Business as usual with the Governing Board today in Live Oak, the first with new Interim Director Carlos Herd at the helm. The ship plowed steadily onward with nary a hitch, flinch, shudder or vibration.
But there are some internal changes, other than just the absence of Dr. Ann Shortelle. Two board members, Dr. George Cole and Ray Curtis have been replaced by Richard Schwab and Bradley Williams. Dr. Megan Weatherington does the agriculture report rather than the presentation of hydrologic conditions, which is now done by Bureau Chief of Water Resource Division Tom Mirti.
OSFR spoke twice during the shorter-than-average meeting, once when President Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson made the monthly request for a moratorium on excessive water permits, and again later when she made a comment during the approval of Resolution 2015-18 Governor Scott’s 20-Year Funding Request for Springs Restoration.
The Springs Restoration Resolution was the highlight of the meeting, although sadly insufficient, especially in the light of pending increased development in North Florida due in part to rising sea-levels and demographic changes, as explained by our president.
Low points are modification of agricultural permits for two projects in Levy County which in each case brings the daily amounts permitted to over one million gallons. This, when our aquifer is losing ground yearly, consistently, being depleted at a faster rate than rainfall can replenish it. This is not opinion nor conjecture, but fact.
Another first for this meeting was the initial appearance of Victoria Beryl Wedgwood, new intern for OSFR. We welcome Victoria, who hails from High Springs, and who will be with us for the summer.