St. Johns River Water Management District News Release
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Teresa Monson:(904) 730-6258 (Office) or (904) 545-5064 (Cell)

Board approves rules to protect three Outstanding Florida Springs from groundwater pumping

PALATKA, Fla., May 9, 2017 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board Tuesday approved completing the rulemaking process to set minimum flows for three Outstanding Florida Springs, defining a protective limit on the amount of available water beyond which further groundwater withdrawals would be significantly harmful to Alexander, Silver Glen and Gemini springs. Florida Statutes require the adoption of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for all Outstanding Florida Springs by July 1, 2017.

"Each of these three springs is unique and their challenges are equally unique," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "MFLs are an important tool in the toolbox to protect springs against significant harm from groundwater withdrawals. These MFLs will achieve that objective, and protect these springs now and into the future."

The board approved the adoption of the proposed rule setting MFLs for Silver Glen Springs in Marion County, Alexander Springs in Lake County and Gemini Springs in Volusia County. The board also approved the use of emergency rulemaking for these MFLs if becomes necessary to ensure the MFLs are adopted by the statutory deadline of July 1. In each of these springs, the recommended MFLs will be achieved throughout the 20-year planning horizon, and prevention strategies are not required.

MFLs do not protect against rainfall deficits or other natural phenomena. MFLs also do not protect against excessive nutrient loading or other changes to the system not caused by water withdrawals. Rather, MFLs are one of many tools used by the district to assist in making sound water management decisions and prevent significant adverse impacts due to water withdrawals. MFLs address whether a water body's current flow or water level is sufficient to protect water quality, habitat and fish passage, recreation, freshwater storage and supply, and other environmental values.

Details about each of the springs' and their MFLs is available on the district's website at