Public Hearing - Minimum Flows and Level

Material Information

Public Hearing - Minimum Flows and Level
Alternate Title:
SWFWMD Governing Board. Minutes of Meeting August 26, 1997. Rulemaking - Public Hearing - Minimum Flows and Levels
Publication Date:
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Subjects / Keywords:
Hillsborough County ( local )
Boards of directors ( jstor )
Wetlands ( jstor )
Collaboration ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


General Note:
Box 5, Folder 12 ( SF MINIMUM FLOWS AND LEVELS, Volumes 1 and 2 ), Item 2
Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

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University of Florida
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Levin College of Law, University of Florida
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Minutes of the Meeting August 26, 1997
Governing Board Page 2 of 10

Public Hearing
Chairman Harrell stated that anyone wishing to address the Governing Board concerning any item
listed on the agenda or any item that does not appear on the agenda should fill out and submit a
speaker's card, and they will be provided an opportunity to speak at the appropriate time during
the meeting. He stated that comments would be limited to three minutes per speaker. When
appropriate, exceptions to the three-minute limit may be granted by the Chairman. He also
requested that several individuals wishing to speak on the same issue/topic designate a spokesperson.

3. Additions/Deletions to Agenda
Mr. Vergara noted the following changes to the agenda:

Diversity Committee
The following item was added for consideration:
> Support the University of South Florida's Program for the Disadvantaged

Surface Water Permits
Discussion Items
The following item was moved from Consent Items to Discussion Items:
>1. ERP No. 4914074.00 Boran Ranch Mitigation Bank DeSoto County (PAA EXP. 8-25-97)
The following item was added for consideration:
> ERP No. 4914074.02 Boran Ranch Mitigation Bank DeSoto County
The following item was moved from Consent Items to Discussion Items:
> 4. Petition for Formal Hearing ERP No. 4316172.00 Florida Department of Transportation -
Suncoast Parkway, Project 1, Section 1B Hillsborough County
The following item was added for consideration:
> Petition for Formal Hearing ERP No. 4416004.01 Hillsborough County School Board High
School "EEE" Hillsborough Coun

1. Rulemaking Public Hear*ig minimum Flows and Levels
Mr. Vergara stated that at t ast mee- staff noted d return with alternatives. He
stated that staff has not had sufficient tteer a detailed presentation, however, staff
will discuss scheduling and the viability and health of the wetlands systems to ensure a better
understanding. Mr. Vergara also stated that staff will provide suggestions in terms of
alternatives. Ms. Karen Lloyd addressed the Board at this time to review the schedule that staff
has developed for the establishment of minimum flows and levels which has been altered. She
said that the Governing Board expressed a desire for additional information about resource
consequences based on different scenarios of where the minimum flows and levels could be set.
She said that the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority (WCRWSA) also agreed at their
recent Board meeting that there should be a further 60-day extension of the Board's actions on
the four wellfield permits that went to hearing and on the Cross-Bar permit. She said that
because of this extension, there is a desire to keep the Partnership Plan and the Recovery
strategy in sync, so consideration of 40D-80 may be moved to keep it in sync with the
discussions of the Governing Board and the WCRSWA Board and member governments. Staff

Minutes of the Meeting August 26, 1997
Governing Board Page 3 of 10

will delay trying to get 40D-80 adopted by October 1, 1997. With respect to amendments
40D-2, 40D-4 and 40D-8, the actual minimum level and implementation, staff will have some
conceptual discussions relative to alternative approaches and continue the discussions on
September 8, 1997. She said that tentatively staff will be looking at September 16, 1997 for
another opportunity for the Board to have discussions and then staff will recommend adoption
at the September 23, 1997, Governing Board meeting. At this time, Mr. Ted Rochow addressed
the Board relative to wetland conditions and explained how staff determines wetland health.
Following brief Governing Board discussion, Mr. Andy Smith addressed the Board to further
the discussion relative to wetland health. He stated that his presentation should show the Board
a set of scenarios that will be alternates to setting minimum levels, or suggest how the District
would set alternate minimum levels. He listed the alternates and then gave background as to
how to use the maps. Following this information, he provided a step through the results of
each of the scenarios for the Board. Following staff presentations, Chairman Harrell provided
an opportunity for Governing Board comment and discussion. The Governing Board participated
in lengthy discussion relative to degrees of impact on various wetlands. One question asked by
Chairman Harrell was, "We are starting with minimum flows, do we have to set it forever or
can we set it for 20 years -- 15 years?" Ms. Lloyd answered by saying that the legislature
requires that they be reevaluated. Chairman Harrell also asked if the rule was applied relative
to pumpage from the central system, and the recovery level -- he asked if the statute allows for
a phase recovery and not require the following phase to be done." Ms. Lloyd stated that the
statute says that the recovery strategy will be expeditiously implemented. She stated that she
believes you can provide details for as much as you are aware of and then add a provision that
you intend to achieve but it will have to be developed at a later date. Chairman Harrell spoke
about the Partnership Plan relative to the implementation of the minimum flows. Mr. Vergara
stated that the 40D-8 will set a level that will be implemented in accordance with the District's
statutory responsibility, but the disconnect will prevent any kind of regulatory connection until
a recovery plan is in place. He said that in this way not only WCRWSA and its member
governments can reach a certain level of comfort, but all permittees as well. Ms. Lloyd stated
that staff feels that this would be the correct approach. At this time, Chairman Harrell provided
an opportunity for public comment. The following individuals addressed the Board:

Ms. Janet Llewellyn, representative of the Department of Environmental Protection, who spoke
relative to the letter provided to the Board from Secretary Virginia Wetherell. She said she
wanted to speak about the balance of the Secretary's letter and to reiterate some of the points
made in the letter. One point that was absolutely critical was that the legislature has made a
very clear distinction between establishing a minimum flow and level and implementing it. This
was done because of areas like Northern Tampa Bay where it is currently below the minimum
flow or level. To set a minimum flow and level that demarcates where significant harm to the
water resources starts could not signal an immediate cut-off of people's water. The legislature
said to determine scientifically where that harm starts and through recovery strategy, factor in
a time-table -- a long-term effort to try to recover those resources. Ms. Llewellyn said that
what really counts is what is put into the recovery strategy. She said as currently proposed,
40D-80 allows ten years to go from 144 mgd to 90 mgd. This will still not relieve significant

Minutes of the Meeting August 26, 1997
Governing Board Page 4 of 10

harm. You can set MFL based on science of where significant harm starts, put a recovery
strategy in effect and five to ten years from now, look at it again. She said that the level that
is set is a goal, it can be revisited and what has the greatest effect is the recovery strategy.
She also spoke about the exclusion which gives the Board some discretion to not set the MFL
at a historical level. She said that the Secretary wants to urge caution with the use of the
provision and the letter states that we don't solve our serious water resource problems by
defining them away from consideration. Ms. Llewellyn concluded that she agreed with what
Ms. Karen Lloyd said during her presentation and in response to the Board's questions. She
said the Board has the flexibility to set the minimum flow or level 40D-8, and if a recovery
strategy cannot be done right now because the Partnership Plan is lagging behind, she feels
language could be put in 40D-8 that basically says it is not effective on the Regulatory program.
She said it would be wise to do a recovery strategy as soon as possible. Chairman Harrell
thanked the DEP for working with District staff. Chairman Harrell provided an opportunity for
Governing Board questions directed to Ms. Llewellyn. Mr. Davis spoke relative to Highlands
Ridge and agriculture. Ms. Llewellyn stated that the legislation contemplates that as the level
is set and and attempt to reach it is made, you wouldn't just cut off people's water, you would
try to get new water. Should you set the level that does present significant harm as the goal
and then have a recovery strategy that only gets you half way there and reevaluate it, or should
you just set the part way level as the ultimate minimum flow or level and then reevaluate it?
She said you can do either and the statute gives that flexibility. She recommended setting the
goal as the one that does present significant harm and then reevaluate it several years later.
Chairman Harrell spoke about alternative sources. Ms. Llewellyn stated that it would be
appealing to put into the rule that the District recognizes various factors and that in a certain
amount of time it will be revisited to review how the resource has recovered and what is
technically possible.

Mr. Peter Owens, representing the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough
County, addressed the Board. He stated that one of their jobs is to protect wetlands, to work
with the District and come up with a rule that does what it should do. With the use of a map
he spoke about the recovery plan and proposed alterations to the freshwater loading of the
Tampa Bay Estuary system.

Mr. Scott Emery, representing Hillsborough County, spoke about the rule and indicated that the
Board of County Commissioners will consider the latest version of the rule, and they should
have feedback available perhaps by the September 16, 1997 meeting. He wanted to explain
Hillsborough County's situation. Chairman Harrell suggested that the County may want to
consider a more specific proposal than what was available for discussion today and to wait, for
example until after the September 16, 1997 meeting for the Commission to hold its meeting.

Mr. Frank Matthews, of the law firm representing Florida Electric Power, Florida Chamber of
Commerce, said a comment letter was sent and they are endorsing the amendments that were
recommended in DEP Secretary Wetherell's letter. He said the one change to the amendment
they would make is that you don't need to change the definition of recovery flows and levels.

Minutes of the Meeting August 26, 1997
Governing Board Page 5 of 10

The Department suggested using interim flows and levels and the parties he represents supports
that. He also spoke relative to the exclusions, particularly l.a., which speaks to structural
changes, hydrologic changes to the watershed/aquifer is not permissive. This must be recognized
in the minimum flows and levels and they must recognize structural hydrologic alterations which
have occurred. He suggested that minimum flows and levels is not a permitting criteria. A
recovery plan is a target and minimum flows and levels is a goal of the target. The Board
should not and cannot implement minimum flows and levels in a regulatory context in a
consumptive use permit until and unless you have a recovery strategy in effect. Mr. Matthews
urged the District to look at this legislation. He stated that there is no mandate to restore or
recover wetlands. Also, the water supply plan is a reality check. If you can't pay for the
water then you can't restore the wetland.

Ms. Jan McLean, representing the Keystone Civic Association and Coalition of Concerned
Citizens of Pasco County, made introductory remarks and responded to the previous two
speakers. She thanked Ms. Llewellyn and the Department for the support and guidance they
continue to give the Districts and others. Responding to Mr. -Matthews, relative to consumptive
use, she made a request in July for the status of the enforcement actions on the wellfields. The
Governing Board directed staff to come back with a status report. She also requested on the
previous Tuesday, a financial report on the capability of the District to implement its recovery
strategy. She would like the Board to consider her request in presenting the financial.

Ms. Judy Williams, representing Coalition of Lake Associations, spoke relative to impacted

Ms. Eileen Hart, resident from Odessa spoke relative to falling Cypress trees, subsidence of soil,
etc. She said there should be no partnership if there is no restructuring of WCRWSA, alternate
sources are considered, and until desal is active, there is no hope to have enough water to go
around. The District is the one that allowed the damage to happen, and the District should be
the one to do desalination and make sure water is available.

Ms. Gaye Townsend, resident of Lutz, speaking relative to the need to set the minimum flows
and levels, and to look at the District Partnership Plan relative to taking money out of Save Our
Rivers for wellfields. She stated that she does not support the use of this money. Use the
money to restore and maintain the riverines and watersheds.

Ms. Ansley Samson speaking on behalf of the Environmental Confederation of Southwest
Florida, discussed science and policy and how they fall into the minimum flow and level
process. She emphasized that she agrees with the distinction that Janet Llewellyn made relative
to establishing minimum flows and levels based on science and when implementing minimum
flows and levels you consider other types of policy considerations, such as the degree of harm
of the resource or the economic constraints and recovery. She reviewed what the statute says
about this issue. She responded to a comment made by Frank Matthews relative to 40D-80, stating
that she does not feel that having a recovery strategy is putting the cart before the horse. She said

Minutes of the Meeting August 26, 1997
Governing Board Page 6 of 10

the statute says that a recovery strategy needs to be expeditiously implemented which returns you
to the minimum flow and level as soon as practicable. ECOSWF will continue to look at the lake,
wetland and aquifer level methodologies and the Hillsborough River flow.

Chairman Harrell stated that this will end public comment at this time and the issue will be brought
back to the meeting on September 8, 1997. Chairman Harrell answered two questions at this time.
First, relative to the financing of the Partnership Plan, he said it was clearly shown to the Board where
the money is coming from and has asked that it be put in writing and presented to the Board. At this
time Chairman Harrell reviewed his understanding of the financial aspect for the Board. Chairman
Harrell asked Mr. Vergara to address the second issue relative to where the District stands on
enforcement matters, more specifically relating to the wellfields in Northwest Hillsborough and Pasco
County. Staff is in the process of addressing this issue. Chairman Harrell stated that District staff is
attempting to work in a cooperative fashion with the concerned parties to work out an agreement,
hopefully within the next two to three months. This will be a consideration that will be brought before
the Board when staff is in a better position of advising the Board.

Chairman Harrell adjourned the meeting at this time for a lunch break and stated that the Diversity
Committee will be meeting during the lunch break. Any interested parties were welcome to attend.

Chairman Harrell reconvened the meeting at 3 p.m. He stated he would defer the special discussion
relative to the Southern Water Use Caution area until appropriate staff had returned from lunch.

Hydrologic Conditions Report and
Demand Management Report

1. Hydrologic Conditions Report
Mr. Timothy DeFoe provided the Board with a report of the hydrologic conditions within the
District for July. He said his message for this month is that hydrologic indicators that he
typically speaks about are improving, however, there is still need for improvement. He reviewed
rainfall distribution for July District-wide stating that it was an average month and was 94
percent of what is normally received. He then reviewed rainfall in specific areas. He said that
a majority of the area is in a deficit over the past twelve months. He reviewed regional
conditions for the Board. He reviewed streamflow, lake levels and the groundwater index for
each region. He also reviewed hydrographs and photographs of lakes within the integrated
wellfield system. In conclusion, some of the hydrologic indicators did increase, however, more
rain is still necessary.

2. Demand Management Report
Ms. B.J. Jarvis addressed the Board relative to the Demand Management Committee. She
reviewed how staff tracks data. She said that when conditions warrant, the Committee meets
more often to track conditions more closely. She said that the Committee is currently working
on the "dry season message" with the Public Communications staff that sits on the Committee.
She stated that no actions were required of the Board, further information was provided in the
packet and staff was available to answer any questions. (Tape No. 1 0054/1603)