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Environmental Groups: Silver Springs Fight Has Wide Effect

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Silver Springs

A ranch’s request for an additional million gallons of water a day near Silver Springs outside of Ocala is at the heart of an administrative hearing Thursday.

Environmental groups like the St. Johns Riverkeeper sought the hearing after the St. Johns River Water Management District changed its water use policy in favor of Sleepy Creek Lands.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman says the modification affects all springs in Florida.

“This shift in the way they look at compliance would actually allow them to issue more permits in the future even though the flow of Silver Springs has been dramatically degraded. So this is much larger than one permit. This is basically shifting water policy to a highly unsustainable method.”

The water district says its recommendation that Sleepy Creek get more water is science-based. Silver Springs is among Florida’s best-known natural springs.