Cindy Swirko reports for the Gainesville Sun – “The Ichetucknee and lower Santa Fe rivers have less water than they need to support the life in them…White Springs, once a thriving resort full of visitors… doesn’t have enough water to attract an otter. And the volume of water and other springs is in jeopardy, too – the aquifer isn’t bubbling up as much as it used to in some spots because it’s increasingly pumped out buy utilities, homeowners, businesses and agriculture…Trying to fill the conflicting needs of the ecosystems of springs, rivers and lakes with the needs of both the current and future populations for water is the basis of a proposal to govern water supplies through 2035. Officials with the Suwanee River and St. Johns River water management districts…believe added conservation measures and greater use of reclaimed water will lead to success…But environmental advocates, including Jim Gross, are not entirely buying it…Proposals in the plan to move water from one water body when its flow is high to recharge the aquifer or to a storage area for release when water levels are low is a shell game rather than a solution, he said…Much of the burden to meet the goals falls on residents and farmers to reduce water use. For customers of municipal utilities, a hammer could be higher water costs.” Read Florida districts develop plans to combat water crisis
The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “[U]nless Florida make smarter use of its water, communities may face serious shortages, the loss of farmland and a slowdown in growth that could upend the states economy…The demand for water already is so intense that cities and counties have undertaken hugely expensive water development projects in recent years, with the Tampa bay area building a regional reservoir and a seawater desalination plant. Even with new conservation rules, the study predicts, the rush of new residents and sprawling suburbs will leave room for only modest savings in water. This presents a huge challenge for state and local leaders in Tampa Bay, and it underscores the need to continue to think and act regionally. The solutions — more compact development, land use policies that discourage sprawl, better protection of natural resources and water recharge areas — will all require better planning and coordination at the state and local levels. The development community could be a partner; it has awakened to the cost savings of building more efficient and sustainable projects. The resurgence of cities as places to work, play and live also creates an opportunity to save water through smarter urban design. The report…is a reminder of how the Florida Legislature wasted an opportunity this ear by passing a state water bill that was more about developing new water resources than conserving those that already exist.” Read Meeting Florida’s demand for more water
Kristen M Clark reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Senate President Joe Negron… announced his leadership team for the 2016– 18 term…a list that includes some expected appointments but also some surprises and a few snubs.” Read Florida Senate’s committee leaders for the 2016– 18 announced
NBC 6 reports - “Nearly 5 million customers in Florida are going to pay more for electricity in the coming year after state regulators voted…for a substantial rate hike…FPL had initially sought a $1.3 billion rate hike, but agreed to a smaller amount after reaching a settlement with several groups…Company officials say the extra money will help pay for improvements, including a new natural gas plant…Frank Jackalone, staff director for the Sierra Club’s Florida chapter, said the PSC had approved ‘a huge rate hike for unnecessary, climate disrupting, gas-burning power plants.’ State Sen. José Javier Rodriguez…also blasted the PSC for approving a deal for a monopoly that is ‘bad for consumers, bad for the market, bad for the environment and ultimately bad for our democracy.’” Read Florida Power & Light Customers to Pay More in Coming Year
Brady Dennis reports for the Washington Post – “Pope Francis this week implored world leaders not to postpone the implementation of global environmental pacts…The pope’s remarks came during a gathering of scientists at the Vatican, at which he said there has “never been such a clear need for science” to guide human actions to safeguard the future of the planet… ‘I would say that it falls to scientists, who work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences,’ he said…” Read Pope Francis: “Never been such a clear need for science” to protect the planet
JoAnn Adkins reports for FIU News – “Bottlenose dolphins in the Florida Coastal Everglades have higher concentrations of mercury than any other populations in the world.” Read Mercury contamination found in Everglades dolphins
CJ McCartney writes for the St. Augustine Record – “While resilient St. Augustine is getting back on track, our local wildlife, who has absolutely no insurance, is seeking new habitat too. Along with their homes being wiped out, their food sources vanished…Our wildlife needs us to step up to offer them a spot in our yards…It’s easy and fun to create a pocket wildlife garden…” Read Birds and wildlife are homeless too
Reagan McCarthy reports for WFSU – “Florida wildlife officials are…encouraging landowners to cut down on wildfires by forming “prescribed burn associations.”” Read Prescribed burn associations could save money, wildlife
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
September – November – Participate in The Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup 2016. For more information and to sign up, click here.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 13 – Attend the 26th Annual Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
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