October 4, 2012

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is inviting the public to comment on proposed minimum guidance levels for Tooke Lake and Whitehurst Pond in Hernando County at a public workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The workshop will be held from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the West Hernando Branch Library, 6335 Blackbird Ave., Weeki Wachee.

The state Legislature requires the District to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for priority water bodies within the District. A minimum flow or level is the limit at which further water withdrawals will cause significant harm to the water resources and/or environment.

Minimum levels are established to protect lakes from impacts associated with groundwater and surface water withdrawals. Guidance levels are developed as advisory information on expected water level fluctuations within lake basins. Minimum and guidance levels serve as guidelines for the District’s permitting programs and for development of water resource projects.

During the workshop, District staff will review the technical basis for the proposed levels. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for local governments, residents, and others to be part of the development of the proposed levels.

Information obtained at the workshop will be summarized and made available to the Governing Board. District staff anticipates presenting the proposed guidance levels for Tooke Lake and Whitehurst Pond at the November Governing Board meeting, where the Governing Board may choose to recommend adoption of the minimum and guidance levels into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public and brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

Written comments also are welcome and can be submitted via mail or email to David Carr, senior environmental scientist, no later than Oct. 26. The addresses are 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or David.Carr@watermatters.org.

A draft report containing information on the development of MFLs for Tooke Lake and Whitehurst Pond will be posted on the District’s website approximately one week before the meeting. To locate the report, visit WaterMatters.org/mfl and click on the “Documents and Publications” link, followed by the Minimum Flows and Levels Documents and Reports tab. For more information, please contact Keith Kolasa at 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4236.

 
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