Lois Swoboda reports for The Times – “A… review found that Tate’s Hell State Forest is an outstanding example of land management… Florida law requires a review of conservation, preservation and recreation lands every five years to determine if they are in compliance with the published management plan… [G]oals of the management plan for Tate’s Hell include fostering native wildlife; managing water; fire control; restoring native vegetation and promoting recreation… Tate’s Hell State Forest, which comprises 202,000 acres of land in Franklin and Liberty counties, at one time supported at least 12 major habitats including: wet flatwoods and prairie, seepage slope, floodplain forest and swamp, upland hardwood forest, sandhill, pine ridges, dense titi swamp thickets and scrub. During a 40-year period of private ownership prior to the state’s acquisition, more than 800 miles of forest roads and ditches were constructed on the property to accommodate intensive commercial timbering. Much of the area was planted with pine monoculture, and the drainage canals dried what had been wetlands, leading to extensive loss of habitat and wildlife. Apalachicola Bay suffered from the loss of the previously continuous freshwater flow. The current management plan includes measures to restore water levels and eliminate many roads throughout the swamp.” Read State forest receives outstanding review rating
Alister Doyle reports for Reuters – “Planting forests… could play a major role in limiting global warming under the… Paris agreement, an international study showed… Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peat lands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37 percent of all actions needed by 2030… Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide… ‘If we are serious about climate change, then we are going to have to get serious about investing in nature,’ said Mark Tercek, chief executive officer of The Nature Conservancy, which led the study.” Read Plant more trees to combat climate change: scientists
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “After a year of legal hurdles, the city of Miami and the Seminole Tribe of Florida can now move forward with a lawsuit challenging a state rule that would allow higher concentrations of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, to be discharged into Florida’s rivers and streams… The rule increases the acceptable levels of more than two dozen known carcinogens and decreases levels for 13 currently regulated chemicals. It was approved on a 3-2 vote by the Environmental Regulation Commission in July 2016, when the commission had only five of its seven members. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Martin County and the city of Miami challenged the rule in August 2016, arguing it posted a health hazard to the public… The lawsuits have effectively delayed the ability of state regulators to submit the rule to the federal Environmental Protection Agency for approval. The tribe argued that the rule could endanger the health of tribal members because it fails to take into account the harm they could do to the health of the tribe’s subsistence fishermen… Miami argued the standard ‘loosens restrictions on permissible levels of carcinogens in Florida surface waters with absolutely no justification for the need for the increased levels of the toxins nor the increased health risks to Florida citizens.’” Read Miami can now challenge a state rule that allows more toxins in the water
Michael Grunwald reports for Politico - “Cape Coral is the ultimate microcosm of Florida. It’s literally a peninsula jutting off the peninsula, the least natural, worst-planned, craziest-growing piece of an unnatural, badly planned, crazy-growing state. Man has sculpted it into an almost comically artificial landscape, with a Seven Islands section featuring seven perfectly rectangular islands and an Eight Lakes neighborhood featuring eight perfectly square lakes. And while much of Florida now yo-yos between routine droughts and routine floods, Cape Coral’s fluctuations are particularly wild. This spring, the city faced a water shortage so dire that its fire department feared it couldn’t rely on its hydrants, yet this summer, the city endured a record-breaking flood. And that “50-year rain event” came two weeks before Irma…” Read The Boomtown That Shouldn’t Exist
The Associated Press reports – “An endangered Florida panther was struck and killed by a vehicle… [T]he female panther’s remains were found… in Hendry County on County Road 385… It’s the 19th fatal collision this year, out of 24 total panther deaths… Florida panthers once roamed the entire southeastern United States, but now their habitat mostly is confined to southwest Florida.” Read Florida panther killed by vehicle; 24th death this year
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “[T]he situation is… dire in vast water conservation areas where tree islands provide shelter for deer, raccoons, opossums and nesting wading birds across more than 1,400 square miles, said the district’s Everglades chief scientist, Fred Sklar… By Sklar’s estimate, by the time the district can drain water, the islands will probably have been underwater for 288 days, about three weeks longer than the previous record. While it’s not certain, Sklar expects a number will die and become ghost islands, losing habitat that can take centuries to build. ‘No one has successfully brought back a tree island that has turned into a ghost. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible,’ he said. ‘But you have to get the hydrology right first.’” Read Irma is long gone, but South Florida’s watery wilderness is still feeling the pain
Gil Smart reports for the TC Palm – “[T]he South Florida Water Management District is supposed to run computer modeling showing how much land will be needed… ‘This is not a plan, it’s not a theoretical construct,’ [Sen. Negron] said. ‘This is an actual reservoir that’s been approved…(and) our part of the project is 100 percent funded,’ he said. Yes, Negron said, there will be hearings in both the House and Senate, and the water management district is ‘aggressively implementing’ the plan… [T]wo public meetings on the reservoir are planned in the coming week – Oct. 12… in Clewiston and Oct. 26 at SFWMD headquarters in West Palm Beach.” Read As Lake O discharges continue, activists demand progress on reservoir
The TC Palm Editorial Board writes – “Fixing water quality problems in the Indian River Lagoon will take time and money. But now state Rep. Gayle Harrell… is trying to secure the latter. Harrel’s House Bill 339 would dedicate up to $50 million in Amendment 1 money annually to Indian River Lagoon restoration.” Read Amendment 1 money could aid Indian River Lagoon
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
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.
October 30, 4:00 pm – Attend the Nassau County Delegation meeting at the Nassau County Commission Chamber (96135 Nassau Place, Suite 1) in Yulee. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 30, 5:00 pm – Attend the Leon County Delegation meeting at the Leon County Board of County Commission Chambers (5th Floor of the Leon County Courthouse at 301 S Monroe St) in Tallahassee. 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 email@example.com.
October 31, 2:30 pm – Attend the Polk County Delegation meeting at the Florida Department of Citrus (605 E Main St) in Bartow. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 1, 1:00 pm – Attend the Duval County Delegation meeting on the 1st Floor of Jacksonville City Hall (117 W Duval St.) in Jacksonville. 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 email@example.com.
November 1, 1:30 pm – Attend the Pinellas County Delegation meeting at the Tarpon Springs Campus of St. Petersburg College (600 E Klosterman Rd) in Tarpon 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 3, 9:00 am – Attend the Volusia County Delegation meeting at the Ormand Beach City Hall Chamber (22 South Beach St.) in Ormand. 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 email@example.com.
November 3, 9:30 am – Attend the Hillsborough County Delegation meeting at the Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds Grimes Family Agricultural Center (2508 W. Oak Ave) in Plant 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 3, 3:00 pm – Attend the Citrus County Delegation meeting at the Citrus County Courthouse (110 North Apopka Ave.) in Inverness. 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 email@example.com.
November 8, 12:45 pm – Attend Bats and Bees – Important for Nature at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Shari Blissett-Clark, of the Florida Bat Conservancy, will discuss the work of the conservancy to protect native bat populations in Florida. She will also bring a sample of a bat house that is available for purchase. Carmen Fraccica, of the Florida Bureau of Plant & Apiary Inspection, will discuss beekeeping in Florida. For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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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