The Suwannee River Partnership, a forum representing agriculture, water management and environmentalists was reinstated yesterday at a meeting at Ichetucknee State Park near Fort White. Mike Roth, who along with Cindy Noel represented OSFR, has written the following article.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
The Suwannee River Water Management District convened a forum of key environmental stakeholders to represent an environmental subcommittee of a reinvigorated Suwannee River Partnership.
The purpose of the group is to develop a trusted form for influencing water management in the Suwannee River Basin by developing a list of key issues and priorities for the partnership committee.
After welcoming remarks by Suwannee River Water Management executive director Noah Valenstein, Management District Communications Director Katelyn Potter took over as an able facilitator to keep the meeting on track. Self-introductions included representatives of the Springs Institute, the Ichetucknee Alliance, the Sierra Club, Our Santa Fe River, WWALS, and several other organizations identified by the District as stakeholders.
Darrell Smith, the District’s Environmental Project Manager, reviewed the history of the Suwannee River Partnership, which started in the 1990s as a group of 24 environmental and agricultural stakeholders. This group successfully developed and monitored Best Management Practices and standards to balance the interests of the environmentalists and the agricultural community. It disbanded about five years ago but was revived by Noah Valenstein after he heard about interest in such a panel by members of both groups.
What followed was a brainstorming session that produced numerous issues in the areas of water quality, water quantity, natural systems and governance. Thereafter, the group culled out and listed about a half dozen priority issues. There was plenty of discussion left when time ran out, and we look forward to picking this up at a future meeting, to be scheduled.
A similar session with agricultural interests is anticipated for the short term future, with both groups getting together thereafter.