FCC News Brief - November 16, 2016

Chad Gillis reports for News Press – “[Traces of a female Florida panther have been found north of the Caloosahatchee River for the first time since 1973, the same year the Endangered Species Act was approved. The Caloosahatchee River has been a breeding barrier for more than four decades, but the big cats seem poised to retake another chunk of their historic range…‘This appears to be the milestone we’ve hoped for. We have been working with landowners to secure wildlife corridors to help panthers travel from south Florida, cross the river and reach this important panther habitat,’ said Larry Williams, state ecological services supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service… ‘While we do not know if this female used these tracts of land, we do know that securing lands that facilitate the natural expansion of the panther population are critical to achieving full recovery.’ Expanding the breeding population north to Central Florida is listed as the second management goal identified in the FWS Florida panther recovery plan.” Read Female panther found north of Caloosahatchee; first time since 1973

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “A population once estimated at 20 to 30 [Florida panthers] has now grown to more than 100. While the population boomed, though, federal officials allowed continued destruction of the remaining habitat. A 2010 Tampa Bay Times analysis found the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hadn’t objected to a development in panther habitat since 1993…The female (that was found north of the Caloosahatchee) ‘is an adult, and we would anticipate that she’s ready to breed,’ [Onorato, FWS Florida panther biologist] said. ‘The circle isn’t complete until she has kittens, and then they have kittens, too.’” Read First female panther spotted north of Caloosahatchee River in more than 40 years

Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Demand for water will more than double in Florida by 2070 if building trends continue along their current sprawling path, bringing another 15 million people to the state…[I]f new development clusters together and increases water conservation by 20 percent, the state could save 37 percent in development-related water demand, compared to the business-as-usual scenario…UF studies have shown at least half of water used by homes is for outdoor irrigation. So the researchers recommend, among other steps, following the Florida Friendly Yards program, using rain barrels and reducing runoff through mulching and porous surfaces. They say automated irrigation systems can be a significant source of the problem. So residents who use them should use the latest technology and systems that include soil moisture sensors, which can greatly reduce water use…1000 Friends has called for more funding for greenways and wildlife corridors, more affordable housing, as well as incentives and increased funding to help landowners conserve farmlands and other working landscapes.” Read Florida’s water demand for development could double by 2070

Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Jennz Buzzacco-Foerster, Mitch Perry, and Jim Rosica report for Florida Politics – “State agencies charged with protecting Florida’s environment explained their budget requests for the next fiscal year in a public hearing Nov. 10. Lawmakers will use these proposals when finalizing the budget during the 2017 legislative session…[T]he Department of Environmental Protection asked for $1.4 billion, down slightly from last year’s request. That includes $204 for Everglades restoration, $50 million for springs, $52 million for state parks and $25.5 million for land acquisition…[T]he Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services highlighted…$15 million for nutrient reduction and water retention projects for the Lake Okeechobee watershed…” Read Sunburn for 11.15.16- Trump effect impacts Florida’s budget; Rick Scott addresses Gov. colleagues; Jack Latvala vs. Mike Evans; Jeff Atwater’s $$$ lawsuit

Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “Florida’s two largest utilities, Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy Florida, have said it is time to change the net metering laws as utilities have done in other states, and they have already begun asking Florida’s PSC to address it. The changes include imposing a monthly service charge on people with solar systems or reducing the net metering rate to reflect the industry’s claim that solar users [are] subsidize[d by] other ratepayers…Southern Alliance for Clean Energy…has not decided whether to continue to pursue a constitutional amendment promoted by the solar industry’s political committee, Floridians for Solar Choice, which would have allowed homeowners to lease their solar system to companies that could sell the solar energy that is produced to neighboring properties. ‘Because costs have come down, we have not decided if that is still a top priority but it is still an option,’ she said.” Read As rooftop solar costs drop, utility attempts to raise barriers may not work

Anastasia Dawson reports for The Tampa Bay Times – “The rally was part of a nation-wide “day of action”” against the controversial North Dakota natural gas pipeline currently under construction. For many, though, the controversy surrounding the North Dakota project was a chance to shine light on a similar effort closer to home.” Read Tampa protestors speak out against pipelines in Florida, North Dakota

Oliver Milman writes for The Guardian – “The absence of climate change as a leading topic in the election was a failure of the media- and it’s now their responsibility to get Americans talking about it. Imagine the world was facing upheaval on a scale not seen during modern civilization, a change that would imperil the world’s great cities by the rising seas and snuff out species at the fastest rate since the dinosaurs disappeared. Then imagine you were a journalist, had repeated chances to ask the next president of the United States about this and decided to not do so…The public were periodically warned that the seas are eating away America’s east coast and that no it’s not just you, it really is warm this year, but climate change was treated as a side issue rather than being central to every economic, energy and foreign policy question the country is grappling with.” Read Why the media must make climate change a vital issue for President Trump

Rebecca Leber and Ben Adler write for Grist – “Trump certainly can’t dismantle climate action and the clean energy economy as quickly as he’s promised (day one), and in some cases, he won’t be able to do it at all. But here’s what’s on his hit list, along with an analysis of what he can and can’t do.” Read Here’s What’s on Donald Trump’s Climate Change Hit List




From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.



URGENT: Reschedule the Lake Pickett North Development Hearing!

Prevent the Loss of One of Florida’s Most Popular National Wildlife Refuges

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Stop the Division of Herky Huffman/Bull Creek WMA 2016

Now or Neverglades Declaration

Ask the SFWMD to deny the permit for the Crosstown Parkway that cuts through TWO State Preserves

Save the Econlockhatchee River!

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Ask the USACE to reject Harbor Sound application to fill wetlands

Paynes Prairie in danger

Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A . from Development

Deny Beruff’s Mitigation Bank Permit

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state


Upcoming Environmental Events

September – November – Participate in The Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup 2016. For more information and to sign up, click here.

November 17, 6:30 pm – Attend a Solar Co-op Information Session at 862 S. Orlando Ave. in Winter Park. Homeowners in Orange County and bordering counties are invited to hear how solar can work in their homes, how to pay for solar, and the benefits of solar co-op membership. For more information and/or to sign up for the co-op, click here. The deadline to join the Orange County Solar Co-op is November 30, 2016.

November 19, 11:00 am – Attend North Florida Land Trust’s Salt Marsh Brewgrass Festival at Big Talbot Island Biological Field Station in Jacksonville. There will be a great lineup of “Brewgrass” music outside on the marsh and an array of food trucks and local brews. You can also sign up for a guided kayak tour or guided hike around the island. Click here to purchase tickets.

December 1-2 – Attend the rescheduled Florida Remediation Conference in Orlando. FRC includes 2 days of technical presentations on soil and groundwater cleanup, along with more than 80 industry product and services exhibitors. For more information, click here.

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 14, 12:45 pm – Come learn about irrigation improvements for homeowners in The Villages. The meeting will take place in the Belvedere Library. For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.





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