By Emily Burris–WUFT-FM
The St. Johns River Water Management District has yet to review a permit application from the Adena Springs Ranch in Marion County. Earlier in the year the operators of the planned grass fed cattle ranch submitted an application to be able to pump more than 13,000,000 gallons of water a day, leaving many people in Marion and elsewhere worried about the fate of the Silver Springs aquifer. Theresa Monson is the Public Communications Coordinator for the St Johns River Water Management District. She says the permit application for Adena Springs has been an ongoing process.
She says in late April they requested additional time to provide more information. They now have until August 26th to provide the additional information or request another extension.
But the permit is currently in the review process and isn’t considered complete, and there’s no date in sight for when it may reach the district governing board. Monson says in the meantime many people have been speaking out against the permit.
She says people can still continue to offer their opinions.
Someone who has been very vocal about the Adena Springs Ranch permit is Environmental Activist Karen Alhers. She has been following the permit and information given out by Adena Springs and says there are still many unanswered questions.
She says Adena springs hasn’t been forthcoming with information. However they have published several, large two page ads in area newspapers addressing concerns. The advertisements say they want to talk, and that they’ve done extensive research showing Silver Springs and the Silver River will not be negatively impacted. It reads “if the permit is granted, water level changes will be so small they cannot be measured by existing technology.”
In fact, Alhers thinks the ads may even work against Adena.
Alhers has been a part of organizing protests against the ranch. A group that she belongs to known as the Water Action Team is currently working to collect donations to fund potential legal action.
In the meantime, everyone – activists and water management officials included – are waiting for the next step in the permitting process. WUFT-FM tried repeatedly to get a comment from an Adena Springs representative for this story, but calls were not returned.