March 28, 2007
"District Approves Water Use Permit for The Villages"
The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board Tuesday approved a consolidated water use permit that will increase The Villages water supply from 14.7 million gallons per day (mgd) to 23.7 mgd of ground and surface water to meet its future needs. The increase in the annual average quantities is due to projected increases in the residential population, commercial development and recreational facilities, such as golf courses, within The Villages... - SWFWMD website.
February 27, 2007
"Environmental activist group evolves"
Stubborn and cantankerous? Impatient and persistent? Well, yes, they were accused of all that at one time or another, but then under the conditions, they figured they had to be. The citizen activist group TOOFAR, Taxpayers Outraged Organization for Accountable Representation, was born of controversy, though if you had asked a founding TOOFAR member back in 1991, he would have likely said that "frustration" was a more apt term. The official logo of TOOFAR probably gives some insight into the early mindset of the citizen environmental/water issues group. The logo is a drawing of a tall water bird with a frog in its beak, which the bird intends to swallow headfirst. But the frog, its head already in the birds throat, has a foreleg extended out of the beak and is squeezing the birds throat, prohibiting it from swallowing. The caption is: "Dont ever give up!"... - JIM HUNTER, Citrus County Chronicle. (sorry - unable to find a link to this story on the web)
February 24, 2007
"Can thirsty Villages avoid water fight?"
THE VILLAGES One of the countrys fastest-growing developments is looking to increase its water use by 3 billion gallons a year more than what Orange County Utilities was approved for last year after a skirmish with other governments. The Villages has exploded during the past two decades from a tiny, 400-unit mobile-home park into a conventional-home colossus with more than 65,000 residents spread across Lake, Marion and Sumter counties. That huge growth has created an immense thirst for water and now the massive development northwest of Orlando wants to gulp even more. The Villages is asking the Southwest Florida Water Management District for a permit that averages an extra 3.3 billion gallons of water each year... - Robert Sargent and Ramsey Campbell, Orlando Sentinel.
February 22, 2007
"Work together for happily ever after"
Once upon a time in a beautiful country kingdom, a wise legislator realized that the Royal Technical Agencies who were skilled and educated did not serve the wants and needs of the people. With growth, private misdeeds and errors by the Royal Engineers the lakes became clogged, fouled and were emptying. The wise legislator worked to gather and appoint a council that included common persons and Royal Technical Agencies. The wisdom of the common people could be combined with the education and knowledge of the Royal Technical Agencies. Working together would achieve serendipity and restore the waters to clean and plentiful beauty. In the wisdom of the legislator, the common people would speak of the problems and needs followed by the technical agencies proposing solutions and recommendations.
But, alas, it did not work. Royal Technical Agencies rarely suggested anything but ignored or found fault with the ideas of the common people. The Royal Technical Agencies proposed that vast riches be spent on studies. Work was rarely started because studies were rarely finished. If a study was finished and ended with alternatives, discussion could go on forever. The common people begged for help and the Royal Technical Agencies picked at ideas and offered useless trials and more study.
Will the kingdom suffer a revolt? Will the commoners march on local palaces? Will the commoners march on the Flying Eagle lowlands with saws and pruning hooks to allow wet season waters to flow into the lakes? Will the commoners march to stop scheduled releases of water from the lakes? Or will the kingdom live happily ever after with citizens, Royal Technical Agencies and legislators working together? -- Al Grubman, Inverness, president, TOOFAR
February 14, 2007
"Task force wants to hear your ideas"
On May 19, it will be the citizens turn to talk about what water restoration projects are needed in Citrus County. The Citrus County Task Force of the Citrus/Hernando Water Restoration Council will sponsor the First Annual Stakeholders Conference. It announced the conference at its regular meeting on Monday. Anyone who has a need, idea or opinion about water projects is invited. The Task Force describes the conference as "a top-level conference about Citrus Countys water resources," and said it is "a must-attend for every sector of the community." The conference is designed to provide a forum for citizens and any other stakeholders concerned with the quantity and quality of lakes, rivers and springs to express their concerns...- JIM HUNTER, Citrus County Chronicle.
January 27, 2007
"Official urges patience on water issues"
The chairman of the Citrus/Hernando Restoration Council told the members of TOOFAR Thursday that the council will keep the pressure up on removing berms in the Flying Eagle property, but that progress will be slow. Michael Moberly explained the make-up and mission of the council and told the near-overflow TOOFAR audience at its monthly meeting that the legislature had created the council to give the interested public a role in the restoration of water bodies in Citrus and Hernando counties. New TOOFAR president Al Grubman said that in effect, the council was not only a window for the public on government bureaucracies but a way to enact change through projects...the council may be the lakes best hope for restoration... - JIM HUNTER, Citrus County Chronicle.
January 20, 2007
"Vision for county: What do you see?"
By the year 2020, the estimated population of Citrus County is projected to be more than 150,000 and that does not include our snowbirds. About 48 percent of Citrus County is owned by a state or federal agency as protected wetlands or forests. The ultimate reality is that the potential residential build-out population for Citrus County would be close to one million, with everyone living, working and shopping in the other 52 percent of the land. Fortunately, that will not take place in this or the next generation. However, as a stakeholder living and working in this community, I feel that it should be one of my duties to help preserve for future generations the environment and the lifestyle that enticed me to live here. ... - CHERYL PHILLIPS, Citrus County Chronicle.
January 18, 2007
"Securing water supply needs work"
...Our commissioners should be discussing alternative sources, and means of getting more water into the lake system. What about cleaning up the muck accumulation around the lake shores and canals? While we are in a low water period? Why not create more of the muck, debris islands as they did in the Hernando Lake? Are the sinkholes in Morrison Pond still sucking water down from the lakes? Any plans to fix? Can we recapture some of the freshwater that flows freely into the gulf by way of our many rivers? Pumps and pipes would be far less costly than the money that will be lost from real estate that will lose its value (taxes) if we go dry again... -- JIM ADKINS, Guest Columnist, St. Petersburg Times.
January 10, 2007
"Dry period forces cuts in water use"
BROOKSVILLE - With the Green Swamp thirsty for rain and the Withlacoochee River nearly dry, the Southwest Florida Water Management District declared Tuesday that everyone in its 16-county area must cut back water use for the next six months
On Dec. 1, when Moore and his staff were first considering tighter watering restrictions, the board of Swiftmud approved permits that allowed developers to pump more than 900,000 gallons of water a day from the aquifer in Polk and Sumter counties
Some users are already pumping more than their allotted share - with few consequences
Hernando County is by far the biggest offender on Swiftmuds list. Its two permits allow it to pump 21-million gallons per day, but it has been overpumping by 2.5-million gallons per day, according to Swiftmud. Like Haines City and Zephyrhills, Hernando County has asked Swiftmud for more water. Swiftmud has threatened to fine Hernando, but thats a step the agency rarely takes. It imposed no fines last year
-- By CRAIG PITTMAN and ASJYLYN LODER, St. Petersburg Times.
January 5, 2007
"Tardy salinity report to DEP unacceptable" --- Citrus County Chronicle. (sorry - unable to find a link to this story on the web)
"Re: County exceeding water limit, Dec. 20 Times"
As I read the article about the west side of Hernando County violating its daily water use cap since March, it astounded me that this is seemingly such a surprise to the county. The Southwest Florida Water Management District sets the cap on groundwater use. Violating the cap is against the law and could mean fines for the countys utility department, which, of course, affects customers. We havent had an overabundance of rain since March, which isnt really unusual. -- St. Petersburg Times.
"Wetlands left high and dry"
In their latest investigation into state and federal wetlands regulation, Times reporters Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite revealed the ugly truths about a business-inspired environmental plan that purports to satisfy the national goal of "no net loss" of wetlands. What they found was far from it: destroyed Florida wetlands compensated by dry uplands; large tracts of replacement wetlands that were either not built, maintained or inspected; and well-connected entrepreneurs using these land banks to line their pockets, but not necessarily the Florida landscape, with green.
Pittman and Waite also found that Kenneth Wright, chairman of the states Environmental Regulation Commission, has confused his public roles and private wetlands deals in a way that demands immediate attention. Wright, a development attorney, heads the commission that sets standards for environmental regulation in Florida and headed a board that oversees the Orlando-Sanford Airport. Two sworn depositions claim he took a commission on a wetlands compensation deal he engineered for the airport. He denies that but acknowledges taking commissions later from that same company, Ecobank, for "marketing" wetlands credits to his development clients. Wrights profits from the wetlands market are such a stunning a conflict that he should be immediately removed from the ERC. The sworn accusations are explosive enough to warrant criminal investigation
-- St. Petersburg Times.
"Hernando County exceeds water limits"
Hernando County residents pump nearly 2-million gallons of water a day that they are not entitled to, county and regional officials said Tuesday. -- December 20, 2006, St. Petersburg Times. (sorry - unable to find a link to this story on the web)
RULES OF THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, CHAPTER 40D-8, F.A.C. WATER LEVELS AND RATES OF FLOW --9/4/05
About Minimum Flows and Levels
The minimum flow is defined as the "
limit at which further withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water resources or ecology of the area". The minimum level is defined as the "limit at which further withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water resources of the area".
Minimum Flows and Levels - Their Importance to Riverine and Estuarine Fish and Wildlife; FWC Involvement in Determining Minimum Flows in Florida Waterways
As Florida has developed, water withdrawals from both surface waters and from aquifers have increased. Approximately 7,200 million gallons of fresh water per day are currently withdrawn from these sources, primarily for use by agriculture and public water supplies. Water managers predict significant increases in withdrawals by 2020. Withdrawal of fresh water from Floridas water bodies can alter flows and levels in Floridas springs, lakes, and rivers, and alter salinities in estuaries, thereby having significant effects on many of the fish and wildlife resources managed by the FWC, including listed species and important sport and commercial species.
Includes the following reports:
Minimum Flows and Levels - Their Importance to Floridas Freshwater Ecosystems -- Division of Freshwater Fisheries
Minimum Flows and Levels - Importance to Floridas Estuaries --Florida Marine Research Institute
(sorry, this article is no longer available for viewing as the FWC has removed it from their website
August 13, 2006
Official worries for water supply
Commissioner Joyce Valentino is leading the charge in a battle that has been brewing for months, as local environmental groups worry that development in Citrus and neighboring counties could sap the countys water supply. ...At a meeting of the environmental group TOOFAR last month, Jackson Sullivan, the authoritys executive director, said no plans for water transfer are in the works...
...The Villages has a population of roughly 60,000, but developers plan to expand the sprawling age-restricted community. At least 100,000 people will live there by 2010. And when officials shape regional water policies, Citrus Countys future is often tied into plans for Sumter Countys development.
Recently, Valentino said that has led to a delay in establishing the minimum flows and levels for several Citrus waterways - a project Southwest Florida Water Management District officials originally planned to finish earlier this year. Setting the levels places a limit on how much can be withdrawn from local bodies of water. And officials from the Villages have expressed concern that the levels would limit their ability to continue developing the community. But many audience members at last months TOOFAR meeting said the communitys explosive growth was placing Citrus Countys water at risk. Citrus Water and Wastewater Authority member Don Cox said proposed plans in the Villages would require 28-million gallons of water daily... - by Catherine E. Shoichet, St. Petersburg Times.
Lake Levels for July 2006
LOCAL SOURCES FIRST by Mary Ann Lynn
Additional information on Local Sources First
Lake Levels for April 2006
Learn more about the proposed development on Big Lake Spivey aka: "Preservation Pointe project".
Community Development Comprehensive Plan for Citrus County, Florida - The Community Development Division oversees the maintenance of the County Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Regulations. The staff includes nine professionals who provide support to the various County boards including the Board of County Commissioners, the Planning and Development Review Board (PDRB), and the Aviation Advisory Board.
Land Development Code for Citrus County, Florida
Comprehensive Plan Table of Land Use Designations
Evaluation and Appraisal Reports (EAR)
"...each local government shall adopt an evaluation and appraisal report (EAR) once every seven years assessing the progress in implementing the local governments comprehensive plan." The report evaluates how successfully a community has been in addressing major community land use planning issues through implementation of its comprehensive plan. Based on this evaluation, the report suggests how the plan should be revised to better address community objectives, changing conditions and trends affecting the community, and to changes in state requirements regarding growth management.
Flow Chart - summarizing the major steps in preparing and adopting the EAR.
Citrus Countys "Letter of Understanding"
Each local government prepares a list of major issues and ask the Department to concur that these are the issues on which the EAR report should focus. Entering into such a "Letter of Understanding" between the Florida Department of Community Affairs
Division of Community Planning and the local government will help avoid misunderstandings during the review of the adopted report.
Citrus County Generalized Future Land Use Map (GFLUM)
The map depicts the desired general pattern for the location, distribution, and intensity of land uses to the year 2020. This map is used to guide future development to the most suitable areas of the County in conjunction with the associated policies and text in the Future Land Use Element of the Plan. All development decisions must be consistent with provisions of the plan and GFLUM. Due to the small scale of the map, parcels of less then 10 acres in size are not represented on the map. The map is reviewed and updated at least every seven years in conjunction with the Evaluation and Appraisal Report process. Adjustments to the GFLUM are made through the Comprehensive Plan amendment process.
Citrus County Land Development Code Atlas (LDCA)
The Division of Community Development also maintains the more detailed Land Development Code Atlas (LDCA), which depicts permitted land uses on a parcel specific basis. In cases where there is a difference between the designation on the LDCA and the GFLUM, the Comprehensive Plan is the controlling regulatory document. The purpose of these maps is to convey land use and zoning information pursuant to ordinance 90-14 as amended. Information regarding property ownership and recognition of individual lots or lot boundaries is subject to verification and these maps should not be relied upon for this purpose.
The Lake Panasoffkee Restoration project
Big Lake Spivey Proposed Development aka: "Preservation Pointe project"
Sumter County - Rinker Mine Expansion
Destruction of wetlands in Crystal River
Various articles written by Jim Adkins (Jim is an author, a history columnist for the Citrus County Chronicle, a clean lakes and rivers activist, and former V.P. of TOOFAR)
SWFWMD - Real-Time Hydrologic Data
The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system collects real-time rainfall data, surface and groundwater levels, and selected atmospheric readings within our 16-county area.
Special Report: Vanishing Wetlands by the St. Petersburg Times
In all, statewide, approximately 84,000 acres of wetlands were replaced by urbanized areas... Those changes are not seasonal, they are not subject to tides and they are permanent.
view an illustration of the permit process
2005 Annual Update
SWFWMD - Florida Forever Work Plan, 2005
Land acquisition and management for water resource protection and preservation. Includes Water Resource Development, Restoration Projects, Land Management Activities, Watershed Descriptions and Florida Forever Land Acquisition Projects.
November 7, 2005
SWFWMD - Structure Operations Hydrologic Report
Structure status and hydrographs of select water bodies.
July 20, 2005
Email from Florida Public Interest Research Group (PIRG):
"Stop Mercury Pollution Now!"
Learn more about PIRG
Fish Advisory: What we learned and what you should know
Contact your Representatives
Aug. 8, 2005:
Congress Passes Far-Reaching Energy Bill
WASHINGTON - Four years after President Bush called for an overhaul of the nations energy agenda, Congress presented him with a mammoth plan he said he was eager to sign even though it costs twice as much as he wanted and wont open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling.
July 24, 2005:
Lawmakers remove roadblock to energy bill
".. House and Senate conferees abandoned giving makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection against environmental lawsuits on Sunday, removing the major roadblock to enactment of broad energy legislation. Senate negotiators rejected a House proposal for a..." Associated Press.
Find out more about MTBE in drinking water.
July 19, 2005:
Appeals Court Upholds Everglades Water Quality Standard
".. for cleaning up the Everglades and returning a natural balance to one of the nations most treasured ecosystems... Florida has set aside an unprecedented $1 billion for water quality improvements alone..." The Post, latest news from DEP.
July 13, 2005:
EPA orders wells that track flow at Koppers
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering a Pittsburgh-based company to drill wells to determine whether cancer-causing chemicals threaten Gainesvilles water supply. The company is responsible for cleaning the Koppers superfund site on NW 23rd Avenue. Gainesville Sun.
Additional articles on Cabot-Koppers Superfund site and Gainesvilles water supply
June 22, 2005:
"Easing use of wetlands gets Bushs backing"
Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill Tuesday that would make it easier for developers to destroy wetlands. The governor conceded the law has problems but said he hopes those can be fixed next year. Gainesville Sun.
June 2, 2005:
"County removing old berm"
May 09, 2005:
"Environmental officials tour Tsala Apopka lake..."
May 3, 2005:
"Senator Fasano & Representative Dean Announce Funding for Citrus County Water Projects" - the 2004-2005 state budget will include important water projects that will directly benefit:
- Homosassa Southfork Water Quality Improvement
- Homosassa Wastewater Collection System
- Crystal River & Kings Bay Improvement Project
Apr. 28, 2005:
"Springs protection bill sidelined this season"
TALLAHASSEE - A bill that would have offered more protection for Floridas more than 700 springs is going nowhere in the 2005 Legislature. Gainesville Sun.
Apr 23, 2005:
"TOOFAR adds weight to water fight"
Apr. 21, 2005:
"Oil Companies Lose Effort to End Suits Over Contaminated Water" by Alexei Barrionuevo, New York Times
The ruling means that plaintiffs can proceed with some 80 lawsuits against oil companies asserting that the additive, methyl tertiary-butyl ether, or MTBE, fouled groundwater... The suits assert that the oil companies contaminated wells and underground aquifers across the country by adding MTBE to gasoline as a way to reduce air pollution. They say the oil companies knew that MTBE would cause widespread contamination because the chemical does not readily cling to soil and moves faster and farther in the ground than other gasoline components.
Apr. 17, 2005:
"Water becoming an environmental priority"
South Florida has already felt the environmental pressures of over-zealous development, from groundwater wells drying in Tampa to offshore pollution in the Keys. Now, its North Floridas turn to feel the crunch. Gainesville Sun.
Apr 12, 2005:
"Bill aims to protect Floridas springs"
TALLAHASSEE - State Sen. Nancy Argenziano thinks its time Florida did a better job of protecting some of the 720 natural springs that dot the state. Gainesville Sun.
"Florida Beach Advisories/Closures" from the EPA - choose a County
EPAs Before You Go to the Beach brochure
"Although politicians talk about wanting to protect wetlands, some help developers destroy them..." St. Petersburg Times.