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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.
Amendment 1 – Florida’s Water and Land LegacyCongratulations to all who worked so hard in support of Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot, which passed with 75% of votes in favor. The measure will dedicate about $1 billion annually for conservation purposes.
CEJ Events & PresentationsThe Myth & Magic of Florida Springs
featuring Margaret Ross Tolbert and Rick Kilby
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
A Rights of Nature Approach for Springs Protection
Jane Goddard and Rob Williams
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Santa Fe River Springs Protection Forum
Otter Springs, Trenton, FL
Building an Earth Democracy: Protecting the Rights of Mother Earth & Humanity
February 2-6, 2015
Doon Valley, Dehradun, India
Join Dr. Vandana Shiva, PhD, Dr. Mira Shiva, MD, and Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, JD for a residential workshop at Navdanya's Earth University to examine the Rights of Mother Earth, and the customs and laws that protect all inhabitants' rights of exist, regenerate, and thrive.
Contact: Dr. Vinod Bhatt - vinod (at) navdanya.net or Patricia Siemen - psiemen (at) barry.edu
Discover more at Navdanya.org.
Spring Field Trip
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Other EventsSave the Date!
Public Interest Environmental Conference
February 12-14, 2015
Details coming soon!
Save the Date!
Environmental and Earth Law Summit
April 9, 2015
Barry University School of Law
Details coming soon!
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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- People, Planet, Profit: The Rise of Triple-Bottom-Line Businesses March 3, 2015