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.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum