FCC News Brief - October 2, 2017

Jake Martin reports for the St. Augustine Record – “Florida 2070 says if development continues on its current path, more than a third of the state will be paved over by 2070. That means millions of acres of agricultural and natural lands will be lost, to say nothing of the jobs, natural resources and quality-of-life indicators tied to them… Water 2070 says almost 15 million new Floridians will overburden an already fragile water supply, with water use projected to more than double by 2070… Both include an Alternative 2070 scenario that demonstrates the difference more compact development patterns, conservation lands and ‘modest’ water conservation efforts can make. But the alternative scenario also assumes all lands currently on the Florida Forever and Greenways Priorities 1 and 2 lists, close to half the state’s land, are actually protected from development… The bottom line drawn by the Florida 2070 report is that the state’s lands and waters are finite and that the long-term viability of its resources depend on a shift in current trends sooner rather than later.” Read What will Florida (and its water supply) look like in 2070?

Robynne Boyd writes for NRDC – “Since 2007,… a public-private effort called America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative has been trying to save [the Southeast’s longleaf pine forests], which once covered an estimated 141,000 square miles between Virginia and Texas… By the 1980s only 5,300 square miles of longleaf pine forest remained, stranded as islands within a sea of altered landscapes… At its healthiest, longleaf habitat is home to 900 species and as biologically dense and diverse as a tropical rain forest. Wild turkey, bobwhite quail, and deer roam these woods, but 29 of their longleaf neighbors are currently either threatened or endangered, among them the red-cockaded woodpecker, a keystone species… According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by 2060 the South will have lost up to 67,000 square miles of forests to urban development… In addition to deforestation, another big concern is where these pines will grow well in the future. A recent study in Science Advances shows that southern forests are already on the move due to climate change.” Read The Effort to Replant the “Amazon of the South”

Cleveland Tinker reports for The Gainesville Sun – “Alachua County citizens have spent nearly $14 million over the past decades to buy rights to land few of them will ever see, but voters value the woodlands, prairies and swamps enough to support acquiring even more property to protect it from development… Alachua County Forever was a citizens’ initiative approved by voters in 2000, and succeeded by Wild Spaces & Public Places, approved in 2008 for two years, and again in 2016 for eight more… The county has used partnerships with the Alachua Conservation Trust, Florida Conservation Trust, St. Johns River and Suwannee River water management districts, the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program and others to purchase and manage some of the lands… ‘Along with the rest of the state, we should be thinking about how our conservation priorities today will affect Florida’s environment 50 years from now, as climate change accelerates,’ (Commissioner) Byerly said… ‘There are few things the public can do to more effectively prepare for the challenges our state faces in the future than to conserve land. The next generation will be very grateful that we did.’” Read Wild places of Alachua County include ecologic gems

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “As a result of a contentious legal battle over the Utah prairie dog – in which the Pacific Legal Foundation is arguing the feds have no jurisdiction over a species found in only one state – the senators filed a bill to make that contention the law of the land. They contend that because the federal government can’t claim any interstate commerce is involved, it therefore has no power over species that are not found in more than one state. Instead, their bill would put the states – which usually have fewer resources and less money – in charge of protecting those species… The Endangered Species Act, which passed Congress backed by a bipartisan coalition of members, was co-written by a Florida man, Nathaniel Reed.” Read Senators propose ending Endangered Species Act protection for Florida panthers & lots more

Chad Gillis reports for the News Press – “What’s been described as a dark wall of freshwater is moving miles into the Gulf of Mexico, and that plume could grow larger through the weekend as a tropical disturbance moves into the area… The combination of heavy rainfall, stormwater runoff and Lake Okeechobee releases have driven freshwater miles into the Gulf of Mexico and has made the Caloosahatchee estuary virtually disappear… There’s still water in the river, but the critters that form that base of the once-productive estuary – creatures such as oysters, crabs and baitfish – are dying off or simply leaving the area due to a lack of salinity… Fish are also dying due to a lack of oxygen in the water… Dick Bartleson, a water quality scientist at the Sanbiel-Captiva Conservation Foundation…[said,] ‘Oxygen doesn’t get down from the surface to the bottom because the water is not mixing. It’s like oil and water. The freshwater just sits mainly on the saltier, denser water.’” Read Damaging freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee won’t end soon

Fred Hiers reports for the Ocala Star Banner - “With a firm June 2018 deadline for Florida state scientists to show how they will reverse pollutants levels in the Silver and Rainbow rivers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection water experts are laying out timetables to clean the distressed water bodies. Local environmentalists say the agency’s nitrogen reduction plans for the Silver River by 72 percent over 15 years and more than 80 percent in the Rainbow River are unrealistic because the FDEP does not have enough remediation projects ready to significantly reduce the levels… The FDEP will meet again in November to review categories of nitrogen sources and discuss how much each should be reduced. Knight said that will not give the agency enough time to show how much each project hopefully will reduce nitrogen levels and over how much time… ‘We’ve studied the hell out of this… but no one has come up with the money and no one has come up with a plan,’ Eno (of Rainbow River Conservancy Inc) said. ‘we shouldn’t be studying (the issue anymore). We should be implementing.’ At the current FDEP pace, he said, ‘we’re never going to solve it and it will only get worse.’” Read Waterways in peril: Silver and Rainbow rivers

Andy Reid writes for the Sun Sentinel – “[W]hat if instead of gassing up generators after a storm or waiting for line repairs, we could flip a switch and stay energized with solar panels? Some Florida residents who invested in the right solar equipment were able to ditch Florida’s disabled energy grid and use solar panels to keep air conditioners, refrigerators and WiFi working. Beyond having solar panels…, they have equipment such as solar battery storage and inverters that can keep generating household power when connections to power plants fail. That kind of backup power supply is too costly an alternative for most households. But it’s an example of the kind of innovations that our elected leaders should be exploring to help get public facilities up and running faster after power outages.” Read Solar power could help Florida recover faster from future hurricanes

Steve Bousquet reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Florida is now the 35th state in the U.S. where people have the option to register to vote or to update their registration online. The system went live Sunday…” Read Once called too risky, Florida online voter registration finally arrives



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.

Job Openings

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper



Petition to Deny Long Bar Pointe – Aqua by the Bay

Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Drowning in Shrimp Trawls

Defend Attacks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

 Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Paynes Prairie in danger

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state


Upcoming Environmental Events    

October 3, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. October’s lecture is a Springs Overview – Past, Present, and Future with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454- 2427.

October 3, 2:00 pm – Attend the Baker County Delegation meeting at 118 E MacClenny Ave in Maccleny. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs.

October 4, 10:00 am – Attend the Dixie County Delegation meeting at the Dixie County Courthouse (214 State Hwy) in Cross City. Contact Rep. Clemon’s office at (352) 498 – 1356 and let them 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.

October 4, 3:30 pm – Attend the Gilchrist County Delegation meeting at 210 South Main Street in Trenton. Contact Rep. Clemon’s office at (352) 498 – 1356 and let them 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.

October 7, 9:00 am – Attend the 2017 Everglades Symposium: Citizen Empowerment in Miami. For more information and to register, 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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.



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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 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.  

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