Madison Blue Springs and Lower Suwannee River Peer Review
Madison Blue Spring (MBS) in Madison County, is one of 33 first magnitude springs in Florida (Florida Geological Survey 2002), and is expected to be a major contributor to the flows in the Withlacoochee River below the point of discharge.
Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) determined that it would proceed to establish a Minimum Flow and Level (MFL) for MBS. The District enlisted a team of technical consultants to develop a proposed MFL, pursuant to the direction and guidance provided within the Florida Statutes (summarized in the preceding sections). Shortly thereafter, the District chose to contract HSW to lead a separate team of technical experts to undertake a voluntary peer review of the methodologies used in the determination of an MFL for MBS. The Peer Review Panel is lead by senior staff of HSW.
The Peer Review Panel determined that the methods and procedures used for establishing the minimum flows are scientifically reasonable, the data used for the development of the minimum flows were the best available, the technical assumptions inherent in the methodologies used were reasonable and consistent with the best information available and that assumptions were minimized to the extent possible, and that the procedures and analyses utilized were appropriate, reasonable, incorporated the appropriate factors, were correctly applied, and are repeatable, as they employ widely-used models and record extension techniques. The conclusions reached in the report based on the procedures and analyses are supported by the data.
HSW has completed similar peer reviews for the Waccassasa, Upper Santa Fe, and Alapaha Rivers on river sections. Issues related to the modeling of the thermal regime, methods for record extension, and the absence of a warm season MFL were commented on and addressed by the SRWMD.