Environmental achievements revealed for Madison County

Abby Johnson, Governmental Affairs & Communications Coordinator of Suwannee River Water Management District in Live Oak, presented the State of the Resources Report to the County Commission Board at the Board of County Commissioners meeting Wednesday, August 26 at 6 p.m. Johnson presented a brief presentation of funding opportunities, completed projects, projects underway and hydrogeology from the last month in Madison County and its surrounding areas. The average July rain total across the district was 8.5 inches. Madison County received an average of 5.38 inches of rain for the month of July. Some areas in Dixie, Taylor and Levy Counties received 20 inches of rain from July 24 to July 31, which led to flash flooding. “We’re here to support [any county] regardless of the location,” said Johnson on the possibility of flooding. Jefferson County received the lowest amount of rain. Johnson moved onward to the Minimal Flows and Levels (MFL) Schedule after going over a recap of the rainfall.

The MFL Schedule was established by the Environmental Protection Agency as the first cross-bound MFL level in the state. According to a press release by Suwannee River Water Management, by using meteorological, hydrological and ecological data, MFLs allow researchers to understand the minimal flow level each water system needs to flow naturally. Suwannee River MFLs are on schedule, according to Johnson. The next item covered included Active Agricultural Projects throughout the district. The majority of the projects presented are still underway. The Ag. Cost-Share Project has been saving 7.4 billion gallons of water per day. Projects in Madison County include the River Project called West Farm Low. “That contract is signed,” said Johnson. “They’re moving forward to get this project underway.” River funding opportunities are currently open and will remain open until October 30. Johnson presented the achievements this year made by the Suwannee River Water Management District. This year, there have been several achievements that have helped many bodies of water in the district. A rock was removed from Hart Springs as a part of Hart Springs Restoration Project. Once removed, additional debris was removed; since the removal, Hart Springs’ flow is much stronger. Brooks Sink of Bradford County had risers put in place where water was filling into the tide. The risers allowed the water to be redirected into natural flow.

An estimated flow of 220 million gallons of water per year will go directly back into the aquifer. Another project, West Ridge Development in the eastern portion of the district, is a wetland restoration project. Water quality, aquifer recharge and redirection are being actively worked on in this project. The Suwannee River Water Management District also found a connection between two unknown bodies of water in Falmouth Spring by using a dye trace procedure. The dye trace revealed that Ellaville and Suwannacoochee springs were connected through Suwannacoochee Cave System. “Your tax dollars are well at work,” said Johnson. “We are diligently working on a variety of topics.” To end the presentation, Alphonas “Al” Alexander, Vice-Chairman of Suwannee River Water Management District, presented a check of $19,917 to the Board of Commissioners as a thanks for the utilization of county land. For more information about Suwannee River Water Management District and any of its projects, reports or statistics, visit www.mysuwaneeriver.com.

1. Photo Submitted. Suwannee River Water Management District presented a check of $19,917 to the Madison Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday, August 26. Pictured, from left to right, are: Wayne Vickers, District 2 Commissioner; Rick Davis, District 5 Commissioner; Al Alexander, Vice-Chairman of Suwannee River Water Management District; Tim Sanders, Clerk of Court; and Alfred Martin, District 4 Commissioner. Not Pictured: Abby Johnson, Governmental Affairs & Communications Coordinator of Suwannee River Water Management District.

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