Process under way to set minimum flows and levels for Silver Springs and Silver River
PALATKA, Fla., Oct. 15, 2013 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board has voted to begin the process to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for Silver Springs and Silver River in Marion County to help prevent significant harm to those important water resources.
Establishing MFLs is an important step in continuing to plan for adequate water supplies in the region while also protecting water resources. During the consumptive use permitting regulatory process, MFLs are used as a basis for ensuring the protection of water resources in the area where withdrawals are being made.
"This marks the beginning of the rulemaking process but it is the culmination of years of scientific work by District staff," said Hal Wilkening, director of strategic deliverables. "Nothing is etched in stone yet, and there will be multiple opportunities for public comment."
In addition to setting MFLs for the two Marion County water bodies, prevention strategies are anticipated to be needed for each of the MFLs. If it is determined during the rulemaking process that MFLs are currently not being met, then recovery strategies will be needed.
Prevention and recovery strategies are measures that are undertaken to ensure MFLs will not go below their minimum levels (prevention) or will recover to their required levels (recovery). These measures include water conservation, alternative water supply projects, and regulatory changes that, when combined, will protect the water resources of the area.
Silver River will be the seventh river and Silver Springs the tenth spring in the District to have MFLs established since 1992. During that time, the District has set 123 MFLs. The District plans to establish MFLs on a total of 16 water bodies in 2014.
Workshops will be held in 2014 to obtain public input. The public will also have opportunities to provide input throughout the process and when the Governing Board considers adopting the MFLs.