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SJRWMD approves Sleepy Creek permit

Staff report

Following the recommendation of an administrative law judge, the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board approved a consumptive use permit modification for Sleepy Creek Lands--formerly known as Adena Springs Ranch--for use in their cattle operation in Marion County.

Sleepy Creek Lands currently holds two CUPs that authorize the use of 1.46 million gallons of water per day for irrigation of sod on a property known as the East Tract, south of Fort McCoy in Marion County.

The permit modification approves the consolidation of the two permits into one that will expire in 2034. It also authorizes Sleepy Creek to change the use of the water to irrigation for pasture to feed cattle, but does not result in an increase in the allocation.

The modification also allows Sleepy Creek to withdraw the entire allocation from a property known as the North Tract and limits withdrawals on the East Tract to no more than 0.5 mgd of the 1.46 mgd. The North Tract is located further away from Silver Springs than the East Tract.

Before the board meeting, the district approved an environmental resource permit for Sleepy Creek authorizing the construction of a stormwater management system that will provide water quality treatment for runoff from the North Tract. The ALJ had also recommended approval of the ERP following an administrative challenge.

District staff recommended approval of the permits in 2014 following a lengthy review. On June 2, 2014, the district received petitions challenging the proposed CUP modification and ERP. The district referred the petitions to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. An administrative hearing was held in Palatka Aug. 25-29, 2014.

In approving the permits, the district’s decision was required by law to be based solely on the record of the administrative proceedings.

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