The District is reevaluating the established minimum flows for the Lower Peace River and developing new minimum flows for Lower Shell Creek. Minimum flows are established to help protect flowing water bodies from significant harm caused by ground and surface water withdrawals.
Minimum flows are limits established by the District Governing Board for flowing surface water bodies that are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be caused by water withdrawals.
A minimum flow was established for the Lower Peace River in DeSoto and Charlotte counties in 2010. An initial reevaluation of the established minimum flows was completed in 2015 and identified ongoing and proposed data collection efforts intended to support a more comprehensive reevaluation of the minimum flows.
Proposed, revised minimum flows have been developed for the Lower Peace River as part of the ongoing reevaluation. The proposed minimum flows are summarized in a draft report that also includes new, proposed minimum flows for Lower Shell Creek in Charlotte County.
The original 2010 minimum flows report for the Lower Peace River, the 2015 minimum flows reevaluation report for the Lower Peace River and the current draft report on the proposed minimum flows for the Lower Peace River and Lower Shell Creek are available on the District’s Minimum Flows and Levels Documents and Reports page.
Stakeholder Outreach, Peer Review Panel Meetings and Public Workshop
Staff has been meeting with stakeholders to discuss and solicit feedback on the proposed minimum flows for the Lower Peace River and Lower Shell Creek.
In addition, the draft minimum flows report, and all scientific data and technical methods used to support development of the proposed minimum flows will be subjected to scientific peer review. A panel of three independent, recognized experts in the fields of hydrology, hydrogeology, limnology, biology and other scientific disciplines will review the proposed minimum flows and prepare a summary report of review findings for the District Governing Board to consider when staff recommends that the Board incorporate the proposed minimum flows into District rules.
Meetings conducted by the peer review panel will be facilitated by the District as web-based teleconferences. Face-to-face meetings will not be held in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The web-based teleconferences will include opportunities for public comment on the review process. Details about the peer review panel’s work will be accessible through a web forum as soon as they are available.
A public workshop will be scheduled to provide information on the proposed minimum flow and solicit additional stakeholder input. Information about the public workshop will be available at the District’s MFLs Public Meetings page.
Public comments will be summarized and/or made available to the District Governing Board to support their consideration of the proposed minimum flows.
- Stakeholder outreach and meetings – Ongoing through Fall 2020
- District Governing Board meeting – March 24, 2020; to provide the draft minimum flows report to the Board prior to peer review
- Peer review – March 25, 2020 through June 26, 2020
- Public workshop – July 2020
- District Governing Board meeting – Fall 2020; to request approval of staff-recommended minimum flows and initiate rulemaking to establish the minimum flows into District rules