Third and final Peer Review MFL meeting leaves doubts

river for mfls In: Third and final Peer Review MFL meeting leaves doubts | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
SRWMD determines the fate of this beautiful river, the Santa Fe, taken from the Columbia County side.

The third and last meeting of the MFL Peer Review Panel was short, with the panelists very much in agreement.  Sadly, Dr. Motes recanted and waffled to basically accept the 15 per cent reduction rule as standard and acceptable, even though precedance was the only reason.   That it had been used before is not a reason to use it here.  Disappointingly, the other two committee members supported him, even though all agreed that there were no reasons nor efforts to make it fit this water body.  Two wrongs or 40 wrongs do not make a right.  Wisdom Dr. Motes might strive to acquire.

Public comment was good for the most part.  We especially liked Lu Merritt’s admonition to the District not to cherry-pick the data.  The term for this is ugly but true: intellectual dishonesty.  The SWFWMD was accused publicly of this when they fanagled the MFLs to fit their  needs  when setting those for the Rainbow River,  and we believe the accusation to be true because they chose to ignore certain research which contradicted their results.  And there is not a more disgraceful term to describe a professional researcher.

So is there a difference between cherry-picking data and choosing to ignore suggestions from the Peer Review Panel?  What is the purpose of having a Peer Review if you ignore their suggestions?  Apparently this happened seven years ago, as expressed by the panelists.  In one case you choose to ignore data which does not (or worse, detracts from your case) prove your point, and in the other you choose to ignore suggestons which won’t lead you to the conclusion you want.

So some flaws were left uncorrected in both revisions, boding ill for their chances to be finally corrected.

Maybe we need another review by the Panel once  the District is done.  Then we would not have to wait seven more years to  find out if corrections were made.

Thanks to Lu Merritt, Mike Roth, Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Michelle Coleson, Sarah Younger, another Ms. Markenstein?  (whose name I did not catch), Rick Hutton who oh so carefully asked for protection, but we disagree with Rob Denis who we believe had a flawed map showing groundwater.  This most certainly has not  remained steady since 1927;  groundwater has declined and river flow has declined about 30 per cent, mostly beginning after irrigation became prevalent  in the 1970s.  We agree that rainfall has been steady, groundwater certainly not.

Several of those who commented asked that the river not be reclassified as meeting new MFLs, because it is indeed significantly harmed, no matter what kind of graph you show, or what numbers are at the end.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum

1 Comment

  1. I sincerely doubt that the scientists are the source of any perceived or any actual “intellectual dishonesty.” More likely, I believe, is that the WMDs are so “lawyered-up” that any cherry-picking is done by the long, drawn-out “review of data” that also serves to prolong the time data resides within WMDs and delays public information on data and data analyses until it is perceived by the managers and attorneys and politicians to be less of a ‘hot potato”… No decent scientist wants to withhold research from publication, because that is a necessary part of the scientific method. On the other hand, keeping information closely held is part and parcel of the successful practice of law, and more often than not, Florida politics including the Politics of Water… riparian politics if you will. (full disclosure: I am a retired chemical and microbiological, plant and water scientist.)

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