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Sleepy Creek Lands consumptive use permit application

Updated on 2-3-2017

DOAH hearing, April 10 through 13, 2017; 10 a.m.; district headquarters, Palatka, FL

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During the permit application process, the name of the project was changed from Adena Springs Ranch to Sleepy Creek North and East Tracts. The second permit modification request converted the pending application number from 129419-1 to 91926-4.

Additional facts
  • An environmental resource permit (ERP) was issued to construct a stormwater management system to address potential water quality issues, including additional water quality treatment through the establishment of vegetated upland buffers, retention berms, redistribution swales and the implementation of other conservation practices.

FAQs

Q: How much water is the District recommending be allocated?
A: The district is recommending for approval the allocation of an additional 1.22 mgd for a total of 2.68 mgd from 2017 through 2023, but requires a reduction to 1.46 mgd for years 2024 through 2034.

Q: Why/how was a new model developed?
A: The district regularly updates its regional groundwater flow models as new hydraulic and hydrogeologic information becomes available. The current version of the Northern District Groundwater Flow Model Version 5.0 was created in partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The model is used to estimate potential impacts on local and regional groundwater levels and flows.

Q: How will withdrawals affect nearby springs?
A: Based on modeling simulations, the district does not anticipate withdrawals will pose harmful hydrologic alterations to water resources in the area, including wetlands and springs. The applicant’s proposed use of water was found to be a reasonable-beneficial use, will not interfere with any existing legal use of water and is consistent with the public interest.

Q: What steps will be taken to minimize environmental impact nutrients/run off?
A: The applicant has provided reasonable assurance that there will not be a water quality impact. Additional water quality treatment activities include the establishment of vegetated upland buffers, retention berms, redistribution swales, and other conservation and best management practices. These activities are approved by environmental resource permit (IND-083-130588-4).

Q: What measures will the applicant take related to water conservation?
A: The applicant has submitted a water conservation plan for their operations. The plan includes proposed installation of high efficiency irrigation system, water audits, rainfall shutoff sensors, on-site weather station, use of a professional water conservation consultant, daily maintenance inspections and other measures.

Q: If approved, can the permit be modified if the land or business is sold?
A: A permit modification requires board and/or district approval. A permit modification is required if there is a change in duration, allocation, permitted use type, type or number of withdrawal points, or water sources. Transfer of a permit from one owner to another, that does not change use or duration, does not require a modification.

Q: What are the next steps?
A: After the district completed its review of Sleepy Creek Lands, LLC’s application 2-083-91926-4, a petition for a formal administrative hearing was filed objecting to approval of the application. The petition was referred to the Division of Administrative Hearings, where an administrative law judge will conduct a hearing and submit a recommended order to the district. After receiving that order, the Governing Board will then consider the judge's recommendation and vote to approve or deny the permit application.

Sleepy Creek Lands
Timeline

January 9, 2017

  • A petition for a formal administrative hearing has been filed by multiple parties objecting to the staff recommendation for approval of the application.

December 14, 2016

  • District staff completed its review of the revised Sequence 4 Permit and recommends the district's Governing Board approve the application. District staff recommends increasing the total permitted allocation by 1.22 mgd for a limited duration. Thus, the Sequence 4 Permit proposes to authorize a total allocation of 2.54 mgd of groundwater from the Upper Floridan aquifer for pasture irrigation, crop irrigation, and livestock use and 0.14 mgd for commercial/industrial use for years 2017 through 2023. For years 2024 through 2034, the permitted allocation will reduce to the current permitted allocation of 1.46 mgd. There is no change in the duration of the permit.

November 1, 2016

  • The Sequence 5 Permit was issued.

October 4, 2016

  • The Fifth District Court of Appeal entered an order affirming the District's final order on the Sequence 3 Permit.
  • Sleepy Creek requested a letter modification to: 1) relocate three proposed wells; 2) remove one well; 3) rename one well; and, 4) correct the location of an existing well. No change in source, withdrawal capacity or casing diameter was requested. This modification request is known as the Sequence 5 Permit.

October 3, 2016

  • Sleepy Creek submitted a letter to the district requesting: 1) the Sequence 4 Permit be re-evaluated using the district's updated modeling tool for the area; 2) an additional 0.14 mgd of groundwater for use at its cattle harvesting facility known as the North Tract Facility; and, 3) the Sequence 4 Permit be re-evaluated under the District's current rules.

Aug. 12, 2015

  • The district received notice appealing the final order issuing the Sequence 3 Permit.

July 14, 2015

  • The district’s Governing Board entered a final order to approve the ERP and Sequence 3 Permit.

April 29, 2015

  • An administrative law judge issued a recommended order that the district issue both the ERP and the Sequence 3 Permit in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the respective technical staff reports prepared by district staff.

August 2014

  • The challenges to the ERP and Sequence 3 Permit were consolidated into one administrative proceeding. An administrative hearing on the petitions was held Aug. 25–29, 2014, in Palatka. At that hearing, district staff presented the facts and the law that led to their recommendation for approval of the permits.

July 15, 2014

  • The district issued notice of its intent to deny the Sequence 4 Permit. Sleepy Creek and various other parties requested extensions of time to file petitions for administrative hearings regarding the Sequence 4 Permit.

June 19, 2014

  • Sleepy Creek amended its original application for new groundwater to 1.12 mgd for use on the North Tract. This request was assigned permit number 2-083-91926-4 and became known as the Sequence 4 Permit.

June 2, 2014

  • The district received two petitions for administrative hearing challenging both the issuance of the ERP and the proposed issuance of the Sequence 3 Permit.

May 12, 2014

  • The district issued ERP IND-083-130588-4 to Sleepy Creek.
  • District staff completed its review of the CUP consolidation request for the Sequence 3 Permit and recommended the district's Governing Board approve that application.

April 18, 2014

  • Sleepy Creek requested authorization to consolidate and modify its existing consumptive use permits for two sod farms (2-083-3011-7 and 2-083-91926-2) and to shift some or all of its existing groundwater allocation of 1.46 mgd to the North Tract of the Sleepy Creek property. This consolidation request was assigned permit number 2-083-91926-3 and became known as the Sequence 3 Permit.

March 28, 2014

  • The district received an environmental resource permit (ERP) application (IND-083-130588-4) from Sleepy Creek to construct a stormwater management system, including the establishment of vegetated upland buffers, retention berms, and redistribution swales, and the implementation of other conservation practices for the North Tract of the Sleepy Creek property. The proposed construction is part of the implementation of conservation practices, including nutrient and pesticide management practices, on the North Tract where Sleepy Creek plans to have irrigated rotationally grazed pastures, as well as non-irrigated pastures and some remaining timber operations. These water quality practices are proposed to reduce the nutrient loads reaching the wetlands.

Dec. 2, 2011

  • The St. Johns River Water Management District received a consumptive use permit (CUP) application for Sleepy Creek Lands (formerly known as Adena Springs Ranch) for a new groundwater withdrawal of 13 million gallons of water per day (mgd) for irrigation of improved pasture and other crops, and watering of cattle.
  • Since the initial application in 2011, Sleepy Creek significantly amended its water withdrawal request in both amount and geographic scope, and made its request over two permit sequences (2-083-91926-3 and 2-083-91926-4).

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