Monday, September 24, 2018
Opinion

Column: Swiftmud uses science to guide minimum flows on springs

The Southwest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board recently approved minimum flows (or MFLs) for the Rainbow River and the Crystal River/Kings Bay systems. A minimum flow is the limit at which withdrawals will cause significant harm.

Some recent guest columns and letters to the editor have suggested the water management district arbitrarily sets these limits and offers a "blank check" to pump unlimited amounts of water out of the aquifer. In fact, MFLs are an important tool that provide additional protection for water resources by placing caps on withdrawals. MFLs do not authorize withdrawals. Anyone wanting to withdraw water must still go through the water-use permitting process. The MFL is an added protection to that process.

Our district scientists have been studying waterways for more than 30 years. We follow where the science leads without any presumption of what the outcome will be. The science and consistent approach used by district experts to set MFLs have been supported by nearly 20 independent peer review panels composed of other scientific experts.

Each of the major spring systems in our district is unique and each one is experiencing impacts from various causes. Scientific data show the impacts to water quality are unrelated to groundwater withdrawals. Water quality impacts are attributed to several factors including septic tanks, storm water and urban/residential fertilizer.

We are addressing the problems with Crystal River/Kings Bay and all of the major springs systems in our region. We have worked with a diverse group of stakeholders including local governments, state agencies, environmental organizations, public suppliers, agriculturalists and others to develop individualized plans for each spring. The plans identify the issues, causes, quantifiable objectives, helpful management actions, ongoing projects and proposed projects to help protect and restore these important water resources.

It's understandable that people are concerned about these incredibly wonderful natural systems. They need our help. But they won't get better unless we focus and attack the real causes of the problems. I encourage anyone who is interested in protecting our water resources to get informed, get involved and get engaged in protecting our springs. You can find more information about the individual spring plans and other springs data on our website at WaterMatters.org/springs.

Brian J. Armstrong is the executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Comments
Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Editorial: Florida needs uniform standards for voting by mail

Vote by mail has been a stunning success in Florida, increasing turnout and making it easy and convenient to cast a ballot with time to research and reflect. But a new study shows that mail ballots cast by African-American, Hispanic or younger voters...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

Editorial: Borrowers need protection from Marlin Financial

State and federal lending regulations exist to protect consumers from being surprised — and overwhelmed — by ballooning debt. Marlin Financial, a shadowy auto lender doing business around Florida, seems to be skirting those protections ...
Published: 09/21/18
Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

Editorial: Putnam hire stinks of patronage, secrecy

In addition to a lesson on political patronage, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam needs a refresher on the particulars of state public records law.In January 2017, Putnam hired the 27-year-old son of a former Publix executive to a high-pay...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Editorial: Investigate first, then hold Kavanaugh confirmation vote

There should be a timely investigation of the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before senators hear from him and his accuser, let alone vote on whether they should confirm his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The proces...
Published: 09/20/18
Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

Editorial: Immigrants help to make America great

The heated debate on immigration could benefit from some more facts, which the U.S. Census has helpfully provided. And the facts show that rather than building walls, the United States would do far better to keep opening doors to legal immigrants. Th...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

Editorial: FDA acts to keep e-cigarettes from kids

The federal Food and Drug Administration is bringing important scrutiny to the increasing use of e-cigarettes, requiring companies that make and sell them to show they are keeping their products away from minors. Vaping is the new front in the nation...
Published: 09/18/18

Tuesday’s letters: Honor Flight restored my faith in America

Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15Honor Flight restored my faith in AmericaJust as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recen...
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/19/18
Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

Editorial: Senate should delay vote on Kavanaugh

The Senate and the nation needs to hear more about the sexual assault allegation against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Setting aside Kavanaugh's judicial record, his political past and the hyper-partisan divide over his nomination, a no...
Published: 09/17/18
Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

Editorial: Tampa council has another chance to show it takes Stovall House changes seriously

The Tampa City Council has yet to hear a compelling reason to allow a private social club in a residential neighborhood off Bayshore Boulevard, and a final meeting on the matter scheduled for Thursday offers the council a chance to show the diligence...
Published: 09/14/18
Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Editorial: Focus on Hurricane Florence, not defending poor response in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Florence began lashing down on the Carolinas Thursday and was expected to make landfall early Friday, washing over dunes, downing trees and power lines and putting some 10 million people in the path of a potentially catastrophic storm. Flor...
Published: 09/13/18