FCC News Brief - November 15, 2018

Read Toxic waters, no to glyphosate - “East Coast beaches from Miami-Dade to Indian River and West Coast beaches from Collier to Pinellas counties have been devastated by cyanobacteria and red tide. This tragedy is directly associated with the release of toxic water releases from Lake Okeechobee into its septic leach lines: the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. According to leading scientists, the use of glyphosate, commonly called RoundUp, in Lake Okeechobee to control invasive water plants is contributing to the proliferation of cyanobacteria, and the use of glyphosate by the agricultural industries around Lake Okeechobee is only exacerbating this situation. Glyphosate works well when used for weed eradication, but we must ask “At what cost?” Agent Orange, DDT, and thalidomide worked well for their intended purposes until research revealed their devastating effects. Any proposals that allow the occasional release of Lake O waters into our rivers is not an option. We must fix this lake that has been turned into a toxic sump. We must stop the release of cyanobacteria which is killing our wildlife and economy and compromising our health…” Edward Hand writes Opinion for the Treasure Coast Newspaper.

Read The 2018 election results through a river’s lens - “Champions for rivers did very, very well at the ballot box: Montana reelected Senator Jon Tester, who has dedicated his previous two terms to conserving public lands in Montana and elsewhere. Case in point: the successful enactment of legislation to designate East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River, which was a true bipartisan effort...Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, the foremost defender of the Clean Water Act in the U.S. Senate was reelected by a wide margin. Clean water and rivers have no better friend than Ben Cardin. There are some new sheriffs in town: With the change of party control in the U.S. House of Representatives, there are new Committee chairs overseeing important House Committees who are strong supporters of rivers and the environment. For example: the incoming Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Frank Pallone of New Jersey, has been a steadfast protector of rivers, standing up to the efforts of the National Hydropower Association to weaken the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act...Unfortunately, many Republicans who support the environment retired or were defeated, such as Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. An exception was in Maryland where Governor Larry Hogan was reelected...What does this mean for American Rivers? We’ll still be here in DC and in our offices across the country, fighting against ill-advised attempts by those in Congress and by President Trump to weaken environmental laws and to slash funding for river conservation. But we’ll have a lot more allies in powerful positions to fend off these attacks, and to ensure that river conservation remains a priority…” Jim Bradley writes for American Rivers.

Read Preliminary work begins on EAA reservoir to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges - “Bulldozers pushed over sugarcane plants, exposing near-black soil as preliminary construction began Wednesday on the long-awaited reservoir to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges. The work comes about 18 months after the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott authorized the project to store excess Lake O water to keep it from going to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, clean the water and send it to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. It also comes less than a week after the South Florida Water Management District board approved extending a lease on most of the reservoir site to a subsidiary of Florida Crystals...The reservoir project is expected, when used in conjunction with other existing and planned projects, to reduce the number of damaging discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers by 63 percent. It also will send an average of about 120.6 billion gallons of clean water south to the thirsty Everglades and Florida Bay every year. The project will take about eight years, said Eva Valez, district director for Everglades policy and restoration: two to three years to complete the design and another five to build it…” Tyler Treadway reports for the Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Read Guns, rising seas and schools are among Florida’s biggest challenges, state leaders say - “Florida’s leading figures from a wide array of fields gathered for a summit Wednesday to discuss the most critical issues facing the state and the fallout from the 2018 midterm elections.  The Florida Priorities Summit, a two-day event at the University of Miami, featured in-depth panel discussions on five policy issues: education, transportation, guns, environment and healthcare. The event marked the culmination of the 2018 Florida Influencer Series, a project by the Miami Herald, el Nuevo Herald and Bradenton Herald. Over the past six months, a group of 50 of Florida’s most prominent voices shared their ideas on how to address the most important issues facing the state and responded to questions from readers.  After the Influencers crafted a series of policy recommendations for the next governor and Legislature on Tuesday, experts from across the state addressed those five issues further on Wednesday...The environmental panel discussed Everglades restoration and the importance of restoring the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee south through the Everglades to Florida Bay instead of discharging water to the east and west coast of Florida. They also discussed the economic harm that climate change and rising seas can bring to low lying areas in South Florida and how developers and elected officials should work together. “Sea level rise is something that is going to hit us all. We can either deal with it or not,” said Jorge Pérez, the billionaire developer and CEO of Related Group. “I think that it requires a huge political will and a huge private [sector] will…” Adam Wollner and Martin Vassolo report for the Miami Herald.

Read Florida already reached last year’s record manatee deaths by boat - “With six weeks left in 2018, Florida already has tied last year's record 107 manatee deaths by boat, putting the Sunshine State on a dark course for the third consecutive record-setting year for watercraft-related fatalities. But deaths by all causes show a dire year for sea cows, with red tide and boats among the top known killers. According to preliminary statistics through Nov. 9, at least 741 manatees have died so far this year in Florida, the highest number in the past five years, and 262 more deaths than the 5-year average up to this point of the year. Of the deaths, as many as 193 may have been from red tide, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. At least 80 manatees tested positive for the red tide toxin and another 113 are suspected red-tide-related deaths. Boats accounted for 14 percent of the deaths, lower than the usual 20 percent killed by watercraft…” Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today.

Read Pinellas hotels report 6% dip in room sales since Red Tide hit - “Little has stood in the way of Pinellas County's explosive tourism growth in recent years.  Then came Red Tide. The arrival of toxic algae blooms on Pinellas beaches two months ago has finally stalled ever-climbing hotel bookings: The latest data available shows a 6 percent dip in overnight room sales in September. That's the biggest dip local hotels have seen in years.  The slower months of tourism season — and September is one of them — are sometimes flat in year-over-year hotel stays, or grow only slightly. But they are seldom down, except when a hurricane threatens...Local hotel data is considered a key indicator of how the tourism industry is performing, but the numbers come out two months after the fact, making it difficult to account for Red Tide's toll in real time...Bed tax collections also dropped, but by less than 1 percent. Pinellas County collects a 6 percent bed tax from visitors on the price for their overnight stays. The millions collected annually pay for tourism marketing and projects that attract visitors to the county. While September's slight drop may not seem like much, the county has enjoyed seemingly unending growth in hotel bookings and bed tax collections. In September 2015, the tax on tourists grew nearly 20 percent compared to the year before; in 2016, 8 percent; and in 2017, 7 percent…” Sara DiNatale reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Living shorelines are being created along Florida’s coast - “It's a modern alternative to a hard seawall that can soften the impact of strong storms and rising seas due to a warming planet. Living shorelines, which are made of all-natural materials like marsh seedlings or even bags of oyster shells, are an increasingly popular option to protect coastal homes and property in Florida. Creating a living shoreline can reverse the effects of erosion and protect sensitive wetlands. The rising costs from flooding and erosion are prompting homeowners, military bases and government agencies to opt for this natural protection method, which can improve water quality, support fisheries and also provide a protective barrier. "What we're seeing is a real shift away from hard seawalls, in the direction of living shorelines which are much more cost-effective, and better for people and wildlife," said John Upton, Features Journalist at Climate Central. Upton notes that homeowners tend to overestimate the effectiveness of seawalls and bulkheads and underestimate natural alternatives, but that is slowly changing here in the Sunshine State…” Melissa Ross reports for WJCT.


From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events:

November 14 - 5:30pm-7:30pm - Walton Solar Co-Op Information Sessions (Santa Rosa Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc to learn more about how you can go solar! Meeting at the Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Learn more here , or contact Mary Gutierrez at earthethicsaction@gmail.com

November 14 - 12:45pm-2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group will hold its next meeting Wednesday, Nov. 14. at the Belvedere Library, 325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL. Two fabulous guest speakers will be visiting us: Melissa Hill of Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) will describe the work of this organization who recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary! Melissa will also describe the work she performs as project coordinator of Nesting Sea Turtle Conservancy. Our next speaker will travel to The Villages from St. Augustine, FL. Maia McGuire, Ph.D., UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Agent, will give an update on the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project. This program is FREE and open to the public.  Bring along a friend. Please send an r.s.v.p. to  resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

November 17 - 9:00am-4:00pm - Highlands County Master Gardeners Festival (Sebring) - Join the Highlands County Master Gardeners for the inaugural Garden Festival. Kicked off at 9:00am by Shannon Reed singing the National Anthem, there will be live music, vendors, food, a kids zone, and plant classes. Where: Bert J Harris Agricultural Civic Center in Sebring: 4509 George Blvd.

November 17, 9:00am-11:00am - National Take a Hike Day (Naples) - Join Conservation Collier to celebrate National Take a Hike Day at either Gordon River Greenway (1596 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples FL) or the Nancy Payton Preserve (1540 Blue Sage Drive, Naples FL). Meet at the Parking Area/Trailhead. Pre-registration required. Call 239-252-2961 or email at conservationcollier@colliercountyfl.gov .

November 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP -- Palm Beach County 2070:  What’s Next?  (Palm Beach Gardens) - Join 1000 Friends of Florida and the North County Neighborhood Coalition on Tuesday, November 27 to identify the steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Palm Beach County. We want to hear from you about what you think the biggest obstacles are to sustainability and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.   The workshop is at Nova’s Palm Beach Campus, 11501 North Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit  www.1000friendsofflorida.org/pbco2070plan to find out more.

November 28 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP – Martin County 2070:  What’s Next? (Stuart) - Join 1000 Friends and The Guardians of Martin County on Wednesday, November 28 to share your thoughts on steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Martin County. We want to hear from you about what you think are the biggest obstacles to sustainability in Martin County and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.  The workshop is at the Susan H. Johnson Auditorium, Wolf High-Technology Center, 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit www.1000friendsofflorida.org/mco2070plan to find out more.

December 1, 9:00am-4:00pm - 2018 Florida Solar Congress (Miami) - The 2018 Florida Solar Congress is a free public conference. It brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current solar landscape and future for solar energy in Florida. The day will include a series of presentations about solar technology and policy, as well as ways to get involved with helping to grow solar in Florida. Topics will include: solar 101, solar + battery storage for homes, grassroots solar advocacy, electric vehicles, ways to get involved, and much more! The event will conclude with a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss priorities and opportunities that solar supporters in Florida should focus on in the coming year. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all attendees! RSVP here. Interested in volunteering at this event? Email Heaven Campbell at heaven@flsun.org.

December 1, 12:00pm-4:00pm - NFLT J.J. Grey Concert- (Jacksonville) - The North Florida Land Trust presents Jacksonville-hailing J.J. Grey, singer and songwriter described by his fans as ‘the North Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker’ who has gained worldwide acclaim with his band, JJ Grey and Mofro. This December’s concert brings Grey back home to his beloved roots and will feature JJ Grey in a solo performance. Grey shares a commitment to the land of his north Florida home that fits perfectly with North Florida Land Trust’s mission to protect special places in the region. Grey often sings about the changing landscape in northern Florida and his soulfulness and deep beliefs come through in his music. The concert will be held at Congaree and Penn Farm & Mills: 11830 Old Kings Road, Jacksonville, FL 32219. For more information and tickets, visit the NFLT site here.

December 6, 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free Recycle Right to Meet Industry Challenges Webinar - Florida has made great strides in increasing its recycling rates but shrinking global markets for recycling materials and increased “contamination” or non-recyclables in the stream are presenting daunting challenges for the industry.  Join Karen Moore, Recycling Manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Dawn McCormick, Chair of the Florida Recycling Partnership and Waste Management Director of Communications; and a County Recycling Manager as they discuss these challenges and cost implications for Florida’s counties, cities and businesses.  This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM for planners (#9162164) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

January 19, 2019 - 10:00am-12:00pm - Rising Sea Levels- Are we losing our coastal cities? (Deerfield) - The Deerfield Progressive Forum will host Dr. Colin Polsky, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies and Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, for a discussion of sea level rise and its impacts on Florida. For 39 years progressives in South Florida have been enlightened by a series of weekly talks presented by nationally distinguished speakers on provocative current issues. Lively discussion follows each talk. The Deerfield Progressive Forum meets every Saturday morning from December through March from 10:00 AM-noon in Century Village, Deerfield Beach. For more information, visit their site here.

January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Preview Webinar - The 60-day 2019 Florida Legislative Session starts on March 5 and is scheduled to end on May 3 of 2019.  The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others.  1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that may be up for consideration during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and will discuss how this could impact state and local governance and planning in Florida. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162191) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

March 27, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Update Webinar - This free webinar is scheduled for a little more than three weeks into the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others. 1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that are being considered during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and other legislation that may surface as the session progresses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162194). 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, Florida Environmental Health Professionals, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved. Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.

Petitions

End collection & removal of tropical marine life from Phil Foster Park

Stop the spraying of glyphosate herbicide in Florida waters

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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