The Alliance’s Comments at the MFL Public Hearing, April 3, 2014
REMARKS ON BEHALF OF THE ICHETUCKNEE ALLIANCE
READ INTO THE OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED MFLS FOR THE LOWER SANTA FE & ICHETUCKNEE RIVERS
APRIL 3, 2014/SRWMD HEADQUARTERS
The vision of the Ichetucknee Alliance is for a healthy Ichetucknee River System that is preserved and protected for future generations. To manifest this vision, the Alliance is ready to work with anyone, anywhere, any time to restore the river to full health—including restoring the flow of the river to its historical average of 350 cfs.
This week, we learned of a potential challenge from the Alachua County Commission to the latest version of the MFLs. The Alliance has reluctantly been considering a similar challenge, primarily because the current MFL fails to provide a level of certainty for the river that is on a par with that provided for large CUP holders. It seems that more work is needed before any of us can claim to be “getting the water right.”
The Alliance believes that we must foster a spirit of cooperation, collaboration and shared sacrifice if we are going to solve our water problems. In that spirit, we offer a suggestion—which is for the FL Department of Environmental Protection and the Suwannee River Water Management District to hire a professional mediator to work with the MFL stakeholders and potential challengers to identify and work through the barriers that are preventing an MFL from being adopted.
There is a clear precedent for using a mediator to solve water-related disputes. If you have read Cynthia Barnett’s excellent book “Blue Revolution,” you may remember the chapter titled “An American Water Ethic,” part of which describes the situation in the Edwards Aquifer Region of Texas after a court order required reductions in water pumping. One of the professional mediators in that case is Joseph McMahon, telephone number 303-333-1960. You can view his website at www.collaborativeprocesses.com and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ichetucknee Alliance is ready, willing and able to participate in mediation sessions in order to resolve the problems that prevent us from achieving our goals for the Ichetucknee River and its associated springs.
Thank you for considering this suggestion.
Lucinda Faulkner Merritt
For the Ichetucknee Alliance