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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.
Florida’s Water and Land LegacyCongratulations to all who are working diligently and passionately in support of Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot. More than 960,000 voters signed petitions to place The Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the ballot. Learn more about Amendment 1 at VoteYeson1FL.org.
CEJ Events & Presentations
Save the Dates!
Fall Field Trip
Saturday, September 27, 2014
The Myth & Magic of Florida Springs
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Spring Field Trip
Saturday, April 25, 2015
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.
Other EventsUp the River Downtown
Saturday, August 23, 2014
A 10K open water swim, kayak flotilla, and bicycle ride focused on the St. Johns River, hosted by JumpingFish.
Contact: Info (at) JumpingFish.net
or (904) 673-4549
Learn more at JumpingFish.net.
Choosing our Legacy: Understanding Amendment 1
Thursday, August 28, 2014
6 p.m. - Music by The Ashley Gang
6:30 p.m. - Program
Gleason Performing Arts Center - FIT
Learn how Amendment 1 can protect rivers, lakes and streams, restore natural treasure, and preserve our beaches and shores. Speakers include former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham, environmental attorney Clay Henderson, and local business owner and 5th generation Floridian Laurilee Thompson. Hosted by Preserve Brevard.
Discover more and register for this FREE event at Choosing our Legacy.
3rd Annual Adena Protest Flotilla & Benefit
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Ocala Boat Club at Ray Wayside Park
Silver Springs, FL
The Water Protection Fund hosts a downstream paddle/float from Silver Springs to the park for an afternoon of live music, games, food and solidarity. Flotilla launches at 1 p.m. from Silver Springs State Park.
Contact: ahlers.karen (at) gmail.com
or (352) 546-3560
More info available at Water-First.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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