Ocklawaha River Restoration
The Silver Springs Alliance, along with its many allies, supports restoration of the Ocklawaha River by breach of the Kirkpatrick Dam. A recent economic study conducted by the University of Florida analyzes the economic implications of a restored Ocklawaha.
Learn more about this study, and the ecological and economic benefits of breaching the dam here.
Sleepy Creek Lands
Sleepy Creeks Lands, also known as Adena Springs Ranch, is a massive cattle operation located in Marion County, which continues to seek large water withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer. Silver Springs, which has already lost over 30% of its flow, also depends upon the Floridan Aquifer as a source of groundwater. Sleepy Creek's efforts to seek additional water withdrawals within the Silver Springs springshed have been challenged by local advocates and environmental groups in court.
Unfortunately, Sleepy Creek Lands has been granted two consumptive use permits by the St. Johns River Water Management District that allow them to withdraw an annual average of 2.68 million gallons of water per day. This will not be the last time we hear from sleepy Creek Lands, and the Alliance will support and assist with the continued efforts of its fellow advocates to protect Silver Springs from further degradation.
Follow the Alliance on Facebook to receive updates on this issue.
Photo by John Moran, Springs Eternal Project
Silver Springs Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP)
Algae growth has become increasingly visible at Silver Springs and is caused by nitrogen pollution from septic tanks and a large agricultural presence in the springshed. In order to meet the state-imposed nitrogen standard of 0.35 mg/L, nitrogen loading to the springshed must be reduced. In 2012, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) set a nitrogen reduction goal of 79% for Silver Springs and adopted a nutrient reduction plan known as a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) in 2015. The Alliance was originally listed as a stakeholder in the planning process, but requested that its name be removed from the BMAP after its concerns that the plan will not achieve nitrogen reduction at Silver Springs were largely ignored. You can view the BMAP for Silver Springs here.
Silver Springs Minimum Flows and Levels (MFL)
The St. Johns River Water Management District set its Minimum Flow and Level (MFL) for Silver Springs in 2017 and the Florida Legislature adopted the MFL in 2018 following an unsuccessful legal challenge by advocates arguing that the MFL would not protect Silver Springs from significant harm. The Silver Springs Alliance asserts that the MFL will continue to allow flow declines to occur at Silver springs, which has lost over 30% of its flow in the last 50 years. The model utilized to develop the MFL has been shown by experts to be inaccurate and unreliable in predicting water availability.
The Florida Springs Institute released comments on March 16, 2017, about the Silver Springs MFL prior to its adoption, concluding that the MFL will allow an additional withdrawal of 10 million gallons per day of water from Silver Springs, and that the flow at Silver Springs had already been below the recommended minimum for 15 of the previous 16 years.