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Further correspondence has occurred between CEJ director Patricia Siemen, CEJ staff attorney Rob Williams, and the executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District, Hans G. Tanzler, III.
Siemen and Williams’ initial letter to Tanzler requested that the District immediately implement a recovery strategy for the springs in the Wekiva River Basin, to restore the established minimum flows as soon as practicable. It also asked the District to place a moratorium on the issuance of further consumptive use permits within the Wekiva River Basin until a recovery plan and timetable are in place. Read the full letter here.
Tanzler’s response dated September 19, 2012, expressed concern for declining spring discharges and water quality, summarized the District’s work on MFLs and TMDLs in the Wekiva Basin springs, and discussed the development of a multi-year Springs Protection Initiative. Read the full letter here.
In their response dated October 1, 2012, Siemen and Williams pointed out the long-term downward trend of spring flows and emphasized the District’s statutory duty to act expeditiously to restore flows as soon as practicable. They called for a springs recovery plan to be developed by the end of 2012.
From the text of the letter:
We appreciate that you share our concerns regarding declining spring discharges and water quality. However, it is not enough to be concerned; you and the Board need to act to protect our springs.
Minimum flows are just that — they are the bare minimum which the district has determined is necessary to avoid significant harm to the ecology of the springs. Most of the springs in the Wekiva River basin have been below the established minimum flows for more than a year and a half.
. . .
The question that we and the public are asking is whether the district plans to do anything about it. The statute requires the district to act “expeditiously” and to restore flows “as soon as practicable.” Instead, the district appears to be proposing more studies, taking as long as possible to set minimum flows for the other springs in the district and then a lengthy drawn-out multi-year process for coming up with spring basin management plans. We believe that the district needs to come up with a recovery plan for all the springs in the Wekiva River Basin by the end of this year.
Sr. Pat Siemen on Rights of Nature at TEDxJacksonville 2013View video full screen on YouTube.
Florida’s Water and Land LegacyCongratulations to all who worked so diligently and passionately to collect the signatures required to place dedicated funding for conservation land acquisition on the ballot in 2014. More than 960,000 voters signed in support of this measure! Learn more about this initiative at Florida's Water and Land Legacy.org.
CEJ Events & PresentationsMore coming soon!
Other EventsWater Blues/Green Solutions
St. Johns Riverkeeper & partners
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Locally premiering a new documentary film about communities working with nature to solve their water problems, followed by a panel discussion.
Learn more at StJohnsRiverkeeper.org.
Marion County Springs Festival
Florida Springs Institute & partners
Saturday, April 26, 2014
10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Silver Springs State Park
Silver Springs, FL
Exhibits, vendors, music, food, kids programs and more, surrounded by Florida’s first attraction, the historic and magical Silver Springs.
Contact: (352) 236-7148
More info at FloridaSpringsInstitute.org.
Growing Native Annual Conference
Florida Native Plant Society
May 15-18, 2014
Florida Gulf Coast University
Ft. Myers, FL
Field trips, speakers, education, socials, and a plant sale, all featuring the intriguing world of native plants.
Find out more at FNPS.org.
River City EcoFest
River City Eco Foundation
Saturday, May 17, 2014
10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Outdoor Music/Eco Festival & River Race with workshops, clinics, outdoor recreation expo, a film festival, food, trucks and music.
Contact: (904) 502-7733
Get more info at RiverCityChallenge.org.
Finding the Fountains of Youth: Exploring the Myth of Florida’s Magical Waters
Ongoing through April 27, 2014
Rincon Gallery, South Florida Museum
Graphic designer Rick Kilby examines how Florida’s reputation for healing, restorative waters entered popular culture and created its tourist economy.
Contact: (941) 746-4131
Details at SouthFloridaMuseum.org.
Springs Eternal: Florida’s Fragile Fountains of Youth
Ongoing through May 30, 2014
Gallery for Innovation and the Arts
R.A. Gray Building
Photographer John Moran’s images from the past and present create a then-and-now narrative of Florida's springs.
Contact: (850) 245-6470
Discover more at SpringsEternalProject.org.
Learning to See Naturally ~ Nature Journaling WorkshopsVisit our nature journaling blog, Learning to See Naturally, for poems, photos, stories and other nature-inspired creative works from our workshop participants.
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- Biofuel Production Declines April 10, 2014