Long Meeting at Bradford County


Carol Mosley speaks

Tuesday Sept. 4, 2018, the Bradford commissioners had a large workload.  Two items were of interest to OSFR, the principal being we learned of the finalizing of the long mine permit application.  We learned that the Onsite Environmental Consulting company should have their report finished by the end of September, and the time, place and nature of the public hearing(s) were discussed.

The result was that two meetings with provision for a third will likely be held in the Charley Johns Auditorium and will be in January of of 2019.  The meetings will be on subsequent dates, one day after the next.  We were happy to hear of the January time, as it gives time to prepare.

Mr. Scott Koons of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council spoke and offered suggestions for the meeting format and protocol.

Many mine opponents attended, including Suwannee Riverkeeper John Quarterman from Georgia.

The other item of interest was the “abatement” program, which was funded by a USDA grant for $2.5 million, plus more from the Suwannee River Water Management District to make it upwards of three million to clean trees  from the channels of Sampson River and Alligator Creek, with the object of alleviating flooding in Starke.


Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson speaks about “Abatement” projects

In recent years we have witnessed record-breaking flooding in the Santa Fe near Worthington Springs, O’Leno and High Springs.  Some believe that artificial clearing of the channel will exacerbate the flooding potential in these areas.  During Irma, I-75 near O’Leno came withing inches of being shut down.

Columbia County authorities were not aware of the tree-cleaning program which may affect their county.  If I-75 were shut down, Columbia County would suddenly be very interested in flood waters and the Santa Fe River.

Merrillee informs the Columbia Co. commissioners of the abatement program on Sept. 6, 2018.  They were unaware.

Additional problems exist because there is a small housing development at Buzzard’s Roost, near O’Leno, unwisely built on wetlands, which never should have been issued building permits.  They flooded drastically during Irma, and also just recently during August of this year.  Their flooding may be worsened by the channel cleaning program.   This development was built around 2006, and the flooding problem has manifest itself in the last few years.

Kate Ellison is a tireless worker

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-