Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will ask state lawmakers for $75 million next year to fund a depleted program that helps shield agricultural land from development… the Rural and Family Land Protection Program. ‘It is something that is important to not only protecting working ag lands in the state, but protecting the landscapes,… the wildlife habitat, connecting corridors,’ Putnam said. The program received $10 million in the current fiscal year… [T]he program involves the state purchasing conservation easements, which allow landowners to continue farming or ranching but prevents development on the rural properties… The last of the money for the current year was used Oct. 17 when Scott and the Cabinet agreed to spend $5.7 million for 2,500 acres of ranch land in Okeechobee County that drains into the Kissimmee River.” Read Agriculture, environmental funding pitched
The Gainesville Sun reports – “The state opened Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park – Florida’s 175th state park – Wednesday. The park has six natural springs and includes about 1 mile of frontage along the Santa Fe River. It was a private park since 1958. The park draws swimmers, paddlers and hikers… Florida Forever funding paid for the purchase.” Read Gilchrist Blue Springs becomes state’s 175th park
Will Rogers writes for the Huffington Post – “Parks and conservation have united Americans for decades and likely will again when the votes are tallied Tuesday. From deep red Texas to the bluest parts of New Jersey, 27 state and local ballot measures will be decided next week and if enacted, they would generate over $1 billion dollars for parks and open spaces… In Pinellas County, Florida, voters may authorize, for the fourth time, a one-cent sales tax known as the “Penny for Pinellas.” Part of this money will be set aside to protect water, parks, and trails. The tax was first approved by voters in 1989 and the latest version will generate about $64 million for parks and trails… We’re optimistic voters will approve most of next week’s measures, because they consistently have across the country… The Trust for Public Land has tracked state and local park and conservation spending measures going back more than 30 years. Year after year, in good times and bad, voters approve three of every four park and land conservation ballot measures, regardless of whether they are Republicans, democrats, or Independents… U.S. voters remain united and consistent in their support for our public lands and their desire to protect water quality, conserve natural areas, and create new parks where they live, work and play, even if it means increasing taxes.” Read ‘Red’ Voters or ‘Blue’ Voters – They’re All Green
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “[I]n recent decades, [the] ecological health [of the Everglades and our world-class estuaries] has been threatened by pollution, hazardous waste and challenges like stormwater runoff that come with a growing population. That’s why it’s so concerning that the federal government is on the verge of ending long-standing partnerships that work to keep these treasures safe and productive – and that protect our health and prosperity. The Trump administration’s budget would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, which preserves and cleans up vulnerable coastal wastersheds where Floridians live, work, swim and fish… The U.S. House recently passed two amendments I introduced in the minibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 for the Interior Department. One increases funding for the National Estuary Program by $468,000 and the other provides $500,000 to combat invasive species through the National Wildlife Refuge System program… [D]uring the last five years the EPA has provided almost $12 million – and thereby triggered almost $8 million more in state and local matching funds – to support estuaries in Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the Indian River Lagoon… This help is sorely needed… A fully funded EPA is critical to preventing the further poisoning of our estuaries and to restoring them… Additionally, President Donald Trump and many of his allies in Congress are trying to eliminate a hugely important program that has helped the Everglades grow cleaner and more attractive – the EPA’s South Florida Geographic Initiative… I will do anything I can to restore these funds and defend the EPA budget. In the House, I voted against budget cuts to the EPA and urge my Senate colleagues… to do the same. Finally, we need Gov. Rick Scott to use his influence with the Trump administration to protect Florida’s estuaries and waterways.” Read Congress should find money to support estuaries in Tampa Bay, Florida
Buster Thompson reports for the Citrus County Chronicle – “November is the month of the manatee, and herds of these marine mammals are making their seasonal voyage back to warm spring waters inshore to escape cold and potentially lethal water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico… Manatee season in Citrus County starts Nov. 15 and ends March 31, prompting many changes on where and how fast boaters can travel in the county’s coastal waters… According to [Save the Manatee Club (SMC)], watercraft are the largest known cause of manatee injuries and deaths. In Citrus County waters, watercraft were reported to have caused roughly 22 percent of 107 reported manatee deaths between 2010 and 2016… FWC also reported watercraft were responsible for roughly 16 percent of 3,642 reported manatee deaths in Florida waters during the same timeframe. SMC said boaters should pay attention to posted signage indicating slow or idle speeds during manatee season, keep their distance from migrating or congregating manatees in and around warm-water sites. Boaters can download the free “Manatee Alert” application, which maps out manatee speed zones and can help report distressed and injured manatees.” Read Crystal River’s main attraction is back
David Fleshler reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Green sea turtles… overcame a hurricane and another hot summer to produce a record South Florida nesting season… [I]t appears loggerhead and leatherback turtles also had good years, despite the loss of nests to Hurricane Irma… Last year most nests failed to hatch out, due to the hot, dry summer. But this year, a higher percentage of eggs hatched… Hurricane Irma took a toll, but the storm came late in the season, when most nests had already hatched out. In Broward County, it washed away more than half of the remaining 777 nests of all three species… Conservationists and environmental officials say the increase in nesting seen over the past several years show the protection measures taken decades ago finally paying off. ‘Those turtles take a long time to mature, so conservation efforts and the Endangered Species Act in the ‘70s are probably taking effect now,’ Kedzuf said… Problems remain. Florida beaches are suffering erosion, sea-level rise and the loss of natural shoreline to hotels, condos and other development, further complicating the task of female turtles attempt to nest on them, Appelson (policy coordinator for the Sea Turtle Conservancy) said. Artificial lighting continues to be a problem, particularly in Broward County. Richard White Cloud, director of Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, which deploys volunteers across Broward’s beaches to rescue hatchlings that crawl the wrong way because of lights, said enforcement of lighting ordinances remains lax.” Read Sea turtles overcame hurricane and heat to have decent South Florida nesting season
Lloyd Dunkelberger reports for the News Service of Florida – “The fight for the Republican nomination for governor may have a tumultuous impact on the 2018 legislative session. Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala,… who is an announced candidate for governor, used an Associated Press pre-session event Thursday to lash out at House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a… Republican who is expected to run… Animosity between the House speaker and the Senate’s budget leader may not bode well in the 2018 session, which begins in January, as lawmakers face a difficult budget year. The budget has been impacted by hurricane spending and projections that state revenue will fall short of critical needs.” Read Latvala goes after Corcoran as Governor’s race looms
The Economist reports – “Cases where the negative effects of carbon emissions are central… are on the rise. Joana Setzer of the Grantham Institute, a think-tank in London, has found 64 such cases in countries other than America in the past 15 years. Twenty-one were lodged since 2015. In litigious America around 20 are now filed each year, up from a couple in 2002. The targets are governments, which campaigners argue are doing too little to avert climate change, and big energy firms, which they hold responsible for most greenhouse-gas emissions… Two years ago a court in the Netherlands agreed with Urgenda, an environmental group, that the Dutch government’s target of a 17% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, compared with the level in 1990, fell short of its constitutional ‘duty of care’ towards Dutch society. It ordered a cut of at least 25%. The same year a high court in Pakistan upheld an earlier decision in a case brought by… a farmer, that ‘the delay and lethargy of the State in implementing [its climate policies] offend the fundamental rights of the citizens.’ It directed the government to make a list of priorities and create an independent commission to monitor progress. The prospect of climate-friendly verdicts is improving… for two reasons. The first is the growing volume of climate-related commitments for which governments can be held to account. The second is advances in climate science. Globally, the number of national climate-change laws and policies has swelled from around 60 in 1997 to nearly 1,400. A survey in 2012 found that 177 countries had laws, regulations or court rulings guaranteeing the right to a clean or healthy environment. In at least 92 that right was constitutional… Scientists are increasingly confident that they know roughly what shares of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were emitted by individual countries, and even by the biggest corporate polluters… Scientists are also becoming more willing to blame carbon emissions… for specific natural disasters such as heatwaves, floods and superstorms… Researchers are even beginning to combine individual emitters’ climate impacts with event attribution. In a paper just published in Nature Climate Change, for instance, Friederike Otto of Oxford University and colleagues conclude that carbon emissions from America and the European Union each raised the frequency of a particularly devastating heatwave in Argentina by roughly a third… Following successful lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers, courts are putting new stress on the fact that energy firms have long known about the harm caused by carbon emissions but have done nothing about it.” Read Climate-change lawsuits
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 17, 5:00 pm Central Time – Attend the Apalachicola Riverkeeper Meet & Greet at the Historic First National Bank Building (2875 Caledonia Street) in Marianna. The Board of the Apalachicola Riverkeeper will join supporters for free refreshments. The Apalachicola Riverkeepr, Dan Tonsmeire, will give a river and bay report. For more information, email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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