Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Prepares to Guard Water of St. Marys; Officials: No In-Depth Testing to Support 'Conceptual' Proposal to Feed Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Prepares to Guard Water of St. Marys; Officials: No In-Depth Testing to Support 'Conceptual' Proposal to Feed Florida

Article excerpt

Byline: Jared Keever

WOODBINE | The St. Marys River is in good health and Camden County politicians hope to keep it that way by letting it keep all of its water.

Many are concerned over a proposal to draw more than 30 million gallons of water per day from the St. Marys should Florida become unable to meet future water demands. The proposal is buried deep within the appendix of the St. Johns River Water Management District's newly issued 20-year plan.

Courtney Reich of Savannah's Ecological Planning Group recently presented findings from the group's study of dissolved oxygen content in the river to both the Kingsland and St. Marys city councils. The St. Marys River is in good shape as far as its dissolved oxygen is concerned, Reich said.

St. Marys Councilman Dave Reilly asked Reich what effect the recent proposal out of Florida might have on oxygen content in the river.

"That's tough to say. My first instinct would be that it wouldn't have a positive impact on dissolved oxygen," Reich said.

She was quick to point out that she had not conducted any studies to determine definitively that the proposed withdrawal would make any impact one way or the other. She also pointed out that the water quality of the St. Marys, a black water river, would not lend itself to drinking water and would require additional treatment.

Although the St. Johns management district has said it is unlikely the proposal would ever be carried out, the agency is still hearing from people north of the river.

"It's a pristine black water river," said Roger Weaver, planning director of St. Marys.

Weaver is also a member of the Coastal Georgia Regional Water Planning Council. Weaver said he personally sent a letter to the St. Johns management district stating his opposition to any withdrawals from the St. Marys.

Camden County Attorney John Myers urged county commissioners last week to send a letter to the St. …

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