FDEP is analyzing DNA and human tracers such as sucralose monthly at at least three stations: on the Withlacoochee and Alapahoochee Rivers at the Georgia-Florida line, and at the Withlacoochee River Confluence with the Suwannee River at Ellaville. This is what Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) heard in Orlando on April 15th from FDEP’s Tom Frick. I think he may have also said at the Alapaha Confluence with the Suwannee River.
I asked Tom Frick about that at the meeting FDEP requested with Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) about the Florida Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards,
Unlike in Georgia, where WWALS is asking for all our rivers to be reclassified from Fishing to Recreation (as are all nine Riverkeepers of Georgia), in Florida, all rivers are by default Recreational unless otherwise reclassified. Tom Frick confirmed this. I conveyed this information to the Georgia Water Coalition Spring Partner Meeting, which may result in some further concerted action in Georgia. in Orlando, April 15, 2019.
WKFL left to right: Indian Riverkeeper Marty Baum, Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz, Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk (Vice Chair), Collier County Waterkeeper Harrison Langley, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (hat), St Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman (Chair).
Also unlike in Georgia, FDEP confirmed that they were holding similar meetings with a wide range of other stakeholders (they did rattle off a list) before even holding public hearings about the Triennial Review.
FDEP indicated that recent research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended raising certain limits on what can go into Florida waters. In discussion especially with WKFL Chair Lisa Rinaman, FDEP acknowledged that actually raising any limits was a policy issue and FDEP could decline to do so. WKFL recommended not raising any limits. WKFL has since sent a thank-you letter promising to continuing engaging with the Triennial Review process.
Tomorrow morning, WWALS Science Committee member and VSU Geology Profressor Can Denizman will represent WWALS at the FDEP Triennial Review Public Workshop in Tallahassee. Maybe FDEP will have written materials there about these proposed limit changes.
FDEP was represented in Orlando by:
- Tom Frick, Director, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration (DEAR), FDEP
- Ken Weaver, Environmental Administrator, Standards Development Section, FDEP
- Dave Whiting, Deputy Director, Laboratory, FDEP
- Darryl Joyner. Program Administrator, Water Quality Standards Program (WQSP), FDEP
Surprisingly, none of them were based in Orlando; they all drove four hours from Tallahassee to an Orlando location that was somewhat central for WKFL.
WKFL was represented by a majority of its thirteen members: Indian Riverkeeper Marty Baum, Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz, Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk (Vice Chair), Collier County Waterkeeper Harrison Langley, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman (hat), and St Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman (Chair).
Thanks, FDEP, for the invitation, the meeting, and the information. WWALS will also send in written comments, and no doubt so will some other WKFL members.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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