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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 & PresentationsBuilding an Earth Democracy: Protecting the Rights of People and Mother Earth
September 26, 2015
From 1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
at the Montana Audubon Center
7026 S. Billings Blvd.
Billings, Montana 59101
Earth Democracy: Strengthening our Relationship with Mother Earth and each other, by Sister Pat Siemen
Please join us to explore an innovative and ancient pathway into care for our common home.
For more information call 406-294-5099
Other Events: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.
Year Of The River: ENVIROFEST
Venue: Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 829 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Date: Saturday, October 3rd, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
featuring art, education, activities, and live music in celebration of the St. Johns River. Family-friendly and free!
For more information visit:Year Of The River: ENVIROFEST
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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