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Minimum Flows and Levels for the Pithlachascotee River

Independent Scientific Peer Review of Minimum Flows Proposed for the Pithlachascotee River in Pasco County

STATUS UPDATE: The final draft Peer Review Report has been completed and is available electronically. For more information, questions and comments, please email the project manager.

Minimum flows and levels are limits established by the District Governing Board for surface waters and groundwater that are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be caused by water withdrawals. Field survey Proposed minimum flows for the Pithlachascotee River are summarized in a draft report and appendices.

In accordance with Section 373.0421(4), Florida Statutes, the District voluntarily subjected all scientific or technical data, methodologies, models, and scientific and technical assumptions used to support development of the proposed minimum flows to independent scientific peer review. The Pithlachascotee River’s review was conducted by a panel of three independent, recognized experts in the fields of hydrology, hydrogeology, limnology, biology and other scientific disciplines relevant to the development of the minimum flows. The panel prepared a final report for the District Governing Board and the Board gives significant weight to the report when establishing minimum flows for the Pithlachascotee River.

Peer Review Panel Meetings

Meetings conducted by the peer review panel occurred October and November 2016. They included an initial, in-person meeting, which included a field trip to sites on the river as well as web-based teleconferences facilitated from the District’s Brooksville office. Details about the peer review panel’s work is accessible through the Web Forum.

Outreach Activities

Staff has been meeting with elected officials, local governments and other stakeholders to communicate the recommended minimum flows and to solicit feedback. District staff will provide an overview of the recommended minimum flows for the Pithlachascotee River System for review and comment during a public workshop expected to be held in May 2017.

Tentative Schedule

During the April 25, 2017 District Governing Board meeting, the Peer Review Report and the District response will be presented as a submit and file report. The public comment period closes June 27, 2017. The tentative schedule is outlined below.

  • January-June 2017: Stakeholder outreach and meetings
  • April 25, 2017: District Governing Board meeting – Submit and file report item on the peer review and staff response to the peer review
  • May 2017 (date to be determined): Public workshop
  • June 27, 2017: District Governing Board meeting – Discussion item and request to approve staff minimum flow recommendations
  • June-August 2017: Rulemaking (includes, among other things, public notices, 21-day public comment period, legislative committee review, public hearing, if any, and rule filing — visit Online Sunshine’s rulemaking process for details)
  • September 30, 2017: Minimum flows scheduled for adoption