Tag Archives: SWFWMD

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/

Meeting: Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Plans 2024-01-23

Update 2024-01-16: SWFWMD ERP 43046299.000 for 3RT Sand Mine, Levy County, FL 2023-04-19.

Maybe you’d like to ask FDEP some questions about the springsheds of Rainbow Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, or Madison Blue Spring, among many others.

What does it mean for a spring to be declared an Outstanding Florida Water and a Basin Management Plan (BMAP) issued for it if that springshed is not protected from, for example, a sand mine?

[OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed]
OFS Updates Agenda and Rainbow Springs Springshed

Public Notice

Notice: 27937666

Notice of Meeting/Workshop Hearing

Department: DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited.

DATE AND TIME: January 23, 2024 10 AM EDT

PLACE: Webinar: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/240858353506612832

Subject: This is an Outstanding Florida Springs Basin Management Action Plans (BMAP) update meeting to which the public is invited. The BMAPs are the means for implementation of the adopted Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide information on the nitrogen source inventory loading tool (NSILT) updates, as well as an overview of the 2025 BMAP updates.

Continue reading

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

Packet: Levy County Planning Commission, with 3RT Sand Mine Special Exception application 2023-07-10

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

Only one Levy County Planning Commissioner, a former miner, voted against recommending a Special Exception for a proposed 1,100-acre sand mine, after 70 people testified for four hours under oath that the mine is a bad idea in a rural residential agricultural area.

The county mailed about 2,800 notices in April to residences within two miles of the site, because of the large number of truck trips that would be required, about one every 90 seconds.

When this case comes up before the Board of County Commissioners of Levy County, I recommend interested parties show up and speak. And meanwhile send them a letter or call them.

If approved, this mine will be there for 40 years, and maybe 100 years.

[Collage, 3RT Sand Mine, Levy Count Planning Commission Packet 2023-07-10]

This case will not be heard by the Levy County Commission at its next meeting on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, because on July 18th the Planning & Zoning Office received official notice from the 3RT Sand Mine (SE 23-01) applicant, Ryan Thomas, requesting a continuation to a date uncertain to have time to assess the project with the Planning Commission conditions.

This is a standard developer tactic: delay hoping the opposition will forget. I recommend the opposition keep on it.

The Levy County parcels of the mine site and other parcels proposed for access are shown in yellow on this map. Manatee Spring on the Suwannee River is highlighted towards the left. 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.” Apparently the staff believe what DNM Engineering & Associates, Inc., told them on behalf of the miners. I’d prefer to see further study. Continue reading

Agenda: Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFL webinar and followon WebBoard meetings 2023-05-02 2023-05-02

Update 2023-06-16: Final webinar, Upper and Middle Suwannee River Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs) 2023-06-23.

Here is the agenda for the SRWMD MFL meeting tomorrow.

After I posted the meeting notice, I asked SRWMD for a copy of the agenda, noting that it was not in the calendar the notice referenced, www.MySuwanneeRiver.com/calendar, and not in the SRWMD web page on UPPER AND MIDDLE SUWANNEE MFLS PEER REVIEW. I sent that request to Amy Brown, Deputy Executive Director, Water Resources, SRWMD (pictured on the left).

[Agenda for 2023-05-02 and picture from 2023-03-15 meeting]
Agenda for 2023-05-02 and picture from 2023-03-15 meeting

Later that same day, Continue reading

Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFL webinar and followon WebBoard meetings 2023-05-02

Update 2023-05-01: Agenda: Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFL webinar and followon WebBoard meetings 2023-05-02 2023-05-02.

SRWMD is having a third Upper & Middle Suwannee River MFL meeting, 1 PM, May 2, 2023, via webinar.

This meeting is not listed on the District’s corresponding web page. And it is not listed in the calendar the meeting notice refers to.

The notice apparently is only posted as Notice: 27066509 in the Florida Administrative Code & Florida Administrative Register.

Ditto for the series of followon WebBoard meetings.

[2023-03-15 MFL meeting]
2023-03-15 MFL meeting

The Suwannee River Water Management District announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited.

DATE AND TIME: May 2, 2023, 1:00 p.m.

PLACE: Continue reading

Videos: Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFL Peer Review Meeting 2023-03-15

Update 2023-04-26: Upper and Middle Suwannee River MFL webinar and followon WebBoard meetings 2023-05-02.

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.

[Reviewers, MFL, Public Comment 2022-03-15]
Reviewers, MFL, Public Comment 2022-03-15

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