November 29, 2005

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is seeking public input about proposed minimum lake levels for Lake Panasoffkee, Lake Deaton, Lake Okahumpka, Lake Miona and Big Gant Lake in Sumter County.

Minimum lake levels are established to protect lakes from significant harm due to water withdrawals from a lake or the groundwater system. The District Governing Board sets these limits as part of achieving a balance between meeting human water needs and those of Floridaís natural systems. Minimum lake levels are used as guidelines in District permitting programs, for development of water resource projects and as information for development bordering lakes.

A public open house on the proposed minimum lake levels for these Sumter County lakes will be held Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the City of Wildwood Community Center, 6500 County Road 139, Wildwood Florida. Citizens are invited to attend the open house anytime between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to ask questions and share their comments. A formal presentation is not planned. The open house will afford an important opportunity for local governments, citizens and others to be part of the development of minimum lake levels for area lakes.

Public comment gathered at the meeting will be summarized and presented to the Governing Board when staff presents the recommended MFL at the Districtís Jan. 24 Governing Board meeting. At that time, the Governing Board may choose to adopt the MFL into District rules. Governing Board meetings are open to the public where brief oral comments are permitted on meeting agenda items.

Written comments are also welcome and can be submitted via mail or email to Lisa Henningsen, environmental scientist, no later than Jan. 20. The addresses are 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604-6899 or Lisa.Henningsen@watermatters.org.

Draft reports containing information on the development of MFL for the lakes are available under the Minimum Flows and Levels heading on the Documents and Publications page of the Districtís web site, WaterMatters.org. For more information, please contact Lisa Henningsen at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4268, or 1-800-423-1476, ext 4268.

 
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