Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach recently requested a consumptive use permit from the St Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to draw over 13 million gallons of groundwater a day to supply his new cattle ranch in Marion County, Florida, Adena Springs Ranch. That's as much water as the entire city of Ocala uses!
The permit request has come at a terrible time. Florida is suffering from a multi-year drought that, combined with already-permitted groundwater pumping, is threatening the very existence of its springs. The addition of 135 wells pumping groundwater to irrigate grass for up to 30,000 head of cattle may spell doom for the iconic tourist attraction Silver Springs and other springs in the area. These springs attract tourist dollars that are much more valuable in terms of employment than the relatively small number of jobs the ranch has been estimated to generate.
Traditional cattle ranches do not use the vast quantities of water that Adena Ranch is requesting. Florida's ranching families protect water quality by keeping land in its natural state and by observing best management practices that limit fertilization and irrigation and carefully control pasture runoff.
Ironically, environmentally-conscious consumers are the target market of Adena Springs beef--the very people who care most about our water supply. Grass-fed beef is *not* an environmentally-friendly product when it depletes our groundwater and pollutes our surface waters! Send SJRWMD and Frank Stronach a clear, undeniable message:
WE DO NOT WANT THIS RANCH!
The permit request was recently withdrawn but will undoubtedly be resubmitted to the Water Management District soon, with minor modifications. If iT is, the District has given no indication that it will deny the permit.
We may not be able to convince the Water Management District to deny the Adena Springs Ranch consumptive use permit, but together we can reduce or eliminate the demand for the organic beef the ranch wants to produce.
Take the pledge never EVER to buy Adena Springs Ranch beef, if and when it comes to market.