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News Update

NWFWMD moves forward with MFL development

Staff report

The Northwest Florida Water Management District completed a work plan for the establishment of minimum flows and levels in Northwest Florida, a vital step for the long-term protection of three regional spring systems including the St. Marks River Rise, Sally Ward Spring and Wakulla Springs.

The work plan includes the data, technical information and assessments that the district is using to successfully establish science-based MFLs. The plan also includes a public involvement and peer review process, as well as a schedule and cost estimate for development of the MFLs.

“One of the district’s top priorities is establishing a meaningful and realistic MFL program that will help us ensure the long-term protection and sustainability of our water resources,” said NWFWMD Executive Director Jon Steverson. “This work plan is our road map to achieving a successful MFL program by clearly laying out the steps the district is taking as we move forward with developing these three MFLs for our region.”

Since 2012, the water management district has worked to develop MFLs for five waterbodies in Northwest Florida: St. Marks River Rise, Wakulla Springs, Sally Ward Spring, the Floridan Aquifer in Coastal Franklin County and Jackson Blue Spring. The district anticipates the technical assessment of its first MFL—St. Marks River Rise—to be completed in 2018.

MFLs set water flows, levels and limits necessary to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area from water withdrawals. Florida law requires each water management district to develop and set MFLs to protect the waterbodies, including springs, rivers and aquifers, within their region.

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