SRWMD considered everything from water levels needed for paddling and other boating, to fish passage depths, to Gulf Sturgeon spawning depth. The sturgeon won, with the least allowable flow reduction at the median. This was for all of the reference gauges for both stretches of the river. Which means Gulf Sturgeon determine the minimum flow levels and depths for both the Upper and Middle Suwannee River. The draft MFLs are already in the report.
As one of the three speakers in the Public Comment agenda item, I got surprising agreement on two points. I said that while limiting water withdrawals might not be within the scope of this process, nonetheless the sensitivity map for the Suwannee River at Ellaville indicated that this process could study what would happen with various potential water withdrawals in various locations. And this process could study the effects of different aquifer replenishment methods. Continue reading