Considering the present and future of the resources of the Hillsborough River is the Hillsborough River Interlocal Planning Board, an organization consisting of three elected officials representing the geographic location of the river. It is supported by the Hillsborough River Technical Advisory Council, comprised of eight agency representatives and three citizen members. Mandated by state law, the River Board and Council developed a Master Plan for the Hillsborough River, incorporating policies broadly pertaining to:
- Water quality and quantity.
- Safety and use of the river.
- Protection of wildlife and its habitat and along the river.
The River Board and Council coordinate the plan’s implementation between the jurisdictions along the river. Appropriate portions of the plan were adopted by the local jurisdictions as part of their respective Comprehensive Plans.
The River provides a multitude of critical functions in the community, including: a source of potable water, a natural storm drainage system, a source of municipal and agricultural irrigation, a fish and wildlife habitat, a recreational and scenic amenity, and a commercial transportation medium. Until recent years, the Hillsborough River has accommodated these multiple uses with a minimum of conflict. However, population growth places unprecedented demands upon these river functions. The Hillsborough River is a viable environmental, recreational, commercial and aesthetic asset to the community, therefore, growth pressures must be controlled. A comprehensive and unified multi-jurisdictional river management program is needed to protect the multiple community assets of the Hillsborough River for future generations.
How Does River Management and Planning Work?
Protecting the River’s Future: The surrounding environment is an influential factor shaping our future. It contributes significantly to our quality of life and to our unique lifestyle. In fact, rivers are valuable barometers of the well-being of our environment. The Hillsborough River, which runs through the northeast section of the county and through Temple Terrace and Tampa, has played an important role in the development of the area. Today, it serves many purposes. It is a natural geographic boundary, a natural refuge for wildlife, a recreational resource for a variety of activities. Most importantly, the Hillsborough River is a source for much of the area’s potable water. The Hillsborough River will continue to have a role in the changing communities located along its banks. Coordinating these changes to benefit the communities and the river enhances the vitality of both. With the help of citizens, agencies and local governmental officials, this can be accomplished.