Ron Littlepage writes for the Florida Times Union – “Developers in Florida have a long history of being in the business of making money now and not considering the impact on the future…We could get serious about conservation and ban St. Augustine grass and homeowner association rules that require water use. We could have growth management laws that say no to such developments as the one being planned for the Deseret Ranch that will create a new city of 500,000 people in Central Florida. But none of those things will happen until there is a new governor and new legislators…who understand like previous people who occupied those offices did that Florida’s future depends on water. And those replacements must give more than lip service to that idea because it’s the truth and will sometimes require painful actions. For now, talk, talk. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.” Read There are ways to help solve Florida’s water crisis - but is there the will to pursue them?
Matt Blitz reports for Popular Mechanics – “[C]oal-powered….stations are a common enemy [to] the 2015 Paris Agreement…But ten Florida power stations…are inadvertently saving the manatee. What happens when they shut down?...[When] water temperatures take a nosedive,…manatees need to find warm water fast or risk fatal cold shock… ‘[Manatees] are very memory-driven...[and] will remember and go where warm water is...show[ing] up year after year, waiting,’ says Garrett (a marine mammal biologist with the FWC)…Because of their long-running reliance on the power plants, the manatees who harbor at Big Bend probably will be unaware of other warm water spots nearby. In addition, humans have destroyed or blocked other natural warm water locations, like springs or thermal basins, that once were manatee refuges…Ideas include asking federal and state agencies to buy up natural springs for manatee habitats, removing human-made dams, restricting human activity near natural springs during winter months, and even experimenting with moving manatees to other warm water spots in the state…[I]t took 50 years for the manatees to become reliant on power stations, and it will take just as long to wean them off of it. Changes need to happen now and can't wait for these plants to close down.” Read The future of the Florida Manatee depends on a decades-old coal-burning power station
Dan Chapman reports for The Atlantic Journal-Constitution – “The water wars trial pitting Florida against Georgia…wrapped up Thursday…Lancaster said he will promptly, perhaps by Christmas, issue his ruling…Lancaster will accept post-trial briefs, or summaries, from the two states before finalizing a decision. Attorneys may then have another opportunity to challenge his ruling before the master submits his decision to the Supreme Court…Congress could ultimately weigh in on the special master’s ruling by challenging the corps’ water-sharing plan. If…the special master orders Georgia, Florida and Alabama to create a regionwide water-sharing “compact,” then legislators could again play a role…Romuald Lipcius, an oyster expert at the College of William and Mary, said there was no evidence ‘that low river flows…caused the baywide collapse of the oyster population.’ He added, instead, that ‘unsustainable harvest’ measures…were largely to blame. Earlier in the day two University of Florida scientists who extensively studied the oyster’s collapse claimed that their research was questioned and their jobs threatened when their findings didn’t jibe with the state’s legal strategy against Georgia.” Read Georgia, Florida await decision as water war trial concludes
Ryan Smart writes for The Gainesville Sun – “From the Florida Keys to the Panhandle, 1000 Friends of Florida advocates for building better communities. In our opinion, one of the most exciting planning efforts underway anywhere in Florida is happening right here in Gainesville: the University of Florida’s Strategic Development Plan.” Read UF plan provides model for Florida
Zach Murdock reports for the Herald-Tribune – “The Florida environmental science professor best known as “Dr. Beach” agrees with Siesta Key residents that a controversial plan to dredge Big Pass could have detrimental effects on Siesta’s iconic beaches…Siesta groups, businesses and residents fear such a major change to the channel – which has never been dredged – could lead to faster erosion along the key…Siesta Key groups…and the Sarasota County Commission asked the Army Corps…to undertake a more rigorous and comprehensive study of the plan, known as an environmental impact statement, before state officials give final consideration to a permit for the dredging. This week the Army Corps denied that request, defending its environmental assessment and the model…The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is reviewing a city and Army Corps application for a joint coastal permit for the dredging and has until Dec. 27 to issue a notice of decision. ” Read ‘Dr. Beach’ sides with Siesta Key on Big Pass dredging
Stuart Korfhage reports for The St. Augustine Record – “Over the summer, the North Florida Land Trust released its list of more than 100,000 acres in the region that it identified as being the most critically important to preserve… This week, NFLT acquired the first 206 acres of that goal when it completed a purchase for land with significant frontage on Six Mile Creek directly off the St. Johns River.” Read North Florida Land Trust completes deal to acquire 206 acres along Six Mile Creek
Aliki Moncrief writes for the Naples Daily News – “[O]ur enormous potential to be a top solar-powered state -- combined with the recent groundswell of public support for a clean-energy future -- means we have a promising path forward. The voters have spoken, loudly. Now our lawmakers must heed their call to action…[C]all or write to your state representative and senator and tell them you expect them to support legislation promoting customer-owned and community solar in Florida. To fully implement the solar incentives laid out in Amendment 4, legislative action is needed.” Read Shifting Florida’s energy policy toward sun
Camila Domonoske reports for NPR – “An annual study released by the Brazilian government estimates that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 29 percent over last year…INPE acknowledged the increase but noted that "the current rate represents a decrease of 71%, when compared with 2004." That was the year the government implemented a policy designed to curb deforestation…But the rate now detected is the highest for any year since 2008…The Brazilian newspaper Estadão reports…:‘…The policy director of Greenpeace, Marcio Astrini, says among the causes of the increased deforestation were actions taken by the federal government between 2012 and 2015, such as the waiving of fines for illegal deforestation, the abandonment of protected areas…and the announcement, which he calls 'shameful,' that the government doesn't plan to completely stop illegal deforestation until the year 2030.’… Estadão also notes that the rise in deforestation is raising concerns about Brazil's ability to meet its commitments as part of the international Paris Agreement on combating climate change…Reuters reported that a lack of funding has hampered the organization that's tasked with stopping illegal logging efforts.” Read Deforestation of the Amazon Up 29 Percent from Last Year, Study Finds
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Upcoming Environmental Events
December 6, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643. December’s lecture is on Springs Chemistry. For more information, click here.
December 9, 2:30 PM – City of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg will make important announcements around clean energy and sustainability on the steps of St. Petersburg City Hall.
December 9, 7:00 PM – Join Suncoast Sierra Club for refreshments, live music, and art in celebration of St. Petersburg sustainability. For more information and to register click here.
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January 13 – Attend the 26th Annual Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
January 28, 9:30 AM - Attend the 1st Nature's Spirit Conference hosted by the Pagan Environmental Alliance and the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palm Beaches to discuss how science, belief in nature, and activism can tap into greater community involvement. For more information, click here.
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