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.

Read the full letter here.

Boulder Spring Run (photo by Jane Goddard)

 

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