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On November 20, 2013, CEJ director Patricia Siemen and CEJ staff attorney Rob Williams responded to a letter from Deputy Secretary Drew Bartlett of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection concerning the ongoing degradation of the Wekiva River and its associated springs.
Their response challenged assertions in Bartlett’s letter dated November 8, 2013, claiming that the minimum flow levels (MFLs) for the Wekiva River and its springs were being met, with the exception of Palm Spring; that water restrictions were no longer necessary; and that significant reductions in annual nutrient loading would be achieved under the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP).
Williams and Siemen’s letter points out that according to the St. Johns River Water Management District’s own data, the springs and the Wekiva River have been and remain under the minimum levels required to avoid significant harm to the Wekiva Basin ecosystem, and the failure of the Department to implement water restrictions when called for by the scientific data.
Williams and Siemen also challenged the methodology and effectiveness of the BMAP, which reduces Total Nitrogen loading by only 2% when an overall reduction of 80% total nutrient loading is what is necessary to achieve pollution reduction goals.
From the text of the letter:
Both of these processes [minimum flow levels and pollution reduction goals] and the accompanying charade of public participation create the illusion of environmental protection and compliance with the law. However, Nature is not so easily fooled. The protection of groundwater recharge to Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs, and the many other springs that feed the Wekiva River is crucial to the long-term health of the Wekiva Basin Ecosystem. As the Wekiva Basin Area Task Force noted a decade ago, “simply put, if the necessary quantity and quality of recharge of groundwater to the aquifer does not occur, then the vegetative and wildlife resources of the Wekiva River Basin will not be sustained.” The “inconvenient truth” is that the River is not receiving the necessary quantity or quality of groundwater needed to sustain the Wekiva Basin Ecosystem.
We need a real plan designed to attain the target reduction of nitrate pollution to 0.35 mg/L within five years as the current law provides. We also need a recovery plan for the springs and the Wekiva River which will restore all the flow which has been lost as soon as is practicable, as required by Section 373.0421(2), Florida Statutes.
Sr. Pat Siemen on Rights of Nature at TEDxJacksonville 2013View video full screen on YouTube.
CEJ Events & Presentations3rd Annual “Our Children, Climate, Faith” Symposium
Presentation by Sister Pat Siemen
Saturday, August 8, 2015
Town House, Strafford, Vermont
This year the symposium brings together institutions and activists to build bridges and create positive changes. All are welcome, lay and ordained of any faith, spirituality, and religion.
For more information visit symposium website.
Bioluminescence Field Trip
Saturday, September 12, 2015
6:30 - 11:00 p.m.
Location to be determined
Brevard County, FL
Barry Law students, faculty, staff, and their guests are invited to a guided kayak tour of the Indian River Lagoon to experience the wonder of bioluminescence.
Contact: Jane Marsden, firstname.lastname@example.org or (321) 206-5691, for more information and to reserve a place.
Other Events:River Ruckus
St. Johns Riverkeeper
Saturday, August 8, 2015 • 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Riverside Arts Market
715 Riverside Ave.
A family festival to raise a ruckus for the river and show Jacksonville the St. Johns River is more than a scenic view: it’s a recreational asset that should be respected, protected, and enjoyed.
Contact: Shannon for more information.
FSU Springs Field School
Starts 13 Aug 2015 10:00 AM
Ends 20 Aug 2015 1:00 PM
Location: Wakulla Springs Lodge
550 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs, FL 32327
Visit Florida Springs Institute for more information.
Florida Wildflower Foundation's
2015 Wildflower Symposium
Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26
Location: Leu Gardens
1920 North Forest Ave, Orlando FL 32803
Visit the Wildflower Symposium webpage for more information.
Native Rhythms Festival
Wickham Park Amphitheater
World Cultural Music and Environmental Arts and Crafts
Free Admission - Family Event
November 12 - 15, 2015
Thursday: 5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Visit Native Rhythms Festivals for more information.
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.
Tag Cloudadvocacy belonging climate change climate justice community culture earth Earth jurisprudence ecological justice Ecology ethic events Florida future generations history Lagoons & Estuaries Pat's Blog publications public trust resiliency Rights of Nature Rob Williams springs sustainability team water Wild Law words
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