Tag Archives: Basin Management Action Plan

Aerials of Hodge dirt mine, 10 miles from 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

Yesterday we received some pictures of a dirt mine about ten miles east-southeast of the 3RT Sand Mine site. They show mined pits filled with water, as well as mounds of may be barn waste such as manure, or perhaps residue from a nearby saw mill.

[Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24]
Dirt mine dumping, Levy County, FL 2024-01-24

We are not saying there is anything illegal going on at the dirt mine site.

We do wonder that if the activities shown are allowed on a mine site in Levy County, how do we know they won’t happen on the 3RT mine site? And what effect might they have on that much larger proposed mine site?

We are told by a usually reliable source that these aerials were taken January 24, 2024, by a source that wishes to be anonymous, but grants permission for public posting. Continue reading

SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04

As Craig Pittman pointed out, SWFWMD issued a permit for the 3RT Sand Mine in Levy County. But that ERP says nothing about Rainbow Springs or FDEP’s Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) for the Rainbow Springs springshed. That ERP does not even mention that the mine site is in an aquifer recharge zone.

What is the use of BMAPs, or of Rainbow Springs being an Outstanding Florida Water, if FDEP’s own SWFWMD can issue a permit for a strip mine without mentioning either?

[SWFWMD ERP for 3RT Sand Mine does not mention Rainbow Springs springshed]
SWFWMD ERP for 3RT Sand Mine does not mention Rainbow Springs springshed

Maybe you’d like to ask about that at FDEP’s meeting about Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23. Sure, such meetings are usually public tellings at which the state ignores what citizens say.

But you can use that meeting as a forum to demonstrate opposition to the mine, so you can bring that up at the February 6 Levy County Commission meeting.

Craig Pittman, Florida Phoenix, January 4, 2024, Florida observatory may be forced to shut down if county OKs sand mine:
Neighbors and astronomers join forces to ask Levy County to nix mining proposal
UF’s Rosemary Hill Observatory in Levy County would be next door to the proposed sand mine.

Pittman set up his story with an aside about Jake from State Farm and good neighbors, and then:

The idea of what constitutes a good neighbor came up last week when I first heard about a dispute that’s been going on in Levy County. It involves a wealthy farmer, a dirty mine, a lot of trucks, and the stars in the heavens.

Continue reading

SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04.

It makes no mention of the Rainbow Springs springshed or its Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

[Collage, SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19]
Collage, SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19

That’s Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) No. 43046299.000 issued to Ryan Thomas for the 3RT Sand Mine on April 19, 2023, by FDEP’s Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD).

Maybe you’d like to mention that to the Levy County Commission before or at its February 6 Levy County Commission meeting.

Before then, maybe you’d like to ask about that ERP at FDEP’s meeting about Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23. Sure, such meetings are usually public tellings at which the state ignores what citizens say. But you can use it to build your case for the Levy BOCC.

You can find that ERP in http://www18.swfwmd.state.fl.us/erp/erp/search/ERPSearch.aspx or on the WWALS website.

For more, see SWFWMD and 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, Rainbow Springs springshed 2024-01-04.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Draft Conditions from the Planning Commission to the BoCC on SE 23-01 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-07-20

Update 2023-08-14: Levy county sand mine petition 2023-08-11.

The Levy County Commission is meeting tomorrow morning, Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at 9 AM. It’s always good to show up and be seen, maybe say a few words, even if your item of interest is not on the agenda. Or contact your Commissioner via telephone or email.

There will be no decision about the 3RT Sand Mine tomorrow. The agenda includes:

16. PUBLIC HEARING: Requesting the Levy County Board of County Commissioners grant the request for continuation by applicant for PETITION NO SE 23-01: Ryan Thomas for 3RT Sand Mine. Requesting a Special Exception for a major mining operation pursuant to Sec. 50-719; Mining and excavation of minerals, or natural resources, and site reclamation of the Levy County Land Development Code to allow a sand mine (no blasting) on approximately 1,100 acres (includes mine property and access to CR 337) of land located in Section 35, Township 12 S, Range 17 E, Levy County Florida. These parcels are located in Agriculture/Rural Residential (A/RR) Land Use and Zoning district. Parcel Number(s) 0359701600, 0359700400, 0359700000, 0359700300, 0360400600, 0360400000, 036040040B, 036040040A, 0360400400, 0360400500, 0360600500, 0360600300, 0360600000, 0359400000, and 0359200000.The applicant has requested a continuation to a date uncertain to evaluate the Planning Commission conditions with his project. This item will be continued.

[All 22 draft conditions]
All 22 draft conditions

These appear to be the 22 draft conditions from the Levy County Planning Commission about the proposed Special Exception for the 3RT Sand Mine. See also PDF.


Draft Conditions from the Planning Commission to the BoCC on SE 23-01 3RT Sand Mine

Continue reading

Levy County 3RT Sand Mine is in Springshed of Rainbow Springs 2023-07-23

Update 2023-07-24: Draft Conditions from the Planning Commission to the BoCC on SE 23-01 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-07-20.

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.

[Rainbow Springshed and 3RT Sand Mine]
Rainbow Springshed and 3RT Sand Mine

Maps of Florida Aquifer recharge areas going back to at least 1995 appear to show the mine site in a recharge zone. Continue reading

Veto Florida fertilizer preemption

Please ask the Florida Governor to veto the part of the budget bill that could end up with preemption of local fertilizer bans.

You can use this handy Waterkeepers Florida form to do that: https://waterkeepersflorida.good.do/stopthefertilizerpreemption/

[Veto fertilizer ban preemption]

Who would benefit by the bill? Phosphate mines.

As everyone knows, fertilizer nitrates leaching through the soil into our springs and rivers is the main cause of the algae blooms that crowd out native vegetation and starve fish and manatees in the Suwannee River Basin. The state’s Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) won’t solve that problem. Counties and cities can pass ordinances to address the problem, but not so easily the relevant part of this bill becomes law.

The relevant part of line item 146 of SB 2500 reads: Continue reading

FDEP BMAPs update webinar 2021-07-14

I plan to attend, and I suggest others do, as well.

Here’s a monitoring gap: if Valdosta, Georgia, can test water quality three times a week on forty river miles to the GA-FL line, the great state of Florida can do the rest all the way to the Gulf.

And here’s a modeling gap: where’s the comparison of simply limiting water withdrawal permits compared to that SRWMD proposed double pipeline from the Suwannee River to Ichetucknee Headspring?

[Invitation]
Invitation

The cover letter says you can avoid Microsoft Teams by calling in:

Or call in (audio only): 1-469-305-1028

Phone Conference ID: 882 637 651#

Here’s the agenda.

Outstanding Florida Springs
Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) Update
Via Webinar
July 14, 2021
1:00 p.m.
Microsoft Teams link: Click here to join the meeting

  • Welcome / Introductions
  • Updates / Next Steps
  • Onsite Sewage Program Updates
  • Senate Bill 712 / Clean Waterways Act Updates
  • Monitoring Gaps
  • Funding Updates
  • DEP Activities and Updates

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Bill Gates did nothing to stop fertilizer nitrates leaching into springs and rivers –Suwannee Riverkeeper via NBC News 2021-06-08

Update 2022-09-14: Bill Gates responds on MSNBC to my criticisms of his farm policies 2022-09-13.

Update 2021-06-18: Bill Gates, farms, rivers, springs (Vox story).

The story doesn’t say BMAP, but it does get at the heart of the problem the Basin Management Action Plans don’t actually solve, and Bill Gates did not, either.

April Glaser, NBC News, 8 June 2021, updated 9 June 2021, McDonald’s french fries, carrots, onions: all of the foods that come from Bill Gates farmland: Gates does not appear to count his farming investments as the nation’s largest farmland owner as part of his broader strategy to save the climate.

The reporter had never heard of Riverkeepers before, and now here’s one on NBC News.

Algae bloom

But some farmers whose land is adjacent to that of the Gateses have expressed disappointment that despite the couple’s wealth, they have not done more to preserve the environment. Quarterman also serves as the Suwannee Riverkeeper and advocates for conservation of the intricate network of springs and rivers in the region, where water from the swamps of Georgia flow into Florida before they release into the Gulf of Mexico. He said that this is where large tracts of rich farmland is used to raise livestock and grow many of the vegetables that end up in grocery aisles up and down the East Coast.

[John Quarterman stands by the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. Matt Odom / for NBC News]
John Quarterman stands by the Withlacoochee River in Georgia. Matt Odom / for NBC News

All that farming has led to large water withdrawals from Florida’s aquifer system and requires fertilizer, which leaches through the ground into waterways, emptying nitrogen that has led to destructive algae blooms and severe loss of fish and marsh habitats.

In the video segment, she also mentions manatees.

He hoped Gates would have Continue reading

Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality –Waterkeepers Florida 2020-07-01

Plus FL SB 712 still doesn’t fund or implement regular, frequent, water quality monitoring from the state line to the Gulf, like Valdosta, GA, is doing three times weekly on 40 miles of the Withlacoochee River to the state line.

Jen Lomberk, Orlando Sentinel, 1 July 2020, Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality,

[Orlando Sentinel screenshot]
Orlando Sentinel screenshot

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 — the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” — an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark.

This bill has been praised by its supporters (”Sen. Mayfield: Clean Waterways Act would be major step forward,” June 30 online) as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking back at the cuts and rollbacks that our environmental regulations were subjected to under the last state administration, that really isn’t saying much. Jen Lomberk Jen Lomberk (Courtesy photo)

At 111 pages, the bill largely pays lip service to most of Florida’s major sources of pollution, but lacks the specificity and enforceability to actually solve any of the problems.

Proponents of the bill claim that it implements recommendations of the Blue Green Algae Task Force, but even those common sense, albeit vague recommendations will not be nearly achieved through the implementation of SB 712. For example, the Task Force recommended that projected changes in demographics, land use, and hydrology should be incorporated into the BMAP process.

Think about it. We have 1,000 people moving to our state every day. That means that over the 20-year life of a BMAP, millions of people will have Continue reading

Videos: Parker Pond water withdrawals, BMAPs, Valdosta, and Testing @ SRWMD 2019-05-14

The deputy went in to see what the ruckus was about. It was Lu Merritt, Mike Roth, Jim Tatum, Mike Kern, and then me, in extensive discussion about a water withdrawal permit request, that Jim Tatum called Words of Truth to the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) Board.

On the agenda for that Monday, 14 May 2019:

20. Approval of New Water Use Permit 2-001-234425-1, Authorizing a Maximum 0.1462 mgd of Groundwater for Agricultural Use at the Parker Pond Project, Alachua County

I was actually there for this later item:

30. Valdosta Wastewater Update

In interaction with Tom Mirti, I confirmed that FDEP is doing DNA and sucralose (human waste marker) testing monthly at the GA-FL line on the Withlacoochee and Alapaha (not Alapahoochee) Rivers, and at the Withlacoochee Confluence with the Suwannee River. However, SRWMD has no plans for doing complementary weeks.

I found the public relations method research by Katelyn Potter to be fascinating.

Below are links to each WWALS video of each speaker, with some notes, followed by a WWALS video playlist. Continue reading