Kevin Spear reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Bill Alexander, Florida Trail Association team leader…fears an insider deal in the works could end public access to the best of Florida’s nature…The St. Johns River Water Management District has confirmed confidential appraisals are underway for a possible deal that would turn over Bull Creek (Conservation Area) land to the Kempfer ranching family, owner of the property until a half-century ago…A similar controversy over the land arose 20 years ago, when the…district offered Bull Creek land in exchange for wetlands on the nearby Kempfer ranch, before backing away under vociferous opposition…Defenders of the wilderness don’t know whether the Kempfers would use Bull Creek for a hunting resort, cattle grazing or a development scheme. The neighboring Deseret Ranches has secured rights to build a metropolitan area in coming decades…In 1981, the Kempfers sued the St. Johns water district…Then,…Billy Kempfer joined the water district, taking a seat on its Agricultural Advisory Committee, which has direct access to district leaders. [He] became chairman of the committee two years ago.” Read Battle looms for Bull Creek paradise, a treasured wilderness in eastern Osceola County
The Associated Press reports – “[A] (9-month-old) Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida…A total of 38 Florida panthers have been found dead in 2016, with 30 road fatalities.” Read Panther found dead in southwest Florida
The News Service of Florida reports – “Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed…to spend $2.9 million to conserve just over 2,300 acres of rural land in Northeast Florida…The purchase…is…a conservation easement at the Clay Ranch in Putnam County…[It] is the 31st by Scott and the Cabinet through the Rural & Family Lands Preservation Program…The Legislature approved $35 million for the Rural & Family Lands program in the current fiscal year, $10 million more than Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam requested. Putnam has asked lawmakers to allocate $50 million for the program in 2017.” Read Scott, Cabinet back Northeast Florida land deal
Naples Herald staff reports – “At its November Commission meeting, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission gave staff approval to publish proposed revisions to the Collier County manatee protection zones… “The proposed changes allow for some relaxation in boating speed limits while continuing to protect waterways for manatee use,” said Commission Vice Chairman Liesa Priddy…The majority of the proposed changes will result in the removal or reduction of speed zones in regulated waterways, while only a few new regulations will affect smaller areas of waterways.” Read FWC Gives Preliminary Approval to Changes in Collier Manatee Zones
Michael Dukes writes for The Gainesville Sun – “Protecting the water we’ll need for the 15 million additional residents projected to live here in 50 years calls for us to start right now by getting today’s 20 million Floridians on board with a conservation ethic. The University of Florida’s Institute of food and Agricultural Sciences has a special responsibility as the state’s leading public institution providing the science to make this happen…UF/IFAS is on the cutting edge of water-saving science with technologies such as phone apps and high tech irrigation controllers that tap into soil moisture data and weather forecasts to tell people when to water, and equally important, when not to. They can cut your water usage by 20 percent without browning your lawn. We have UF/IFAS Extension agents in every county to familiarize homeowners and growers with these kinds of tools. These agents also work with builders and developers, a number of whom are building these technologies into their new communities…[W]e must do more- a lot more…” Read Water solutions spring from IFAS science
Brad Buck reports for the Crestview News Bulletin – “Your neighbors and peers probably care more about water conservation than one might assume, and that may mean they’re open to some new ideas about using less water, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher says…[T]he study showed that people who participate in UF/IFAS Extension water conservation programs enjoy social support for conserving water. Specifically, their families and friends may use rain gauges and irrigate properly…and thus, they live in a culture that supports their doing the same…People who don’t participate either are not surrounded by people who actively conserve water or they perceive that they don’t… ‘Their peer groups do not talk about saving water, and they don’t think anyone expects them to do so.’” Read Researcher: Neighborly conversations can help with water conservation
Yvone Bertovich reports for WUFT – “Several protestors gathered Monday outside the Dunnellon residence of Kathy Lane, a newly established activist affected by the Sabal Trail Pipeline project…Protestors traveled from all over Florida to show their support for Lane…Lane has also been communicating with activists speaking out against the larger-scale Dakota Access Pipeline…” Read Protests Continue Over Sabal Trail Pipeline Construction
Angela Chen writes for The Verge – “Our rapidly warming planet has melted a chunk of sea ice the size of India, according to climate scientists. What’s more, the sea ice near Antarctica has started melting, too, after years of expanding despite global warming…[N]ow the ice is melting at both poles, and ice levels in both areas are at record lows.” Read A chunk of sea ice the size of India has melted
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
December 7, 12:00 pm – ReThink Energy Florida will host a Stop Sabal Trail Lunch & Learn in Tallahassee to discuss the issues surrounding the pipeline and its construction, why it is a danger for all affected communities, and to talk about actionable plans to fight the construction of this pipeline. For more information, click here.
December 8, 11:00 AM – Participate in a Rally to Support Senator Negron’s EAA Land Purchase Plan & Save the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge outside SFWMD Headquarters (3301 Gun Club Road) in West Palm Beach! For more information, contact Cris Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 11, 12:00 pm – Attend the Green Shopping Holiday Extravaganza! This Tallahassee Midtown crawl will feature two stops selling vintage collectibles, handmade upcycled crafts, recycled art, and eco-friendly gifts. Live music, an alternative gift wrapping workshop, and an organic wine tasting will also be part of the festivities! Proceeds from this event will benefit youth programming for ReThink Energy Florida and The Sharing Tree. 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 email@example.com.
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.
January 29, 10:00 AM – Attend Southwest Florida Veg Fest in Fort Myers. For more information, click here.
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