Levy County is in the territory of the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), so I wondered why the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) was involved in permitting a sand mine in Levy County.
The only reason I can see is that the mine site is in the springshed of Rainbow Springs, and Rainbow Springs is in Marion County in SWFWMD’s territory.
Which makes it very curious that Rainbow Springs is never mentioned by SWFWMD nor by the Levy County Planning Commission, nor by anybody else represented in the board packet for the July 10th Levy County Planning Commission meeting.
Instead, Levy County staff wrote, “e) Site is not located within one mile corridor (one-half mile on either side) of known geological features with the potential to Impact Manatee Springs or Fanning Springs. Additional study is not recommended to be required.”
Well, maybe not, because the mine site is not in the springshed of Manatee Springs or Fanning Springs.
But according to a Florida state-mandated action plan by a Florida state agency, the mine site is in the springshed of Rainbow Springs.
Sure seems like further study should be required about that.
Maps of Florida Aquifer recharge areas going back to at least 1995 appear to show the mine site in a recharge zone.
This more recent map also appears to show that.
Estimated Pre-Development Recharge, Hydrogeology of Florida, by Sam Upchurch, Thomas M. Scott, Michael C. Alfieri, Beth Fratesi & Thomas L. Dobecki, First Online: 30 September 2018, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-69635-5_4
But let’s look for something more authoritative. Like the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for Rainbow Springs, December 2015. Which is one of the BMAPs required by the Florida legislature.
The first figure in that BMAP shows the west border of the Rainbow Springs BMAP area extending from Bronson southwest down CR 337 towards Dunnellon.
This figure shows the mine site in a high to medium aquifer recharge zone.
For comparison, the yellow outlines towards the upper left of this map are the Levy County parcels of the mine and its access routes. This maps’s area approximates that of the previous map. You can clearly see the mine site is in the Rainbow Springs springshed.
Seems like SWFWMD and the Levy County staff and Planning Commission need to explain why Rainbow Springs was never even mentioned.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®