|The following call to action has been circulated by several FSC member organizations:
We’re sorry to inform you of some very bad news. Please read all the information below and take action by doing one of the things that we suggest at the end of this message.
Remember the Adena Project? The cattle operation near Ft. McCoy which will siphon much needed water away from an already stressed out Silver Springs? The threat of Adena was the major topic at [the Silver Springs Alliance’s] big forums held at the College of Central Florida and other venues.
After all this time, Adena hasn’t gone away. It did change its name. Now it is called Sleepy Creek Lands. In the past two years, there have been a few, mostly unsuccessful, legal actions taken to stop or diminish the cattle operation and slaughter house. Sleepy Creek Lands has reduced the overall amount of water it once wanted, but now they are expected to receive a second permit for additional water withdrawals totaling 2.54 million gallons per day (mgd) even though we are currently experiencing a drought.
Last week, the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD ) staff recommended approval of the Adena (Sleepy Creek Lands) Phase 2 permit application. This permit is part of the same project that once agitated and excited our community because of its potential negative impact on Silver Springs.
Here’s an excerpt of a key paragraph from a letter sent to a member of our SSA board last week from the district, because he’s considered an “interested party” in the Adena project:
The District gives notice of its decision to grant a permit for the following application(s): Sleepy Creek Lands LLC, 15045 NW 141st Ct, Williston, FL 32696-7446. Consumptive Use Permit application #91926-4. Project known as Sleepy Creek Lands North and East Tracts. This is an application for modification of an existing permit with a request for an additional 1.12 million gallons per day (mgd) of groundwater for agricultural use and a new allocation of 0.14 mgd for a new commercial/industrial use. The District proposes to allocate a total of 2.54 mgd of groundwater from the Upper Floridan aquifer for pasture irrigation, crop irrigation, and livestock use and 0.14 mgd for commercial/industrial use for years 2017 through 2023.
See 2016 SCL Permit Approval Recommendation for additional information on this decision.
The SJRWMD apparently was not swayed by its own staff’s conclusion in 2014, when it determined that “reductions in Silver Springs flow will adversely impact important ecological structure and functions associated with riparian floodplains and the in-stream channel”, and found that “the applicant has not provided reasonable assurance that the proposed use of water will not contribute to exacerbate cumulative EOP adverse harm to the ecological structure and functions of Silver Springs and Silver River”. See 2014 SCL Permit Denial Recommendation.
Yes, it is now two years later. But the staff recommendation in the 2014 staff report was predicated on a water request for a grand total of 2.58 mgd — roughly the same amount of water that they are seeking today.
If we stand in the shadows, they just might win! There’s still a chance to stop them. Here’s how:
1. Send letters, emails, and make phone calls to the SJRWMD Executive Director and Governing Board stating your opposition to Consumptive Use Permit application #91926-4. Contact information for the SJRWMD is below:
Mailing Address: St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board, ATTN: Chairman John Miklos, 4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
Phone Numbers: 386-329‑4500 OR 1-800-451‑7106
Email Addresses for the SJRWMD Executive Director and Governing Board:
2. Attend the January 10, 2017, SJRWMD Governing Board meeting beginning at 9 a.m. and participate in the public comment portion of the meeting to express your opposition to approval of this permit request. The Alliance will share additional information about this meeting with its members as it becomes available.
3. Inform other environmental organizations and individuals about the Governing Board meeting and encourage them to attend to speak out against the permit or enter comments into the record.
As more information about this permit becomes available, the Alliance will share it with you via email and our social media sites. Please help us by sharing this information with others and encouraging them to attend the January 10, 2017, SJRWMD Governing Board meeting.