maintaining canal

What Is Meant by a “Well-Maintained” Canal?

The Lake Worth Drainage District’s canals exist for the purposes of flood control and water supply. Through its network of over 500 miles of drainage canals, the District provides stormwater management making the area suitable for residents, businesses and agriculture. Effective flood control is dependent on well-maintained canals and rights-of-way. But what defines “well-maintained”? A canal or right-of-way that some property owners may consider an eyesore is often considered well-maintained for effective flood control operations of the District.

Some of the necessary components for effective flood control include the free flow of water in the canal channel to divert excess stormwater from properties, and unencumbered canal rights-of-way to provide access for regular maintenance and emergency response. Through the process of aquatic vegetation removal and canal bank mowing, effective flood control is achieved.

There are numerous species of aquatic plants found within the District’s canal system. Some aquatic vegetation has the potential to slow the flow of water within the canal channel or large flood control structures. The Lake Worth Drainage District staff controls aquatic vegetation growth with the application of herbicides and mechanical removal. Although not esthetically pleasing to some property owners, algae in canals is not a threat to flood control. Because algae are very small plants that break apart easily, they can pass through drainage pipes and control structures. This is good news since the herbicide used to treat algae can be harmful to the water body.

Canal rights-of-way and banks are mowed approximately four (4) times a year. Flat-mowers mow the rights-of-way, and arm-mowers maintain the side slopes of the canals. High grass does not prevent access to canals and control structures or threaten flood control operations. Grasses and other vegetation can grow several inches in height before mowing crews return to an area. Since these areas are not fertilized or irrigated, a quarterly mowing schedule allows for the seeding and regrowth of grasses.

Although most property lines do not extend to the water’s edge, some property owners adjacent to the right-of-way may choose to maintain the grass to a higher degree through irrigation and more frequent mowing. However, this higher degree of maintenance is at their cost and no encroachments such as trees or shrubs are allowed.

Flood control and the maintenance it requires comes at a cost. All property owners within the Lake Worth Drainage District boundary, whether adjacent to a canal or miles away, are assessed at the same tax rate base on the amount of land owned. In 2019, the non-ad valorem assessment rate is $49.50 for a parcel equal to or less than an acre in size and is established by the Board of Supervisors. By providing well-maintained canal rights-of-way necessary for flood control operations, the Lake Worth Drainage District can achieve its mission of effective flood control at an affordable cost for all residents.

2019 Preliminary Budget

Public Hearing: Fiscal Year 2019 Preliminary Budget

The Lake Worth Drainage District Board of Supervisors will hold a Public Hearing on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 preliminary budget on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. at the District office, 13081 South Military Trail, Delray Beach, Florida 33484. The purpose of the Public Hearing is to receive comments from the public on the preliminary budget prior to taking final action at the District’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 @ 8:30 a.m. The Board of Supervisors may amend or alter the preliminary budget at the hearing.

The Lake Worth Drainage District is a special taxing district with the authority to collect non-ad valorem assessments from landowners within its jurisdiction. On July 11, 2018, at the regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the District’s Executive Director presented the following preliminary budget for the operation of the District for the Fiscal Year 2019. The FY2019 begins October 1, 2018 and ends September 30, 2019. For FY2019, the assessment rate will be $49.50/acre or portion thereof. There is an increase in the assessment rate from FY2018 of $1.50/acre or portion thereof. The non-ad valorem assessment is included in the Notices of Proposed and Actual Property Taxes distributed by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, and collected by the Palm Beach County Tax Collector.

Click here for Preliminary Budget

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, persons requiring special accommodations or an interpreter to participate in these meetings is asked to advise the District at least 7 days before the meeting by contacting Melissa Wheelihan at 561.498.5363.

L-50 Canal east Boca Raton After Hurricane Irma

LWDD’s Canal Rehabilitation In The City of Boca Raton

At the request of Mayor Scott Singer on behalf of the City of Boca Raton, the Lake Worth Drainage District Board of Supervisors agreed at its July 11th Board Meeting to postpone vegetation removal along the L-48, L-49 and L-50 Canal rights-of-way within the City of Boca Raton. This postponement will allow the District and City the opportunity to work together and consider options for necessary canal rehabilitation on these canals prior to final action by the District’s Board of Supervisors on October 17, 2018.  The District will be moving forward with the following necessary canal work.

L-48 Canal:

  • Removal of stacked vegetation that was previously cut from right-of-way
  • Stump grinding vegetation previously cut along the south bank
  • Dredging silt from a portion of the channel adjacent to I-95
  • Excavation of shoaling east of Southwest 9th Avenue as may be necessary

L-49 Canal:

  • Placement of erosion control mats (jute fiber) along the top of canal banks west of 12th Avenue
  • Stump grinding of rubber tree previously removed west of Southwest 9th Avenue

L-50 Canal:

  • Inspection of outfall pipe located west of Southwest 8th Avenue, and remedial work of such as may be necessary
  • Removal of shoaling between 9th and 12th Avenues

Residents are reminded to take proactive measures for hurricane preparedness and sustainable tree maintenance by pruning trees away from drainage canals and refraining from planting trees or vegetation on drainage or utility easements and public rights-of-way.

Additional information and video on the District’s Canal Rehabilitation Program can be found on our website at The City of Boca Raton’s website provides civic alerts at