James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “[FDOT] wants 43 acres of Wakulla Springs State Park to widen Crawfordville Highway…The project elevates the highway six feet…and includes four storm water drainage ponds…[T]he Wakulla Springs Alliance (WSA) and five other groups object to [including] storm water drainage ponds on a karst plain near the iconic Wakulla Springs…(WSA’s) McGlynn notes that Tallahassee has spent more than $200 million reducing the flow of nitrates into the spring. He can’t understand why anyone would agree to build holding ponds that will add more nitrates…to Wakulla Springs…WSA members and others from the Apalachee Audubon Society, Audubon Florida, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Wildlife Federation, Friends of Wakulla Springs drafted a joint letter to the ARC listing their concerns and suggesting ways minimizing the impact on the region’s wildlife and springs…The group [wants] DOT to build wildlife underpasses for deer, bear and gopher tortoises to cross underneath U.S. 319… ‘This is exacerbating the habitat fragmentation through a public lands corridor that begins in the Apalachicola National Forest in Leon and runs through Wakulla Springs State Park and continues down to the coast and the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge,’ said Kent Wimmer, of the Defenders of Wildlife.” Read 43 acres of Wakulla Springs State Park sought for Crawfordville Highway project
Maggy Hurchalla writes for my Palm Beach Post – “Someone needs to point out that former Pahokee Mayor J.P. Sasser’s view of Everglades Restoration is a mythological beast…Here are the facts: 1. CERP…has always required buying a large amount of land south of Lake O. Without that land for storage, treatment and conveyance, Everglades’ restoration won’t work, Miami’s water supply will more rapidly go salt…2. The unfinished reservoir…was designed to give most of the stored water to sugar growers, and less water to the everglades than CERP called for. It did not include water quality treatment. It was an expensive mistake in the wrong place.” Read Negron on right track for Everglades restoration
Andy Reid reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Climate change…[means] it will take more water – and potentially more taxpayer money- to save the Everglades, according to new scientific findings…[Restoration] is expected to get harder as sea-level rise pushes more saltwater into the Everglades and rising temperatures accelerate evaporation of water supplies during prolonged droughts. To compensate, more water-storage alternatives should be added to Everglades restoration plans…Even with those changes, the committee warns that the looming effects of…climate change may require a re-examination of long-term Everglades restoration goals…[S]ea level rise by 2 feet by 2100 would bring more saltwater that changes what lives and grows on the southern end of the Everglades. ‘It may be that there’s no amount of water that can keep the southern end of the Everglades the way that it is now,’ said University of Florida professor Karl Havens…” Read Everglades’ water at risk from sea-level rise, scientists say
The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “Efforts to protect endangered species in Southwest Florida recorded some impressive gains recently, and also some disheartening losses. The gains were made in this year’s record-breaking sea-turtle nesting season…The losses have come in…the steadily increasing number of Florida panthers killed by motorists…Urban development and agriculture in Collier and Lee counties and in South Florida have restricted the panthers’ habitat and access to food sources. A year ago, nine Florida members of Congress – including Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key- called for the federal government to establish a “critical habitat” designation for the Florida panther. That designation would heighten environmental scrutiny of federal projects…that could impact publicly owned panther lands. A renewal of that effort in Congress- along with reduced speed limits and increased enforcement on roads that cross the panthers’ habitat- appears to be essential if the dwindling species is to avoid another record year of losses.” Read Endangered species’ gains and losses
The Bradenton Herald Editorial Board writes – “Ill-considered, rampant sprawl threatens our clean water supply and, in turn, agriculture and tourism…Manatee County Commissioners recently approved changes in the Land Development Code to shift away from the old suburban-oriented customs and instead encourage redevelopment along the county’s six urban corridors, where expensive infrastructure already exists…Florida Forever…which had preserved 2.5 million acres while receiving some $300 million annually, first began hemorrhaging money in 2008 and only get a fraction of the once robust allocation. In retaliation, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 that dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars annually into land acquisition and restoration projects.” Read Clean water supply vital to Florida’s future growth but state lacks vision
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency would be bad for the country and devastating for Florida, say state and local environmentalists…Florida is the state most at risk of sea level rise and climate change, Draper said. ‘Not dealing with the issue…will cause billions of dollars in damage and property loss…’…Along the Treasure Coast, the first effect of sea level rise will be saltwater contamination of aquifers…The EPA can determine what bodies of water are covered under the federal Clean Water Act, and there’s a real risk that a Pruitt-led EPA could remove federal protection for tens of thousands of acres of wetlands in Florida, Draper said.” Read Environmentalists recoil at Trump’s choice to lead EPA
Juliet Eilperin reports for The Washington Post – “President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has represented Montana’s at-large congressional seat for one term, to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior…A lifelong hunter and fisherman, the 55-year old Zinke has defended public access to federal lands even though he frequently votes against environmentalists on issues ranging from coal extraction to oil and gas drilling. This summer, he quit his post as a member of the GOP platform-writing committee after the group included language that would have transferred federal land ownership to the states…He has…pushed for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund…Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said the congressman’s ‘brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act,’…” Read Trump taps Montana congressman Ryan Zinke as interior secretary
Rob Jordan reports for Stanford News – “A major opportunity for avoiding climate change’s worst impacts lies in reducing methane emissions, particularly from food production, according to a pair of new studies.” Read Methane from food production could be wildcard in combating climate change, Stanford scientist says
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