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Sustainability and Natural Resources

We are working toward responsible management and conservation of our natural resources to ensure that we maintain a clean and healthy environment to live, work and raise a family while allowing people and wildlife to thrive.

Egret bird standing in a pond
Progress on our goals & strategies

Goal 5: Clean Water For All

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2018 Progress
1. Establish a stormwater utility fee or funding mechanism Medium No change in this reporting period. Discussions are planned for FY2018/2019 to readdress this stormwater utility fee or another possible water quality funding solution.
2. Encourage and support low impact development (LID) for new development, and retrofit older stormwater systems with LID Medium A manual with LID techniques is available and the code written for Horizon West is being incorporated into the OrangeCode project.
3. Promote water conservation in the built environment and develop a Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ ordinance Medium Reviewing the Water Conservation Ordinance and the Landscaping Ordinance for opportunities to allow for Smart Irrigation Technologies to be implemented. OC Water Division serves on a committee of the Central Florida Water Initiative that is reviewing conservation strategies for the region through 2030 and developing an implementation strategy to meet those goals.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 6: Zero Waste

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2018 Progress
1. Improve commercial recycling rates Medium Central Florida was selected for a pilot program called Beyond 34. The program goal is to improve both commercial and residential recycling rates throughout Central Florida beyond the national 34% average. Orange County is one of many government stakeholders participating along with businesses, industries, the airport and many others.
2. Develop a Construction & Demolition debris diversion ordinance Medium FDEP reported Orange County 2017 C&D recycling rate is 45%. Reduced rate could be a result of a change in reporting methodology by DEP. No local ordinance is being developed at this time.
3. Increase collection system efficiency Short The residential collection program continues to improve on efficiencies in fueling and route adjustments. Less trucks will equate to less traffic and reduced greenhouse gases.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 7: Clean Air For All

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2018 Progress
1. Support alternative fuel vehicles, with an emphasis on fleets Medium Continue to monitor options for renewable diesel fuel including 10% biodiesel fuel. Continue to evaluate usage of electric vehicles for a small percentage of the County's Fleet. Also reviewing Intelligent Fleet's engine adjustment software for possible use.
2. Promote urban forestry and expand tree canopy Long The Trees & Stormwater study was completed in March 2018. Recommendations were given to enhance the county's urban forestry efforts in accordance with best management practices based on a review of ordinances, policies, staffing, and training. An Urban Forestry webpage was developed to share information with the public.
3. Develop anti-idling programs and reduce gas lawnmower use Medium No new efforts for an anti-idling campaign have taken place due to lack of resources in OCPS. EPD has resources available to help re-launch a campaign to protect young lungs and reduce vehicle idling at student pick-up and drop-off locations.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 8: Green And Open Spaces Are Preserved And Valued

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2018 Progress
1. Dedicated funding to buy and maintain targeted environmentally sensitive lands Long No change in this reporting period.
2. Provide incentives to preserve and maintain conservation lands, including safe, healthy farmlands Long Efforts continue to identify properties for acquisition through the Rural Lands Stewardship. Also pursuing funding through the FWC Gopher Tortoise assistance funding program and the FWC Invasive Plant Management assistance funding program.
3. Strengthen regional trail, bike trail, waterway, and park systems to promote healthy lifestyles and ecotourism Long Three new parks opened. Shingle Creek Trail Phase I is almost complete. A new dock opened at Warren Park. Improvements were made at four County parks. Two new parks are in planning. Section of Florida Scenic Trail opened in Split Oak Forest.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 9: Our Products And Services Are Green, Safe, And Healthy

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2018 Progress
1. Develop and participate in consortium committed to green local procurement Medium Orange County is part of the Beyond 34 pilot program aimed at improving regional recycling beyond the national 34% average. This program will encourage green purchasing and support local markets. Orange County also held two repair events encouraging residents to keep broken items out of the landfill by having them repaired. It also encourages sustainable purchasing habits; buy items that are durable and repairable.
2. Encourage green certifications for government and businesses Short EPD continues to assist lodging facilities with Florida Green Lodging designation. The P2 program inspected ten Orange County facilities under our Green Local Government program. Orange County Convention Center won the Battle of the Buildings for their energy efficient warehouse.
3. Support and incubate locally made and grown products and businesses Long The OC Cooperative Extension partnered with the Good Food Central Florida Food Policy Council to sponsor a central Florida farm tour focused on educating government policy makers about overcoming barriers to local food systems.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.
Our Target Measurements
Natural Resource Indicators Baseline Last Reported Current Assessment Target 2020
Potable Water Consumption
(million gallons per day)
2010
201.84
2015
198.96
2017
169.04
Good
Progress
10% reduction
Achieve good water quality in water bodies
(Trophic Status Index Threshold=55)
2010
84%
2017
93%
2018
91%
Good
Progress
85%
Recycling Rate 2010
32%
2016
72%
2017
36%
Needs
Improvement
75%
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
(tons/capita/year)
2010
1.31
2016
0.68
2017
1.75
Needs
Improvement
Zero Waste by 2040
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)
(metric tons CO2 equivalent)
2005
18,694,256
2015
18,284,716
2016
Data not available until 2019
No Progress Neutral by 2040
Attainment status for criteria pollutants
(based on NAAQS)
2010
In attainment
2017
In attainment
2018*
In attainment as of 10/31/18
Good
Progress
Maintain Attainment
Percentage of population within one mile of public open space 2016
71.6%
(county park)
2017
No new data available
2018
No new data available
Needs
Improvement
90% by 2040
Acres of preserved environmentally sensitive lands 2010
22,000
2017
22,708
2018
22,708
No Progress 40,000
Want to get involved?

The protection and conservation of our natural resources is crucial in maintaining our economy and quality of life. Resources such as potable water, natural lands and clean air are not unlimited. Maintaining these resources can be extremely costly if conscious efforts are not continued. Learn your role in making Orange County healthy, prosperous and a sustainable place to live.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping™
Butterfly perched on a flower

Landscaping around your home and neighborhood can help conserve water and preserve the environment. Learn best practices in Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ (FFL) through the Master Gardeners at our local extension of the University of Florida, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).
Learn more about Florida Friendly Landscaping!

Greenhouse Gases & Climate Change
U.S. and Orange County Flags on a pole

Since 2005, Orange County has been tracking Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs). Play an active role in reducing GHGs in Orange County. Review the data we’ve collected and read the recommended actions for residents.

Think 5: Orange County's Recycling Mantra
Think5 recycling program logo

By focusing on the top five most-used recyclables —plastic, metal and glass containers plus cardboard and paper, you can help make recycling in Orange County more profitable. Our Curbside Collection Program tells you how. A better mix of recyclables means less waste in our landfill and more usable items to be recycled into something new!

Shop, Buy, Eat Local
Farmers market, people perusing products for sale on tables outside

Throughout our County, you will find great opportunities for fresh produce, artisan gifts and handmade items plus so much more; all from local producers. Check out the Lake Nona Farmer’s Market and many others throughout the County. Buying local supports our economy, provides better products, teaches seasonal eating, and builds communities.