Jim Turner reports for The News Service of Florida – “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be on the hunt for a new executive director as the year comes to an end. Nick Wiley, who has held the top staff position at the agency since 2009, has accepted the job of chief conservation officer for Ducks Unlimited, a Memphis, Tenn.-based nonprofit focused on conserving wetlands and habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. Wiley is slated to start with Ducks Unlimited in January.” Read Wiley leaving top Fish and Wildlife post
Quinton White writes for The Florida Times Union – “The impact Hurricane Irma had on the St. Johns River continues to amaze me… Normally, the salinity at JU is in the middle of the range. Thirty-five parts per thousand (35 ppt) is considered full strength sea water. Zero (0 ppt) means it is fresh water. So we expect to see salinity about 14-18 ppt. When it rains, salinity drops; when we have a drought, salinity increases. Since Sept. 11 until about early November, the salinity at JU has been consistently at or below 2 ppt. Only recently has the salinity crept up to double digits… Under natural conditions with forests and associated riparian wetland vegetation, when it rains, the water drops hit leaves on the trees, or the understory vegetation, and then are slowly absorbed into the ground. Only after fairly significant rain do we get runoff into the streams and tributaries of the river… So a rainfall will very gradually reach the river, and any salinity changes will occur gradually. The reverse is also true during droughts with only gradually increasing salinity, with some water slowly seeping into the river from the wetlands… But in the last several hundred years, we have cut the trees, filled in the wetlands and built on or paved large areas. So rather than slowly releasing the water, it flows off quickly, with dramatic results. The salinity drops rapidly, and when it stops raining, the salinity rises rapidly, too. That is what has made Irma all that much more impressive. The salinity has stayed down for a prolonged period. The massive amount of water that fell on the state is still being felt two months later.” Read River Life: Irma’s incredible impact on St. Johns River
The Citrus County Chronicle Editorial Board writes – “Getting irritated by having to file for a tree removal permit is a poor basis for making a law that affects the ability of localities across the state to regulate tree removal. This is bad legislation introduced for the wrong reason. It needs to die a quiet death.” Read Kill the bill, save the trees
Laura Bauman writes for the Florida Keys Free Press – “Our own state representative and chair of the Natural Resources and Public Lands subcommittee, Holly Raschein, has been praised for brining millions of dollars to fix our water systems in the Keys, but has failed in the past to speak out against fracking that could endanger the drinking water of millions of South Florida residents. However, after speaking with her on this issue very recently, she assured me that in the upcoming legislative session, she will not only support a ban on fracking, she will be seeking co-sponsorship of the fracking ban bill. This is a huge step forward for anti-fracking advocates. Let’s hope for the sake of drinking water in the Keys and the health of the Everglades and Florida Bay that Holly follows through with this and doesn’t let the game of politics stand in the way of this very important fracking ban.” Read The politics of fracking the Everglades
Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder reports for E&E News – “Invasive lizards have been running rampant across South Florida…, eating every egg they can find… The black and white tegu lizard hails from South America, but two populations have established themselves in Florida over the past decade. Researchers are scrambling to gather enough information on the species before it becomes the state’s next Burmese python… Anyone can purchase a baby tegu lizard from an exotic pet store or online for about $200. ‘They aren’t regulated for some reason, so you can freely buy them in whatever pet store,’ Cooke said… The established tegu populations are believed to be a result of pet owners and breeders releasing enough of the lizards into the wild that they were able to breed… The lizards could potentially wipe out generations of species, like the American crocodile, Cape Sable seaside sparrow and gopher tortoise. Concern spiked last year when four of the lizards were found near Florida Power & Light Co.’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station. The lizards were found closer than ever before to one of the nation’s rare breeding grounds for American crocodiles, which are a threatened species… SB 230… died in the state Senate Appropriations Committee (last session)… The bill would have… required pet dealers to implant the lizards with a passive integrated transponder tag. A similar bill in the House… made it through several committee votes with zero opposition but died when the 2017 session ended. SB 230 caught the attention of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers, which sent out an “action alert” to its followers. The group asked its members to tell lawmakers that the bill was ‘costly’ and ‘overreaching.’ It also claimed that it disregarded FWC’s authority.” Read Egg-loving invaders lead scientists on a mad chase
The Citrus County Chronicle Editorial Board writes – “The League of Women Voters of Citrus County seeks to switch on local awareness about the benefits of solar energy. To that end, the organization is promoting the establishment of a cooperative of homeowners; a concept that’s taken hold in Florida metro areas and is expanding… [T]he initiative involves education about solar, makes it more affordable, and provides advocates for those who take the step… It’s important to note that going solar does not mean coming off the power grid. When solar isn’t generating enough energy or is designed for limited purposes, homes are still connected to power lines and can use that form of juice whenever wanted. However, with solar, the ballpark savings is a one-third drop in a household power bill… The League of Women Voters has taken on a good cause in pursuing a solar cooperative for Citrus County.” Read Solar co-op a good idea for Citrus
Joseph Baucum reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “In a seemingly confounding move, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who turned heads… by pushing to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, now sits on the Climate Solutions Caucus. The caucus… exists to explore legislative avenues to tackle global warming… Earth, Gaetz asserted, is warming, and politicians should no longer waste time debating the validity of the issue. ‘We should be focused on solutions,’ he said… Gaetz expressed support for a national report published… by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a group comprised of 13 federal agencies including the Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation… It concluded humans’ fossil fuel-related activity… was the most likely instigator of temperature increases with ‘no convincing alternative explanation.’ As a consequence, the report predicted sea levels to continue rising, with heavy rainfall, record-setting hot years and increasingly destructive wildfires… Gaetz said, ‘I… think history is going to judge very harshly climate change deniers, and I don’t want to be one of them.’… After the president… announced he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, Gaetz hailed the move… Gaetz said he would fight for policy to spur innovation in climate change technology, while emphasizing his aversion to installing more regulations. He said the federal government must fund more university research into global warming while also boosting the budgets of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the issue. He added federal facilities should adopt solar energy. He also advocated for state lawmakers in Florida to allow big-box retailers such as Walmart and Publix to install solar panels and sell excess generation to co-tenants… Wagley (of 350 Pensacola)… urged the lawmaker to support proposed policy known as Carbon Fee and Dividend… [T]he policy would mandate a fee on fossil fuels… But all American households would receive a monthly rebated dividend from the net revenues generated by the fees… Gaetz refrained from endorsing the policy, arguing it could be a form of regulation.” Read After pushing bill to abolish EPA, Rep. Matt Gaetz joins Climate Solutions Caucus
Jessico Rosenworcel writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “Right now, you can go online and connect with friends, watch videos and read the news. There’s a good chance you are reading this online right now… This is the open internet experience we all know, and it’s a big part of why America’s internet economy is the envy of the world. But this week, the leadership at the Federal Communications Commission put forth a plan to gut the foundation of this openness. They have proposed to end net neutrality, and they are trying to force a vote on their plan on Dec. 14… Net neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content… Without it, your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lands, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor… Reach out to the rest of the FCC now. Tell them they can’t take away internet openness without a fight.” Read I’m on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
November 29, 9:00 am – Attend the Indian River County Delegation meeting at 1801 27th St in Vero Beach. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 29, 9:00 am – Attend the Alachua County Delegation meeting at the Santa Fe College NW Campus Fine Arts Hall (3000 NW 83rd St) in Gainesville. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact email@example.com.
November 30, 5:30 pm Attend the Bay County Delegation meeting at the Bay County Board of County Commissioners’ Chambers (840 W 11th St.) in Panama City. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 1, 8:30 am – Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at the Dolly Hand Cultural Arts Center of Palm Beach State College (1977 SW College Drive) in Belle Glade. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact email@example.com.
December 1, 9:30 am – Attend the Sh.O.R.E Symposium (“Sharing Our Research with Everyone”) in New Smyrna Beach. Hear from leading IRL professionals and student researchers. The keynote address will be given by bestselling author and marine biologist, Dr. Wallace J Nichols. For more information and to register, click here.
December 7-8 – Attend the Annual Florida Remediation Conference in Orlando. The Conference includes two days of technical sessions on soil and groundwater cleanup, over 90 exhibitors, and a charity golf event. For more information, click here.
December 11, 5:30 pm – Attend the Escambia County Delegation meeting at the Pensacola State college Jean and Paul Performance Studio (1000 College Boulevard) in Pensacola. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million next year, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 13, 12:45 pm – Attend the next Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in the Villages. Speakers include Sam Wartinbee who will discuss Villages Water-Related issues and Ranger Craig Littauer who will discuss opportunities at Silver Springs State Park. For more information and to RSVP, email email@example.com.
December 15, 10:00 AM - Attend the Miami-Dade County Delegation meeting at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commission Chambers (111 NW 1st Street, 2nd Floor) in Miami. Tell your Delegation that you want the LARGEST SHARE of Amendment One funds, approximately $300 million next year, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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