Loxahatchee River Management Coordinating Council
January 29, 2007 Meeting Minutes
I Call to Order
Chairman Tom Howard called the meeting to order shortly after 2 PM at the new Elsa
Kimbell Education Center at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
II Roll Call: Council Members present: Greg Braun Ann Broadwell, Rick Dent, Gale
English, Catherine Harding, Joel Howard, Tom Howard, Chad Kennedy, Marge Ketter, Pat
Magrogan, Linda McCarthy, Peter Merritt, Paul Millar, Jim Ostrander, Sam Payson, Karen
Smith, Rich Walesky, and Herb Zebuth,
Chairman Howard asked attendees to check the list of currently recognized Council
members. If the list does not accurately reflect the designee and/or their alternate, sponsoring
organizations need to provide correspondence to Gardenia Long identifying their representative
On behalf of the Council, Chairman Howard thanked JDSP manager Mark Nelson, Park
Biologist Rob Rossmanith, and boat captain Caption Jack Bobo for hosting Council members on
a boat tour of the River earlier in the day.
Chairman Howard recognized Trish Allen, aide to new state Representative Tim
Mahoney and encouraged their interest and participation in Council activities.
III Approval of Minutes from September 25, 2006 Meeting
The minutes were unanimously approved without change.
IV. A. Election of Officers
Chairman Howard thanked Pat Walker for working with him during his three-year tenure
as chair and expressed his appreciation to Council coordinator Gardenia Banks-Long for her
diligent efforts on behalf of the Council, and then opened the floor for nominations for 2007. A
nomination of Peter Merritt as chairman was declined by Peter due to work obligations.
Similarly, Rick Dent declined a chairmanship nomination. A nomination of Sarah Heard as
chairman was made by M. Ketter, seconded by Rick Dent and approved without dissent.
After Karen Smith declined a nomination as vice-chair, a motion to elect Herb Zebuth as
vice chair was made by M. Ketter, seconded by R. Dent and unanimously approved.
With Chairman Heard absent, Herb Zebuth then chaired the remainder of the meeting. A
Motion for H. Zebuth to simultaneously serve as vice chair and continue as secretary was
declined by Herb, after which J Ostrander nominated G. Braun who was unanimously elected as
IV. B. Update on the Cypress Creek Restoration (Flow-way 3 NPB CERP)
Paul Millar (Martin County Office of Water Quality) gave a power point presentation
describing key elements of the CERP Flow-way #3. After a Google-Earth orientation of
each of the major Loxahatchee River basins, identification of various designations of the
River, and discussion of various management partners, Mr. Millar discussed the four flow-
ways being evaluated as part of the CERP project and identified the following major issues:
1. The major overall environmental issue of the River is too much water during the rainy
season and too little water during the dry season.
LRMCC Minutes January 29, 2007
2. With Phosphorus concentrations of + 44 ppb, water quality in Cypress Creek is
considered very good when compared to other surface waters in South Florida.
3. Components of the Cypress Creek restoration which were described included: a) Land
Acquisition, b) Studies, Design and Permitting, C) Construction, and D) Operation.
4. Based on watershed studies by Tomasello, construction elements being evaluated include
construction of new berms, removal of some old/obsolete berms, installation of new
water control structures, removal of invasive pest plants, and conversion of agricultural
use on public lands to (re)-created wetlands both east and west of I-95.
5. Existing agricultural use on public lands is being phased out, and a previous request to
convert citrus to sod on WMD-controlled lands within the Loxahatchee River watershed
has been withdrawn.
6. Regarding the development of Minimum Flows and Levels rules for Loxahatchee River
tributaries, WMD intends to initiate rulemaking during 2007 for: a) the Southwest Fork,
b) Cypress Creek, c) Kitching Creek, and d) Hobe Grove Ditch/Moonshine Creek.
IV. C. Update on Restoration Plan
Pat Walker (SFWMD Coastal Watershed) addressed the Council, and advised that:
1. The FDEP Secretary sent a letter approving the Loxahatchee River Restoration Plan on
Oct. 24, 2006 after it had been accepted by the WMD Governing Board.
2. Informal peer review of the Restoration Plan and formal peer review of the ‘Preliminary
Report on the Riverine and Tidal Floodplain of the Loxahatchee River and its
Tributaries’ which was developed by Dick Roberts and Marion Hedgpeth have resulted in
3. Construction of the G-161 structure is completed to convey water from the L-8 reservoir
to the NW Fork, but in response to an inquiry from vice-chairman Zebuth regarding
resultant improvements in flow, Pat indicated that the G-160 and G-161 structures “are
not fully operational”.
4. Various monitoring investigations are underway by various entities, including:
a. Water quality and seagrass monitoring continues in the downstream portions of
the River in coordination with LRECD,
b. Salinity is being monitored with assistance from USGS,
c. Soil salinity and soil moisture are being studied by UF,
d. Groundwater issues are being investigated by FPS,
e. Vegetation (shrub and canopy species) is being monitored by a joint FPS/WMD
Activities yet to be undertaken include:
1. A 3-year study of fishes in the freshwater and estuarine habitats, which had to be eliminated
when funding was eliminated,
2. Establishment of water reservations for the Loxahatchee River,
3. Installation of pumps on the M Canal,
4. Improvements to the M Canal.
LRMCC Minutes January 29, 2007
R. Dent expressed the frustration of the Council that improvements to date have not yet
resulted in increases in dry-season flows into the River.
P. Millar requested that the District compile an overall status report of Lox River projects.
In response to a question by Vice-Chairman Zebuth regarding the District’s schedule for
development of a water reservation, WMD staff John Maxted indicated that the District hopes to
have a draft by the end of the 2007 fiscal year, but that it is a difficult task due to its inter-
relationship with River restoration. Herb indicated the Councils’ long-standing concern that
establishment of initial water reservations for the Loxahatchee has not appeared to be a priority
for the District.
J. Ostrander encouraged the District to designate a 15 cfs water reservation based on flow
data from as far back as 1983, with the acknowledgement that there will need to be refinement of
the reservation as more recent data become available and are analyzed.
P. Walker indicated that, based on the MFL Rule, the District has not granted any new
Consumptive Use Permits for withdrawals from the shallow aquifer within the Loxahatchee
River Basin nor have there been any increases in volume permitted to existing users. She also
advised that the adopted Minimum Flow and Level criteria have not been met since 2002. Pat
agreed to work with WMD staff to prepare a presentation regarding Consumptive Use Permitting
in the River Basin for the next Council meeting.
WMD Mike Voich indicated that 2007 Everglades Forever legislation may provide
funding for new collaborative water-related projects.
IV. D. Update on the Loxahatchee River Management Plan.
Rob Rossmanith (FDEP-FPS) indicated that Council members should have received the
outline, Chapter 1 (Introduction) and Chapter 2 (Management Authority) and that he is accepting
comments (preferably by email to Robin.Rossmanith@dep.state.fl.us). The plan was last
updated in 2000 and the goal is to complete this re-write during 2007. Rob indicated that he will
evaluate and incorporate ‘minor’ comments, and bring more substantive issues to the Council for
discussion. When opened to the Council for comments, the following issues were raised:
M. Ketter requested modification/clarification of historically involved parties to
differentiate between the 1983 ‘Save the Loxahatchee River Coalition’ and the present
Loxahatchee River Coalition, suggested that the role of the LRMCC be identified
H. Zebuth provided clarification regarding state and federal designations of the River
(Page 1), confirmed that the Plan was approved by the State of Florida in 1985 and the LRMCC
in 1995, suggested clarification that DACS was represented by the Division of Forestry (page 5),
and that he did not recall that the Florida Farm Bureau was initially involved.
D. Roberts Indicated the need for attention to detail, as he has “been to court three times
on this”, to which T. Howard suggested that particular emphasis be placed on issues/wording that
was the subject of the lawsuits.
R. Walesky suggested that Rob discuss the recreation element with Palm Beach County
Parks and Recreation Dept., particularly in light of the changes in use associated with the
opening of Riverbend Park.
D. Roberts confirmed that the chapter on public use and carrying capacity was a
particularly controversial element of the existing plan, to which former chairman T. Howard
suggested that updates to the public use element may require a specific meeting and/or agenda
LRMCC Minutes January 29, 2007
J. Howard suggested that the entire document be re-read to identify and, where
appropriate, correct/improve wording.
J. Ostrander indicated that on the Itchetucknee River, a specific carrying capacity of
2,000-3,000 people per day has been established, and suggested that investigations to determine
how that threshold was determined could be helpful
L. McCarthy suggested that in re-writing the Natural Resources section, there be a
comparison of present conditions with conditions at the time the River was designated as Wild
J. Howard suggested that the Park Service consider that there are two elements of impacts
by and on human users of the river: 1) the natural resource impacts from human use and 2) the
adverse effects on ‘the experience’ of canoeing on a busy, heavily-used river.
M. Ketter suggested that the updating of the plan be a joint effort with existing Park
Service staff with collaboration with the institutional memory and experience of Dick Roberts
(now retired from FPS).
V. Updates from Member Agency/Organization Activities
H. Zebuth thanked T. Howard and the LRECD for providing lunch after the morning boat
excursion on the River.
Motion: P. Millar made a motion that G. Long review the recent attendance rolls and prepare
letters for signature by the Chair to be sent to member organizations that have not met the
attendance policy encouraging their renewed participation and designation of a new
representative. Dates of the remaining meetings in 2007 are to be identified in the letter. Motion
seconded by R. Dent and unanimously approved.
Discussion ensued regarding whether or not the WMD Governing Board had taken action
on the Councils’ recommendation that the Bureau of Land Management be added to the Council,
and there was general agreement that the Governing Board had not taken any action on this item.
Motion: R. Dent moved that “The LRMCC extends its heartfelt gratitude and offers its highest
commendation to Mr. Tom Howard for his exemplary leadership in the management of the
Loxahatchee River”. Motion seconded and approved unanimously.
P. Millar informed the Council that a new movie has been released on the Apalachicola
River. Council Members were then asked to volunteer and/or promote participation/attendance
at Riverfest, which is to be held on March 25th at JDSP.
T. Howard informed the Council that UF’s Dr. Mehta will be making a presentation
about erosion at a meeting on the second Wednesday in February.
Secretary G. Braun inquired about the possibility of posting of the schedule of LRMCC
meetings, meeting minutes and Power Point presentations made to the Council on a Loxahatchee
River pull-down menu of the WMD web-site. G. Banks-Long agreed to investigate the
Discussion ensued regarding where to hold future Council meetings. After some
discussion, a hand-vote showed that a clear majority supported having regular meetings at the
Jupiter Community Center due to its comparatively easier accessibility; however JDSP manager
LRMCC Minutes January 29, 2007
Mark Nelson was thanks for his hospitality in offering the Council use of the education center
today and for future meetings.
VI. Public Comments
Patrick Hayes, Martin Co Soil and Water Conservation District, thanked the Council for
accepting public input as a matter of course during discussion, concurred with Council comments
regarding the need to carefully consider the public use element of the Management Plan;
requested that the District provide an update on the status of compliance with the MFL; and
urged them to provide the operating protocols on their structures and schedules for
Cynthia Plockelman, Audubon Society of the Everglades, suggested the Council/WMD
be more proactive in their public noticing of LRMCC meetings, and expressed her appreciation
to outgoing chairman Tom Howard.
VII. Council Comments
M. Ketter suggested that there be additional meetings to specifically solicit input from the
public on the carrying capacity/public use element of the management plan.
P. Millar agreed that the four meetings of the Council per year is a minimum and that
discussion of additional meetings be an agenda item for the March meeting.
M. Ketter suggested that the Council consider formalizing the operating practice of
having the vice-chair proceed to the chairmanship.
M. Nelson, JDSP Manager, suggested that P.B. County Parks and Recreation Dept and
recreational users be ‘brought to the table’ to discuss the carrying capacity issue.
R. Rossmanith, JDSP Biologist, suggested the carrying capacity issue be a topic for
discussion at the next Council meeting.
M. Nelson concurred that he is presently dealing with access/use issues, and suggested that there
be a separate meeting solely to discuss carrying capacity/access. Discussion ensued regarding
this idea, and R. Walesky asked that WMD consider allocating funds to hire a professional
planner/facilitator to conduct such a workshop. T. Howard pointed out however, that
responsibility for updating the River Management Plan alternates between WMD and FDEP, and
that because this year FDEP has the responsibility, that they should take the lead in organizing a
public use workshop.
Trish Allen, aide to newly-elected Representative Tim Mahoney, was thanked for her
attendance and interest in the Council. She indicated Mr. Mahoney’s interest in the Loxahatchee
River and willingness to be kept informed of issues confronted by the Council.
The next meeting is to be held March 26th at the Jupiter Community Center at 2:00 PM.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 5:10 PM.
Greg Braun, Secretary