Letter to the Editor

Reader concerned about Black Creek Water Project

Posted

The St. Johns River Water Management District appears to be trying to put lipstick on a hog in its video about the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project posted on the SJRWMD Facebook page on September 24, 2018.

This project will not provide any significant benefits to Keystone Heights lake levels or reduce flooding on Black Creek. The Black Creek Project has the potential to cause significant damage to the South Prong of Black Creek. The Black Creek Project will waste over $40 million of Amendment One resources which in my view qualifies it as a resource hog.

The SJRWMD claims in the video that excess water will be withdrawn and pumped to Keystone Heights but they fail to indicate when there is excess water in Black Creek at Penney Farms. There is no Minimum Flow or Level set for Black Creek so we have no way of knowing what, if any, excess flow exists. Recreational use of the South Prong of Black Creek and the endangered Black Creek Crayfish may determine what flows are excess flows.

It is reasonable to assume that excess flows might occur when the flow is above the average flow. The SJRWMD video indicated the average flow in Black Creek at Penney Farms was 155 million gallons per day in 2017. What the video did not say was that for over half of 2017 the flows in Black Creek were below 155 mgd.

If you use the 155 mgd to determine excess flow, during 2017 there would have been no excess flow to be pumped for over half of 2017. To spend over $40 million to build a system that could not be used over half the time is not good planning.

In the long run, the Black Creek Project may prevent Keystone lakes from getting the water they need. Once the $40 million is spent and no significant recovery in lake levels occur, future legislators may be reluctant to fund any more projects to address Keystone lake levels.

The Water Supply Plan referenced in the SJRWMD had several projects that would have added water directly to the Keystone lakes at a much lower cost. The SJRWMD just chose the wrong project. It is not too late to change the approach and get more water into the Keystone lakes. The SJRWMD just has to be willing to admit it may have made a mistake in recommending the Black Creek Project and cancel the current contract for developing the plans for the Black Creek Project.

One clear alternative project would be to take the Chemours discharges that cause flooding in Bradford County and move those discharges into a system that would carry the discharged water to the Keystone lakes.

Paul Still

Starke

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