40E-8.221. Minimum Flows and Levels (MFLs): Surface Waters  

Effective on Monday, December 9, 2019
  • 1The MFLs contained in this Part identify the point at which further withdrawals would cause significant harm to the water resources, or ecology, of the area as applicable, pursuant to Sections 32373.042 33and 34373.0421, F.S. 36It is the District’s intent to correct or prevent the violation of these MFLs through management of the water resources and implementation of a recovery strategy.

    62(1) Lake Okeechobee. An MFL violation occurs in Lake Okeechobee when an exceedance, as defined herein, occurs more than once every six years. An “exceedance” is a decline below 11 feet NGVD for more than 80, non-consecutive or consecutive, days, during an eighteen month period. The eighteen month period shall be initiated following the first day Lake Okeechobee falls below 11 feet NGVD, and shall not include more than one wet season, defined as May 31st through October 31st of any given calendar year.

    146(2) Caloosahatchee River. The MFL for the Caloosahatchee River is the 30-day moving average flow of 457 cubic feet per second (cfs) at S-79.

    170(a) A MFL exceedance occurs during a 365-day period when the 30-day moving average flow at S-79 is below 457 cfs.

    191(b) A MFL violation occurs when a MFL exceedance occurs more than once in a 5-year period.

    208The flow, combined with tributary contributions below S-79, shall be sufficient to maintain a salinity gradient that prevents significant harm to mobile and immobile indicator species within the Caloosahatchee River. If significant harm occurs once the Caloosahatchee MFL recovery strategy is fully implemented and operational, the recovery strategy and MFL will be reviewed in accordance with Rule 26540E-8.421, 266F.A.C. Mobile and immobile species shall be monitored as described in the recovery strategy.

    280(3) Everglades.

    282(a) Criteria for Peat-Forming Wetlands. Water levels within wetlands overlying organic peat soils within the water conservation areas, Rotenberger and Holeyland wildlife management areas, and Shark River Slough (Everglades National Park) shall not fall 1.0 feet or more below ground surface, as measured at a key gage, for one or more days during a period in which the water level has remained below ground for a minimum of 30 days, at specific return frequencies as specified in Table 1, below.

    362(b) Criteria for Marl-Forming Wetlands. Water levels within marl-forming wetlands that are located east and west of Shark River Slough, the Rocky Glades, and Taylor Slough within Everglades National Park, shall not fall 1.5 feet below ground surface, as measured at a key gage, for one or more days during a period in which the water level has remained below ground for a minimum of 90 days, at specific return frequencies for different areas, as identified in Table 1, below.

    442The MFL criteria listed in Table 1 are based on existing changes and structural alterations to the pre-drainage conditions of the Everglades. It is the District’s intent through implementation of the LEC Plan and the CERP to achieve minimum hydropattern return frequencies that approximate CERP compatible pre-drainage conditions in the Everglades. As a result, as the existing structural changes and alterations are corrected, the MFL criteria contained herein will be modified through a rule amendment consistent with the LEC Plan and the CERP.

    525(4) Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River.

    532(a) An enhanced freshwater regime is necessary to prevent significant harm to the water resources and ecology of the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River, pursuant to Sections 560373.042 561and 562373.0421, F.S. 564By establishing the MFL set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c), along with implementation of the associated recovery strategy, it is the interim goal of the District to provide sufficient freshwater flows to create at River Mile 9.2 the freshwater regime found at River Mile 10.2.

    610(b) A MFL violation occurs within the Northwest fork of the Loxahatchee River when an exceedance, as defined in paragraph (c), occurs more than once in a six year period.

    640(c) A MFL exceedance occurs within the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River when:

    6541. Flows over Lainhart Dam decline below 35 cfs for more than 20 consecutive days; or

    6702. The average daily salinity concentration expressed as a 20-day rolling average exceeds two parts per thousand. The average daily salinity will be representative of mid-depth in the water column (average of salinities measured at 0.5 meters below the surface and 0.5 meters above the bottom) at river mile 9.2 (latitude 26.9839, longitude 80.1609).

    724(d) In addition to this MFL, which is intended to achieve partial enhancement of the Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River to prevent significant harm, restoration of the Loxahatchee River beyond the MFL will be addressed pursuant to subsection 76340E-8.421(6), 764F.A.C., and other applicable provisions of state law. This MFL will be reviewed within two years of adoption and revised, if necessary, to ensure consistency with the restoration goal and plan identified pursuant to Rule 79940E-8.421, 800F.A.C., or other applicable provisions of state law.

    808(5) Florida Bay.

    811(a) The minimum flow is that necessary to maintain salinity as described in paragraph (b), below. A net discharge into northeastern Florida Bay of 105,000 acre-feet of water over a 365-day period (a running total measured at 849West Highway Creek, at 25854085514'33'' north and 80859086026'50'' west; Trout Creek, at 25866086712'53'' north and 80871087232'01'' west; Mud Creek, at 25878087912'09'' north and 80883088435'01'' west; Taylor River, at  25890089111'27'' north and 80895089638'21'' west; and McCormick Creek, at 25903090410'03'' north and 80908090943'55'' west911), is estimated to be necessary to maintain salinity as described in paragraph (b), below.

    926(b) An exceedance of the minimum flow criteria will be deemed to occur when the average salinity over 30 or more consecutive days exceeds 30 parts per thousand at the Taylor River salinity monitoring station, located at 25964096513966'96729968'' 969north and 80972097339974'97510976'' 977west. Multiple events of 30 or more day periods with salinity greater than 30 parts per thousand, occurring within a single calendar year, are considered as a single exceedance.

    1006(c) A minimum flow violation occurs when an exceedance occurs during each of two consecutive years, more often than once in a ten-year period. By this definition, three consecutive years of exceedances constitute a violation.

    1041Rulemaking Authority §§ 9, 10 P.L. 83-358, 1048373.042, 1049373.044, 1050373.113, 1051373.119, 1052373.129, 1053373.136, 1054373.171 FS. 1056Law Implemented 1058373.016, 1059373.036, 1060373.042, 1061373.0421, 1062373.175, 1063373.216, 1064373.219, 1065373.223, 1066373.246, 1067373.709 FS. 1069History–New 9-10-01, Amended 4-1-03, 12-12-06, 12-9-19.