Rac Mtg/Mary A-Sartori Blocks

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Rac Mtg/Mary A-Sartori Blocks

Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:56 pm

The closure of the Mary A/Rough Blocks will be reviewed @ this mtg.

At the last mtg, SJRWMD did not tell us that they would be "draining & dewatering" the area for up to (2) years!!!

It is important that all attend!!!

Lets not have one of the most pristine areas in the upper St Johns Marsh turned into another patch of skunk weed & willows.

If you remember, 3 Forks WMA was suppose to open in 1998.

It is still closed (walk-in only) & dry to this day!!!

Lets not let it happen here.


Capt Jeff Kraynik



Southern Region Recreational Public Meeting


The regular February 8, 2007 Southern Region Recreational Public Meeting (SRPM) is scheduled from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Brevard County Government Complex. The meeting will be held in Building C, 1st Floor, County Commission Chambers Room, 2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera, Florida, 32940. From I-95 N take Exit 191, CR 509/Wickham Road, and travel west. Veer right onto Lake Andrew Dr. Turn left onto Judge Fran Jamieson Way and follow to the Brevard County Government Complex.

The February SRPM will be a joint meeting with the St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board Projects and Lands Committee (PALCOM). At this meeting, regular SRPM business will be held and the public will have the opportunity to comment.

Please note: If you are unable to attend, please appoint a designee to attend the meeting to represent your group/agency.


Thank you ,
Terri Mashour

Terri Mashour
Land Resources Planner, Division of Land Management
St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street
Palatka, FL 32177
386-329-4855
386-329-4848 Fax
tmashour@sjrwmd.com
www.sjrwmd.com
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Postby Mud Chucker » Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:54 pm

Is this the area west of TM Godwin and west of Broadmore? If not where are they? That's the problem with the marsh, a dozen name for the same place.

Bjorn
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Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:35 am

Due west of TMG
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Postby Mud Chucker » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:43 pm

Damm, that place has more ducks in it than TMG does. Probably has better habitat too. That really bites. What are they trying to accomplish? I'll try to make the meeting.

Bjorn
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Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:42 am

February 6, 2007

Duck hunters up in arms over project


A plan to temporarily drain a prime waterfowling area of the St. Johns River marsh in South Brevard has duck hunters up in arms.

Duck hunters and representatives from state waterfowling groups will air their concerns during Thursday's Southern Recreational Public Meeting by the St. Johns River Water Management District.

The two-hour meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Brevard County Commission chambers in building C at the Brevard County Government Center at Viera.

The plan for the Mary A portion of the Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area southwest of Palm Bay calls for a lowering of water levels to allow crews to construct a flow-way, which will redirect water flow into Three Forks.

The approximate 2,000-acre Mary A area is immediately west of the T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area that is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"This is the most pristine marsh in the Upper Basin," said Jeff Kraynik, a duck hunting guide from Palm Bay.

He said duck hunters -- and birdwatchers -- have a legitimate concern with the project for fear the ecosystems will be changed by the drainage.

Kraynik explained that he was hired as a guide recently to escort members of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count to several sections along the Upper St. Johns.

"We did Lake Winder where they saw 16 species, and at Lake Hell'n Blazes they saw 18 species," Kraynik said. "At Mary A they counted 52 different species of birds.

"It's an area with diverse bird life. We're not just talking waterfowl here," Kraynik added.

The flow-way is one of the final steps to readying the huge Three Forks impounded area designed for flood protection and creating nearly 8,000 acres of open water and over 4,000 acres of sloughs. Another 1,000 acres will be emergent wetland and 500 acres of transitional wetland.

Kraynik expressed concerns about the timetable for the drawdown, which the district says will take several months.

"We're hearing it will take two years, but what if there's delays and it takes longer?" Kraynik asked. "Three Forks Marsh was supposed to be open in 1998 and it's still closed."

"We know (the flow-way) has to be done but we think they have other options, and we want them to explore those options," Kraynik said.

Newton Cook of Tequesta, president of United Waterfowlers, a political action group representing Florida duck hunters, said the duration also is a concern for his group.

"First, we want to know why it will take two years," Cook said. "That takes away a large amount of property for the public for a long time.

"But more importantly," Cook said, "what are their projections for this marsh after it is restored? The past has shown these properties never are the same.

"We don't want an area where it becomes willows and other standing vegetation during the drawdown and where they send in the spray crews and it becomes another marsh of mud and muck."

Cook said he understands that the neighboring Sartori property, also a prime duck hunting and birding area, would be affected by the de-watering.

Ed Garland, a spokesman for the district, said he didn't know of a starting time for the project.

Cook said he also will use the meeting as an opportunity to ask the district representatives to consider the launching of canoes, kayaks and other small boats from a dike adjacent to Mary A. Currently the dike is closed.

"As it is now only airboats can get into the area," Cook said. "We'd like to see access provided for all duck hunters."

Lennie Schwenniker, the Florida chairman for Ducks Unlimited, also is expected to attend.

Garland said the Mary A project is the fourth item on the agenda, preceded by updates on land acquisition, land management, and recreation.

Hector Herrere, the senior project manager for the St. Johns River Upper Basin will give the Mary A update.

Contact Sargent at 242-3697 or bsargent@flatoday.net

http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.d ... 7/SPORTS05
"Don't take life so seriously, you'll never get out alive"

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Postby Mud Chucker » Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:01 am

Thanks Capt Jeff. That explains why they want the draw down. There MUST be other options. Such as putting in a steel retention dyke around the site of the flow way. I'll try and make it.

Bjorn
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Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:49 am

Just a reminder gang.

(3) Three of the commisioners will be attending this mtg.

This is not a mtg to attend in worn out t-shirts, holey blue jeans & white clam boots.

DRESS TO IMPRESS!!!

In the past the staf of the WMD have publically commented on how professional the waterfowl hunters have come across.

Let's keep up the image!!!


CJ
"Don't take life so seriously, you'll never get out alive"

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Postby Capt Jeff Kraynik » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:30 pm

Here was the prepared speech I read into the record to the District Staff:

I am catiously optimistic!!!



Before I get started & burn any bridges that I have built with the District over the last (6) six years, I like to thank Doug Voltilina & his staff for the donation of road topping for the disabled hunters blind @ TMG Lake.

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Capt Jeff Kraynik & I have been a resident Palm Bay for the last 22 years. I have the honor to sit on the State Council of Ducks Unlimited of Florida & also held the position of MARSH chairman for the last (4) four years. I have also had the honor of representing Florida Ducks Unlimited on the RAC council over the last (5) five years. I am not here representing DU National or our State Council. I am here representing both DU & UWF members that could not attend this mtg. tonight.

For the District staff that are not aware, DU is the largest conservation organization with 750,000 volunteers in North America & 14,000 members in Florida. In Florida alone, DU volunteers raise over $1,000,000 dollars each year to preserve & conserve our disappearing wetlands habitat.

I am an International Game Fish Association “Certified Captain” & a guide in good standing with the Coastal Conservation Association. I am a member of the Indian River Guides Association. I own & operate a small charter business here in the South Brevard area. Throughout the year, I have the privilege to spend between (180) one hundred & eighty to (200) two hundred days on the Indian River Lagoon & SJR Marsh.

The reason I started out with my background is show you, the district staff on my commitment to the health & welfare of both of these fragile Eco-ststems.

And to that, I can go further w/o saying that the SJRWMD has a fantastic record in conserving parts of our disappearing Florida wetlands.

Thank you in that respect.

But like anything, just conserving the land is a double edge sword. The District has a long history of buying the lands then not properly managing them.

Yes, yes we all know that the District is not is the LAND MANAGEMENT business, they are in the WATER MANAGEMENT business. We the stakeholders in this room tonight are tired of hearing that @ every meeting where we, the recreational user groups have a problem with the way the lands ARE NOT being properly managed.

Let’s look @ some areas owned/managed by the district & the stakeholders that were once prime waterfowl/wading bird habitats that are now, choked with skunk weed, pariah grass or completely dry with impassable willows growing on them.

Lake Helen & Blazes: Less than (10) ten years ago LHB was topped out with hydrilla were migrating birds of all kinds flocked there during the winter months. From the western shoreline to Spade Island was nothing pothole after pothole as far as the eye could see. Waterfowl & wading birds of all kinds could be found resting & feeding in them.

Today: The lake is devoid of all vegetation & No birds can be found there. The potholes are full of pariah grass & skunk weed. This is not due to the silt problem that has occurred from the up river flow but the district nuking all the hydrilla.

[COLOR="Red"]The area is now UNHUNTABLE to the waterfowler!!![/COLOR]

Lake Washington & Lake Winder: Again, once topped out with hydrilla where 1000’s of waterfowl & wading birds could be found during the winter months.

Today: The lake is devoid of all vegetation & no birds can be found there. This is not due to the silt problem that has occurred from the up river flow but the district nuking all the hydrilla.

[COLOR="Red"]The area is now UNHUNTABLE to the waterfowler!!![/COLOR]

Moccasin Island/Mud Lake: Once a private duck hunting club where 1000’s of waterfowl migrating to, fed & stayed all season. Once taken over by the district, the gates were opened & the marsh was drained.

Today: Of the several 1000 acres of once huntable marsh, only (2) two areas the six of (5) five arces were usable this last season. And they required a walk-in from the marsh of a mile & a half.

[COLOR="Red"]The area is now UNHUNTABLE to the waterfowler!!![/COLOR]

The Stick Marsh/Farm 13: Once the “Bass Capital of the United States!!!” Professional & amateur fishermen alike drove from all across the country to fish this once prime bass fishing destination. And due to the topped out hydrilla, waterfowl in the 1000’s could be found feeding all winter long, putting on the needed body fat for their migration north to the breeding grounds.

Today: As one thread put in on the Bassmaster's web forum. “The Stick Marsh is dead!!! And so is the hydrilla. And so gone are the clouds of waterfowl & wading birds that filled the sky. The lake is devoid of all vegetation & no birds can be found there.

[COLOR="Red"]This area is now UNHUNTABLE to the waterfowler!!![/COLOR]

Not to get to side tracked but let’s look @ what all these area have, [COLOR="Red"]OR SHOULD I SAY HAD [/COLOR]in common.

[COLOR="DarkGreen"]HYDRILLA!!![/COLOR]

An exotic plant that the SFWMD is now using in the Stormwater Treatment Areas to cleanse the water prior to being released back into the Everglades.

Interesting concept & one the SJRWMD should begin to look into!!!

Bull Creek/Jane Green Swamp: I won’t open that bag of worms @ this mtg.

3 Forks Conservation Area: Was suppose to open in 1998

Mary A/The Rough Blocks: One of the only pristine marshes located within the upper St Johns River Basin. A block untouched up to this point by the meddling hands of the district staff who thinks they know best. An area where deer, otter, bobcat, marsh hawks, bald eagles & snail kites can be found all year long. An area that even in drought still holds water, food & a place where these native species can live & thrive.

An area that holds 1000’s was waterfowl & wading birds during the winter months.

An area that you, the district plan on “draining & dewatering” in an attempt to fix another one of your messes.

During the start of the 2006/2007 waterfowl season, I was contacted by a district employee from Palatka & advised that the Mary A block would be closing as of January 1st 2007 to begin the dewatering process. I contacted Southern Land Mgr Doug Voltilina who confirmed to the best of his knowledge @ that time that Mary A would be closed as of this date.

BoD members UWF then contacted Commissioner Bill Kerr who advised that he had just been on an airboat tour with the new USACE colonial & assured us (UWF members) that this was not so.

I then contacted Project Mgr Hector Herrera who confirmed that the project was going forward & that the Mary A block could be closed for up to (2) two years.

Mr. Herrera assured me that this project was discussed @ the Feb & June RAC mtg’s. I concurred with him that it was, minus one point on the part of the District.

At no time was it ever discussed that the Mary A block would be “drained & dewatered” It was @ this point that Mr. Herrera confirmed that this was never mentioned during the public mtg’s.

I ask why?

Prior to the beginning of the 2006/2007 waterfowl season, the Oct RAC mtg was cancelled. With such an important issue of the draining of one of the most pristine marsh habitats in the upper basin, should have that mtg been @ least rescheduled?

I ask was it the district’s plan to close the Mary A block in the middle of the waterfowl season giving the hunters no recourse but to “just suck it up & take it?”

Some stakeholders in this room feel that it was cancelled intentionally due to this project

Let’s look @ the proposed project: a so called cleaning canal that will run from the once world famous Stick Marsh north approximately 2/3 of the way up the west side of the L-74 & dump into Mary A.

A project that is suppose to cleanse the once pristine Stick Marsh yet have no effect what so ever on the Mary A block. As Mr. Herrera put it, the water will be cleaner than what is presently in Mary A.

Let’s talk a moment about just how pristine the Mary A block actually is. During the first week of December, 2006 I was chartered for (3) three, (4) four hour mornings by bird counters for the annual Audubon Society Bird Count. We covered (3) three areas along the upper SJR marsh during those counts.

1) Lake Winder & adjoining marsh

2) Lake Helen-n-Blazes & adjoining marsh

3) The Mary A block


During the Lake Winder count a total of (16) sixteen waterfowl & wading bird species were observed. No raptor species.

The next morning we drove down to Lake Helen Blazes where we observed (18) eighteen waterfowl & wading bird species. No raptor species.

Saving the best for last, the third morning was spent within the Mary A block.

An amazing total of (52) fifty-two species of waterfowl, wading birds, song birds & raptors where observed.

My clients, who have counted birds all over the world stated that the Mary A block was one of the most PRISTINE habitats that they have ever encountered.

I told them I was glad they got to experience it before it was “drained & dewatered.”

I was asked who I, a guide with no formal training could dumb this area as a pristine marsh.

I can’t!!!

The bird watcher with the Master Degree from the Autobon Society refered to it this way

Here is what I’d like to propose: That we put the brakes on this project & reevaluate the ramification of the project as it is on the boards now.

I would like the district to look @ the following (2) two options.

1) Divert the water into the C-40 marsh due west of the Stick Marsh. This marsh is already sawgrass, skunk weed & pariah grass so the high levels of phosphorus from the farm run off will not negatively affect this area.

2) Utilize the already dug, deep water canal on the eastside of the L-74 within the TMG waterfowl management area. Due east of this canal is a low berm, just like the one the district plans on building within the Mary A block. TMG is dry during the summer months where no negative impact will result to any habitat. I believe along with many others that this is the best option for the project.

In closing, I would like to thank the district staff for allowing me this time to present what I believe is the best management plan for this proposed “cleansing canal.

Why should a chance be taken in the hopes that one of the most pristine wintering waterfowl habitats, the Mary A block be “DESTROYED”

The district needs to begin to take the stance that they are not only in the business of WATER MANAGEMENT but also in the business of WETLANDS HABITAT MANAGEMENT. Let’s take the politics out of the project & put the biology/hydrology back in place. It is here where the SJRWMD has really dropped the ball. Let’s pick up the ball & try to win a game for once!!!

Thank you for your time.
"Don't take life so seriously, you'll never get out alive"

321-863-9182
Waterfowl-Alligator-Light-Tackle Saltwater Flats Fishing
Capt Jeff Kraynik
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