Other Updates

Other Updates

Lake Levels

Below is the 2020 Johns Lake water level chart.  The 60-year historical average lake level is 92.12 but it has been much higher than that for the past decade. This past year the average was 95.58.  The lake elevation change was similar to normal at about 3.3 feet this year.  These readings are from the “official county survey data collection points”.  Some variation above or below these readings is likely due to when the sample was taken, but overall, not significant. The water temperature got down into the high 50’s during the cold spell which is not unusual.

No Data Found

Outfall Drainage Updates

The study that Orange County and the Town of Oakland initiated is in the final stages.  The consultants conducted a virtual meeting with our Board on November 3rd to go over their findings and the options. We had some questions and concerns about the next steps and there is more work to be done to complete this study. After the study is complete, they will decide on which projects to pursue, where the funding will come from, and how the “ditch or outfall” maintenance will be handled.  Our initial reaction is that the options provided do not appear to provide the results we hoped would handle a 100-year rainfall event.  When this is completed, we will share the study summary and final recommendations.

Hydrilla Update

In the next few weeks, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is planning to treat the southwest corner of the lake and will survey the smaller lake at the northwest corner of the lake near Johns Lake Landing (Clermont) any day now.  They are also planning to stock another 1,000-grass carp in the spring. This type of carp cannot reproduce and prefers to eat hydrilla over other water plants.

When we get an exact date, we will let you know on Facebook @johnslakeimprovementassociation. Due to the recent treatment and the colder water temps, we have noticed the hydrilla is regressing. Please keep in mind this invasive species will never go away with the technology we have today.

Wildlife Activity

Duck Hunting season ended on January 31st and the birds are beginning their annual mating ritual. 

Southern American Kestrels

In Johns Cove, we have been fortunate to have a Southeastern American Kestrel hanging around which is the smallest falcon found in the U.S.  It’s a really pretty bird with a brownish back (dorsal) area with black flecking, a white belly (with males having fewer dark speckles on it), and black marks extending from the eyes downward.  The colors of their wings differ by gender, as males have bluish-gray wings while females have brown wings.  It is a non-migratory subspecies of kestrel found in open pine savannahs, sandhills, prairies, and pastures in Florida and the southeastern United States. It is listed as threatened in Florida due to a decline in nesting and foraging habitat.  


We are not seeing many Alligators due to the colder air and water temperatures.  Alligators are most active when temperatures are between 82° to 92°F. They stop feeding when the ambient temperature drops below approximately 70° F and they become dormant below 55° F. Alligators are dormant throughout much of the winter season. During this time, they can be found in burrows (or “dens”) that they construct adjacent to an alligator hole or open water, but they occasionally emerge to bask in the sun during spells of warm weather.  So as the temperatures rises expect to see more of them again.

2020 Johns Lake Holiday Boat Parade

2020 Johns Lake Holiday Boat Parade

The annual Johns Lake Boat Parade was held on December 13th, 2020, and was a fun night for all! There were forty-four (44) boats who participated in the parade and we had many, many viewers from the shoreline who made their presence known by clapping and cheering on the boats. A big thank you to all those on the shore who showed their appreciation as the boats passed by! It really energizes the boaters to know you’re out there enjoying the parade.

And a BIG THANK YOU to all the boat owners who put so much time and creativity into making their boats look festive and bright! The parade included a wide array of decor themes and the judging panel had a very difficult time choosing our First, Second, and Third prize winners last year. We’d like to thank Tommy’s Florida (in Clermont) for sponsoring our event and providing our Grand Prize; a complete boat detail! The additional winners received cash prizes from the JLIA association, responsible for hosting the event.

#1 Grand Prize winner went to the Deryk Family

Their boat was uniquely decorated in a patriotic theme and the American Flag was the prominent feature. It was an unexpected display and made for a very beautiful and heartwarming show of lights! 

#2 Prize Winner: The Carr Family

Their boat was not only beautiful on the outside but it was the participants on the boat and the interactive nature of their display that won the hearts of the judges. The boat had an overabundance of “Christmas spirit” on display!

#3 Prize Winner: The Galagher Family

Their boat was a true masterpiece of lighting, complete with the “Grinch who Stole Christmas” on full display. The boat was colorful, brought a smile to your face, and was a true showstopper

We look forward to hosting the Johns Lake Boat Parade again in December 2021. More details will be coming by early summer so keep your eye on:

Facebook: @johnslakeimprovementassociation

See you on the water!!!

Johns Lake Quality Indicators

Johns Lake Quality Indicators

Over the years, the Johns Lake Improvement Association (JLIA) has dealt with numerous potential problems and threats to Johns Lake.   JLIA has recently identified five Quality Indicators that will be monitored and reported in the newsletters moving forward. They included Lake Levels, Water Quality, Invasive Vegetation, Drainage, and Habitat.

An easy to understand reporting tool has been developed using a stoplight approach with a brief explanation for each quality indicator. The JLIA will use data provided from the county and other organizations and will make some subjective measurements. The intent is for lakefront owners to be able to easily see where the JLIA feels issues involving the lake need attention or additional discussion in the newsletters.

Let’s all continue to do our part to keep Johns Lake an enjoyable place to live!

Lakefront Berms and Swales

Lakefront Berms and Swales


As more and more development occurs around Johns Lake, it is imperative that residents understand that we can have a significant effect on water quality. If we want to minimize hydrilla infestation, other invasive plants, algae blooms and pollution, we need to adhere to a few simple guidelines that will help immensely. This includes the proper use of berms and swales.


“A berm and swale is a low hill and associated depression incorporated into the landscape, typically parallel to the shoreline. This area slows and captures runoff and allows water and pollutants to percolate into the ground. This prevents pollutants and excess nutrients from entering the lake from your yard.”

Shown below is a fairly typical depiction of a berm and swale configuration:

Typical Berm and Swale on Johns Lake

Here are some of the main benefits of the “berm and swale” system:

  • Provide a drainage path for rain and storm water runoff
  • Act as a filter between the water and chemicals that have detrimental effects on the lake (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, etc.)
  • Provide a buffer between the lake and residential/commercial sites that have septic tanks or other potential pollutants, even drainage from swimming pools.

In order to preserve the water quality of Johns Lake we need to be responsible. Homeowners should feel a responsibility to the environment to do their part to keep the lake as pristine as possible. There are really only a few precautions and actions needed to accomplish this:


Reduce Chemicals. Minimize herbicide, pesticide and fertilizer use. Never apply these chemicals before heavy rains. Spread mulch to prevent weeds and erosion. Identify pests before spraying and use the least-toxic pesticide available. Follow label directions for all pesticide, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Manage Yard Waste. Never blow lawn clippings into streets, lakes, or storm drains. Use leaves and pine needles as mulch. Compost yard waste and kitchen scraps. Pick up trash, litter and pet waste.

Conserve Water. Plant native or Florida-friendly plants. Turn off irrigation systems during the rainy season (June 1 – Sept. 30) or make sure your rain gauge is working properly. Install a moisture sensor on old irrigation systems, or make sure your sensors are working correctly. Direct sprinkler heads toward the landscape, away from pavement. Inspect sprinkler heads often and repair when needed.

Obtain Permits. If you plan to change anything on your lakefront like removing or planting vegetation or changing some aspect of the berm or swale, permitting will ensure it’s done properly and within guidelines. It only requires filling out a form and paying a small fee and it is the proper way to conserve our water quality.


Modify a Berm or Swale. Lakefront home owners should never fill in a swale and remove or relocate a berm. These features are not designed for individual properties, in nearly all cases, berms and swales are tied into adjacent properties, sometimes through whole subdivisions and for miles in some instances. Any changes made to them can negatively affect other berms and pollute the lake. Also, modifying the berm can start the process of erosion which will eventually make the berm ineffective.

Dump Chemicals in Berm or Swale. Do not dump anything hazardous into the vicinity of the berm system since this defeats its purpose. Automotive fluids, petroleum products and even drainage from a swimming pool are harmful. You should drain swimming pools slowly, on your land, and not into the berm and swale system or anywhere near the lake.

Plant Any Unapproved Vegetation in Berm or Swale. The lakeside of the berm is very important and presents the “filtered” side of runoff and drainage to the lake. Planting anything on that side of the berm that requires fertilizer or pesticide should be avoided and completely defeats the purpose of the berm and swale feature.

Never Place Anything in the Swale Do not put yard waste trash, clippings or leaves in the swale. This impedes storm water runoff and increases the amount of pollutants that would flow into the lake.

Additional Information

The berm and swale system are actually living ecosystems. As water is directed into the feature, micro-organisms thrive and support vegetation which make the berm largely self-maintaining and create a water reservoir in the system.

Berm & Swale Ecosystem

It may be alarming to see standing water in the swale at times (particularly after heavy rains), but this is how it is designed. The swale collects water and temporarily holds it so that any pollutants, sediments, etc. will take longer to be processed by the vegetation and soil. Water may pond in the swale for 24 to 36 hours. This is perfectly normal gives the swale more time to percolate and cleanse the runoff.


The picture below is a good illustration of good practices in maintaining the quality and function of a berm and swale system. No fertilizers or pesticides should be used on the lake side of the berm and eco-friendly vegetation should be maintained along the shoreline. 

Protected Berm & Swale areas

Older subdivisions around Johns Lake have street-side storm water drains and retention ponds that drain directly into Johns Lake. The same precautions should be used for these features as well.

Subdivisions developed after 1985 have storm water permits with SJWMD which establish an obligation to maintain the berms and swales and ensure their proper function. So, HOAs (Homeowner’s Associations) and homeowners have a duty beyond just “good practices” to keep these important features intact and unspoiled…

Sadly, some lakefront property owners are unaware of, or just disregard, the environmental standards that are the reasons behind the berms and swales. There have been instances where residents have tried to backfill the swales and/or remove the berms, or, relocate them. 

If homeowner’s have any questions about regulations concerning permitting or maintaining their lakefront berms and swales they can contact 

SJWMD (Saint John’s Water Management District) Customer Service during business hours at: 


Together, we can maintain the high quality of life we now enjoy!