONLY. This point is very important, because any additional, un-permitted, muck removal is in violation with the DEP Dredge and Fill Bureau and punishable by fines.

5. How can I put a beach on my lakefront?

All requests for information relating to this should be directed to Aaron Watkins at 407-893-7870, Environmental Specialist, DEP Dredge and Fill Bureau, at 407-894-7555. Any person bringing in sand to a lake will need a permit through this office. Please remember that the more sand that people bring in, year after year, the more the lake will fill up and crowd out the beneficial habitat.

City of Maitland Incentive Programs (i.e. incentive programs for the planting of bald cypress trees, beneficial aquatic plants, fertigation and the construction of environmental swales)

6. Why should I keep aquatic plants on my shoreline and not clear the whole thing?

All too often, in an attempt to make a more perfect environment, it is forgotten that Maitland's lakes are home to a myriad of creatures, from birds to bugs. It is important to realize the impact created on surrounding wildlife habitat when clearing or maintaining a cleared shoreline. Small fish need plants to provide habitat and oxygen in the water, as do birds that eat the insects on those plants. If you are worried about increased boat traffic and winds eroding your shoreline, aquatic plants are the perfect way to hold the soils in place. And finally, aquatic plants provide a natural way to help reduce the nutrient levels in the lakes.

7. Can I use the water from the lakes to water my lawn?

Yes! Two of the most abundant nutrients found in Maitland's lakes are Phosphorus and Nitrogen. These are the same nutrients that you might use to fertilize your lawns in the Spring. By using water from the lake you accomplish two things:

1. Your water bill is reduced and precious water is saved for drinking purposes.
2. The lake benefits from a filtering process through your lawn by removing additional nutrients, reducing the amount available for algae growth.

City of Maitland Incentive Programs (i.e. incentive programs for the planting of bald cypress trees, beneficial aquatic plants, fertigation and the construction of environmental swales)

8. Where do I get an incentive program application and improve my shoreline?

If you are interested in participating in any of the incentive programs, please contact the Lakes Management Coordinator at 407-539-6252. The Coordinator is available to meet with interested residents to answer questions, help with the design of the shoreline revegetation, or environmental swales, or assist with the permitting process.

Click here to get an application for shoreline improvements.

9. What residents are eligible to participate in the Incentive Programs?

The incentive program is open to all the residents, provided that the shoreline enhancements are not a requirement of any regulatory agency. An application form must be filed with and approved by the City of Maitland's Lakes Management Coordinator prior to construction or planting.

10. What is the purpose of the Shoreline Revegetation program?

This program provides a way for you to help your lake become healthier, while at the same time beautifying your shoreline with attractive, native aquatic plants. The City will reimburse qualified residents up to 50% of the cost to purchase and install aquatic plants along their property shoreline. A maximum one-time reimbursement of $200 is being offered. For a list of beneficial shoreline plants, and nurseries that sell plants and perform the work, please e-mail the Lakes Management Coordinator at

11. What is the purpose of the Wetland Tree Planting program?

Bald Cypress trees are native to Florida and provide valuable wildlife habitat, as well as beauty to your shoreline. The City is offering lakefront homeowners up to three (3), 8-10 foot tall, bald cypress trees at a cost of only $25 per tree. A City representative will work with the homeowner to establish the ideal location for the trees to ensure that the trees will benefit the lake and the shoreline. The trees will be delivered to your home on the last Friday of the month, between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Applications must be received by the third Friday of the month for delivery to occur within that month. For planting instructions and tree care, please contact the Lakes Management Coordinator.

Native shoreline plants provide food and habitat for many beautiful birds and nesting sites for fish. Also, these plants help prevent the erosion of your shoreline. Help protect your lake or water body by participating in this valuable program.

12. What is the purpose of the Environmental Swale program?

The construction of swales helps treat stormwater runoff, as well as prevent sediment, debris, and petroleum-based products, such as oil and grease, from entering our lakes. A City representative will help establish the best location for the swale to ensure that the lakes/canals have maximum benefit. The City of Maitland will pay for 20% of the cost to grade and sod the swale, or $500 per property whichever is less.

13. What is the purpose of the Fertigation program?

Fertigation is the application of frequent, but very small doses of fertilizer (phosphorus-free), through a homeowner's irrigation system. The fertigation system is inexpensive; available locally; and helps reduce the amount of phosphorus polluting our lakes. The City is offering new fertigation users a gift certificate redeemable from a local supplier for up to two (2) 40- pound bags of phosphorous-free fertilizer.

General questions about Maitland lakes

14. How many lakes are in the City of Maitland?

21 lakes.

15. What is the largest lake in Maitland?

Lake Maitland at approx. 451 acres.

16. What lakes belong to the "Maitland Chain of Lakes"?

Lakes Minnehaha, Nina, and Maitland

17. How much area of land do the lakes in Maitland cover?

The lakes cover approx. 1072 acres or 1/3 of the total area of the City.

18. Who owns the lakes in located in the City of Maitland?

All the lakes located in the City belong to the State of Florida, with the exception of Lake Jackson. Lake Jackson was originally a borrow pit that flooded during the construction of I-4.

The Lakes in the City are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The City of Maitland follows the environmental regulations and restrictions established by DEP and the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Aquatic Weed Control Program

19. Is the city responsible for the control of the weeds that grow on my shoreline?

The City of Maitland's Aquatic Weed Control Program is restricted to the control of floating and submerged weeds or algae in the lakes and canals. The maintenance of the shoreline is the responsibility of the homeowners. In some occasions the Lakes Division will treat the weeds along he shoreline if they interfere with the access to some corners of the lake or the navigation at the canals.

20. What should I do if I see weeds or algae growing in the lakes or canals?

Report them to the lakes Management Coordinator at

21. Can I use herbicides along my waterfront property?

The City does not encourage the use of chemicals on the shoreline. If chemicals are needed to control the weeds, the homeowner can hire a company with the appropriate license to spray chemicals along the shoreline. At the moment there are no restrictions for the use of Rodeo (version of Round up for the safe control of weeds along the lakes).

Toxic Algae Facts

22. What lakes in the City have species of toxic algae?

According to the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWD), there are six potentially toxic forms of algae in lake Maitland, and four in Lake Minnehaha. The potentially toxic algae were reported in small numbers at Lake Maitland and Minnehaha and currently do not pose a risk to humans or the wildlife.

23. What is the city doing about the presence of toxic algae?

The City of Maitland set up a Toxic Algae Bio-Monitoring Program in cooperation with the BCI-Cyano Lab, SJRWMD, Orange County, and the City of Winter Park. The purpose of the bio-monitoring program is to monitor the presence and abundance of the species of toxic algae in the lakes, and to develop a "Toxic Algae Bloom Contingency Plan". The bio-monitoring program will keep the residents informed if any type of risk is expected from the toxic algae.

24. What is the best approach to prevent problems with the toxic algae in our lakes?

The only long-term solution to prevent the propagation of the toxic algae is to reduce the amount of nutrients (pollutants) available in the water (i.e. installation of stormwater treatment, propagation of beneficial aquatic plants, reduction in the fertilizers/yard chemical applications, etc.)

The City of Maitland has been very proactive in examining environmental problems with state agencies, in educating the residents, and in implementing of the Stormwater/Lakes Management Plan (SLMP) to reduce the pollution levels and slow down the degradation of the lakes, thus reducing the optimum conditions for the propagation of toxic algae.

25. Is the City of Maitland's water supply at risk from the toxic algae in our lakes?

No. The drinking water in the City comes from well water. The city's water supply doesn't come from surface water and there is no danger of a toxic algae contamination.

More Facts about Toxic Algae

26. How dangerous and difficult to control are the toxic algae blooms in the lakes?

1. There are two confirmed cases reported in Brazil and Australia, where human mortality has been attributed to the presence of large amounts of algae toxins in the drinking water.
2. The toxic algae cannot be controlled with algaecides because the alga cells will breakdown and release toxins.
3. A lake bio-monitoring program, including "alert levels" is the best short-term solution to reduce or prevent human exposure to the algae toxins.
4. The most harmful toxic algae blooms are the blue-green algae blooms because they affect drinking water. Twelve-percent of the water supply in Florida depend on surface water and this number has been growing over the years. (The City of Maitland does not use surface water for drinking water).
5. Some of the toxic algae use atmospheric nitrogen and prosper with relatively low levels of phosphorous in the water.
6. Some species of the toxic algae has been found to be carcinogens in Australia.

27. For construction and repairs of docks, boathouses, boat ramps, boardwalks, and seawalls...

Please refer to Building Safety and Code Compliance Department.

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