FCC News Brief - November 3, 2017

James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Eric Draper has been named the new director of the Florida State Park System effective Nov. 28. Draper, a career conservationist – he was executive director of Audubon Florida for 18 years – will lead more than 1,000 park rangers, managers, biologists and others in the management of the state’s 163 state parks and 10 trails… Draper will stay on at Audubon Florida until he assumes his new post. Julie Wraithmell, Audubon’s deputy director, will serve as interim executive director while a search for Draper’s successor is conducted.” Read Audubon Florida’s Eric Draper named new director of Florida State Parks System

Cleveland Tinker reports for the Gainesville Sun – “(Alachua) County officials, trying to protect area water bodies from becoming more polluted, are looking at changing local water rules, but at least two local government bodies object, one of them suggesting the changes would make residential development too pricey… Improving water quality through the amendments… will be more cost effective on the front end than spending money to clean contaminated water later... The stormwater amendment will require developers to use techniques such as treatment swales, or ditches, and rain gardens – low vegetated areas designed to be watered by rain and water that runs off roofs and pavement, then percolates into the soil, so that the water is filtered naturally and pollutants removed… The amendment highly discourages new development on wetlands, except to create access to roads or building lots already approved for development, thus preserving wetlands to do as nature intends them to do: filter out pollutants and prevent soil erosion… ‘The commission will have to make a policy decision on who is going to pay for pollution from new development – developers or taxpayers,’ Bird (director of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Department) said… The amendments will affect new development only, and would set pollution-reduction goals for stormwater. The amendments will aim to reduce nitrogen by 70 percent and phosphorus pollution by 80 percent… The federal Clean Water Act requires states to identify waters that don’t meet, or aren’t expected to meet, applicable water quality standards with current pollution control technologies alone. Those waters are considered ‘impaired’ and there are several in Alachua County…” Read Water protection plans up for debate

Jim Waymer and Dave Berman report for Florida Today – “Florida Rep. Randy Fine… is calling for Brevard County to reverse a recent decision to spend $14.4 million on what he calls ‘pork barrel projects.’ Instead, he wants the money put toward sewer system fixes to end big discharges, such as the estimated 20 million gallons of wastewater sent toward the Indian River Lagoon during and after Hurricane Irma… ‘Instead of repairing and modernizing its sewage system, they decided to spend taxpayer money to make it easier for kayakers to paddle through the sewage,’ Fine said. ‘It defies logic… This dereliction of duty raises questions about whether our County Commission is fit to oversee the county, or whether more aggressive steps need to be taken to ensure our citizens are served.’… Brevard already has begun looking at other ways to lessen the sewage impacts, using retention ponds, storage tanks or possibly a new sewer treatment facility for the beachside. The county also is partnering with beachside communities… to get generators up and running faster and keeping them operational to avoid similar future discharges when power to lift stations goes out. ‘We share Rep. Randy Fine’s concerns and, even more so, the importance of the Indian River Lagoon restoration efforts, ‘Brevard County spokesman Don Walker said… ‘The tax dollars that are at question from Rep. Fine are restricted funds from the hotel bed tax, and we don’t know that they could be used for sewage system upgrades.’ Earlier this month, Florida environmental regulators issued a warning to Brevard County after Hurricane Irma and subsequent rains overtaxed the county’s sewer plants, causing more than 19 million gallons of wastewater to be discharged… The letter cites ‘a history of collection system failures which have resulted in unauthorized releases of untreated wastewater to surface water and ground.’” Read Randy Fine wants to divert $14.4 million in ‘pork barrel’ spending to sewer fixes

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “Florida Power & Light Co. wants customers to pay for a $200 million-plus cleanup of groundwater contamination from its Turkey Point nuclear plant’s cooling canals, and is asking regulators to approve its request. However, the Office of Public Counsel and others object, saying FPL’s management has made poor decisions and should pay to clean up its own mess.” Read FPL: Customers should pay $200 million for Turkey Point fix

Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “For 36 years, this has been the main way biologists have studied Florida’s elusive state animal…: A pack of hounds trees a panther, then biologists shoot it with a tranquilizer dart, strap a collar that’s attached to a transmitter, then turn the cat loose and fly around three days a week checking for signals. But the annual ritual of capturing big cats to put radio collars on them may… be at an end. ‘We may just choose not to have a panther capture season this year,’ Land said… He pointed out how stressful the captures can be for panthers. ‘Why go molest the animals if you don’t need to?’ said Land, the panther team leader of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission… The collars have helped scientists learn a lot about panthers, he said, but now there are better ways to study them – for instance, using “trap cameras,” triggered by the motion of passing animals… At least one panther expert disagrees… Jansen, who since the ‘80s has been working for the National Park Service in the Big Cypress Preserve – long a stronghold for panthers… Without those captures and collars, she said, spotting the spread of disease through the panther population is more difficult, noting they helped prevent an epidemic of deadly feline leukemia in 2001.” Read Three decades of panther capture-and-collar program may come to an end

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “Palm Beach County residents looking to install solar panels on their homes now have a new option, a solar cooperative that gives them money-saving bulk-purchasing power and guidance by going solar with their neighbors… Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick said, ‘It’s easy. It just makes sense. As local governments we’re committed to making the permitting process easier, providing the information so that our residents don’t feel that it is complicated.’ Burdick said solar power improves the environment, reduces the carbon footprint and saves consumers money… Joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels… [A] federal income tax credit allows you to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system… Palm Beach County partners in the initiative include the League of Women Voters, Sierra Club of Loxahatchee, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton, Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the City of West Palm Beach.” Read Solar-minded neighbors can save money together

Alex Daugherty and Joey Flechas report for the Miami Herald – “Last year, Miami-Dade County depleted its offshore sand reserves, meaning miles of beaches that shrink from erosion must be replenished with sand from outside South Florida. Rebuilding Miami’s beaches after hurricane Irma will cost millions of dollars, and sand will have to be brought in by hundreds of trucks from a sand mine near Lake Okeechobee due to a long-standing federal law that prohibits local governments from importing foreign sand. County officials say that sand from the Bahamas can be easily transported to Miami by barge, and importing foreign sand could save taxpayers millions. A bill dubbed the Sand Act that would overturn the restrictions on sand is being sponsored by… Sen. Marco Rubio and… Rep. Lois Frankel… and is cosponsored by every member of Congress from South Florida.” Read Replacing Miami’s beach sands costs millions. Here’s how Congress could make it cheaper

Matthew Taylor reports for The Guardian – “Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, according to a new report. Senior US military and security experts have told the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) study that the number of climate refugees will dwarf those that have fled the Syrian conflict, bringing huge challenges to Europe… The study… calls on governments to agree to a new legal framework to protect climate refugees and, ahead of next week’s climate summit in Germany, urges leaders to do more to implement the targets set out in the Paris climate agreement… The report argues that climate change played a part in the build up to the Syrian war, with successive droughts causing 1.5 million people to migrate to the country’s cities between 2006 and 2011. Many of these people then had no reliable access to food, water or jobs. ‘Climate change is the unpredictable ingredient that, when added to existing social, economic and political tensions, has the potential to ignite violence and conflict with disastrous consequences,’ said EJF executive director, Steve Trent.” Read Climate change ‘will create world’s biggest refugee crisis’

 

 

 

From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Project & Content Manager for The Nature Conservancy (Job ID 45848)

Apalachicola Riverkeeper/Executive Director

Staff Attorney in St. Petersburg for the Center for Biological Diversity

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

 

Petitions

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    

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, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.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, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

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, approximately $300 million this upcoming session, to be dedicated annually to land conservation programs. For more information, contact floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 4, 11:00 am – Attend Clean Energy Fest at the UWF Historic Trust’s Museum Plaza (120 Church St) in Pensacola. This event celebrates a clean energy future through art, food, live music, and dynamic people showcasing solar, wind, and people-power for the 21st century. Children’s activities with hands-on play around the ideas of conservation and clean energy will take place all day long. For more information visit Clean Energy Fest 2017 on Facebook, email 350pensacola@gmail.com, or call (850) 687 – 9968.

November 7, 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. November’s lecture is on Springs Hydrogeology – Floridan Aquifer, Groundwater Recharge, Spring Flows 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.

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 resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

November 10, 9:00 am – Attend the Cedar Key Climate Change Conference. This conference presents an examination of the research of climate change and sea level rise as it affects Cedar Key and the Levy Coast. For more information and to register, click here.

November 16, 7:00 pm – Attend Rivers, Birds and Water Wars with Todd Engstrom at the King Life Science Building (319 Stadium Drive) in Tallahassee. For more information, click here.

November 20, 8:30 am – Attend the Highlands County Delegation meeting at the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (600 S. Commerce Ave.) in Sebring. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 20, 9:00 am – Attend the Walton County Delegation meeting at the Walton County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (76 North 6th Street) in DeFuniak. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 20, 10:30 am – Attend the Holmes County Delegation meeting at the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (107 E. Virginia Ave.) in Bonifay. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 20, 11:45 am – Attend the Washington County Delegation meeting at the Washington County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (1331 South Blvd.) in Chipley. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 20, 2:15 pm – Attend the Jackson County Delegation meeting at the Jackson County Board of County Commissioners Chambers (2864 Madison Street) in Marianna. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 21, 5:00 pm – Attend the Liberty County Delegation meeting at the Liberty County Clerk-Circuit (10818 NW State Road 20) in Bristol. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

November 27, 9:00 am – Attend the Pasco County Delegation meeting at the Wesley Chapel Center for the Arts (30651 Wells Rd.) in Wesley Chapel. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

 

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 and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. 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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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 over 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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