Silver River is in Decline
It is a permit allowing a cattle ranch to drain up to 13 million gallons of water a day from the Floridan Aquifer.
The proposal had garnished anger from local residents.
But Monday, a team of scientists met with the managers of the ranch to try to come up with a solution.
The Silver River pumps millions of dollars into Marion County's economy.
"It is the most important natural resource in Marion County," Florida Springs Institute Director, Bob Knight told TV20.
Car parts billionaire Frank Stronach wants to build a cattle ranch called Adena Springs in Fort McCoy, needing a permit to pump up to 13 million gallons of water a day from local waterways.
And that, some say, could be catastrophic to area springs.
"Adena Springs is going to be devastating," said Guy Morwick. Morwick has battled for years to preserve the Silver River and helped establish the Silver River Museum.
"It will be the straw that breaks the camel's back," he said.
And that's because the Silver River is already suffering.
At one time it was the largest spring in terms of flow, 500 million gallons a day, but not anymore.
"It's flow has declined, very greatly during the last decade at over 30 percent, Knight said."
Nitrogen levels are currently 10 times what they used to be.
Algea is suffocating the plants which fish and other wildlife depend on.
"It keeps me awake many a night seeing the destruction of it, the slow, slow death," Morwick said.
Taxpayers have already spent almost $200 million buying land to help preserve the river-
$70 million alone for property right next to the Adena Ranch.
Just three weeks ago, a protest was held against the permit.
"This permit is so over the top and outrageous," one protester told TV20.
Frank Stronach said he had mixed feelings about the project during a UF IFAS event after seeing the protesters.
"Whatever we do, we should not hurt the environment," he said then.
Stronach said then that he would like to meet with the scientists to come up with a solution.
Monday, the ranch manager and Stronach's lawyer did meet with Knight and Morwick, but the man with the final say did not join in on the talks.
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