The Planning & Zoning Board of Columbia County, under the wise guidance of Chairman Robert Jordon and the able help of Attorney Joel Foreman, made a recommendation to pass forward the resolution amending the language of the LDRs referring to “intensive agriculture” to the Columbia County Commissioners. The resolution will then appear as an ordinance, and be considered by the Columbia County Board of County Commissioners in January or February. At that time we will need a packed house of river caretakers to be present to support this important change.
The new language will account for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, and thus give a new layer of protection for the Santa Fe River and the high recharge areas* of the unconfined aquifer** A possible loophole was avoided by Counselor Foreman’s plans to incorporate the current EPA descriptions of large and medium CAFOs, so that the LDR will remain intact, whether or not the EPA language might change in the future.
Thanks to Charles Maxwell of Ichetucknee Alliance, who recognized that danger, and to Lu Merritt of that group for speaking strongly in favor of the resolution. Although OSFR initiated this change request back in August, we have had a great deal of support and many loyal backers were present this night, Dec. 20, 2016.
Among these were local residents and OSFR members, including Cindy Noel, Mike Roth, Laura Dailey, Karen and Delbert Mullins, Charlie Trowbridge, Cathy Street, Barbara Knutson, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Patty Street, Lu Merritt, and Lisa Jefferson. There were more and we apologize for not getting the names. A huge thank you to all in attendance. Your presence was decisive in our victory.
Go to this link to see the Channel 20 News Video.
**Recharge to the Floridan aquifer occurs in areas where the elevation of the water table of the surficial aquifer is higher than the elevation of the potentiometric surface of the Floridan aquifer. In these areas, water moves from the surficial aquifer in a downward direction through the upper confining unit to the Floridan aquifer. Recharge also occurs directly from infiltrating rainfall where the limestone of the Floridan aquifer are at or near land surface. In addition, significant local recharge may occur where sinkholes have breached the upper confining unit. (St Johns River Water Management District.)
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-