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Alexander, Silver Glen and Gemini springs MFLs

Updated on 6-13-2017

The St. Johns River Water Management District has developed minimum flows for three Outstanding Florida Springs — Alexander Springs in Lake County, Gemini Springs in Volusia County and Silver Glen Springs in Marion County. Florida law requires the adoption of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) statewide for 31 Outstanding Florida Springs by July 1, 2017, including Alexander, Silver Glen and Gemini springs.

MFLs are an effective tool for developing reliable water management decisions and preventing significant harm due to groundwater withdrawals to priority water bodies. MFLs set the limit of available water beyond which further water withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the ecological structure and/or function, or other beneficial uses of a given water body.

Alexander Springs

Alexander Springs is a first-magnitude spring located in Lake County. The spring and spring run are bordered by national forest lands, including the Ocala National Forest and Alexander Springs Wilderness, and comprise one of the most scenic and biologically diverse ecosystems in the state. Several state and federally listed species have been documented within the Alexander Springs Creek basin. The spring area has been developed by the U.S. Forest Service into a multi-use recreational facility open to the public. Because of Alexander Springs’ relatively unimpacted conditions, and many natural attributes, the spring boil and the spring run are both regionally important destinations, for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and other recreation. Boating is not allowed in the spring pool, but the spring run is a popular spot for recreational boaters.

The hydrology of Alexander Springs and Creek is complex and current hydrological data and ecological criteria identified for this system suggested an allowable reduction that was deemed to not be conservative enough for this regionally important OFS. SJRWMD is instead basing the recommended minimum flow on the statewide average for springs’ MFLs, which is equal to a 6.8 percent reduction.

SJRWMD recommends a minimum flow regime that allows no more than a 7 cfs (6.8 percent) reduction from the no-pumping condition. Because of the very low current impact from pumping (0.7 cfs), this equates to no more than a 6.3 cfs reduction in mean flow from the baseline (current-impacted) condition.

The proposed MFL for Alexander Springs are achieved for the planning horizon, and a prevention strategy is not required.

Silver Glen Springs

Silver Glen Springs is a first-magnitude spring located in Ocala National Forest, between the unincorporated communities of Salt Springs and Astor, Fla. The spring emerges from one of the largest and longest underwater cave complexes in the St. Johns River basin, and flows down a 0.6-mile spring run to Lake George along the St. Johns River. The hydrology of the Silver Glen Springs run is highly influenced by the hydrology of the St. Johns River and Lake George.

Warm-water habitat for Florida manatees is the most sensitive ecological resource evaluated for the determination of a minimum flow regime at Silver Glen Springs. The minimum flow regime recommended by SJRWMD for Silver Glen Springs is intended to allow no significant decrease in warm-water habitat due to water withdrawals.

SJRWMD recommends a minimum flow regime that allows no more than a 2.6 cfs (2.5 percent) reduction from the no-pumping condition. This equates to no more than a 0.5 cfs (0.4 percent) reduction in mean flow from the baseline (current-pumping) condition.

A prevention or recovery strategy is not needed because minor future water use is not expected to cause spring flows to drop below the MFL during the 20-year planning period.

Gemini Springs

Gemini Springs is part of a Volusia County park and classified as a second-magnitude spring. It consists of two spring vents, approximately 150 feet apart, with separate spring runs that both flow into a 1.3-acre man-made reservoir controlled by a fixed-crest weir. Below the weir, Gemini Springs Run, also known as Padgett Creek, meanders approximately two miles to Lake Monroe. The hydrology downstream from the weir is overwhelmingly influenced by Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River. Therefore, the recommended Gemini Springs MFL focuses on maintaining water resource values upstream from the weir.

The minimum flow regime recommended by SJRWMD for Gemini Springs is based on the most sensitive criterion, which is intended to allow no significant harm to aesthetic and scenic attributes of the springs or spring pool.

SJRWMD recommends a minimum flow regime that allows no more than a 1.6 cfs (15%) reduction from the no-pumping condition. This equates to no more than a 0.6 cfs (5%) reduction in mean flow from the baseline (current-impacted) condition.

The proposed MFL for Gemini Springs is currently being achieved now and is expected to continue to be achieved over the 20-year planning horizon. Therefore, no recovery or prevention strategy is required.

Key dates:
April 20, 2017 A public workshop was held at SJRWMD headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka, to present information and take public comment on the recommended MFLs for Alexander, Silver Glen and Gemini springs.
May 4, 2017 Stakeholder comment period
May 9, 2017 Draft MFLs are scheduled to be considered by the SJRWMD Governing Board during the regular monthly Governing Board meeting, which is open to the public.
July 1, 2017 Statutory deadline for Outstanding Florida Spring MFLs

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922