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Minimum Flows and Levels for the Peace River. FLOW 2008 October, 2008 Marty Kelly The Issues that Led to the Instream flows Process/Studies. The Policy Context. Minimum Flows and Levels - Florida Statutes, Section 373.042 -.

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Minimum Flows and Levels for the Peace River

FLOW 2008

October, 2008

Marty Kelly

minimum flows and levels florida statutes section 373 042

The Policy Context

Minimum Flows and Levels- Florida Statutes, Section 373.042 -

The minimum flow for a given watercourse shall be the limit at which further withdrawals would be significantly harmful to the water resources or ecology of the area

Flow Regime – Building Block Approach
  • Benchmark Period
  • Multiple MFLs - address seasonality
  • Percent of Flow Reduction Technique
  • Significant Harm - 15% reduction in available habitat

Flow Regime gone Bad


Minimum Flows and Levels

  • Components of an MFL (from Beecher 1990)
  • a goal – (e.g., non-degradation or, for the District’s purpose, protection from significant harm
  • identification of resources of interest to be protected
  • a unit of measure (e.g., flow in cfs, habitat in useable area, etc.)
  • a benchmark period, and
  • a protection standard statistic.

Two Benchmark Periods

Blame it on Hal………………



In their peer review report on the Upper Peace River, Gore et al. (2002) stated,

“in general, instream flow analysts consider a loss of more than 15% habitat, as compared to undisturbed or current conditions, to be a significant impact on that population or assemblage."


Physical Habitat Simulation System

Used for Blocks 1 and 2

• Depth




Long-Term Inundation Analysis

Used for Blocks 2 and 3


Exposed Roots


The PreliminaryResultsFlow Prescription – Percent of Flow and Seasonality (middle Peace River at Arcadia)

Establishment of an MFL requires identification of a critical biologically-relevant variable that can be defensibly and quantitatively related to variation in freshwater flows.

  • The volume of water in the system less than a given salinity – e.g. available fish habitat in given salinity zone
  • The bottom area in the system less than a given salinity – e.g. benthic invertebrate habitat
  • The shoreline length in the system less than a given salinity – e.g. amount of shoreline vegetation
analytical tools
Analytical Tools

“Modelers are people who like to play with numbers, but don’t have the personality to become engineers.”

– Jimmy Carter

the public dialogue
The Public Dialogue
  • MFL Priority List and Schedule – Annual Update
  • Proposed MFL – Report for Peer Review and Public Dissemination
  • Public Meetings
  • Waterbody Advocates and TAC’s and NEP’s
  • Peer Review Report
  • Staff Response
  • (Recovery Strategy) $$$$$
  • Rule Development
  • Rule Adoption
  • The Role of the Governing Board
recommendations for others lessons learned
Recommendations for Others /Lessons Learned
  • Legislative mandate has greatly facilitated process
  • ad valorem taxing authority of WMDs
  • Peer review process
  • Recovery

Recovery Strategies

Peace River by P. Metz - USGS



Photo: Richard Gant – Silver River 2007

Florida photographic collection