Isadora Rangel reports for the TC Palm – “The state agency that would execute Negron’s plan, the South Florida Water Management District, refutes the basic premise of his proposal: the need to buy land to build a reservoir south of the lake…Sugar farmers…have unleashed an army of lobbyists and a campaign to kill the plan. And the House has sent a message about cutting spending just as Negron wants the state to borrow $1.2 billion…Many…lawmakers…said they haven’t decided whether to support Negron because there’s not a bill with details yet. Some legislators from areas north of Lake Okeechobee might think a massive land buy in South Florida will divert money from water projects in their districts, said…Rep. Matthew Caldwell. Caldwell, a Republican who represents an area impacted by discharges, said he hasn’t made up his mind, but poked holes in Negron’s proposal.” Read Opposition to Joe Negron’s Lake Okeechobee land buy shapes up and it’s strong
The Associated Press reports – “[A] young Florida panther has been found dead – the first of 2017 – from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida.” Read Panther found dead in southwest Florida
Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Mangroves and manatees will flourish in a Florida with fewer hard freezes, but a warmer world could…[benefit] invasive creatures…Imagine more termites, pythons and invasive lionfish, to name a few…As marshes make way for mangroves, what will become of marsh-nesting seaside sparrows or ducks and other species that prefer more open, marshy habitats?...Warming temperatures could shift many species north, threatening the Florida panther and the American crocodile…as sea-level rise inundates their low-elevation habitats in South Florida…Warmer water could lead to more harmful algae blooms…” Read Fewer Florida hard freezes could benefit invasive species
Dinah Voyles Pulver reports for The Daytona Beach News Journal – “Statewide last year, 520 manatees were found dead…, the third deadliest year since recordkeeping began…Of those, at least 104 deaths were watercraft-related… ‘We know that watercraft-related mortality is still the main threat to manatees long-term,’ [a manatee veterinarian with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute] said…[D]eaths would have been even higher if not for the efforts…‘to rescue, rehabilitate and return healthy animals to the wild.’…Rose (with Save the Manatee Club) attributes the increase in watercraft-related deaths to the improved economy and lower fuel costs…Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said the rise in fatal collisions could be the result of declining enforcement of boat speed limits in manatee zones, the expansion of private marinas into manatee habitat and ‘swim with manatees tourism’ that may drive manatees out of safe areas and into dangerous channels.” Read Boats kill record number of Florida manatees in 2016
Eric Lipton and Coral Davenport report for The New York Times – “A legal fight to clean up tons of chicken manure fouling the waters of Oklahoma’s bucolic northeastern corner…was in full swing six years ago when the conservative lawyer Scott Pruitt took office as Oklahoma’s attorney general. His response: Put on the brakes…The move came after he had taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from executives and lawyers for the poultry industry. It was one of a series of instances in which Mr. Pruitt…sought to blunt the impact of federal environmental policies in his state- against oil, gas, agriculture and other interests. His antipathy to federal regulation – he sued the Environmental Protection Agency 14 times – in many ways defined his tenure as Oklahoma’s attorney general…Mr. Pruitt, if confirmed, will take over the agency in an odd position: He has spent the last seven years suing it to block regulations that he would be expected to put into effect and enforce.” Read Scott Pruitt, Trump’s E.P.A. Pick, Backed Industry Donors Over Regulators
Chelsea Harvey reports for The Washington Post - “The world’s natural places are disappearing at a galloping clip, says a new study…It suggests that more than 7 percent of Earth’s natural, intact forest landscapes have been lost since 2000 – and these ecosystems may be in danger of disappearing entirely from at least 19 countries in the next 60 years. These landscapes represent some of ‘the last portions of the Earth that are not significantly affected by human influence,’ said Lars Laestadius, a…co-author of the new study. ‘As we lose these, we lose something that is bigger than ourselves…Intact forest landscapes…can provide critical habitat for all kinds of wildlife- conserving them is an important way to safeguard the world’s biodiversity. Many of them are also significant carbon sinks, making them important components of global climate mitigation strategies…[T]hey provide an important reference point that shows us how healthy ecosystems function without the influence of human activities.” Read Humans have destroyed 7% of Earth’s pristine forest landscapes just since 2000
Shannon Blankinship writes for EU Jacksonville – “In 1998, the St. Johns River was federally-designated an American Heritage River – the only river in Florida and one of only 14 rivers in the entire United States to receive this prestigious national recognition. The Indian River Lagoon is North America’s most diverse estuary and provides an annual economic impact of $7.64 billion to the surrounding region…Despite their importance Florida’s waterways are suffering…Troubled Waters is a call to action…If there is one thing we learned during the making of this program, it is that politics has invaded the decision-making of our scientists in the state through hiring, firing, budgets, and bullying at every turn…You can view the entire film online, or check out one of the public screenings to hear from panelists about what you can do to protect Florida’s water.” Read On the River – Troubled Waters: Connections and Consequences
Brad Rogers writes for the Ocala Star Banner – “[T]hat’s what our water management districts do – issue more water permits for water even their scientists concede is not there.” Read The pump, baby, pump model
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.
Upcoming Environmental Events
January 17, 11:00 AM – The St. Johns River and Suwannee River Water Management Districts will consider the North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan at Alachua City Hall (15100 N.W. 142 Terrace) in Alachua. The final draft plan can be viewed here.
January 18, 12:00 PM – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s Free Webinar: 2017 Florida Legislative Preview. Learn about key community planning and conservation bills to be considered during the 2017 legislative session and how they could impact state and local governance in Florida. For more information and to register, click here.
January 18, 12:00 pm – Attend ReThink Energy Florida’s monthly Lunch-and-Learn at the Leon County Library, Dr. BL Perry Branch (2817 S Adams St) in Tallahassee. This month’s discussion will focus on “Good News!” and cover the wins and advances made on behalf of Florida’s environment which came out of the successes of recent elections across the state.
January 18, 1:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the Sarasota Solar Co-op at Venice Community Center in Venice. To register, click here.
January 19, 5:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the Sarasota Solar Co-op at Selby Library in Sarasota. To register, click here.
January 19, 7:00 PM – Attend Audubon Society Meeting and talk on “Florida’s Grandest State Parks: Values and Threats” at the FSU King Life Science Building (319 Stadium Drive) in Tallahassee.
January 20, 8:00 AM – Attend the State of Biscayne Bay Restoration Workshop in Miami. For more information and to register, click here.
January 21, 10:30 AM – Attend Solar: Unlimited Energy for the Sunshine State at the Homosassa Library (4100 S. Grandmarch Ave) in Homosassa. For more information, contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628- 0698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 22, 11:00 AM – Attend the Red Hills Fire Festival in Tallahassee. The festival will include wagon rides, wildlife, live prescribed fire, equipment demonstrations, fire talks with experts, kids activities, food trucks, and live music. For more information, contact Brian Wiebler at (850) 363 – 1079 or click here.
January 23, 12:00 pm – Rally to protest the Sabal Trail Pipeline and the regulatory agencies who have approved the flawed Environmental Impact Statement relating to the pipeline. The rally will be at the Florida State Capitol (400 South Monroe St) in Tallahassee. For more information, click here.
January 25, 5:30 pm – Join ReThink Energy Florida at a party to celebrate the shared victory of defeating November’s anti-solar Amendment One. The party will be held at the Clean Energy Technology Center (3954 W Pensacola St) in Tallahassee. Say you’ll attend 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 28, 10:00 AM – Attend a free Solar Information Meeting of the Space Coast Solar Co-op in Palm Bay. For more information and to register, click here.
January 29, 10:00 AM – Attend Southwest Florida Veg Fest in Fort Myers. For more information, click here.
January 29, 6:00 PM – Attend The Nile Project at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. The show takes the audience on a journey up and down the Nile River basin through vibrant, joyful and original music that combines the traditions of 11 countries along the river. The Nile Project’s mission is to, ‘…empower the citizens of the Nile basin to foster the sustainability of the Nile River’s ecosystem. For more information, click here. To buy tickets, click here. Limited Supply Offer for FCC News Brief Readers: Use Promo Code “Water” for 25% off tickets!
February 4, 9:00 AM – Attend and/or volunteer at Energy Whiz in Tallahassee. This is an annual competition for elementary and middle school students to demonstrate their S.T.E.M. knowledge and skills as they relate to energy topics such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, and hydrogen technology. For more information, click here.
February 6, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the East Broward County Solar Co-op at Art Serve in Fort Lauderdale. To register, click here.
February 7, 12:00 pm – Join the Florida Springs Institute for Springs Academy Tuesdays at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center (99 NW 1st Avenue) in High Springs. February’s lecture is on Springs Stresses: Groundwater Pumping, Fertilizers, Wastewater Disposal, & Recreation. For more information, click here.
February 7, 7:00 pm – Attend a free Solar Co-op Information Meeting of the West Broward County Solar Co-op at Broward County Government Center West in Plantation. To register, click here.
February 8, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. The guest speaker is Margaret Stewart, Esq., Associate Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence. Margaret will discuss Florida’s current water laws, how they’re enforced, and why they are insufficient. RSVP to email@example.com.
February 9-11 – Attend the Public Interest Environmental Conference: Land Conservation: The Worth of the Earth at the University of Florida. For more information, click here.
February 15, 12:00 pm – Participate in 1000 Friends of Florida’s FREE webinar: Implementing Water 2070: Water Conservation Planning for Florida Communities. Dr. Pierce Jones, Director of the University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities, will discuss water conservation planning for Florida’s communities based on a series of studies he’s conducted on behalf of the Toho Water Authority, Envision Alachua (Plum Creek), and other local governments, developers, and water authorities. For more information and to register, click here.
February 15, 6:30 pm – Attend Troubled Waters: Tallahassee Screening and Panel Discussion at the Challenger Learning Center IMAX (200 South Duval St, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Florida’s waterways are suffering from significant pollution problems. Combined with the impacts from a rapidly growing population, we have a potential recipe for disaster. The documentary will be shown (48) minutes and followed by a panel discussion featuring Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper; Sarah Owen Gledhill, Florida Wildlife Federation; and Ryan Smart, 1000 Friends of Florida. For more information and your FREE tickets, click here.
Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.
We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.
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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 70 conservation organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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