FCC News Brief - October 3, 2017

Sen. Bradley’s Office shares – “Senator Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) filed legislation to increase state funding for the Florida Forever land acquisition fund. Senate Bill 370 requires the state to spend a minimum of $100 million annually from Amendment One funds on the Florida Forever program. The bill appropriates funds from Amendment One, a constitutional amendment passed… by Floridians in 2014. ‘As a conservative, I believe in absolute fidelity to the Constitution,’ said Senator Bradley. ‘I am filing this bill because the Constitution demands, and the overwhelming majority of Floridians who voted for Amendment One in 2014 demand, that we protect the natural resources of our state.’… Land purchased through Florida Forever is held in trust for the citizens of Florida, and is used for parks, trails, wildlife management areas, flood control and more… ‘Floridians are blessed with some of the most unique ecosystems in the world…,’ said Senator Bradley. ‘As our population continues to explode, we have an obligation to preserve these unique ecosystems for our children and grandchildren. The Florida Forever program helps us fulfill this obligation.’” Read Senator Bradley Files Legislation to Increase Funding for Florida Forever

A.G. Gancarski reports for Florida Politics – “If Sen. Bradley’s latest bill succeeds, there could be much more money in the coffers of Florida Forever going forward. Bradley’s SB 370 would mandate a $100M minimum spend from Amendment One funds on the Florida Forever program… ‘Opening this legislative session with a proposal to provide at least $100 million to Florida Forever demonstrates Senator Bradley’s environmental leadership,’ said Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters. ‘… I hope that SB 370 is the first sign of the Senate’s renewed commitment to continuing Florida’s legacy of acquiring critical natural areas before they are lost forever,’ Moncrief added. Florida Conservation Voters notes… that since Amendment 1 passed in 2014, no year has seen more than $15.2M earmarked for Florida Forever. This is a contrast between pre-2009 funding levels of $300M a year, and is a small fraction of the over $2B set aside via Amendment 1…” Read Rob Bradley wants $100M more for ‘Florida Forever’

The North Florida Land Trust shares – “North Florida Land Trust acquired 415 acres of land… in Clay County, which is home to an endangered sandhill forest with a longleaf pine ecosystem. Little Rain Lake Preserve is in Keystone Heights… and close to Camp Blanding. The land was acquired through funding from the Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program… ‘Preserving this land is important not only to act as a buffer for Camp Blanding but also to restore and preserve one of Florida’s most endangered ecosystems,’ said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. ‘Longleaf pine forests were once a widespread ecosystem throughout the state but has experienced a 98 percent decline. We plan to restore the property by reintroducing prescribed burns to promote the growth of the longleaf pines, which protect the habitats of many threatened and endangered species.’… [The property]… provides important habitat for many Florida species including the gopher tortoise, indigo snake, Sherman’s fox squirrel and the Florida Black Bear. It is within the “O2O” corridor, which is a nationally critical wildlife corridor that stretches from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest and eventually to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.” Read North Florida Land Trust Has Acquired Little Rain Lake Preserve in Clay County

Colleen Michele Jones reports for The St. Augustine Record – “Perhaps one of the lesser-known casualties of Irma may be its impact on the nests of eggs deposited by sea turtles near coastal dunes. According to Tara Dodson, an environmental supervisor for St. Johns County, the number of sea turtle nests on St. Johns County beaches before the Sept. 10 hurricane was approximately 215. It is now down to as few as 26 nests… Volunteers have been busy over the last few weeks monitoring the situation, combing the beaches to find nests displaced by the hurricane and returning them to the dunes, as well as posting stakes around nests… ‘In some cases, the egg chambers got too much water (in Irma) or were buried under too much sand and cemented, so the hatchlings can’t get out,’ Dodson said… ‘There was an impact across the state,’ said Beth Brost, a biological scientist with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute… ‘I would expect there to be a significant number of nests washed out (due to the storm). The upside is that it was toward the end of the season and not in July; that would have been a lot worse.’” Read Local sea turtle nest count down following Hurricane Irma

The Citrus County Chronicle reports – “For the seventh year in a row, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted to decrease property taxes by adopting a rolled back millage rate of 0.3131 mill for the fiscal year 2018 budget. The millage rate is more than 5.6 percent lower than the current fiscal year adopted millage rate of 0.3317 mill, a savings to taxpayers of $6.7 million… The total fiscal year 2018 budget for the district is $183.7 million…” Read Local Briefs 10/2: Water district to roll back millage rate; Homosassa Park meeting 10/5; Construction job fair 10/7; VA clinic needs volunteers

Douglas Hanks reports for the Miami Herald – “The owner of land designated for a new sewage treatment plant in western Miami-Dade wants a judge to block construction of the facility… [T]he proposed plant is at the center of Miami-Dade’s plan to reduce the pumping of treated sewage into the Atlantic Ocean by finding alternate destinations for the county’s wastewater. The West District Wastewater Treatment Plant is the lone new treatment plant in the county’s blueprint for ending the pollution. It would join three existing plants in sending millions of gallons of treated sewage deep into the ground. The planned sewage plant… [would be located] outside the urban development boundary, which is designed to separate subdivisions and warehouse districts from the Everglades. It also sits near the county’s well-field protection areas – land over the underground aquifers that supply most of Miami-Dade’s drinking water… With population continuing to grow, the county says it will need a new treatment plant, and notes the western location will allow more sewage to be treated far from the current coastal plants that are vulnerable to both storm surge and sea-level rise.” Read Lawsuit filed to block Miami-Dade’s $2 billion sewage treatment plant near the Everglades

Florida Today reports – “Record rains that hit Brevard County over the weekend have prompted the city of Palm Bay to urge residents using city sewer services to avoid excess water usages for bathing, toilet flushing, and dish washing. The city’s statement also says, ‘The measure is needed to prevent sewage backups and excess wastewater entering the collection system.’” Read Heavy rains prompt Palm Bay to urge water conservation

Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “The watchdog over electricity rates for most Floridians has been captured by the utility industry and the result is costing consumers, according to a new report released Monday by the independent research organization Integrity Florida… For example:… -In 2014, the commission approved proposals by FPL, Duke Energy, Gulf Power and TECO ‘to dramatically cut Florida’s energy efficiency goals by more than 90 percent while also terminating solar rebate programs by the end of 2015.’… - Until last year, the PSC allowed the four investor-owned utilities to lose $6.5 billion over 15 years on hedging programs related to natural gas.” Read Report: Review shows Florida’s utility watchdog has become a lapdog




From Our Readers

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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, 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.

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 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: 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.


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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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