WUFT News

Eyes on Adena over water request controversy

By on October 9th, 2012

Audio report by Corey Brooks.

North Central Florida residents argued against a billionaire-backed cattle ranch’s high water request at a public meeting in Palatka Tuesday.

Adena Springs South first drew attention in April for the large amount of daily water requested for new land the ranch is buying for a beef production operation.

In August, the ranch reduced its request of 13.267 million gallons of water a day to 5.3 million gallons.

The ranch’s original application asked for 27 million gallons of water a day before the board convinced the ranch to lower that request in December, according to the St. Johns River Water Management District website.

Adena Springs South is part of a series of ranches founded by Austrian-Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach. The car parts and horseracing entertainment businessman donated $1.5 million to fund construction of the center at UF’s Plant Research and Education Unit in Citra, according to the Gainesville Sun.

The ranch said it expects to create about 150 new jobs.

At the meeting, comments from residents prompted Putnam County commissioners to delay discussion on the issue for another time.

Discussion moved to the St. Johns Water district, where the focus moved to decreased discharge from Silver Springs.

A report released Tuesday showed the decreased discharge is because of organisms in the water. Opponents of the ranch expansion said fertilizer from the ranch will further slow the discharge.

Lad Daniels, chairman of the St. Johns Water Management District Board, said the board is still waiting for a permit application from Adena, which changed its application to show less water requested.

Daniels said the amount of water requested got the board’s attention but wasn’t shocking. He said most people don’t realize how much water they use a day.

He said the board, which represents about five million people, will wait for a scientific group’s conclusion before making a decision based on what’s best for the spring. He said the board and scientific group will not be swayed by public or political pressure.

“We are going to be driven purely by the science,” he said.

Karen Chadwick, a resident of Interlachen in Putnam County, said she’s concerned the ranch isn’t honest about its plans.

She said the ranch’s revised plans, while lowering the water demand, used an old map that didn’t reflect the amount of land the ranch cleared.

“They make it sound like nothing’s happening,” she said.

Chadwick said the ranch didn’t specify at an Aug. 22 meeting where it would buy land as part of the $50 million its allotting for satellite farms.

Her other concerns included the ranch displacing wildlife to clear land and the added pesticides and manure from 17,000 cows will run into a nearby lake.

She said Putnam, Marion and Levy counties residents are unhappy with what the ranch is doing.

“I just feel like we’re being invaded and misled. They’re clearcutting vast areas. They’re creating an environmental disaster, and they’re being very secretive about it.”

Honey Rand, a spokeswoman for Adena, said the ranch expansion won’t hurt local water overall because of management and operational changes. The nutrient management plan and technology at the site would prevent the flow from rainfall.

Brad Purcell, Putnam County commissioner for district 5, said the commissioners are monitoring the ranch’s activity and the property is just for cattle grazing.

He said the commissioners will make sure the ranch uses the best practices and suggests the ranch be more forthcoming and communicate with the community, though it doesn’t seem the ranch is hiding anything.

“They don’t really have a lot to share,” Purcell said. “So if there’s not a whole lot besides the facts that we’re prepared to do some cattle grazing, then there’s really not a whole lot that we can ask of them.”

The ranch is expected to finalize its new application in November and present scientific data to the board.

The St. Johns district expects the process to go through December.


This entry was posted in Business, Environment, Local and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Business

Steamers

Steamers Makes A Comeback, Opening In Bo Diddley Plaza

Four years after it closed, Steamers restaurant is back again with a new location. Owner Artie Guy is bringing the restaurant back to Gainesville in Bo Diddley Plaza. Set for an opening in May, the dining place will be in a central hub amid plaza renovations.


Foresight Construction Group employees attend a trade fair sponsored by the Central and North Florida Minority Supplier Development Council. From left to right, Melissa Segarra, marketing director, Juan Segarra, president and Maritza Rovira-Forino, minority business manager.

Gainesville Responds to Low Grades on NAACP Report Card

The City of Gainesville’s Equal Opportunity Committee met last Tuesday to continue to discuss a report card that indicated minorities are underrepresented in the city government.


Personal liaison Daniel Araque delivers groceries to a Gainesville resident. Lazy Delivery offers delivery from any brick and mortar stores in the area within two hours.

Three Unlikely Business Owners Expand Gainesville Company To Tallahassee

Manuel Zelaya, his brother Daniel and their longtime friend Marc Charbel are in their mid-twenties and co-founders of Lazy Delivery, a business that delivers groceries and other items from physical stores to area residents. They are expanding their business to Tallahassee later this month.


Wendy Newman, co-owner of The Talented Cookie Company, ices an order of cookies decorated to look like limes. The Talented Cookie Company is moving into The Corner next month.

Local Entrepreneurs Unite To Create High Springs Hangout

Two couples combine four businesses to make one large hangout for High Springs. The opening of The Corner is scheduled for next month.


Luke Kemper, the owner of Swamp Head Brewery, shares a laugh over a beer with tactical manager Brandon Nappy. The brewery creates many seasonable beers but has found success from the first original five beers, which are available year round.

Swamp Head Becomes First Solar-Powered Brewery In Florida

Swamp Head Brewery has moved to a new location and installed solar panels, becoming the first solar-powered brewery in Florida. Their goal has always been to become more sustainable, and they have taken other initiatives such as buying land for preservation and aiding in conservation efforts to do so.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments