The Butler Chain Of Lakes Windermere Fl

Sun, Apr 22, 2018 at 10:55AM

The Butler Chain Of Lakes Windermere Fl


Thirteen interconnected lakes in southwest Orange County

The Butler Chain of Lakes is located in southwest Orange County. Historically, the Butler Chain of Lakes have been renowned for their excellent water quality and good fishing and are heavily used for recreational activities such as boating and water sports. The Butler Chain of Lakes is composed of thirteen (13) lakes of varying sizes that flow south toward Reedy Creek, the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee and then the Everglades. The Butler Chain of Lakes was the first lake system in Florida to receive the designation of Outstanding Florida Waters from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 1985 because of its water quality and wildlife habitat.

Quick Facts
  • 13 interconnected lakes
  • Over 5,000 acres in surface water
  • 32 navigable canals
  • Part of the 8,676 acre Cypress Creek Watershed

The Butler Chain of Lakes has over 5,000 acres in surface water; distributed in the following 13 interconnected lakes: Down (900 acres), Little Lake Down (23 acres), Wauseon Bay (100 acres), Butler (1,600 acres), Louise (140 acres), Isleworth (86 acres), Blanche (121 acres), Chase (135 acres), Tibet-Butler (1,200 acres), Unnamed lake (14 acres), Sheen(656 acres), Pocket (126 acres) and Fish (23 acres). The Butler Chain has a total of 32 navigable canals.

Windermere Water Navigation Control District (WWNCD)

The lakes in the Butler Chain are part of the WWNCD, which also includes these lakes: Bessie, Brenda (Hour Glass), Burden, Buynak, Crescent, William Davis, Estes (Cypress), Saywer (Butt), Little Lake Saywer (Robinson), Story, Mabel, Rhea, South Lake, and Sloat. The WWNCD is the largest lake MSTU in Orange County, including 27 lakes having a combined surface water area of over 6,000 acres.

The WWNCD Advisory Board was created on August 2, 1963, by the Florida Legislature. On March 21, 2006, it adopted the name Butler Chain of Lakes Advisory Board (BCLAB) to better describe its responsibilities. The BCLAB consists of five members appointed to four-year terms by the District Commissioner and approved by the Board of County Commissioners to advise Orange County on boating regulations, waterfront construction, canal maintenance, flood plain alterations, lakes patrol services, protection of public riparian property rights, aquatic weed control, and pollution control for the preservation of water bodies.

Water quality in the Butler Chain of Lakes is generally excellent, with most of its lakes having Trophic State Index (TSI) averages between 20 and 40. However, during 2005, the draft verified list of impaired water bodies for the Kissimmee River Basin was released by the FDEP and included Lake Butler as an impaired water body, because of changes in historic TSI values. Lake Butler water quality returned to its historic average in 2009 and was removed from the list of impaired water bodies.

Over the past 10 years some short-term algae blooms at the Butler Chain had been raising concerns with nutrient contributions from a wide range of sources such as: Stormwater runoff and baseflow, groundwater seepage, inflow from interconnected water bodies, wetland impacts, atmospheric deposition and boating activities in shallow areas.

Butler Patrol

In 1988 the WWNCD created the “Butler Patrol” to enforce the boating and environmental laws on the lakes and canals that make up the Butler Chain. The Butler Patrol consists of over a dozen fully-empowered state police officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Park Patrol, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office that provide law enforcement assistance, and also provide search and rescue and boating accident assistance.

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