Governors Crist, Perdue And Riley Agree To New Water Flow Schedule

Dec 17, 2007

TALLAHASSEE – Florida, Georgia and Alabama Governors Charlie Crist, Sonny Perdue, Bob Riley and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today agreed upon a revised schedule to address the short- and long-term needs of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) and Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) river basins. The agreement came during a day-long meeting of the states at the Florida Governor’s Mansion.

“Water conservation is precious to our three states and I thank my friends for traveling to Florida to discuss this tremendously important issue,” Governor Crist said.  “The people of our state have suffered due to the recent reduction of water flow.  Due to recent rainfall, we see increased amounts of water entering Florida that will assist our oystermen.  I’m also pleased that we agreed to remove the June 1 deadline imposed by the Army Corps and have agreed to a new date of March 15th to allow state and federal partners to develop improved drought strategies.”

Regarding the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, the Governors agreed to send a high level staff delegation to Washington, DC in early January to discuss steps needed to move toward a new drought protocol for all three states.  It was also agreed that the Governors would meet in February to conclude the tri-state water protocol that would take effect on March 15, 2008.

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service also participated in today’s meeting to provide factual information on current conditions of both the ACF River Basin and the ACT River Basin (Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa).

The total commercial fishing industry in the Apalachicola Bay is responsible for $134 million in direct economic output and an additional $71 million in indirect value-added impacts.  The region produces 90 percent of Florida’s oyster supply, 10 percent of the nation’s oysters, and the state’s third-largest shrimp harvest.