December 7, 2011
No Mining Reclamation
This apparent budget reduction exposes considerable acreage that should be reclaimed to no action at all with predictable subsequent effects on adjacent rivers and tribs. I hope you will share this information appropriately.
Folks: attached is a DEP Budget Issue for the upcoming legislative session whereby DEP proposes to eliminate the Homeland Branch Office in Polk County, eliminate the eight (8) full time positions working out of the Homeland Office, eliminate the Bureau of Mining and Minerals Regulation (BMMR) Land Management funding, and essentially shut-down the Upper Peace River / Saddle Creek Restoration Project at the Tenoroc Fish Management Area.  This message is sent to request your assistance in keeping this from happening.
Staff of the Homeland Office are critical to the BMMR due to the valuable services they provide in the heart of the Phosphate Mining district. Most of you know that timely response to mine-emergency situations, inspection and coordination on Mandatory and Non-Mandatory reclamation and permitting matters, and close coordination with local and regional government - the phosphate industry - and private landowners is significantly facilitated by the people of this office.  Management of lands along the Peace & Alafia Rivers and at Tenoroc, as well as coordinated management with private landowners and Perpetual Conservation Easement co-owners, is crucial to managing the quality and quantity of water going to the Peace and Alafia Rivers.  Restoration of the highly impacted Upper Peace River Basin by projects such as the UPR/SCRP are crucial to the restoration of minimum flows, levels, and water quality in the now-dry Upper Peace River. Furthermore, the things learned via this project are essential to improving the long-term quality of future mine reclamation and mitigation.
DEP Secretary Vinyard was quoted in the Saturday, December 3, 2011 Tallahassee Democrat as saying (see attached): "The health of the Everglades is about getting the water right, and a key part of getting the water right is getting the land right". This statement makes obvious sense, but if there ever was an area that needed to "get the land right" in order to "get the water right" - it is the Upper Peace River Basin. The folks in the Charlotte Harbor area who depend on surface water from the Peace River for potable water supply would probably agree.
Please help us save this important staff, office, and project!    
~ Bud Cates