FCC News Brief - October 10, 2017

Ali Schmitz reports for the TC Palm – “Negron said he’s overseeing the reservoir’s design and execution by the South Florida Water Management District and Department of Environmental Protection to make sure the project is completed effectively… [W]ithout community involvement, the project wouldn’t have become a reality. ‘The fact that this community was so supportive in every way, asking what they could do to help and how they could be part of it – the rallies, the coming to Tallahassee, the letters, the phone calls, all the things this community did,’ Negron said, ‘it wouldn’t have happened without them.’… Negron wants the Legislature to fully implement… Amendment 1, which funds the Florida Forever that buys, maintains and improves land and water preservation areas… Negron said the state should make strategic purchases, making sure the public has recreational access to them.” Read Bright Future is Sen. Joe Negron’s top priority for 2018 legislative session

Mark Woods writes for the Florida Times Union – “Roy Wright, FEMA deputy associate administrator of insurance and mitigation… said… the question isn’t if [the flooding we experienced in Jacksonville] will happen again. It’s when. Some flood-prone cities are… writing ordinances to limit development in flood-prone areas. Some are building parks that, in addition to being public gathering spots in dry times, help with water management in wet ones. (A reminder of the value of our preservation land.)… Once upon a time, the river running through Duval County was so shallow that it could be crossed by cows in what is now downtown Jacksonville. In the last 100 years, we’ve changed the river, dredging it repeatedly… and, in the process, altering much more than its depth… Port officials have pointed to analysis done by the Army Corps of Engineers and said dredging will have a minimal effect on storm surge. Just 3 more inches of water. OK, 6 inches tops. Maybe 8 in a few ‘small, isolated areas.’… [I]t seems like something we should… be discussing (along with the lack of mitigation involved with the dredging). A few inches of sea level rise here, a few more inches of storm surge there… sure seems like it would increase the potential for severe flooding in the future. Stalker, an associate professor at Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute… has been saying and writing that the Corps’ scientific analysis is ‘incomplete and seriously flawed,’ based on ‘exceptionally conservative’ estimates of sea-level rise. But even using the Corps analysis, he says, should cause some pause. ‘For or five inches is a lot, especially when there’s already water at your front step,’ he said.” Read I’m not a scientist but… is it OK for us to talk to some now?

Anastasia Dawson, Corey G. Johnson, and Neil Bedi report for the Tampa Bay Times – “[T]he way Irma’s waters surged into Jacksonville and sat in some neighborhoods for days was no fluke. It was proof of something local officials have known for years: The city is dangerously flood-prone, making a hit from even a weaker hurricane potentially catastrophic… [L]ocal leaders let key plans to fix the region’s flooding stall, despite alarming reports about the extent of the risk. ‘Duval County is risking significant loss of life and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and business disruption for a category 2 or 3 hurricane,’ a group of regional emergency preparedness officials warned in 2010… But in 2015, records show, more than half of all active projects aimed at making the region more able to survive a storm were unfunded… Those issues are most severe in the impoverished, mostly black neighborhoods near the polluted waterways tied to the St. Johns – communities filled with vulnerable populations that would struggle to recover after a major disaster… ‘I think everybody, including me, sorta passed the buck,’ said John Delaney, Jacksonville’s mayor from 1995 to 2003… The area we now call Jacksonville was wetlands for thousands of years… The (St. John’s) river’s current is far weaker than the ocean’s tide. Every high tide, ocean water forces into the river’s mouth and miles upstream. The water in the river becomes trapped until low tide, as though by a dam, said Don Resio, director of the University of North Florida’s Taylor Engineering Research Institute in Jacksonville. That makes a hurricane especially dangerous… Its rains can raise the river’s level by several feet – but during high tide, the water has nowhere to go… In 2013, the… nonprofit 100 Resilient Cities selected Jacksonville to receive a $1 million grant to identify and protect itself from possible hazards, like hurricanes or severe storms. Jacksonville abandoned the program after the administration and the city council deadlocked over which official should lead the effort and how much it would cost. The city never got a dime… Two bonds, proposed by then-mayor Delaney in 1996 and 2001, financed 33 drainage projects throughout Jacksonville. Three-fourths of them were completed in white communities. At least 20 black neighborhoods still have flooding problems…” Read The city that never drains

Diane Roberts writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “[W]e can’t figure out how to experience nature without ruining it. In Florida, roads and houses invade our pristine places: We name subdivisions after whatever flora and fauna were destroyed to build it… The same thing is happening even in places so iconic, so beloved, you’d think they’d be impervious to the depredations of development. The Grand Canyon… is under attack… In Florida, we’re locked in a long game of ecological whack-a-mole: In the late 1960s, Nathaniel Reed and other Florida conservationists stopped an international airport that was supposed to be built in the middle of Big Cypress Swamp. But ever since, it’s been a constant battle against dredging, draining and paving.” Read In Florida and the Grand Canyon, a kindred war on development

Martin E. Comas reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Hoping to slash the city’s annual $2 million power bill, Altamonte Springs soon will launch its own municipal utility with the goal of providing electricity from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to government facilities, including City Hall and police and fire stations… The plan… comes after St. Petersburg officials voted last year to move toward having its entire city… operate with renewable energy in the coming years… In June 2005, Winter Park broke away from then Progress Energy-owned Florida Power – now Duke Energy – by spending $43 million to form its own utility after voters… approved the split. Orlando, Kissimmee, Leesburg and Mount Dora also have city-run utilities.” Read Altamonte Springs forms its own utility as it moves toward renewable energy

Mark Collins and Jonathan Stacey report for News 4 Jax – “The latest report on the health of the St. Johns River was released… [H]armful algal blooms show no signs of improvement and disease causing organisms like fecal coliform bacteria are at levels above the threshold for good water quality in many waterways feeding the river. This tends to be bacteria that is not cleaned by wastewater treatment facilities. Growing concerns include invasive species like lionfish and Cuban tree frogs… And anglers may catch less. What’s become worse is the amount of salt water entering the river. The fine balance of salinity is critical for thriving grass beds and the food manatees eat. The increase in salty water is killing the habitat that juvenile fish seek. Deepening the river allows salt water to move farther upstream. Without a healthy estuary there are less fish… Oxygen dissolved in the water helps aquatic life and this has increased, also harmful levels of nitrogen and phosphorus… have dropped. While the concentration of certain nutrients have decreased toxic green algae continues to increase through areas along the lower river basin.” Read Latest report on health of St. Johns River shows little improvement

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “Soon the [Public Service Commission] will review the performance of… investor-owned utility companies before, during and after the storm. It also will decide how much those companies can charge you to fix the damage… [A] report… from Integrity Florida… calls the Public Service Commission a ‘captured’ agency, meaning it is effectively controlled by the companies it regulates. We agree with that conclusion… As we see it, because of their investments in politics, utility companies control the choice of who serves on the PSC… A… target for reform is the nominating council that screens and interview applicants to the Public Service Commission. It is a creature of the Legislature. Six members must be current legislators’ legislative leaders appoint all the members… Reforming the nominating council would mean replacing legislators with outside representatives chosen by groups that represent customers. Such a change, of course, would require the Legislature to relinquish some power.” Read Reduce the power of state’s utilities

Taylor Kubota reports for the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment – “Trees in tropical forests are well known for removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing the potent greenhouse gas as carbon in their leafy branches and extensive roots. But a new analysis led by Stanford University researchers finds that large forest animals are also an important part of the carbon cycle… The team found that places where animals are most diverse correlate with places that have the most carbon sequestered in the soil… Although scientists have long understood that animals – through ingestion, digestion, breathing and decomposition – are part of the carbon cycle, the work… is the first to suggest the importance of animal biodiversity rather than just animal numbers in the carbon cycle. If we want to increase carbon sequestration, we have to preserve not only high numbers of animals but also many different species…” Read Animal Diversity Plays Important Role in Carbon Cycle

 

 

 

From Our Readers

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Job Openings

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Petitions

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Paynes Prairie in danger

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Upcoming Environmental Events    

October 10, 1:15 pm – Attend the Fracking Ban Kick-Off Press Conference on the 4th Floor of the Senate Building in front of the Senate Chamber of the Florida Capitol (404 South Monroe Street) in Tallahassee. Senator Dana Young and Representative Peters will speak and the public is encouraged to attend to show their support for a fracking ban. For more information, click here.

October 11, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room in The Villages. Gary Kuhl and Amy Giannotti will be speaking. Gary Kuhl is a former Executive Director of the SWFWMD and Amy Giannotti is the Water & Lakes Manager in Winter Park, FL. For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

October 11, 6:30 pm – Attend “Stop the Drill! Protecting the FL Coast from Offshore Drilling” at the West Florida Public Library (239 N. Spring St.) in Pensacola. Erin Handy of Oceana will update attendees on the push to lease parts of the Gulf for drilling, and share how citizens and businesses can get involved in the battle to keep the rigs away. She will also educate attendees on the seismic testing process which is blamed for the harm and death of whales and other marine life. For more information, contact 350pensacola@gmail.com

October 11, 7:00 pm – Attend “Losing the Grand Canyon: FAF Presents an Unforgettable Evening with Kevin Fedarko” in Orlando. Kevin is one of 24 who have hiked the entire 800-mile journey through the Canyon. What he learned along the way should concern all of us in Florida who love our environmental treasures. The evening will be moderated by Diane Roberts and tickets are $50. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

October 16, 9:30 am – Attend the Suwannee County Delegation meeting at City Hall (101 White Ave SE) in Live Oak. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 16, 9:30 am – Attend the Orange County Delegation meeting on the 1st Floor of the Orange County Administration Center (201 South Rosalind Ave.) in Orlando. Testimony from citizens and community entities will begin at 2:30 PM. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 16, 2:00 pm – Attend the Columbia County Delegation meeting at the Administration Room of Florida Gateway College (149 SE College PL) in Lake City. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 16, 2:30 pm – Attend the Hernando County Delegation meeting at the Hernando County Commission Chambers (20 N. Main St., Room 263) in Brookesville. Contact Dorothy Dilworth beforehand and let her know you’d like to speak at the meeting. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 16, 5:00 pm – Attend the Taylor County Delegation meeting at 224 South Jefferson Street in Perry. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 16, 5:30 pm – Attend the Santa Rosa County Delegation meeting at Pesacola State College South Santa Rosa Center (5075 Gulf Breeze Parkway) in Gulf Breeze. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 17, 9:00 am – Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at the Solid Waste Authority Auditorium (7501 N. Jog Road) in West Palm Beach. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 17, 6:00 pm – Attend the Madison County Delegation meeting at 229 SW Pinckney St., Suite 107 in Madison. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 9:00 am – Attend the Lee County Delegation meeting in the Nursing Building (Room AA-177) of Florida Southwestern State College at 8099 College Parkway in Fort Myers. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 9:00 am – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at the Sunrise Civic Center (10610 West Oakland Park, Blvd) in Sunrise. You are encouraged to sign up to speak by October 15th by clicking here. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 12:00 pm – Attend 1000 Friends of Florida’s webinar: Implementing Florida 2070: Successful Local Conservation Ballot Measures in Florida. The Trust for Public Land’s Will Abberger and Pegeen Hanrahan will share proven strategies to assist Florida communities with the design and passage of local ballot measures to generate new public funds for parks and land conservation. For more information and to register, click here. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 1:00 pm – Attend the Sumter County Delegation meeting in the conference room of The Villages Sumter County Service Center (7375 Powell Rd) in Wildwood. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 4:00 pm – Attend the Clay County Delegation meeting on the 4th Floor of the Administration Building at 477 Houston Street in Green Cover Springs. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 18, 6:30 pm – The Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and the League of Women Voters of Orange County, Florida invite you to join us for an informational program on restoring the Wekiva River and Springs. Speakers include Dr. Robert Knight of FSI, Margaret Stewart of CEJ, and a panel discussion featuring local and state leaders on water initiatives for the upcoming 2018 legislative session. This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 with light refreshments served. For more information, and to register, click here.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Wolf High – Technology Center (2400 E. Salerno Road) in Stuart. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Collier County Delegation meeting at North Collier Regional Park (15000 Livingston Rd.) in Naples. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Charlotte County Delegation meeting at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association (2001 Shreve St.) in Punta Gorda. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 9:00 am – Attend the Manatee County Delegation meeting at the Manatee County Board of County Commission Chambers (1112 Manatee Ave W) in Bradenton. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 1:00 pm – Attend the Marion County Delegation meeting in the Klein Center at the College of Central Florida Auditorium (3001 SW College Rd) in Ocala. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 2:00 pm – Attend the St. Lucie County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Kight Center for Emerging Technologies (3209 Virginia Avenue) in Fort Pierce. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 19, 6:30 pm – Attend “Natural Treasures of the Florida Panhandle,” a presentation by Bruce Means, Coastal Plains Institute, at The King Life Sciences Building, FSU, in Tallahassee.

October 20, 9:00 am – Attend the St. Johns County Delegation meeting at the St. Johns County Auditorium in the County Administration Building (500 San Sebastian View) in St. Augustine. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 20, 10:00 am – Attend the Hendry County Delegation meeting at LaBelle City Hall (481 W. Hickpochee Ave.) in LaBelle. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 20, 4:00 pm – Attend the Flagler County Delegation meeting at the City of Palm Coast Council Chamber (160 Lake Ave) in Palm Coast. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

October 21, 1:00 pm – Attend a Legislative Training Workshop hosted by the Sierra Club-Suwannee-St. John’s Group, the League of Women Voters of Citrus County, and the Nature Coast Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Committee at the Dunnellon Public Library (20351 Robinson Road) in Dunnellon. Attendance is free, limited to the first 50 people to register. Panelists for Q&A include: Florida Senator Charlie Dean, Bob Palmer, PhD, former Staff Director of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives; Brain Coleman, Citrus County Board of County Commissioners; Dave Cullen, Sierra Club lobbyist; Walter Green, Dunnellon Mayor; Whitey Markle, Chair of Sierra Club Suwannee St-Johns group; and Nathan Whitt, former Dunnellon Mayor. For more information, contact Kathryn Taubert at kataubert@gmail.com.

October 28, 11:30 am – Join the Silver Springs Alliance for a scavenger hunt as you paddle this iconic waterway in Silver Springs.  Channel the spirits of Florida's river past by dressing up in a costume that reflects Florida's cultural heritage: Spanish conquistadors, pioneers, steamboat travelers, or movie characters from the Spring's film legacy!  Be creative and win a prize in our costume contest! All ages are welcome! Proceeds from this event will support the Silver Springs Alliance’s efforts to protect Silver Springs and River. For more information and to register, 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.

Please encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to join the FCC and subscribe to the Daily News Brief (both free). Also, check out our FCC Facebook page.

Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Gladys Delgadillo at floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

 

About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.  

For more information on the FCC visit https://www.wearefcc.org/



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