Details: Written by CKN STAFF
The Suwannee River Water Management District Governing Board conducted its regular monthly meeting in Cedar Key at the Community Center this past Thursday and Friday, May 4 and 5, 2017.
Seven of the nine-member SRWMD Governing Board were in attendance: Chair Donald J. Quincey, Jr., Vice Chair Alphonas Alexander, Secretary/Treasurer Virginia H. Johns, Kevin W. Brown, Gary F. Jones, Virginia Sanchez, and Charles Keith.
Some forty-five audience members, some of whom were staffers, filled the Community Center seats. Included within the group were newly elected Cedar Key City Commissioner Nickie Rucker, Mayor Heath Davis, and Commissioner Sue Colson. In past years, both Davis and Colson served on the SRWMD Board.
Though the Board member’s agendas were lengthy and complex, the Public Comment section of the agenda gave the Cedar Key community the opportunity to thank the SRWMD Board and its personnel for its most significant initiatives and assistance to the Cedar Key area.
Mayor Davis welcomed the group, as did Colson and the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District General Manager John McPherson. Either stated directly or alluded to by these individuals and the Cedar Key area residents, either at the microphone or in conversations throughout the day, were the following ways in which the Suwannee River Water Management District has helped the Cedar Key area.
- Purchased Atsena Otie when threatened to be divided up, sold into lots, and developed into housing. Now the island is part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge and available to the public for recreation.
- Purchased and maintains the 200-plus-acre Lukens Tract, just north of Cedar Key, to protect water quality and conservation land. The area was slated to be developed into a planned-unit development. It is now available to the public for recreational purposes.
- In 2016-2017, helped study and plan alternatives in Cedar Key’s “Living Shorelines” efforts, which involves: stopping eroding shoreline along G Street and Airport Road and shoreline restoration at Joe Rains Beach on Eighth and H Streets.
- Revamped Cedar Key’s non-working stormwater system, redesigned it, and fixed it.
- Helped Cedar Key decommission its residential septic tanks and placed remaining residents’ homes on our Cedar Key Water Sewer District system, thus leaving the area water clean and safe for aquaculture and other activities.
- With all the SRWMD activities, they have: kept our area pristine, kept it safe for aquaculture and naturalist activities, such a birding, kayaking, fishing, etc.
- Offered to the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District $80,000 in RIVER funds for moving the wastewater lines off Bridges 1, 2 and 3. The District is required to match this amount, and we have been approved for the match under the RESTORE Act program, but those funds have been held up.
- Is considering a request by the Cedar Key Water Sewer District to provide funding under the RIVER program to help with the costs of digging a deep well at the water treatment plant.
- In 2013 the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District received a RIVER grant from SRWMD to do a groundwater study at the CKWSD’s water treatment plant.
- Assisted the Cedar Key Water and Sewer District with implementing a reclaimed water system for irrigating the city park in 2008.
- Has provided technical assistance, personnel visits, advice, and consultation with its accessible, responsive staff.