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Process under way to set minimum flows and levels for Lower Ocklawaha River, 6 central Florida lakes

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PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board voted today to begin the process to set minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for the Lower Ocklawaha River and six lakes in Lake and Orange counties to help prevent significant harm to those important water resources.

When the rulemaking is completed, MFLs would be established for the Lower Ocklawaha River at State Road 40 in Marion County and for lakes Apopka, Beauclair, Dora, Eustis, Griffin and Harris in the Upper Ocklawaha River chain.

"Establishing MFLs is an important step in the District's work of planning for adequate water supplies in the region while also protecting water resources," said Al Canepa, director of the District's MFLs Development and Prevention and Recovery Strategies Initiative. "There will be multiple opportunities for public input as we move forward with rule development."

During the consumptive use permitting regulatory process, MFLs are used as a basis for ensuring the protection of water resources in the area where withdrawals are being made. MFLs also are used in the District's water supply planning process and the environmental resource permitting program.

The District has set MFLs for more than 120 lakes, springs, rivers and wetlands systems since setting its first MFLs in 1991.

Workshops will be held in 2014 to obtain public input. The public will also have opportunities to provide input throughout the process and when the Governing Board considers adopting the MFLs.

Source: SJRWMD news release