May 30, 2002
Dr. Peter Doering
South Florida Water Management District
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416-4680
Dear Dr. Doering,
Thank you for your recent response to our letter regarding pulsed releases to the Caloosahatchee estuary. It is apparent at this time that there was a MFL exceedance in November/December 2001 and again in April / May 2002. Data provided to us by the Lee County Hyacinth Control District indicates a 30 day average salinity (averaged from 2 hour intervals) from November 19, 2001 to December 19,2001 was 11.1 ppt. Data from this same source also indicates an exceedance during April 19 to May 16 in which the average salinity was 14.1 ppt. The LCHCD hydrolab multimeter, located near the Mid Point Marina, is very close to the SFWMD recording meter at the Ft. Myers Yacht Basin. As a result of this close proximity we would expect similar results but would request the specific SFWMD salinity information for verification as requested in our first letter.
Our interpretation of the recently passed MFL rule for the Caloosahatchee River, would be that a MFL exceedance has occurred during two consecutive years (2001 and 2002) and that the significant harm threshold has been breached as defined in the rule. According to the MFL rule, Phase III water restrictions are to be implemented when significant harm has occurred. If this is not your interpretation then please indicate why.
If your interpretation is that exceedances have to occur during two consecutive 365 day periods then another exceedance between September 2002 and September 2003 will presumably trigger the MFL violation and significant harm threshold requiring Phase III restrictions under the shared adversity component of the rule.
We realize the rule was only adopted in September 2001, but in reality there have been minimum flow “exceedances” for at least the past three, possibly four years and we would expect the SFWMD to make every effort to resolve these problems to the resource by strict compliance
with the Recovery and Prevention Strategy outlined in the MFL rule development process. We will be examining the pulsed flow regime during this past dry season to determine its effectiveness and compliance with the recovery strategy.
Once again, we appreciate your timely response to our requests for information about the Caloosahatchee River and await your salinity data and rule interpretation.
Chairman, Southwest Florida Watershed Council
cc. Ms. Carol Senne, SFWMD, Fort Myers Service Center
Mr. Henry Dean, Executive Director, SFWMD
Ms. Trudi Williams, Governing Board Chair, SFWMD
Dr. Lisa Beever, Executive Director, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program