A procedure for ranking lands for public acquisition with an example from Florida's Save our Rivers program


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A procedure for ranking lands for public acquisition with an example from Florida's Save our Rivers program
Physical Description:
xi, 184 leaves : folded maps ; 29 cm.
McCartney, J. William
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Public lands -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Land use -- Planning -- Florida   ( lcsh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1991.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 170-183).
Statement of Responsibility:
by J. William McCartney.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001681582
notis - AHZ3530
oclc - 24956974
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Full Text







FOR: Will and Maggie


To simply acknowledge the men and women who have

provided the inspiration, guidance, and assistance to this

dissertation is a gross understatement of their individual

and collective contribution to the research and to its

author. At the risk of recognizing less credit than

actually deserved, I wish to extend my sincere gratitude and

appreciation to the following friends.

Let me extend my unequivocal thanks to my supervisory

committee: Grant Thrall, my chairman, for sharing his

knowledge, and for his support and direction; Bob Marcus for

his love of Florida and its geography; Earl Starnes for his

service to the State of Florida and its water resources; Ed

Fernald for a lifetime of contribution to the understanding

of the State of Florida and its waters; and to Peter Waylen

for his service to the University of Florida Department of

Geography and for his commitment to the academic excellence

of its students. To department chairman, Ed. Malecki and

Graduate School Dean Madelyn Lockhart, I extend my

appreciation for a second chance. Also I must acknowledge

the contributions of the former department faculty, now

retired but not forgotten, Shannon McCune, David Niddrie,

and Clark Cross. Finally, my gratitude is extended to my


early teachers, Raymond Demming, Walter Koch and James R.

Anderson from whom I contracted Topophilia.

Without the assistance of the St. Johns River Water

Management District, this research could not have been

accomplished. For their contribution, I wish to thank Jim

Cameron, Marvin Williams, Barbara Vergara, John Wehle, Henry

Dean, John Hankinson, Carolyn Brown, and Camile Shipp of the

district staff. Appreciation is also extended to the land

acquisition directors of the other districts, Fred Davis,

Fritz Musselman, Charles Houder and Greg Davis.

Special appreciation is extended to the members of my

Delphi Committee for their time and assistance in conducting

this research and likewise to Jim May, my editor, and

Katherine Williams, my typist. Special thanks are also

extended to J.D. and Billie Henry, my very benevolent


Lastly, I wish to extend my gratitude to Florida

Governor Bob Graham, 1979-1987, for his vision of excellence

in government and for his unique understanding of the value

of Florida's water resources. This gratitude is also

extended to the hundreds of men and women who have given

their time or their careers to serve as boards or staff to

the most productive natural resource management agencies in

the nation, Florida's water management districts.




LIST OF TABLES . . .. vii


ABSTRACT .. .. .. x


Background . . 1
Problem Statement .. . 4
Research Objectives . 6
Operationalizing the Research. .. 6
Presentation of Research . .. 10


Historical Overview . .. 12
Florida's Water Management System 29
The Implications of History: Some Observa-
tions . . 36

PROGRESS 1981-1990 . 38

Legislative Background . 38
Water Management Lands Trust Fund .. 42
Implementation of Save Our Rivers .. 44
Save Our Rivers Program Summary .. 57


The Delphi Method . ... 62
Selection of the Delphi Method . 64





Delphi Participation . .. 83
The Delphi Process . ... 85
Delphi Results .. . 89


The Study Area .. . . 95
GIS Capabilities of the St. Johns River Water
Management District .. .. 98
Application of the GIS to the Land Acquisition
Criteria . . 99
Operationalizing the Composite Scoring of the
Criteria Overlays . 123
Composite Scoring Summary and Observations 134


Procedure Application . .. 136
Future Application . .. 137
Future Land Acquisition Issues .. 140



DENCE . . 153


REFERENCES . . .. 170



Table Page

1. Save Our Rivers Acquisitions by Water Manage-
ment District 1981-1990 . 44

2. South Florida Water Management District Save
Our Rivers Project Evaluation Matrix .. 48

3. Southwest Florida Water Management District
Revised Land Acquisition Selection Criteria 51

4. St. Johns River Water Managemet District Basin
Acquisition Planning Primary Criteria .. 54

5. Suwannee River Water Management District
Land Acquisition Objectives .. 55

6. Northwest Florida Water Management District
Land Selection and Evaluation Criteria ... 58

7. Acreage Scoring Comparisons by Weighting
Example . . ... 134




1. Florida Water Management Districts .

2. Major Save Our Rivers Acquisitions .

3. General Location of Study Area .

4. Study Area . . .

5. Ground Water Recharge and Quality .

6. Buffers . . .

7. Wetlands . . .

8. Surface Water Quality . .

9. Flood Prone Areas . .

10. Habitat Protection . .

11. Estuarine-Dependent Lands . .

12. Unique Water Features . .

13. Plan Implementation and Special Designation

14. Headwaters . . .

15. Connectedness . .

16. Ecological Rarity . .

17. Composite Aggregate . .

18. Land Acquisition Ranking by Multioverlay
Composite Scoring Using Equal Criteria
Weightings . . .

19. Land Acquisition Ranking by Multioverlay
Composite Scoring Using Delphi Weightings


. 32

. 46

. 96

. 101

. 103

. 105

. 107

. 109

. 110

. 112

. 115

. 117

. 119

. 120

. 122

. 124

. 125

. 127

. 129


Figure Page

20. Land Acquisition Ranking by Multioverlay
Composite Scoring Based on an Ecological
Enhancement Weighting . 131

21. Land Acquisition Ranking by Multioverlay
Composite Scoring Based on a Surface Water
Quality and Quantity Weighting Example .... .133

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



J. William McCartney

May 1991

Chairman: Dr. Grant I. Thrall
Major Department: Geography

This research establishes a methodology for the identi-

fication and ranking of lands for acquisition by Florida's

water management districts under the state's Save Our Rivers

Program. The work charts the historical background of the

structural water management philosophy which prevailed in

Florida for the state's first 150 years and cites specific

examples of the projects, schemes, and institutions which

resulted. A review of Florida's water management district

structure is also presented. The discussion further iden-

tifies the major factors responsible for the fundamental

changes in the state's water policy toward a nonstructural

paradigm and notes the events leading up to creation of Save

Our Rivers, the largest water management land acquisition in

the nation. A review is then undertaken of each of the

district's land acquisition accomplishments and an analysis

of their selection criteria and procedures is conducted in

the context of this research.

The research proceeds to identify methodologies appli-

cable for the development of a land acquisition ranking

process. The Delphi technique of expert consensus building

and the capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

are reviewed and justified for implementation of the study.

Twelve Delphi-generated land selection criteria are defined

and mapped as individual GIS layers or overlays for a

specific study area in the lower Oklawaha River Basin of the

St. Johns Water Management District.

To conduct the ranking of lands in the identified study

area, a GIS multioverlay composite scoring technique using

four preselected emphasis weighting algorithms is employed.

The result is the production of four composite maps identi-

fying lands for potential acquisition based on a particular

management emphasis weighting scenario. The employment of

this procedure is evaluated for application to the water

management district's $1.34 billion land acquisition program

and its specific advantages over the current methodology are

cited. Lastly, the effort identified some future areas for

water-related geographic research in Florida.



From its acquisition from Spain in 1821 until the early

1970s, the expressed policy of the State of Florida was that

the waters of the state were a hindrance to its optimum

growth and development. Human modification of the state's

hydrologic character was an acceptable activity if not a

desirable practice.

Beginning and ending with a waterway across the Florida

peninsula, the 150-year period from 1821 to 1971 was filled

with a multitude of plans, schemes, and projects to struc-

turally alter the natural hydrologic conditions of the

state. This "structural philosophy" resulted in draining

millions of acres of the Florida peninsula and the

hydrologic modification of countless additional acres.

Drainage canals, dikes, dams, levees, pumping stations and

other structural works are the legacy of this period. The

natural flora and fauna of this unique area of the world are

its casualties.

In his October 1980 address to the fifth annual meeting

of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, Governor

Bob Graham, echoing the sentiment of many others, stated

that "Floridians can no longer afford the all-out dig

it, ditch it, drain it approach to development. We've

played all the tricks on Mother Nature that we can get away

with" (Northwest Florida Water Management District, 1981b,

p. 34). The next spring the Florida legislature, at the

governor's direction, enacted the nation's first

comprehensive nonstructural water management program--Save

Our Rivers.

Save Our Rivers (SOR) established the Water Management

Lands Trust Fund (Section 373.59, Florida Statutes) and

provided an initial $35,000,000 annually to the state's

five water management districts. The money was to

be used for acquiring the fee or other interest in
lands necessary for water management, water
supply, and the conservation and protection of
water resources and to manage and maintain them in
an environmentally acceptable manner, and to the
extent practicable, in such a way as to restore
and protect their natural state and condition.
(State of Florida, 1981, p. 3)

Revenue to support SOR was provided by a documentary stamp

tax on the sale of real estate at $0.05 per $100 of value.

With its creation, Save Our Rivers established a new

direction for water management in Florida. The legislation

provided a vehicle for the state, through its water manage-

ment districts, to initiate a program of nonstructural water

management by the acquisition of lands which exhibited

natural capabilities for water storage,

Save Our Rivers annual appropriation in 1990 exceeds

flood control, filtering pollutants, or for providing

nutrients for natural aquatic productivity.2 Save Our

Rivers thus provided a statement of official public policy

endorsing nonstructural water management in the State of

Florida and a dedicated source of revenue for its implemen-

tation from a documentary stamp tax increase on real estate.

Save Our Rivers did not initiate the acquisition of

land by the districts. It did, however, change the emphasis

for which lands were acquired. Before 1981 several dis-

tricts had acquired large land holdings in conjunction with

larger structural projects. Examples include the Central

and Southern Florida Flood Control Project, the Four River

Basins Project, and the Cross Florida Barge Canal. With the

implementation of Save Our Rivers, land acquisition and

management thus became the water management project. It was

determined that, through the acquisition of river flood

plains, marshes, wetlands, springs, and lake and river

littorals, the quantity and quality of the state's waters

could be conserved and protected. To date the districts

have acquired over 500,000 acres of land. This figure should

increase to over 1,000,000 acres by the year 2000.

In more recent years the intent of Save Our Rivers has been
expanded to include comprehensive environmental protection
by modifying its scope to provide protection for lands which
have value for wildlife or as habitat, or are significant
natural communities or ecosystems.

Problem Statement

The original Save Our Rivers legislation incorporated

area-specific guidelines governing the water management

districts' acquisitions. These guidelines were enacted for

only one year. They were to be replaced in each district

annually by adopting and filing a five-year Land Acquisition

Plan. The result was that only general acquisition guidance

was given by the state to the districts. Specific acquisi-

tion priorities for the annual purchase of $35,000,000 in

water resource-related lands thereby became the respon-

sibility of each district's governing board. Each board was

further charged with formulating its own land acquisition

goals, objectives, and strategies, including land selection

criteria and methodologies.

Florida's water management district staffs and

governing boards face a complex array of problems and

opportunities associated with land acquisition. Issues such

as where acquisitions should be targeted, what type of lands

should be purchased, how to optimize land acquisition

expenditures to achieve the greatest measure of positive

impact on the water resources, and how to structure an

acceptable land identification and selection process have

been addressed by each district throughout the program.

Moreover, as the Save Our Rivers program becomes more

established and as its visibility as a nationally signifi-

cant environmental land protection program is increased, not

only is a district called upon to justify the selection of

its purchases, it must, in many instances, justify why other

lands are not selected.

The quality of the districts' acquisition decisions is

directly and specifically influenced by the accuracy and

type of information available to evaluate lands. It is also

influenced by the districts' ability to assemble, process,

and analyze this information in a systematic manner. The

task is increasingly difficult because of the increased

number of proposed district acquisitions and the lack of

specific acquisition guidelines in the enabling legislation.

As will be shown, a further problem is the absence in any

district of a comprehensive land identification and selec-

tion process.

The state's water management districts have increased

their information/data processing capabilities in recent

years. They each have the capability to conduct highly

technical evaluations to determine the most critical lands

necessary for the successful implementation of their land

acquisition program. However, a technically efficient land

selection process has not been established and operation-


The purpose of this research is to develop an objective

computer-assisted methodology to identify land acquisition

priorities and to test the process in a specified study


Research Objectives

In general, water management district land acquisition

priorities can be classified in three categories: (1) those

areas identified in the original Save Our Rivers legisla-

tion, (2) those lands proposed for acquisition as part of a

large comprehensive water management initiative, and

(3) discretionary land purchases. Each district is con-

fronted with the complex task of establishing an order of

priority in the third category of discretionary lands, which

is the focus of this research.

In establishing a process for identifying acquisition

priorities for discretionary lands, three primary objectives

guided the research. These are (1) determining public

interest and the relative importance of various aspects of

the interests identified; (2) expressing this interest in an

unambiguous, analytic format; and (3) ranking these expres-

sions. The latter must be done in a manner that conforms to

the operational framework of the agency and the expressed

public interest. It must also be comprehensive in scope,

systematic in process, objective in implementation, and

defensible on a practical as well as a theoretical basis.

Operationalizing the Research

There are three major components of this research. The

first is an assessment of public interest to determine the

preferred criteria to be utilized to identify and rank lands

for acquisition. The second is the expression of these

criteria in an areal or spatial format within areas con-

sidered for acquisition. The third major component is the

development and employment of an acceptable technique to

evaluate the areas considered, in order to identify those

lands which have high relative value for water management

land acquisition purposes.

In evaluating the first component, it is apparent that

land acquisition decisions made by water management

districts have included an assessment of the public inter-

est. These assessments are typically based on interpreta-

tions by individual governing board members, from staff

reports, or from oral or written testimony by the affected

public. To a lesser degree, the districts have also

utilized questionnaires, surveys, interviews, and technical

and/or policy advisory groups.

Inherent in many of the above techniques is the possi-

bility of a bias reflecting more the special interest of the

individual or group than the interests of the public.

Additionally, less forceful, although knowledgeable, par-

ticipants may not have their views adequately considered.

Problems also arise when surveying the public at large on

technical issues. In general, the public may not have

sufficient background to make enlightened judgments on

highly complex technical issues relating to the purchase of

lands. For these reasons, the Delphi method of building

consensus opinion from the judgment of experts in a

particular field was selected and utilized for this research

to arrive at land acquisition criteria. The Delphi process

is also used to distinguish relative importance or weights

for the criteria developed for this process.

To address the second component of research, the

Delphi-generated criteria are defined in specific terms.

Utilizing the best available information, the criteria are

individually mapped for a demonstration area. Criteria such

as flood control and water storage, ecological rarity, and

surface water quality are assigned values and displayed

spatially at a mapping scale of 1:100,000. They are applied

in a selected project area located in the St. Johns River

Water Management District.

The third component of research involved systematically

evaluating the acquisition criteria and identifying and

ranking lands in the study area based upon their aggregate

values. In this aspect of the research, a geographic

information system (GIS) is employed. There are other

acceptable methods of accomplishing this task, such as using

mylar overlays or evaluating parcels individually by matrix

analysis. These techniques do not, however, provide the

ability to easily aggregate or disaggregate parcels, utilize

positive or negative criteria values, evaluate spatial

relationships, or spatially display weighted values. A GIS

proved valuable for conducting a comprehensive assessment of

the areal extent of the identified criteria and their scores

(values and weights). It is also an efficient, expedient,

and accurate technique for determining the degree to which a

particular parcel of land satisfied the criteria for

acquisition. Using an automated scoring algorithm, a GIS

can develop multioverlay composite scores for all lands in

an identified study area.

The procedures employed at the GIS phase of the

research consisted of constructing an individual map overlay

for each criterion. Next, the criterion was digitized from

its overlay and entered as a unique layer into the GIS at a

standard scale. After all criteria were entered, composite

scores were developed based upon their cumulative occurrence

in the study area. Individual criteria were weighted by

their importance, as determined by the Delphi exercise.

Additionally, other weighting scenarios were also employed

to illustrate the methodology's capability of responding to

various management options.

It will be shown that this methodology can be used as a

tool for decision making. The methodology is not intended

to be a computer-automated decision strategy; rather, it is

a computer-assisted decision strategy. It does not replace

management in the decision-making process; it increases

management productivity. It also decreases the chance that

a site will be overlooked.

Presentation of Research

The organization of this research divides the work into

eight chapters. Chapters I and II are devoted to an over-

view of water management in the State of Florida. It

includes the events leading up to the passage of the Save

Our Rivers legislation, the objectives of that legislation,

and a review of each water management district's land

selection process and overall program results. Chap-

ters III, IV and V are devoted to reviewing and justifying

the use of the Delphi technique to formulate land acquisi-

tion criteria; reviewing the uses and applications of GIS

for natural resources management; and evaluating and

selecting a geographic ranking technique for identifying

land acquisition priorities. Chapters VI, VII, and VIII are

devoted to the specific application of the research.

Chapter VI describes the application of the Delphi process.

It also discusses the data, assembly, and mapping of the

3This research is designed to develop a methodology by which
lands can be identified for acquisition by a water manage-
ment district, and not for the actual selection of lands
for purchase. The actual purchase by necessity will
involve costs for acquisition, restoration (if needed) and
management, parcel size, land ownership, and the degree of
necessary ownership interest. The ability to control
desirable land uses through regulatory authority (elimi-
nating the need for purchase) as well as other specific
management and administrative considerations are beyond the
scope of this inquiry.

Delphi-generated acquisition criteria for a designated study

area in the lower Oklawaha River Basin of the St. Johns

River Water Management District. In Chapter VII, the GIS

procedures and analysis are presented for the test appli-

cation for identifying and prioritizing lands for future

land acquisition. Chapter VIII evaluates the use of GIS for

prioritizing lands for acquisition. The chapter closes with

an assessment of applications of GIS for public land acqui-

sition and raises some future land acquisition issues.


Historical Overview

"In many ways, the history of our state is the history

of our efforts to deal with water," stated Governor Bob

Graham in October 1980 (Northwest Florida Water Management

District, 1981, p. 32). In this one statement, Graham

acknowledged the long and intricate relationship of numerous

factors and conditions which have manifested themselves in

shaping Florida's water management history. The governor's

statement also reflects much of the early history of the

state itself. Florida's physical setting, prevailing laws

and attitudes towards growth and development, and economic

conditions of the time resulted in a litany of water pro-

jects and schemes which have permanently altered the

hydrography of the state. These projects are acknowledged

now as fundamental environmental mistakes, and a fifth

generation of water managers in Florida is attempting to put

some of the pieces back together (Johnson, 1974).

This research deals with one effort to restore the

state's water resources and environmental conditions. This

effort involves the purchase of water resource-related and

environmentally significant lands under Florida's Save Our

Rivers program. In order to fully understand the need,

scope, and direction of this land acquisition initiative, an

overview of the state's related water resource history is

essential. It is not the intention here to provide a

detailed review of the entire water resources history of the

State of Florida. This section only provides an overview of

the major historical events that contribute to the context

for this research.

The physical geographic conditions of the state are the

stage on which Florida's water management history has been

played. However, owing to many fine works on the physical

geographic setting of Florida (Thornbury, 1965; Hunt, 1967;

Marcus & Mookherjee, 1962; Marcus & Fernald, 1975; Head &

Marcus, 1984; and Fernald & Patton, 1984), it will not be

described here.

Prehistory and The Spanish Period (1513-1821)

The history of water control in Florida can be traced

back to the early Indians who predate Ponce de Leon, before

1513. Evidence of early Indian works remain today in

southern Florida, where the flatness of the topography and

periods of extreme rainfall likely resulted in extensive

flooding. Various Indian works still exist in the form of

canals. These can be seen as straight lines cutting through

piney woods or as circles near ceremonial mounds or other

ancient earthworks (Huser, 1967).

The Spanish, who claimed Florida for over 300 years,

left little, if any, mark on the land with respect to water

control. It is thought that with the primary concentrations

of Spanish along the coast and in northern Florida, a need

for controlling water did not exist (Central and Southern

Florida Flood Control District, 1965).

Early Beginnings (1821-1845)

Almost as soon as the United States received Florida

from Spain (July, 1821) and before Florida was given terri-

torial status (1822), the beginnings of the great water

projects were proposed (Morris, 1956). In his 1821 edition

of Sketches, Historical and Topographical, of the Floridas,

Col. James Grant Forbes called for a water route across the

Florida peninsula through Lake Mayaco (Okeechobee) and its

eastward and westward flowing rivers to "form the grand

central source of communication between the Atlantic and the

Mexican Sea" (Forbes, quoted by Blake, 1980, p. 21). Forbes

presented this concept in the context of a national philoso-

phy for internal improvements. It resulted in a number of

cross-Florida canal proposals and the subsequent evaluation

of their feasibility. However, in November, 1827, President

John Quincy Adams noted that the surveying reports showed

that a ship-canal across the isthmus should be given up as

physically impracticable (Blake, 1980). The physical con-

straints to a sea-level canal and the birth of the American

railroad system in 1830 (Brown, 1948) resulted in faded

enthusiasm for a canal for a time, only to be resurrected,

however, twice more.

Statehood and the Swamp Lands Act (1845-1850)

With its admission to the United States in March of

1845, the water-related interests of Floridians changed from

navigation to drainage. In 1847, the first major proposal

for water control in Florida was promoted by its U.S.

Senator, J. D. Wescott. Wescott's plan was to drain the

overflow lands of the lower peninsula for agriculture, thus

attracting new settlers. His proposal was based on

optimistic reports from Generals William S. Harney and

Thomas S. Jessup. Harney, on the subject of drainage,

stated that

I do not know of a project that I regard as more
calculated to benefit the country than this. It
affords the Union the best kind of cultivated land
that is wanted to render us, to a great extent,
independent of the West Indies. (Central and
Southern Florida Flood Control District, 1965,
p. 23)

Wescott next arranged for the U.S. Department of the Trea-

sury to commission a reconnaissance of the Everglades which

was conducted by St. Augustine lawyer, Buckingham Smith.

Smith reported his findings in 1848. He concluded that the

waters of the Everglades were at least 12 feet above sea

level and that the glades could be drained by providing Lake

Okeechobee outlets to the Gulf and Atlantic. He noted that

while the area is beautiful to the visitor, "If that visitor

is a man of practical utilitarian turn of thought, the first

and abiding impression is the utter worthlessness to

civilized man in its present condition." Smith concluded

that draining the Everglades would provide for the cultiva-

tion of tropical fruits, sugar, and other important staples

(Carter, 1974, p. 62). As Blake (1980) and others point

out, there was one dissenting voice, that of Stephen R.

Mallory. Mallory warned that it was wholly out of the

question to drain all the Everglades. Wescott's plan was

ultimately stymied by the lack of support from the other

members of the Florida delegation. Thus, the Congress took

no action.

The Swamp Lands Act of 1850 was the significant turning

point in Florida's water resources history. It charted the

course for public works which would prevail for the next

120 years. The Act transferred into state ownership over

20.000,000 acres of federal swamp and overflow lands

(Carter, 1974), an area over one-half as large as the state

itself. The Act provided that the state legislature would

have authority to dispose of these lands, and that proceeds

from these sales were to be applied to reclaiming the lands

by means of levees and drains (Blake, 1980). Huber and

Heaney (1984) note that this Act was the major impetus in

the state's water related development.

The Railroads and Early Canal Schemes (1851-1904)

Blake's 1980 history of water management in Florida,

Land into Water--Water into Land, identifies the period of

1912 to 1933 as "times of troubles," owing to the grave

financial situation of the state. However, the period from

1851 to 1904 significantly compounded those troubles. This

was a period of the great railroad land grants, the Civil

War, and numerous fraudulent canal schemes which would

divest the public of millions of acres of its 1850 federal

land grant. At one point, its Internal Improvement Fund was

placed under receivership by a federal court (Johnson,


The poststatehood policy of the State of Florida was to

encourage growth and development. This was not only a state

policy but a national one as well. Instrumental in formu-

lating this policy in Florida was the Internal Improvement

Act of 1855, which was to provide for and encourage a

liberal system of internal improvements in the state

(Johnson, 1974). The act emphasized transportation and

established the Internal Improvement Trust Fund with the

Governor and Cabinet, as Trustees, to administer it. The

Act earmarked all unsold lands and unappropriated moneys

from federal land grants for its intended use. In imple-

menting the Act, the Trustees, according to Blake (1980,

p. 39), "placed all their bets on the railroads." The

Trustees were soon granting the railroads six-square-mile

tracts of land for each mile of rails constructed (or

reported to have been constructed). Moreover, in addition

to these state land grants, the Trustees guaranteed the

railroads construction bonds. By the end of the Civil War,

the state found its railroads insolvent and it was in debt

for some $3,500,000 from the guaranteed railroad bonds.

The period following the Civil War was characterized by

a desperate search for funds by the Trustees. The period

also included the proposal of many land grant canal and

drainage schemes and, under Governor Bloxham (1880-1884 and

1896-1900), a renewed railroad building program began with

more major land grants. In 1901, at the request of newly

elected Governor William S. Jennings, an audit of Florida's

land grant acts revealed that 115 acts had been passed. It

also revealed that some 9,000,000 acres had been granted to

railroads, with outstanding claims for an additional

6,000,000 acres. Deeds for 2,250,000 additional acres had

been given canal companies, which were claiming approxi-

mately 1,000,000 more acres. Blake (1980) notes that if

these deeds and claims were valid, the state had no more

land to sell or grant. On November 21, 1904, Governor

Jennings and the Cabinet, under threat of substantial

litigation from the railroads, resolved that the conveyance

of lands by the tTrustees could only be for its original

intended purpose--that of reclaiming lands by means of

levees and drains.

The Disston Land Company (1881-1901)

Emerging from the land grant turmoil of the late 1800s,

there was one project that would have a lasting influence on

the State of Florida. This was the purchase of

4,000,000 acres by Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia at a

cost of $1 million, or $1.25 an acre. The purchase had

two major results. First, it provided enough revenue to the

Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund to pay off

their railroad bonds, thus removing the trustees from the

U.S. court-imposed injunction on the sale of lands.

Secondly, it initiated the permanent change of the water

resources of central and southern Florida.

The Disston venture did not, as intended, result in the

permanent establishment of commercial sugar production in

south-central Florida, for a number of financial, mana-

gerial, and federal sugar policy reasons (Rose, 1919). The

project did, however, link Lake Okeechobee with the Gulf of

Mexico through the Caloosahatchee River. It also connected

all major lakes in the Kissimmee River chain. The result

was the first significant drainage of South Florida's Lake

Okeechobee-Kissimmee River area--a process which would be

continued for many decades to come.

The Everglades Drainage District (1913-1949)]

Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was elected Governor of

Florida in November, 1904. His election was based in large

part on campaign promises to halt abuses by the railroads,

to stop the less-than-sincere efforts of the large land

drainage companies, and to drain the Everglades. By the end

of his first year in office, Broward had succeeded in

creating the Board of Drainage Commissioners, whose members

were the same as the Trustees of the Internal Improvement

Trust Fund. Broward also had arranged contracts for the

construction of two massive state dredges, the "Everglades"

and the "Okeechobee," which were in operation by late 1906

(Rose, 1919). Although the Drainage Commission had legis-

lative authority to tax lands to support its operations, it

did not have the authority to issue bonds. This resulted in

the 1913 legislation creating the Everglades Drainage

District, again composed of the Governor and Cabinet. This

new district was given authority to finance the drainage of

the Everglades with revenues from the sale of bonds. With

its new bonding authority and a highly favorable "technical"

assessment by Ishman Randolph (The Randolf Report), the

district by 1917 had sold $3,500,000 in bonds. This was the

beginning of the major work to drain the Everglades

(McCartney, 1968).

Huber and Heaney (1984) cite the period between 1905

and 1927 as the most intensive period of drainage in the

Everglades and Lake Okeechobee regions. Johnson (1974),

however, notes that the most active period of construction

was from 1917 to 1927. During this period, six major canals

or channelized rivers were connected to Lake Okeechobee,

totaling some 433 miles. Carter (1974) points out, however,

that hydraulically these canals were seriously undersized.

While they provided enough drainage in dry years to open

lands up to agriculture, they did not have the hydraulic

capacity to carry the waters in wet periods. Thus, they

created a false sense of security for the increasing popu-

lation of the area.

During the two years from 1926 to 1928, three Florida

events would take place which effectively terminated the

activities of the Everglades Drainage District. These were

the hurricane of 1926; the refusal of District Board Member,

Nathan Mayo, Commissioner of Agriculture, to sign a

$20,000,000 bond issue in 1927; and the killer Septem-

ber 1928 hurricane which claimed some 2,000 lives (Will,

1964). Coupled with the economic effects of a national

depression, these events placed the District in a position

from which it would never completely recover. In 1931, the

Everglades Drainage District defaulted on its bonds.

There was one significant additional factor in the

water resource legacy of the Everglades Drainage District.

Perhaps from local taxpayer pressure, or in an attempt for

the Governor and Cabinet to disassociate themselves with the

hurricane disasters, or both, the Florida legislature in

1931 removed Tallahassee control of the district. The

legislature instead placed control in the hands of a five-

member locally appointed board (Johnson, 1974). This

control was not functionally effective until 1949, when the

Everglades District was dissolved into the newly created

Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District. This

latter event represents the first time an appointed water

management board was given land-taxing authority--an event

which would have great implications in Florida's later water

resources history.

The Okeechobee Flood Control District (1929-1949)

In 1929, the Florida legislature created the Okeechobee

Flood Control District. This was partially in response to

the hurricanes of 1926 and 1928, but also in recognition of

the fact that the legislature had not authorized flood

control as a function of the Everglades Drainage District.

The most important aspect of this second district was its

authorization to "fully cooperate with the federal govern-

ment in carrying out this program" (Blake, 1980, p. 145).

This district clearly was established as a vehicle to

substantially involve the federal government, through the

Corps of Engineers, in financing flood control in Southern

Florida (Central and Southern Florida Flood Control

District, 1965). After several reports, hearings, testi-

mony, and congressional maneuvering during 1929 and early

1930, and with the support of a sympathetic Herbert Hoover

as president, Congress agreed to fund the flood control

effort in southern Florida, totalling some $23,370,000 by

1942 (Blake, 1980). By this effort, the federal government

became a major participant in the management of Florida's

waters in a capacity other than navigation.


The Cross-Florida Sea Level Ship Canal (1930-1942)

A second, and almost successful, attempt to construct a

cross-Florida canal occurred in the early 1930s. President

Roosevelt initially provided $5,000,000 in 1935 from his

discretionary W.P.A. funds for a sea-level ship canal. The

proposed route of the canal included the Withlacoochee,

Oklawaha, and St. Johns Rivers. Although support was

strongly divided within the state, the project was started

in Marion County, south of Ocala. In 1936, Congress refused

to appropriate funds for the canal, and construction

stopped. Congress debated the canal's future for the next

six years. Authorization was finally granted in July, 1942

by a single vote. However, the authorization carried no

appropriation of funds and owing to the demands of the

Second World War, the canal project lost its momentum.

The significance of this attempt was that the Corps of

Engineers, which had conducted at least 12 separate evalua-

tions on the canal since 1826, now appeared to have workable

construction plans for the cross-state canal (Blake, 1980).

Moreover, the project had gained Congressional authorization

for the first time. Some twenty years later, the canal

effort would be rekindled under President Kennedy.

The Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District

Following World War II, there was an increased aware-

ness of the need for a more comprehensive water management

strategy in Florida and particularly in South Florida. This

awareness derived partially from growing concern in southern

Florida about lowered ground water levels, salt water

intrusion into the well fields of coastal cities, and the

oxidization of drained organic soils of the Everglades. The

actual burning of thousands of acres of exposed peat and

muck in the Everglades only heightened this concern. In

addition to the projects of the Everglades Drainage District

and the joint Okeechobee-Federal Flood Control effort, some

seventy-two local and private drainage districts were

operating without any coordination in the six-county area of

southern Florida. This was the situation in 1947, when

south Florida received 102 inches of rainfall. This amount

included two hurricanes which flooded some three million

acres for a period of several months (McCartney, 1968).

In April of 1949, the Florida legislature combined the

Everglades and Okeechobee Districts into the Central and

Southern Florida Flood Control District. With the pledge of

substantial federal support, the District and the Corps of

Engineers began the largest public works project in the

nation since the construction of the Panama Canal (Central

and Southern Florida Flood Control District, 1954).

The Central and Southern Florida project, with its

hundreds of miles of dikes, dams, canals, and levees and its

locks and pumping stations, has been adequately explained by

many (see McCartney, 1968; Carter, 1974; Blake, 1980;

Fernald & Patton ed., 1984). What is significant for this

research, other than acknowledging a massive structural

project, is that the traditional focus of water management

in Florida had changed in three important ways.

First, the new district would be governed by a geo-

graphically distributed, appointed local board. Secondly,

state general fund revenues were appropriated for the first

time to support the activities of a water district.

Thirdly, those activities, also known as "the mission" of

the new district were significantly expanded. The expanded

mission included water conservation and storage; preser-

vation of ground water levels; development of recreational

facilities; preservation and enhancement of fish and wild-

life; navigation; and the prevention of surface and sub-

surface salt-water encroachment, in addition to traditional

flood control duties (Central and Southern Florida Flood

Control District, 1967). This comprehensive approach to

water management would serve as the paradigm for water

management programs yet to come.

The Cross Florida Barge Canal (1962-1971)

After its authorization in 1942, the canal project

basically lay dormant for twenty years. However, presi-

dential politics in 1960 breathed new life into the project

as candidate John F. Kennedy declared his support for its

construction. Following his election, Kennedy secured a

planning and design appropriation in 1962, and an initial

construction appropriation in 1963. The canal, modified

from the 1930s version to include locks, was again underway.


Construction appropriations continued after Kennedy's death,

although somewhat slowly. President Lyndon Johnson con-

tinued Kennedy's support of the canal project.

By 1970, President Richard Nixon's second year in

office, over 50 million dollars had been spent on the canal.

Results included the purchase of rights of way, and the

construction of the Gulf Canal, the Eureka lock and dam, the

St. Johns lock and canal, and the Rodman dam. The latter

included the "crushing" of the highly acclaimed Oklawaha

riverine forest for a reservoir, known as the Rodman Pool

(Blake, 1980). However, on January 19, 1971, President

Nixon, acting on the recommendation of his Council on

Environmental Quality, issued an Executive Order halting the


Nixon's action actually reinforced an earlier ruling by

a U.S. District Court, injoining further construction of the

canal. Later Florida Governor Reubin Askew and the Cabinet

withdrew state support. Together, they provided a clear

landmark for the changing philosophy of water management in

Florida. In the context of a new national environmental

awareness, Florida environmental groups, notably the Florida

Defenders of the Environment, became both organized and

outspoken. Florida environmental groups, with the assis-

tance of national media attention, reinforced by a techni-

cally flawed cost-benefit analysis by the Corps of

Engineers, rallied popular and political support to stop the

project. This action, coupled with other, less dramatic

statewide environmental concerns, tolled the end for massive

structural water management projects in Florida. Water

management in Florida from this point on would be more

environmentally sound and basically nonstructural.

The Governor's Conference on Water Management in South
Florida (1971)

Although somewhat different from previous historical

events presented in this review, Governor Askew's Conference

on Water Management in South Florida would become a mile-

stone in Florida's water resources history. The conference

was convened as a result of the growing awareness of water

resource and environmental problems in Southern Florida,

including land use impacts on area waters, salt water

intrusion, and excessive human modification of the area's

hydrologic regime. The lasting impact of this conference

reflects a rare combination of timing, personalities, and

events. It would chart the course for Florida's water

programs for at least the next two decades. Askew, with

impassioned opening statements such as "We must build a

peace in south Florida .a peace between people and

their place," set the tone for the emotionally charged and,

ultimately, highly productive conference (Carter, 1974).

Blake (1980, pp. 225-227) cites the conference's major


There is a water crisis in South Florida today.
The crisis has long-range aspects. Every major
water area in the South Florida basin, Everglades
National Park, the conservation areas, Lake
Okeechobee and the Kissimmee Valley is steadily

deteriorating in quality from a variety of pol-
luting sources. The quantity of water,
though potentially adequate for today's demand,
cannot now be managed effectively over wet/dry
cycles to assure a minimum adequate supply in
extended drought periods.

and recommendations

No further drainage of wetlands for any purpose;
reflooding the Kissimmee Valley and unused agri-
cultural land; allowing a maximum high-level mark
of 17.5 feet in Lake Okeechobee; purchase or
zoning of land to protect water recharge areas;
filling in certain South Dade canals; and a state
drilling code to regulate wells. For an
adequate long-range water supply, the state must
have an enforceable comprehensive land and water1
planning effort to insure a quality environment.

To implement the concerns and recommendations of the

conference, Askew appointed a "blue ribbon" task force to

draft legislation for the 1972 session. Upon completion of

his legislative proposals, Governor Askew transmitted them

to the legislature, noting that

The economy of government planning is obvious when
you consider that it might help keep us from
spending $50 million ruining the Kissimmee River
in the name of flood control $13 million in
the name of jet travel, (the defunct jetport),
S or $75 million on a barge canal which is in
considerable doubt. (Blake, 1980, p. 227)

The result of Askew's conference and the industry of its

attendees, the Task Force, and other supporters was the

passage by the 1972 legislature of the most comprehensive

state environmental legislation in its history, and perhaps

For a detailed review of the conference proceedings, see
the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control District,
Water Management Bulletin, Vol. 5, 1971.

that of the nation. Although some 41 pieces of environ-

mentally-related legislation were ultimately to pass in the

1972 session, the centerpieces were four major bills: the

Florida Comprehensive Planning Act, the Environmental Land

and Water Management Act, the Land Conservation Act, and the

Water Resources Act. Of these four major programs, the

latter two have a direct application to this research. The

first established the initial program for the state to begin

to buy back its environmentally important lands; the second

established Florida's water management district structure.

Florida's Water Management System

Florida's system of sub-state regional water management

is nationally unique. It is perhaps the most effective

institutional arrangement for the development, control, and

protection of any state's water resources. The system

originated from the Water Resources Act of 1972. That act

led to the establishment of five regional water management

districts with areas based on surface water hydrologic

boundaries to administer programs dealing primarily with the

quantity aspects of water control.2

2Initially, six districts were created. An interim district
known as the Ridge and Lower Gulf Coast district was
abolished and its area divided between the South Florida
and the Southwest Florida Water Management Districts in
1975. Also, some water quality responsibilities have been
added to the districts' statutory responsibilities in
recent years.

Many Florida water scholars (Blain, 1988; May & Snaman,

1986) attribute the foundation of the district concept to A

Model Water Code with Commentary (Maloney, Ausness, &

Morris, 1972). The basis for much of the structure was also

a result of the empirical considerations of the state's

previous successes and failures in dealing with water. The

previous structure of the Everglades Drainage District, the

Okeechobee Flood Control District, and their successor

agency, the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control

District, provided the principle foundation for regionally-

appointed boards assessing ad valorem taxes on land to

support their activities. Additionally, in 1961, the

Southwest Florida Water Management District was created as

the local sponsor for the Corps of Engineers' effort to deal

with flooding in the Tampa Bay area. It was also given

limited water resource regulatory authority. These pre-

viously tested concepts were blended into the new state


A final and highly important influence on the ultimate

configuration of the state's water management districts

resulted from Florida's substantial socio-economic and

physical differences. Simply stated, the nature and extent

of water resource conditions and issues were not the same in

northern as they were in southern Florida. The hydrologic

regime, environmental sensitivity, the growth pressures, and

the overall socioeconomic setting of South Florida were

substantially different than those prevailing in northern

Florida. These conditions manifest themselves in very

different political perceptions toward the need for and use

of water management. If a major statewide water resource

initiative was to be passed by the legislature, it would, by

political necessity, have to deal with north and south

Florida differently. It did, and it passed.

The Water Resources Act is codified in Chapter 373,

Florida Statutes. It establishes water management districts

covering the entire state. Two of the districts were

established from former districts in southern and southwest

Florida; three were entirely new. The five districts are

the South Florida, the Southwest Florida, the St. Johns

River, the Suwannee River, and the Northwest Florida Water

Management Districts. The districts are established along

lines approximating surface water hydrologic boundaries.

They range in size from the Suwannee River district, with an

area of 7,646 square miles and a 1980 population of 172,900,

to the South Florida district with 17,900 square miles and

some 3,873,000 persons (Fernald & Patton, 1984; Figure 1).

The districts are each governed by a board appointed by the


In Chapter 373, Florida Statutes, the legislature

provides a clear and concise statement of its objectives and

intent for the "conservation, development, and proper

utilization of surface and ground water to regular

dams, impoundments, reservoirs and to prevent damage

from floods, soil erosion, and excessive drainage." The

Figure 1. Florida Water Management Districts.

legislature also stated clearly that it "recognizes that the

water resource problems of the state vary from region to

region, both in magnitude and complexity" (State of Florida,

1972-1990, p. 2). While assigning initial general super-

visory authority in 1972 to the state Department of Natural

Resources (later transferred to the Department of Environ-

mental Regulations in 1975), the 1972 Water Resources Act

plainly stated that "to the greatest extent practicable,

power should be delegated to the governing board of a water

management district" (State of Florida, 1972-1990, p. 2-3).

Chapter 373, Florida Statutes provides broad powers and

duties to the districts and provides specific "tools" to

carry them out. It is necessary to briefly review these

authorizations in order to provide a context for this


Chapter 373, Florida Statutes gives the districts,

through both authorizations as well as mandates, the author-

ity to

1. Exclusively regulate all water in the state except

as otherwise provided. This includes the regulation of

water wells and water well contractors; the consumptive use

of water; the regulation of dams, impoundments, canals and

other works which divert or direct water; the artificial

recharge of ground waters; minimum flows and levels of both

ground and surface waters; the establishment of salt-water

barrier lines; and the regulation of any water-related

activities which impact areas or facilities designated as

Works of the District.

2. Formulate and adopt comprehensive plans for the use

of water, the development of water supplies, and to deal

with conditions of water shortage.

3. Conduct technical investigations for ground water

resource availability, identification of ground water

recharge areas, and for resource assessments requested by

local governments.

4. Plan, construct, operate, and maintain physical

works to impound, store, move, remove waters, or to restore

hydrologic or natural environmental conditions.

5. Acquire real property for the conservation and

protection of water-related resources, including flood

control, water storage, water management, and the preserva-

tion of wetlands, streams, and lakes. Additionally, the

districts are authorized eminent domain powers for acquiring

land for water storage and flood control.

6. Designate specific geographic areas for special

regulatory considerations and other programs such as areas

of water shortage or areas of water resources concern.

7. Establish, construct, and operate water production

and transmission facilities for the purpose of supplying

water to counties, municipalities, and regional water supply


8. Provide assistance to other special districts in

undertaking and accomplishing their assigned programs.

Examples include regional water supply authorities and other

legislatively or executively-created special programs and

projects, such as the Kissimmee River Coordinating Council.

9. Plan and implement, either structurally, non-

structurally or administratively, programs for the improve-

ment or enhancement of surface water quality, i.e. the

Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program.

10. Levy an ad valorem tax against real property in a

district to support its operations. A 1976 amendment to the

State Constitution sets the maximum taxation rate at

one mill, except for the Northwest Florida district, which

is capped at .05 mills. The districts are limited statu-

torily by the legislature to the following taxing (millage)

rate: 1.0 mills for Southwest Florida, .8 mills for South

Florida, .75 mills for Suwannee River, .6 mills for St.

Johns River, and .05 mills for Northwest Florida.

To summarize, Chapter 373, Florida Statutes establishes

the districts and identifies their mission as comprehensive

water management agencies. It also provides the tools

(regulations, technical investigations, water resource

planning, water production, works, technical assistance,

funding, and land acquisition) by which the districts can

accomplish this mission. No other state can show their

programs of water management to be as comprehensive, power-

ful, and as well financed as Florida's (Viessman & Biery-

Hamilton, 1986).

The Implications of History: Some Observations

Preceding portions of this chapter have introduced a

contextual framework for understanding the evolution of

Florida's water resource management philosophy. They also

present an overview and brief summary of its unique manage-

ment delivery system. From this review, four basic observa-

tions can be made regarding the influence of historical

events on the creation and establishment of Florida's water

management lands acquisition program, Save Our Rivers.

First, it was apparent even as early as Governor

Jennings' administration (1900-1904) that Florida could or

would no longer tolerate the wholesale divesting of state-

owned lands. Although initially well intended as a means to

develop the state and to provide needed transportation, the

exorbitant, if not fraudulent, land grants to railroad and

canal companies would no longer be permitted. Likewise, the

sale of vast acreages at rates substantially below market

value would also end in the early 1900s. The net financial

impact from the sale or grant of Florida's 20,000,000 acres

of swamp and overflow lands in bringing economic growth and

development to the state will never be known. What is known

is that generations, unborn at that time, are now having to

buy them back, in part through the Save Our Rivers program.

Second, the application of structural water management

solutions, especially financially or technically unsound

ones, to Florida's water problems has ended. Structural

projects, as all have learned, were never totally adequate,

but always expensive. A nonstructural approach through the

acquisition of land became desirable.

A significant third factor which would have a major

influence on the future water programs in Florida was the

national environmental movement of the early 1970s and late

60s (see Carter, 1974; Blake, 1980; May et al., 1986). The

response from this movement was not only opposition to many

destructive water projects, but the organization of these

groups into a powerful state and national environmental

lobby. Now the powerful structural water management inter-

est could be somewhat neutralized by powerful nonstructural


A fourth implication which would precipitate the

establishment of a major water management lands acquisition

program in the districts was the structure of the districts

themselves. The comprehensive nature of their overall

mission, the relative wealth of both the districts and the

State of Florida, and a track record in implementing pro-

grams would culminate in the legislative perception that the

districts were an excellent vehicle to administer the annual

$35 million land-buying program. In an attempt to correct

past water resource mistakes and to establish a new pro-

active direction for water management in the future, the

legislature established Florida's Save Our Rivers program.

PROGRESS 1981-1990

Legislative Background

"Save Our Rivers was a program whose time had come,"

notes Jim Lewis, Chief Legislative Analyst of the Florida

Department of Environmental Regulation (DER). Lewis was

referring to almost-universal endorsement and support for

this major land acquisition program, from its inception to

its passage by the Florida legislature in 1981. Sanford

Young, Executive Assistant to the DER Secretary 1978-1980,

attributes the initiative for Save Our Rivers to Governor

Bob Graham. Young explains that he and DER Secretary Jacob

Varn were summoned to the Governor's mansion early one

Saturday morning in the Spring of 1980 to discuss with the

Governor alternatives for acquiring water resource- related

lands. Graham was concerned with the appropriateness of a

purchase he and the Cabinet had approved under the Conserva-

tion And Recreation Lands (CARL) program. A parcel of land

in the upper St. Johns River marsh had been approved over

the objections of Paul Parks representing several environ-

mental groups. The Governor directed the Secretary to

propose an alternative process for acquiring water manage-

ment-related lands. Young noted that Graham felt that the

newly-created CARL program was designed to acquire coastal,

unique natural and environmentally significant communities,

and outdoor recreational lands. The CARL guidelines were

also broad enough to support the acquisition of lands with

water resource values. However, the Governor charged DER

Secretary Varn with proposing new alternatives specifically

designed to accommodate the acquisition of water management

lands along with a source of revenue. At the direction of

the Secretary, the DER staff worked with staff from the

Governor's office and the water management districts;

together they drafted legislation creating the Water Manage-

ment Lands Trust Fund in the Summer of 1980. Graham offi-

cially announced the proposal at the Florida Audubon

Society's March, 1981 Environmentally Endangered Lands

conference in Winter Park (Graham, 1981a).

The major legislative initiative for Save Our Rivers

came in the Florida House of Representatives according to

Natural Resources Committee Staff Director Fred Breeze

(1980-1982). At the request of the Governor's office,

Jacksonville Representative Steve Pajcic, Chairman of the

House Committee on Finance and Taxation, readily agreed to

sponsor the legislation. To give the bill conservative

support, Pajcic requested Northwest Florida's James Harold

Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, to

cosponsor the measure. Thompson agreed, and the bill was

filed as House Bill 535 in the 1981 session. With

two powerful committee chairmen as cosponsors, the bill

moved easily through the House.

E. D. Vergara, former Executive Director of the St.

Johns River Water Management District, explains that

Pajcic's support, at least in part, was based on efforts by

the district. The district included Pajcic's own House

District, and it was seeking to change its approach to water

management. The St. Johns district was facing problems with

water supply, water quality, water storage, and flooding in

the St. Johns River basin at the time. It was attempting to

address these problems through a non-structural methods,

including land acquisition and regulation. The Corps of

Engineers in recent years had provided engineering and

funding for Florida's major water projects. However, it was

not authorized by Congress to expend federal funds for land

acquisition. As a result, the District began soliciting

support for its nonstructural approach from its area's

representatives in Congress. To its surprise, it found

strong state support from Pajcic, who had long pursued

cleaning up the St. Johns River.

According to former House Speaker James Harold

Thompson, his motivation to sponsor the Save Our Rivers

legislation was different. Long opposed to highly stringent

regulations which arguably denied private owners a reason-

able use of their property, Thompson viewed land acquisition

as a method to compensate owners for undue restrictions. As

a lawyer, he was aware of the taking issue (see Bosselman,

Callies, and Banta, 1973). Thompson viewed land acquisition

in his rural district as a favorable alternative to public

regulations. He noted that "if the public is going to use

land [through water management], then the land should be in

public ownership."

The only conflict in the passage of the Save Our Rivers

program resulted from its funding formula. In its original

form, the bill allocated 25 percent of new revenues from the

proposed increase in documentary stamp taxes each to the

three larger districts: South and Southwest Florida and the

St. Johns districts. The Northwest and Suwannee districts

were to receive ten percent each, with the remaining

five percent assigned, as needed, by the Department of

Environmental Regulation.

However, in the final week of the session, state

Senators from Miami proposed an amendment on the Senate

floor to cut the two northern districts to five percent

each, and to increase South Florida's share to 35 percent.

Senator Pat Thomas of Quincy, in northern Florida, ardently

opposed this move. The legislation appeared deadlocked in

the Senate. Fearing the bill would not pass, Governor

Graham (although from Miami) supported Thomas. By allo-

cating the state-controlled five percent to the South

Florida Water Management District, the bill passed (Talla-

hassee Democrat, 1981). With that move, Graham secured

legislation creating the most significant nonstructural and

environmentally sound water management program in the nation

(Morine, 1986). With its passage, Save Our Rivers con-

tributed to the changing public policy on water resource

management in Florida.

Water Management Lands Trust Fund

The Bill Analysis for House Bill 535, from the Florida

House Committee on Natural Resources (1981, p. 1), sum-

marizes the proposed Save Our Rivers legislation as follows:

This bill proposes a surtax of five cents per
$100 levied on the documentary tax stamp as a
revenue source for the purchase of vital wetlands
by the water management districts. These monies
will be held in a Water Management Lands Trust
Fund to be released by the Secretary of the
Department of Environmental Regulation upon
receipt of a resolution adopted by the districts'
governing board.

The bill specifies lands available for
immediate acquisition and requires the districts
submit a 5-year land acquisition plan to the
Legislature and the Secretary by January 15, 1982,
and annually thereafter for acquisition activity
and updates of the 5-year plan.

Fund monies are to be used to acquire land
necessary for water management and the conserva-
tion and protection of water resources. The lands
are to be managed to the extent practicable to
restore and maintain their natural state and
condition, but they may be used for recreational
and other multiple purpose uses wherever practica-

The bill also specifies the percentage
distribution to each district and provides a
repeal date of July 1, 1992.

The proposed 5 cent increase on the documen-
tary stamp tax imposed on deeds and other land
transactions will provide $320 million over a
ten-year period. Private sector impact will
result from a surcharge of 5 cents on each $100 in
valuation on land transactions. This expense is
usually borne by the buyer.

The intent of this bill is to encourage the
maintenance or restoration of wetlands in order
that they might perform their natural ecological
function as related to water management.

In addition to the provisions above, the legislation as

passed (Appendix A) cited as its intent the "acquisition of

fee or other interests in land necessary for water manage-

ment, water supply, and the conservation and protection of

water resources in such a way as to restore and

protect their natural state and condition" (State of

Florida, 1981, p. 3). Based on this limited policy guidance

and with the identification of a few specific areas, the

Florida legislature authorized the appropriation of

$35,000,000 annually through the Water Management Lands

Trust Fund for the state's five water management districts

to purchase lands.

In contrast to many legislative programs, subsequent

amendments to Save Our Rivers made its requirements more

flexible, not more restrictive. In its 1985 session, the

legislature removed the districts' required twenty percent

dollar match; increased the tax rate from $0.05 to $0.75 per

$100; authorized bonding the program's revenues; and removed

the date of termination of the program (State of Florida,

1985). The next session, the districts were authorized to

expend up to ten percent of their revenues for management,

maintenance, and necessary capital improvements (State of

Florida, 1986a).

Finally, in 1990 the legislature passed a major addi-

tion to both the Save Our Rivers and the CARL program by

enacting Preservation 2000 (State of Florida, 1990). By its

enactment, an additional $90 million dollars per year (for

ten years) was added to the Water Management Lands Trust

Fund, which had otherwise increased to approximately

$50 million a year. Beginning on July 1, 1990, Florida's

five water management districts have some $140 million each

year to acquire lands. Without exception, is the largest

program of its type in the history of the United States.

Implementation of Save Our Rivers

In the nine years since creation of the Save Our Rivers

program, Florida's water management districts have purchased

542,769 acres at a cost of approximately $342,200,000 (see

Table 1).

The major emphasis of the districts' efforts has been

toward purchasing floodplains, water storage lands, and

Table 1

Save Our Rivers Acquisitions by Water
Management District 1981-1990

District Acreage Cost Cost/Acre

South 114,447 83.6M $722
Southwest 41,972 41.7M 936
St. Johns 254,251 163.7M 644
Suwannee 40,492 26.2M 647
Northwest 91,607 28.0M 306

Total 542,769 342.2M $630

Source: Water Management District Five-year Plans.

freshwater marshes; all of these were clearly inherent in

the legislative intent of the program. However, all

districts have faced several common problems. These

include: using Save Our Rivers funds directly to purchase

potable water supply lands; determining the ordinary high

water line delineating sovereign (state owned) lands;

determining the degree of legal property interests in land

to accomplish the districts' objectives; and the question of

whether to purchase lands or simply regulate their use to

achieve adequate resource protection. The districts also

face a final important problem: developing and employing a

comprehensive, systematic land identification and selection

process. The latter problem is the focus of this research.

It becomes apparent by viewing the accomplishments, plans,

and selection methodologies used by each district. A review

of each district's Save Our Rivers program follows.

South Florida Water Management District

The district lists its purchases under Save Our Rivers

at 114,447 acres (South Florida Water Management District,

1990). The bulk of these acquisitions have been concen-

trated in five general areas. These include the C-lll canal

in Dade County; the De Puis Reserve in Palm Beach and Martin

Counties; the East Everglades in Dade County; the Kissimmee

River; and the water conservation areas in Dade, Broward,

and Palm Beach Counties (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Major Save Our Rivers Acquisitions.

The district cites its major acquisition considerations

as manageability, surface and ground water systems pro-

tection, and the formation of corridors for wildlife

populations. The district emphasizes that its lands are

acquired to ensure that water resources, fish and wildlife,

and native plant communities are maintained in an environ-

mentally acceptable manner. The district also promotes

public recreation consistent with the lands' environmental

sensitivity (South Florida Water Management District, 1990).

To identify and prioritize lands for acquisition, the

South Florida District developed an evaluation matrix

approach. Their matrix "allows an objective analysis to be

made of each parcel's water management and environmental

values" (Helfferich, 1989, p. 148-49). The methodology is

based on an inventory technique for natural ecological

communities in Alachua County, Florida, developed by KBN,

Inc. (1987). The matrix evaluates ten different parameters,

which are each given a score from one to five based on their

level of occurrence as judged by district staff. The

parameters are also weighted to give relative importance "to

certain high priority items" (Helfferich, 1989) (see

Table 2). The initial scores were multiplied by the

assigned weights and a total score was calculated. Fol-

lowing the individual project assessment, the parcels are

grouped into two classes, Category A and B based on their

total scores. Category A parcels are identified for


Table 2

South Florida Water Management District Save
Our Rivers Project Evaluation Matrix

Parameter Weighting Factor

1. Water Management 5
2. Water Supply 3
3. Conservation and Protection of
Water Resources 4
4. Manageability 2
5. Habitat Diversity 2
6. Species Diversity 1
7. Connectedness 2
8. Rarity 1
9. Vulnerability 1
10. Nature Oriented Human Use 1

Source: Helfferich, 1989.

acquisition; Category B parcels are not pursued unless they

can be purchased at below-market value.

Even though a matrix analysis is employed to rank

potential acquisitions, the parcels themselves are iden-

tified in an "ad hoc" manner. They may or may not represent

the most desirable lands. Moreover, according to Fred

Davis, director of the district's lands program, most

purchases have been "purchases by opportunity," and have

been based on the threat of loss. He notes that "if it is

for sale, you buy it or someone else will." Davis also is

concerned that while the district's land acquisition

revenues are approximately $40 million a year, there is a

waiting list in early 1990 of $300 million. Goodrich (1985)

noted earlier that this condition had developed. He

expressed concern that the program may be creating a value

for land which is not real.

Southwest Florida Water Management District

In its 1990 Five-year (land acquisition) Plan, the

Southwest Florida district reported purchases to date of

almost 42,000 acres. The major acquisitions have occurred

in the Green Swamp, the Withlacoochee riverine corridor, and

Flying Eagle Ranch in Citrus County. The district identi-

fies an additional 94,708 acres as lands proposed for

purchase (Southwest Florida Water Management District,

1990a). The district cites four major land acquisition

objectives. They are: land which includes riverine swamps

and flood conveyance corridors; lands which allow the proper

functioning of existing and proposed water management

projects; lands which recharge natural water systems; and

lands having some unique water management function, such as

recharge areas or areas protecting public water supplies.

The district presently employs an exhaustive and

cumbersome selection process. The criteria utilized for its

parcel-by-parcel evaluation are primarily those identified

in the Save Our Rivers legislation. They also include

several district-established acquisition criteria. These

are land for natural flood control water detention or

retention, preservation or restoration of natural systems,

water conveyance, water quality enhancement, structural

flood control, recharge, and potable water supply protec-


A lengthy evaluation process is initiated by identi-

fying a prospective parcel of land. This is followed by the

development of an extensive evaluation report by an inter-

departmental team. The report is then submitted to a staff

land use task force which reviews the report and formulates

their conclusions and recommendations. Upon securing a

recommendation from the staff task force, the proposal is

transmitted to the appropriate basin board. Following basin

board approval, the project is reviewed by the Save Our

Rivers Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of one member of each of

the district's ten basin boards. At the recommendation of

the Ad Hoc Committee, the proposed purchase is finally

submitted to the district's Governing Board for a public

hearing on the parcel's inclusion in the five-year land

acquisition plan. This process is repeated for actual

approval of a parcel's purchase (Southwest Florida Water

Management District, 1990a).

In February, 1990, the Southwest Florida district

attempted to improve its selection process by using its GIS

system for land acquisition evaluation. A pilot application

process report (Southwest Florida Water Management District,

1990b) was developed by district staff. Their report

recommended the use of new selection criteria for the

district's acquisition review. The criteria are presented

in Table 3.

Table 3

Southwest Florida Water Management District
Revised Land Acquisition Selection Criteria

Water Supply Protection
Water Supply Suitability -- Ground Water
Water Supply Suitability -- Surface Water
Water Use Density
Areas of Contribution -- Ground Water
Protection Areas for Surface Water Supplies
Susceptibility to Ground-Water Contamination

Flood Protection
Drainage Basin Morphology
Wetlands Index

Natural Systems Protection
Wildlife Habitat
Water Quality Enhancement
Disturbed Lands

Management and Acquisition Considerations
Land Ownership
Publicly-Owned Lands
Development Pressure
Priority Water Bodies

Source: Southwest Florida Water Management District, 1990.

The district's GIS application to date has involved the

production of computer-generated static maps on which

individual criteria are presented, based on a scale indi-

cating level of occurrence. Officially, this process has

not been adopted. No specific lands are identified from the

information provided on the series of maps. Further, no

composite scoring based on aggregate values has been


Fritz Musselman, director of the district's land

acquisition program, notes that most of the district's

purchases have, like South Florida, been purchases of

opportunity with emphasis on river corridors. He acknowl-

edged that greater geographical distribution is important,

owing to intense basin board involvement. As problems,

Musselman cites the initial identification of lands and the

timeliness of staff evaluations. In the future, Musselman

feels that, emphasis will be expanded to well fields and

recharge areas.

St. Johns River Water Management District

Created in large part in response to the needs of the

St. Johns District, Save Our Rivers has proven to be highly

successful in implementing a nonstructural approach to water

management in the St. Johns River Basin. With the purchase

of over $45 million in fiscal year 1989-90 alone, the

district has acquired a total of 254,251 acres (more than

the four other districts combined) at an overall cost of

$163,700,000. Major district acquisitions have been in the

upper St. Johns River Basin, the middle St. John's Basin,

the lower St. Johns Basin, the Oklawaha River Basin, and the

Lake George Basin.

The district's identified land acquisition objectives

are "to preserve lands that produce high water resource and

related environmental benefits, and to facilitate the

restoration of altered systems from which such benefits have

been lost" (St. Johns River Water Management District,


The land acquisition identification and selection

process of the St. Johns district is conducted in two ways.

First, land acquisition needs are identified through basin

management planning. This is a multi-disciplinary evalua-

tion of the full range of water management responses and

tools in a given study area. This includes land purchases

to support both structural and nonstructural projects. In

this situation, land acquisition is part of a comprehensive

water management initiative.

The second land selection method is through specific

basin acquisition studies. The studies are conducted on a

parcel-by-parcel basis. They are intended to evaluate known

and anticipated needs for resource restoration and preserva-

tion. Acquisition proposals which originate from outside

the district, i.e. private landowners, other governmental

agencies, and interest groups, are considered under this

process. The primary acquisition criteria utilized by the

district are shown in Table 4. In addressing the district's

land acquisition goals and selection process, Program

Director John Hankinson stressed the "purchase of the most

critical water resource lands while they are available in

large units."

Table 4

St. Johns River Water Management District Basin
Acquisition Planning Primary Criteria

District Water Management Projects.

Water management, water supply and conservation and
protection of water resources.

Key Indicators

Proximity to headwaters
Buffering function
Water storage capacity
Floodway conveyance
Intact natural system
Groundwater recharge
Viable water management project (size)

Source: St. Johns River Water Management District, 1990.

Suwannee River Water Management District

The Suwannee River district has concluded 30 purchases

totalling 40,492 acres under Save Our Rivers. Eighty-

five percent of their purchases have been in the floodplain

of the Suwannee River. Major purchases include the

Brunswick Tract in Levy County; the Container Corporation

Tract in Columbia, Suwannee, Madison, and Jefferson

Counties; the Champion Tracts in Columbia, Madison and

Hamilton Counties; and the Marsh Tract along the upper

Swuannee River in Columbia County. Many of Suwannee's

purchases are small, ranging in size from 75 to a few

hundred acres. The district's second-largest acquisition

was a gift of over 5,000 acres in the Santa Fe Swamp from

the Georgia-Pacific Corporation.

The Suwannee district has developed clear statement of

its Save Our Rivers objectives (see Table 5). However, its

land identification and selection criteria are not readily

apparent in its official publications. The Land Acquisition

Plan (1989, p. 7) states that

Riverine tracts and corridors are selected using
such criteria as contribution to protection of

Table 5

Suwannee River Water Management District
Land Acquisition Objectives

Objectives that guide the implementation of the acquisition
program include:

A. The use of public funds in a responsible and
efficient manner;

B. The promotion of nonstructural techniques for
flood control;

C. The discouragement of development which would
increase potential for flood damages;

D. The maintenance of water levels and flows to
prevent resource degradation;

E. The protection of freshwater springs as unique
hydrological sites;

F. The promotion of natural habitats; and

G. The promotion of aesthetic and scenic attributes
as valid criteria for the evaluation and planning
of water resource projects.

Suwannee River Water Management District, 1989.


water resources and ecological functions, preser-
vation of sensitive or unique environmental
features, the degree of development in or adjacent
to the area, estimates of acquisition cost,
patterns of land ownership and recreational
potential. Lands targeted for purchase must
typically be at least 25 acres in size and contain
one-fourth mile of river frontage unless they are
adjacent to other public lands or have unique
characteristics or features.

The Suwannee district has not articulated a clear

statement of land acquisition selection criteria. This is

somewhat understandable, since most of the district's

efforts have been directed specifically to the Suwannee

River, as provided by law (State of Florida, 1981).

With the enactment of the Preservation 2000 program, the

district recently reassessed its land selection process. It

requested proposals for identifying specific land acquisi-

tion criteria, and a GIS process to display and evaluate

them (Suwannee River Water Management District, 1990). Land

Acquisition Director Charles Houder confirms this shift in

policy, citing the need to expand acquisition activities

into other areas of the district. He confirms that, to this

point, the selection process has been primarily driven by

two criteria: river frontage, and price.

Northwest Florida Water Management District

While the Northwest district has concluded only

three purchases under Save Our Rivers, it has placed almost

92,000 acres of water resource-related lands in public

ownership. Moreover, it has accomplished this at less than

one-half the cost per acre of the average cost of other

districts' purchases under the statewide program. The

district's major purchase involved some 71,000 acres of land

from Southwest Forest Industries, Inc. in 1985. At the time

was the largest non-federal land purchase in the history of

the State. The purchase was divided almost equally between

the floodplains of the Apalachicola and Choctawhatchee

Rivers. Two other major purchases include the floodplain of

the Escambia River and a 3,000-acre tract which included

Wakulla Springs and Lodge.

One objective of Northwest's program is to acquire the

necessary property interest in lands to preserve or protect

waters and related land resources necessary for water

management, water supply, and the conservation and protec-

tion of water resources. Another objective is to acquire

interest in lands, where justified, to enhance their

natural, aesthetic, recreational, or hydrologic values

(Northwest Florida Water Management District, 1981).

The district has identified seven general selection

criteria (Table 6). It employs an internal staff review,

evaluation, and recommendation process which relies on the

judgments of identified senior staff.

Save Our Rivers Program Summary

In his keynote address to the Sixth Annual Conference

on Water Management in Florida, Governor Bob Graham said

The most significant new resource available to you
is the Save Our Rivers Act. The Save Our
Rivers Act is, in part, a test of the State's

Table 6

Northwest Florida Water Management District
Land Selection and Evaluation Criteria

a. Natural flood control water detention and/or

b. preservation and/or restoration of natural hydro-
logic systems,

c. water quality enhancement, preservation or

d. structural water management systems,

e. groundwater recharge,

f. potable water supply, and

g. buffer lands on inholdings affecting lands pur-
chased earlier.

Source: Northwest Florida Water Management District, 1990.

integrity in purchasing lands for the public.
The savings to taxpayers that will come from
this shift to natural systems and away from
capital-intensive man-made projects is in keeping
with sound fiscal conservatism. (Graham, 1981b,
p. 6)

Nine years later the districts have purchased over one-half

million acres, spending over $300 million in an effort to

advance their credibility as water resource management

agencies through the Save Our Rivers program. This

increased credibility is partially exemplified by legis-

lative removal of the program's repeal. Added to that is

the fact that no district has had a significant accusation

of impropriety in its administration of the program.

Moreover, the legislature in 1990 added substantial new

funding to the districts' land acquisition efforts through

the Preservation 2000 program. Under this program, Save Our

Rivers will total an estimated 1.34 billion dollars by the

year 2000 (St. Johns River Water Management District, 1990).

Even with a great record of accomplishment, the fact

remains that no district has a comprehensive land acquisi-

tion identification and selection process. Almost exclu-

sively, acquisitions have been purchases of opportunity.

Evaluations and acquisition considerations have been on a

parcel-by-parcel basis, utilizing primarily the knowledge

and judgment of district staff. In general, districts'

evaluations of prospective lands have been justifications,

not selections. The prevailing mind-set has been one of

reaction, not action. To meet the demands for an enhanced

Save Our Rivers effort, Florida's five water management

districts must initiate a proactive land selection process.

This would insure the fulfillment of the program's objec-

tives, and best maximize the investment of billions of

public dollars. The focus of this research is on developing

a process to accomplish these goals.

In the next three chapters an evaluation of a metho-

dology and applications to develop an objective, systematic,

and comprehensive selection process will be explored. The

primary focus will be on the selection of land acquisition

criteria and a process to display and evaluate the identi-

fied criteria.


Land acquisition criteria are defined for this research

as those factors or occurrences which can be considered as

important in evaluating lands for purchase under Save Our

Rivers. There are generally two types of criteria. Those

which are financial, administrative or political in nature

and those which are geographically or hydrologically based.

The cost of a parcel of land would be an example of the

former. Areas subject to flooding could serve as an example

of the latter. Although all criteria are ultimately impor-

tant in the purchase of land, this research concerns itself

with the employment of geographically-based criteria in an

initial process for the identification of lands. Actual

selection and purchase are beyond the scope of this effort.

As noted in the Introduction and in Chapter 2, the

Florida legislature provided little guidance to the water

management districts in terms of criteria for identifying

lands for purchase under Save Our Rivers. It has become

incumbent on each of the districts to develop its own

selection process, including its land acquisition criteria.

The evaluation of lands for purchase can be, and often is, a

highly technical process and includes the multidisciplinary

applications of geography, wetlands ecology, hydrology,

biology, and other related sciences. It is the general

feeling of those persons involved in the selection of lands

that the experiences and judgments of experts is needed to

address the complex interrelationships of land and water.

Simply having the "feeling" that lands should be purchased

along the St. Johns River is not considered adequate

justification on which to base the purchase of millions of

dollars for land. The question is how to focus the col-

lective wisdom and judgment of experts to obtain an

expression of public interest in the development of criteria

for the identification of water-resource-related lands for


One successful approach to formulate an assessment of

the expert judgment of public interest and to determine the

relative importance of its various factors can be developed

using the Delphi technique. Delphi was developed for the

U.S. Department of Defense by the Rand Corporation in the

late 1940s. Delphi is a systematic process which develops

and ranks group opinion and judgment on complex issues

through the utilization of knowledgeable persons in a given

field. Applications of this technique have been employed in

both the public and private sectors to forecast, establish

goals or objectives, and to prioritize objectives. The

literature cites specific examples where the method has been

used effectively to formulate resource planning policy

options and priorities. Delphi is well suited for

incorporating the view and opinions of land and water

resource experts into useful criteria for evaluating lands

for acquisition.

The Delphi Method

The Delphi method is a proven structural technique for

developing group consensus on natural resource planning and

management issues. Linstone and Turoff (1975, p. 12) states

that Delphi can be defined as a

method for structuring a group communication
process so that the process is effective in
allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to
deal with a complex problem.

As noted by Moses (1978), the value of the Delphi technique

is the ability to solicit valuable information and opinion

from a group of experts in a given field of study. Delbecq

et al. (1975, p. 10) explains that

The Delphi Technique is a method for the syste-
matic solicitation and collection of judgments on
a particular topic through a set of carefully
designed sequential questionnaires interspersed
with summarized information and feedback of
opinions derived from earlier responses.

Delphi was developed by Norman Dalkey and Olaf Helmer

of the Rand Corporation (Dickson, 1971) and has since been

used for many applications in both the public and private

sectors to forecast, establish goals, or to prioritize

components on a number of complex issues and topics

(Brockhaus, 1979). Linstone and Turoff (1975) cite specific

applications of the Delphi method to develop regional

planning options, delineate pros and cons associated with

potential policy options, and formulate priorities based on

values and goals.

The academic literature supports Delphi's application

for formulating goals, objectives and priorities for natural

resource management and land utilization decision making.

Thrall et al. (1988) employed the Delphi method to determine

criteria values and weights for the establishment of pri-

orities for green-space acquisition for the city of Gaines-

ville, Florida. Moses (1978) utilized Delphi exclusively to

establish objectives for downtown redevelopment in Little

Rock, Arkansas. Goals and objectives for the University of

Southern California's Sea Grant Program were developed using

the Delphi approach (Bakus et al., 1982). Mediation of

environmental disputes and collecting land and water

resource data have had successes through applications of

Delphi (Miller & Coff, 1986; Pease, 1984). Specifically,

Zuboy (1980) cites the successful application of Delphi in

water-related resource development in Florida.

Lastly, Lyle and Stutz (1983), in a comprehensive land

suitability determination in Southern California, note that

Delphi is an ideal means of formulating land resource

objectives for the process is always easily explained and a

clear framework is provided for converting professional

judgment into numerical values in an orderly sequence.

Delphi, however, is not without its critics. Foremost

among the detractors is Sackman (1975) who argues that the

Delphi method is without statistical validity and that

Delphi neglects the accepted standards for questionnaires.

Dickson (1971) notes that Harman is also skeptical about

techniques such as Delphi because it incorporates the bias

of experts who are not looking beyond their own discipline.

Dickson (1971, p. 316) further notes, however, that

nothing magic is claimed for Delphi, nor is it
billed as a producer of 'the truth'; its advocates
see it simply as one of the most promising crystal
balls available to those who need a framework for
further planning, action, and analysis.

Linstone and Turoff (1975) agree, concluding that Delphi is

more of an art than a science and suggest potential pitfalls

for which Delphi designer/technician should avoid.

Delphi is a productive means to utilize expert judgment

to build consensus opinion, Delphi is not intended to

represent objective sampling, notes Helmer (1967).

Selection of the Delphi Method

There are a number of established techniques for

assessing the judgment and opinion of experts in a particu-

lar fieldss. The American Assembly Process (AAP), the

Nominal Group Technique (NGT), Conflict Resolution exercises

and Delphi have all been used to arrive at consensus posi-

tions of collective subjective judgments (Thrall &

McCartney, 1991). For the purposes of this research, the

Delphi method has four advantages over the others. First,

the traditional, or paper and pencil Delphi, is an inex-

pensive process when compared to the other three. While

Conflict Resolution, NGT, and AAP exercises require the

assembly of the participants in a meeting-type format,

Delphi can be conducted from remote locations. This

eliminates travel, per diem, and facility costs for both the

exercise conductors and participants (Delbecq, Van de Ven &

Gustafson, 1975). Secondly, time, which is a major consid-

eration in the meeting format processes, may not be a

consideration in Delphi. While NGT, AAP, and conflict

resolution may take one to three days, Delphi can last

three months or longer. Accessibility is a third fundamen-

tal area where Delphi surpasses the other techniques. Given

that the goal of all exercises is to utilize the best

participants available, it is reasonable to assume that some

key participants might not be available to attend an exer-

cise on a specific day and time. Delphi, however, allows

the participant to "fit" the process into his or her own

schedule and eliminates "I can't make it" as a reason to

decline participation. The final area where Delphi is

considered the more favorable technique to conduct this

research is in the number of participants. For this

research, it was important to the author and, as will be

shown in Chapter 7, to the St. Johns River Water Management

District, to have a large number of participants to enable

representation from the many interests in water management

land acquisition. Delphi, with its advantages in cost,

time, and accessibility, would more likely insure the

greatest level of participation.


Academic literature, as well as the reports of applied

geographic studies and projects, cite many examples of the

application of quantifying and displaying social, economic,

and/or physical criteria and associated values in a spatial

form. This review focuses upon the use of Geographic

Information Systems for the display and analysis of environ-

mental and natural/water resource related data.

Star and Estes (1990) point out that most of the

published material on GIS is in the fugitive or gray litera-

ture, such as technical reports and conference proceedings.

Since 1980, however, there has been a pronounced increase in

the literature relating to the use and application of GIS

for natural resources and environmental assessment and plan-

ning purposes. Five such important reviews are

1) Ripple (1987), ed. GIS For Resource Management.

2) Berry and Teicholz (1983) Computer Graphics and

Environmental Planning.

3) Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems, special

GIS edition, Vol. 7, 1982.

4) Clarke (1986) extensive review of the GIS litera-

ture in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems,

Vol. 10.

and 5) Chrisman, Cowen, Fisher, Goodchild, and Mark

(1989) in Gaile & Willmott, Geography In America.

A GIS utilizes data referenced by spatial or geographic

coordinates and can either be manual (analog) or automated

(using a digital computer) (Star & Estes, 1990). It allows

for spatial analysis (Dueker, 1987) in contrast to computer-

aided mapping (CAM) which automates mapping but does not

provide for geographic data analysis capabilities. Clarke

(1986), defines a GIS as a computer-assisted system for the

capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial

data. Carter (1988) explains that GIS is a management

information system and a decision support system that is

concerned with spatial data systems which range in size from

a parcel of land to the world. Parker (1988) feels that GIS

is actually a technology rather than a system. He also

notes that GIS are also referred to as geo-based information

systems, natural resource information systems, geo data

systems, spatial information systems, geographic data

systems, land information systems and multi-purpose


In recent years, GIS have experienced a rapid increase

in popularity owing to the development of system capabil-

ities, technical applications, an increase in understanding

of the power and utility of geographic data bases, and, most

importantly, the recent availability of low-cost, user-

friendly software. Journals in geography, planning, remote

sensing, surveying and mapping, computer science, and Urban

and Regional Information Systems have featured reviews of

the techniques and applications of the expanding GIS devel-

opment, system innovations, and their increasing variety of

use (Dangermond, 1988; Levine, Johnson, & Landis, 1989;

Marble & Amundsen, 1988; Williams, 1985). Noteworthy of the

journals which feature major sections or articles devoted to

GIS are: Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Geo-

graphical Review, The Professional Geographer, Journal of

the American Planning Association, International Journal of

Geographical Information Systems, Annals of the Association

of American Geographers, Remote Sensing for Resource Manage-

ment, Computer Graphics and Environmental Planning, Photo-

grametric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Journal of

Forestry, Environmental Management, and Journal of Soil and

Water Conservation. There are also important monthly trade

magazines including Geo Info Systems and GIS World.

National and international conferences and trade shows

have recently featured GIS technology and advancing appli-

cations as well as industry related trade journals and

association newsletters. These include the proceedings of:

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the

Conference of Urban and Regional Information Systems Asso-

ciation, The Annual Auto-Carto proceedings, The In-Place

Resources Inventories Annual meeting, The Annual Interna-

tional Symposium and Remote Sensing of Environment, The

Annual William T. Pecora Memorial Symposium on Remote

Sensing, and the Annual Symposium on Machine Processing of

Remotely Sensed Data, and the annual GIS/LIS conference.

Over 100 university departments have developed GIS

capabilities for research and training (Dangermond, 1988)

and government agencies have adopted the routine use of GIS

on the federal, state, sub-state regional and local levels

(Craig, 1982). Although, all too often, the government

applications have been on a project by project basis and not

on a comprehensive data collection and inventory basis

(Tomlinson & Boyle, 1987).

Much of the initiative for the development of GIS was a

direct result of Federal legislation adopted in the 1970s.

Webb (1982), Hallam (1982), Ader (1982), Walsh (1985) and,

Adams, Logan, Cahill, Urban, and Yaksich (1982) review the

various federal initiatives including: a national mapping

program by the U.S. Geological Survey; flood hazard poten-

tials and water quality management by the U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers; The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National

Coastal Ecosystem Team project the National Wetlands Inven-

tory; The Environmental Protection Agency's Section 208

program resulting from the Federal Water Pollution Control

Act of 1972; and the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of

1972. Other programs include those of the Department of

Agriculture's Soil Conservation Service and Forest Service

and the U.S. Department of Interior's National Park Service,

Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the

Bureau of Reclamation (Gimblett, 1989).

The result of the above and other federal programs are

cited by many observers as a primary reason for the develop-

ment of state GIS. As Cowen, Vang, and Waddell (1983,

p. 31) view it "in order to receive their state's fair share

of the taxpayers money, they find themselves reluctant

customers of Federal programs." A number of state GIS

inventories conducted by Antenucci (1982), Cornwell (1982),

Mead (1981), and Dangermond (1988) all cite the growing

number of GIS applications by individual states and their

agencies. Several specific studies (Antenucci, 1982; Cowen,

Crosley, & Holland, 1979; Lo & Lineback, 1987; Wilson, 1982)

trace the development of systems in Texas, Maryland,

Kentucky, Alabama, and South Carolina. Fernald (1990)

presents guidelines for Florida to consider in developing

its GIS capability. Two states, New York (the first) and

California have, however, abandoned their statewide programs

because of political problems or federal program cutbacks

and are being served by smaller regional or local systems

(Cornwell, 1982).

Although not as extensively documented, the development

and utilization of GIS on regional and local government

level has substantially advanced because system costs have

decreased and applications and expertise have increased.

Hanigan (1983) notes that Houston's METROCOM system is the

largest municipal data base of its kind in the USA and Eidal

(1984) highlights the Fresno County, California experience

in GIS to address local planning and development issues. A

large number of other local examples exist.

The applications of GIS are as numerous as the systems

themselves. Most applications are, however, involved with

land and natural resource inventories, environmental assess-

ments, and urban and transportation planning, although the

degree of system sophistication exhibits very wide ranges.

In a review of GIS applications, Sinton (1982) concludes

that most systems have been developed to assist in the study

of statewide policy and primarily contain information of a

general nature usually abstracted from other sources of

information or remotely sensed. He further points out that

turnkey, as opposed to component developed systems, are more

precise and have been generally applied to engineering

projects, such as transportation and water resources manage-


In terms of natural resources and land use, Ripple

(1989) cites GIS applications for ecologists, foresters,

geologists, geographers, hydrologists, landscape architects,

soil scientists, and urban and regional planners. Examples

of specific evaluations include forest management (Hart &

Wherry, 1985), trends in irrigation (Loveland & Johnson,

1983), water quality monitoring (Blackwell, 1980), land

suitability/capability (Dangermond & Freedman, 1984),

ecological assessments (Ader, 1982), soils mapping

(Hidlebaugh, 1982), range land management (Best and Westin,

1984), decertification hazards (ESRI, 1984), comprehensive

automated inventories of natural resources (Dangermond,

Derrenbacher, & Harnden, 1982), endangered species studies

(Steenhof, 1982), GIS applications for water resources

research (Wright & Buehler, 1990), and specific water

resource applications by Florida's water management dis-

tricts (Morgan & Smith, 1974; Gottheil, 1990).

Much of the recent literature on GIS addresses trends

in their development and utilization. Dangermond (1988)

identifies five major trends in GIS which are (1) more

successfully applied applications being both application and

technology driven, (2) data integration and communication

with different data formats, (3) GIS utilization to build

relationships between data, (4) the movement away from

automated map drafting systems, and (5) the development of

geographic information modeling systems incorporating the

use of dynamic models in conjunction with GIS. Marble

(1987) cites the trend in the increased utilization of

remote sensing inputs to improve the utility of GIS and

notes some movement from the current static spatial data

handling system to applications on a true space/time basis.

Lastly, Parker (1988) identifies a trend in the integration

of GIS with other disciplines including remote sensing,

cartography, surveying, geodesy, photogrammetry and geogra-

phy toward the development of an Integrated Spatial Informa-

tion Systems (ISIS).

A number of conclusions can be drawn from the review of

the recent literature on GIS. Obviously the first is the

rapid increase in the number of individual systems on the

federal, state, sub-state, and local government level and in

the private sector. Second is the dramatic increase in GIS

applications to include almost all spatially related data.

Third is that systems are being integrated to enhance their

collective capability with accompanying standardization for

scale, grid, data, and procedure. Finally, GIS are being

employed to solve real world problems with a broad range of

techniques and methodologies.


There are a number of techniques for the evaluation and

ranking of land areas for specific purposes. Four have

potential application to this research. These are (1) the

manual overlay technique, (2) matrix analysis, (3) GIS/CAM,

and (4) GIS multioverlay composite scoring. As will be

shown, GIS composite scoring has a comparative advantage

over the other techniques in that GIS is flexible and has

the capacity to manipulate data. It can also assign values

to provide for cumulative analysis, evaluation, and scoring

on an areawide basis.

The use of map overlays to analyze and evaluate geo-

graphic related data gained popularity with the publication

of Design With Nature by Ian McHarg (1969), although earlier

work of a similar nature was attributed to Owen Manning in

1923 (Lyle & Stutz, 1983). The overlay technique uses a

base map and a number of geographically referenced or keyed

overlays (i.e. land use, drainage, slope, areas of high

aquifer recharge, soils, etc.) to present information or

combinations of information to a given study area. Thrall

(1979) for example, employed an overlay technique to denote

inequities in property assessments. Overlays, given the

type of evaluation, can either be positive or negative (but

not both) and usually all equal in importance (weight).

This is a significant drawback since all factors being

considered when evaluating an area may not be of equal


Many studies use a matrix analysis to establish

rankings for geographically-related data. One evaluation

which exemplifies the procedure is Smith's (1973) Geography

of Social Well-Being in the United States. In this evalu-

ation, Smith utilized information termed "social indicators"

to rank the 50 U.S. states in terms of generally accepted

socio-economic criteria. His criteria were valued,

weighted, summed and ranked to establish a hierarchical

order, ascending or descending, of states based upon the

indicators used.

Matrix analysis, with a list of criteria on one axis

and values of occurrences on the other, has been used to

value, rate, or rank land areas. Two recent land ranking

schemes have utilized this technique to prioritize lands for

acquisition by local public agencies (Thrall, 1988). Both

studies use a basic component value, component weight to

establish relative importance, and a computer-assisted

algorithm to establish rankings. The first of these studies

(KBN, 1987) utilizes six scoring criteria to evaluate the

environmental value of upland sites in Alachua County,

Florida. The criteria are weighted as to determined

relative importance and may be changed to modify emphasis of

the variety of environmental assets. The second application

by Thrall et al. (1988) develops an objective process for

green-space acquisition in The city of Gainesville and

Alachua County, Florida by the formulation of 15 selection

criteria and the quantification of their values and weights.

The study provides an orderly and rational technique for

local governments to rank lands for acquisition for open

space and recreation.

Other examples of matrix analysis applied to the

evaluation of lands for specific uses are the evaluation of

environmental lands by Sargent (1976), the screening of

sites for the possible location of energy production

facilities (Dobson, 1979), the application by Cook and

Seiford (1984) for the numerical evaluation of potential

highway corridors, and Dyer et al. (1982) in the development

of a land evaluation model to determine the number of

possible uses.

On a larger scale, the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Soil Conservation Service (1983) developed a Land Evaluation

and Site Assessment (LESA) program to determine the quality

of land for agricultural uses and to assess sites or land

areas for their economic viability. This matrix-type

scoring procedure is conducted in two phases, i.e. land

evaluations and site assessments. Both applications are

conducted by scoring lands from a predetermined list of

specific criteria with their assigned range of values. The

LESA program is national in scope but its applications

are on a county by county basis. Specific examples of

LESA's application are critiqued for Douglas County, Kansas

(Williams, 1985), Whitman County, Washington (Tyler et al.,

1987), and Linn County, Oregon (Huddleston et al., 1987).

While these evaluations note that LESA provides an objective

evaluation of the relative suitability of a parcel of land

for agricultural use, they, however, conclude that LESA is

only a procedure to be used for land evaluation and that

other factors are also important. They note that LESA is an

advisory tool to support local decisions and not a

substitute for them.

A common shortcoming inherent in the matrix approaches

to the evaluation of land and land-related characteristics

is that these efforts require the prior identification of

parcels to be evaluated. The preselection process thus

allows for the exclusion of sites that may, once evaluated,

score high among ranked priorities. The intentional or

unintentional exclusion of some area could bias the final

results. Another criticism, while not applicable to all

matrix evaluations, is noted by Hepner (1984) as the lack of

a scaling procedure which could result in valuing some data

(criteria) beyond their true importance.

The application of GIS to the evaluation of lands can

be divided into two methods, i.e. Computer Aided Mapping

(CAM) and multioverlay composite scoring.

CAM is basically an automated cartographic technique

and provides only for general analysis and evaluation

similar to any static map. Applications of this nature

which were numerous in the 1970s, appear to be decreasing

(Dangermond, 1988). One recent evaluation is a hybrid

CAM/matrix approach, and is presented by Booth (1986) in an

evaluation of the suitability of land units. The concept

applies guidance policies to a computer-mapped area cal-

culating scoring values based on an established grid. This

technique has application in some areas, but lacks the

sophistication of some GIS efforts presently in use in the

United States.

Systems that have the capability to store and aggregate

composite data and values are a major innovation for the

evaluation of land areas and land characteristics (Teng,

1984). The advantage of using GIS technology for the

evaluation and ranking of spatial data is that GIS allows

for the simultaneous use of a variety of analytical methods.

GIS is designed to integrate the applications of both

overlay and matrix systems. It allows for changing emphasis

by adjusting weights or by adding or deleting criteria.

Most importantly, GIS allows for an entire area to be

evaluated, subject to availability of data, thereby

eliminating the potential problem of not identifying all

appropriate parcels.

Since 1980, several significant studies have been

published employing the comprehensive use of GIS for land

evaluation and parcel ranking. Civco, Kennard, and Lefore

(1980) explore the use of GIS for mathematical path analysis

to identify highway routes with the least adverse environ-

mental impact. This Delphi-driven project develops a

composite numerical impact surface resulting from cumulative

scores of a multivariate analysis of criteria, such as

hydrology, wildlife habitat, runoff/pollution, agricultural

lands, visual landscape, and others. The results of this

application document a cost saving over traditional route

selection procedures. Other facilities siting studies

utilizing a composite GIS approach include the identifica-

tion of environmentally-acceptable areas for lignite mining,

landfills and hazardous waste sites (Hill, Harlow, &

Zimmerman, 1983), siting coal fired power plants (Smith &

Robinson, 1983), and the mining of sand and gravel (Beard,


The literature also provides several examples of GIS

suitability/capability assessments. Dangermond and Freedman

(1984) cite planning applications for environmental suit-

ability analysis. Best and Westin (1984) apply GIS analysis

to the relationship between soils and range-land management.

Lyle and Stutz (1983) develop methods for suitability

scaling for land-use decisions which are influenced by

environmental concerns. Lastly, Williams (1985) provides a

detailed analysis of the feasibility of applying GIS appli-

cations to the Soil Conservation Service's LESA program.

Three other important works that have direct applica-

tion to this research are An Experiment In Land-Use Allo-

cation With A Geographic Information System (Tomlin &

Johnston, 1988), Selecting New Town Sites In the United

States Using Regional Data Bases (Dangermond, 1983), and

Targeting Natural Resource Lands For Acquisition Within the

Context of a GIS Framework (Lo, Dicks, & Christianson,

1990). All three exemplify the multivariate analysis

capability of contemporary GIS and their application for

land ranking and selection.

Tomlin and Johnston review a project conducted in

Illinois for siting land-based facilities or activities

within the framework of identified locational constraints.

The project, ORPHEUS, was undertaken to locate an acceptable

site for a particular industry. Initial data was collected

from a number of sources including questionnaires relating

to the locational requirements of the prospective industry.

Once general locations were identified, a mathematical

optimization (ranking) technique was employed through multi-

iterations to select the most desirable (highest scoring)


Dangermond analyzes an extensive project conducted by

Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Inc. for

locating areas and ultimately specific sites for the

development of new towns in the United States. The project

incorporates the use of GIS with capability/suitability,

gravity, and other models to provide a comprehensive assess-

ment of potential locations. Citing the advantages of this

approach, Dangermond notes that it is more quantitative and

rational, has the ability to weight factors to provide for

relative importance, its complexity prevents manual opera-

tions, the increased confidence by decision makers, and the

use of computer graphics "humanize" computer applications.

In a project with potential direct application to this

research, Lo, Dicks and Christianson (1990) propose GIS to

identify natural resource lands for acquisition and pro-

tection. The effort focuses on an area in Hillsborough

County, Florida. It uses wildlife habitat, water quality

enhancement capability, and the negative effects from

disturbed land as the criteria with which to conduct the

evaluation. The mapped areas are plotted using GIS and the

resulting locations are identified. The study concept is

good but there are a number of operational elements that may

detract from its objectivity. Among these are the use of

predetermined policies for criteria evaluation, the use only

of land cover information for all analysis, and an

assumption of wildlife habitat based on land cover classes.

Other potential drawbacks are the lack of documentation in

selecting the evaluation criteria, the assignments of

weights for size and not criteria, and an assumption that

any occurrence of a condition in an adjacent polygon is

equal in value to the length of the boundary with that

polygon. The overall objective of the application is

significant but the technique may lack refinement.

In summary, there are several techniques which have

application for evaluating lands and resources. Overlays,

matrix analysis, and computer aided mapping can provide a

degree of analysis, but GIS appears better suited with its

composite analytical and scoring capability. GIS is an

improvement in technology that allows more complex opera-

tions on an area wide basis with accurate results.

This research focuses upon the integration of several

techniques and concepts and focuses them on water resource

management land acquisition in Florida. The application is

the first to introduce both a criteria development

methodology and GIS to this problem. This is a natural

extension of the work of Thrall et al. (1988), and their

Delphi criteria identification for land acquisition.

However, instead of evaluating individual parcels that are

submitted for consideration, GIS technology allows all lands

in the database to be evaluated and ranked. The database

can potentially include all parcels in the land acquisition


In the three chapters which follow, the application of

the Delphi method and employment of a GIS will be directed

to develop, map and evaluate criteria for the acquisition of

lands under The Save Our Rivers Program. The application

will be conducted for a specific study area in the St. Johns

River Water Management District.


After reviewing the needs of this research to develop a

set of spatially based criteria to identify lands for

acquisition and the various techniques available, the Delphi

method was selected. The application of the Delphi process

involves three basic steps. First, participants must be

identified and their participation secured. The second step

involves the development of a series of questionnaires which

are, in this research, mailed to the participants. Each

questionnaire mailing and its return constitutes a specific

event which is referred to as Round 1, Round 2, etc. The

third step of the Delphi is the formulation of the final

results. For this research, unless otherwise noted, the

Delphi process follows the outline presented by Delbecq et

al. (1975).

Delphi Participation

Starnes (1977) establishes four factors for the

selection of Delphi participants. These are geographic

location, training and experience, personal knowledge, and a

willingness to participate. To these requirements are

added three additional factors: 1) to provide for a balance

of interests, 2) the participation of the most qualified

persons available in their respective fields (Thrall &

McCartney, 1991), and 3) acceptability to the project

coordinators at the St. John's River Water Management


Initially 66 people were identified as possible Delphi

participants. Since the Delphi process is intended to

develop water resource land acquisition criteria, the

mission required the judgment of a range of expertise to

consider the unique issues involved in selecting water

related lands. An initial letter was sent on May 18, 1990

to the prospective participants outlining the objectives of

the Delphi process and requesting their participation. A

self-addressed and stamped post card was provided to

acknowledge their participation. (All Delphi correspondence

is provided in Appendix C.) Forty-four of those persons

requested agreed to serve including State Agency heads and

senior professionals, prominent water resource attorneys,

private water management consultants, local elected offi-

cials and staff, officers from national conservation

associations, commerce and economic development leaders,

water resource related university faculty, former water

management district chairmen, board members, and executive

This research was conducted under the terms and conditions
of an agreement between the author and the St. John's River
Water Management District. The agreement is provided as
Appendix B.

staff, and the key staff directors from related committees

in both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives.

It is considered important for the Delphi committee to

be balanced in terms of the affiliation of the membership.

Delphi membership can be divided into eight categories of

members as follows: public environmental agencies 10 mem-

bers; private conservation associations 9 members; private

citizens 9 members; water managers 6 members; other

government 5 members; university faculty 3 members; and

economic development 2 members. Participants and their

affiliations are listed in Appendix D. This Delphi process

and its rationale are summarized in Thrall and McCartney


The Delphi Process

Round 1

The Delphi was divided into three rounds of question-

naires and responses. The first questionnaire was mailed on

June 8, 1990. The materials consisted of a cover statement

outlining the instructions and background for the process

and a form requesting that the participants list the ten (or

less) most appropriate (and mappable) criteria which should

influence the selection of water management lands and give a

one or two-sentence explanation. No ranking was requested

in Round 1. Ten criteria were requested so as not to make

the effort too onerous for the participants.

The response rate to questionnaire 1 was 85 percent.

The returns identified some 28 criteria which could be used

to select water resource lands and each was accompanied by

some general statements which defined the basic nature of

the criteria. The criteria included buffers, groundwater

quality, conveyance, condition, management constraints,

archaeological sites, recharge, estuarine dependent, unique

features, surface water quality, plan implementation,

economic impact, economic protection, accessibility, habitat

protection, development pressure, restoration, education,

agricultural lands, biodiversity, distribution, flood

control, scenic values, wetlands, connectedness, headwaters,

significant (special designations) areas, and recreation.

The initially listed criteria and their definitions are

found in Appendix C. It should be noted here that all

criteria definitions were provided by the Delphi group and

were not modified by the author with the exception of

changing the title of one criterion after Round 3 as will be

noted later.

Round 2

After tabulating the results from Round 1, a second

questionnaire and cover letter were prepared for Round 2.

The cover letter outlined the basic instructions for the

round, i.e. to review the major criteria suggested in

Round 1 and to add, delete, modify, or adjust the criteria

and their justifications. The questionnaire listed all

28 criteria and basic justifying or defining statements. It

should be noted that, while the defining statements may

appear overgeneralized to a person not familiar with water

resource management in Florida, the statements did have

meaning to the Delphi committee.

Questionnaire 2 was mailed to the 44 member committee

on July 5, 1990. The instructions asked the members to

select 10 of the criteria with which they most agree, modify

any of the defining statements, and to return the question-

naire in 18 days. Seventy-two percent of the committee


The result of Round 2 was the reduction in number of

criteria from 28 to 15 as consensus began to be developed

within the committee. The 15 criteria were buffers,

groundwater quality and recharge, estuarine-dependent lands,

unique water features, surface water quality, plan implemen-

tation and specially-designated areas, habitat protection,

development pressures, restoration, biodiversity, flood

control and water storage, wetlands, connectedness, head-

waters, and recreation. The defining statements for each

criteria are provided in Appendix C. It began to be

apparent, with the evaluation of the second questionnaire,

that there were three general areas of interest on the

Delphi committee. First was the "traditional" water

managers who viewed Save Our Rivers criteria as relating to

nonstructural surface water control. The second definable

area of interest was ecological, relating specifically to


wildlife habitat, natural communities, and rare and

endangered plant and animal species. The third area was

ground water protection and specifically, ground water


Round 3

The third and final questionnaire was mailed to the

Delphi committee on July 27, 1990. The questionnaire, with

two pages of instructions, was intended to reach a consensus

on ten criteria and to finalize their defining statements.

A review of the policy statements in the Save Our Rivers

enabling legislation was provided, as well as those from

Chapter 17-40 Florida Administrative Code, State Water

Policy. This was to allow the members of the committee to

focus on the established policies associated with the

acquisition of lands for water management purposes. The

questionnaire requested that the committee accomplish

three things: 1) list in order, up to ten, their preference

for water management land acquisition criteria; 2) to rate

their feeling of relative importance of each criteria to

each other by assigning a weight from 1 to 5 to each pre-

ferred criteria, and 3) to strike the defining statements

with which the committee member did not agree. Question-

naire 3 was mailed and returned by 78 percent of the com-


Delphi Results

Upon the return of Questionnaire 3, the results were

tabulated to obtain the 10 most preferred criteria and an

average recommended weighting for each. Since the question-

naire asked to assign importance from one to 10 (one being

the most favorable), the lower the score the higher the

ranking. All individual criteria not being selected by a

committee member were assigned a value of 11 for the final

tabulation. After scoring the questionnaires, it was

determined that three criteria were very closely concen-

trated at the tenth position. This required a decision to

either use the highest ranking nine criteria or to

acknowledge a three-way "tie" for tenth place and utilize

12. After conferring with the program coordinator at the

St. John's District, the decision was made to use

12 criteria for the identification of lands.

The criteria and their defining statements were devel-

oped and ranked by the Delphi committee as follows:

1. Groundwater Protection/Recharge

Total Score: 123; recommended weight 3.2.

Protection of wellfields, sinkholes, and areas

affecting public supplies.

Acquisition of future wellfield sites.

Areas of high recharge to potable aquifers.

Areas of high recharge to surficial aquifers.