FCC News Brief - November 8, 2017

Kayte Payne reports for WFSU – “Florida lawmakers are advancing a plan to allocate $100 million a year to the land buying program Florida Forever… Environmentalists say $100 million a year would only fund a fraction of the growing list of Florida Forever projects. But it’s an improvement on being cut from the budget entirely. The bill passed its first committee stop in the Senate Monday. Currently there is no House version of the measure.” Read Lawmakers Want $100 M a Year for Florida Forever

Dave Berman and Jim Waymer report for Florida Today – “Brevard County Attorney Scott Knox says it would be illegal to use money from the county’s Tourist Development Tax to pay for sewer system improvements to help prevent discharges of sewage into the Indian River Lagoon. But County Commissioner John Tobia… says he wants to change that. Tobia has submitted a resolution that will be considered at Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting on the issue. Tobia proposes asking members of the Brevard delegation to the Florida Legislature to support amending Florida statutes to allow the Tourist Development Tax to be used ‘to prevent and treat pollution within the Indian River Lagoon.’ ‘The Indian River Lagoon is critical to tourism in the region,’ Tobia said in his agenda report submitted in advance of the meeting… In his resolution, Tobia noted various problems plaguing the lagoon, including the ‘severe fish kills’ in 2003 and 2016; algae blooms in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016; the loss of seagrass beds. Tobia said he has the support for his efforts from House Speaker Richard Corcoran… and Florida Rep. Randy Fine… ‘The potential restoration of the Indian River Lagoon has been projected to increase the economic impact of tourism by over $997 million,’ Tobia said. ‘Should the Indian River Lagoon not be restored, it is estimated that the local economy would lose approximately $3 billion in tourism and recreation revenue.’” Read Tourist tax use for sewer system improvements to be debated

Florida Politics reports – “Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chair Brian Yablonski is leaving Florida to become executive director of the Property and Environment Research Center based in Bozeman, Montana… Yoblonski’s leadership on the Commission has been grounded in his attention to Florida’s diverse wildlife and unique habitats. In a state with over 20 million residents and 100 million visitors, he understood the importance of engaging landowners, anglers, hunters, sportsmen, wildlife and bird watchers, hikers, paddlers and recreational boaters while focusing on common ground. During his 14 years at FWC, Yablonski worked to create new critical wildlife areas, provide landowners and citizens with more conservation incentives – including a constitutional amendment providing tax relief for conservation – and support freedoms and opportunities for current and future generations to enjoy Florida’s natural resources.” Read FWC Chair Brian Yablonski to join Montana-based environmental think tank

Zac Anderson reports for the Herald Tribune – “City and county rules protecting trees are the next battleground in the rolling fight between local governments and the Florida Legislature over local regulations viewed by critics as too onerous. The Legislature has tried to prevent cities and counties from adopting new regulations governing everything from lawn fertilizer to short-term vacation rentals in recent years. Now state Sen. Greg Steube… is taking aim at tree ordinances, saying rules limiting the trimming and removal of trees infringe on property rights… But the prospect of the Legislature nullifying local tree regulations and preempting tree oversight to the state is likely to provoke a strong response from local government leaders and environmental groups… The Florida Asociation of Counties and the Florida Legue of Cities are gearing up to try to defeat the legislation. After sending out an alert about Steube’s bill to her membership, Craigin Mosteller with the Florida Association of Counties said she heard a strong response from county leaders about the benefits of tree protection, including preventing flooding on adjacent properties, protecting wildlife and making neighborhoods more attractive.” Read Steube files bill to abolish city and county tree protections

Dacia L Johnson reports for the TC Palm – “The Center for Biological Diversity… filed a formal notice of its intent to sue the Trump administration for denying protection to the Florida Keys mole skink under the Endangered Species Act… The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied the skink protection… despite threats from flooding caused by rising seas, which are expected to inundate nearly half the lizard’s coastal habitat and underground burrows by 2060… Along with climate change, the animal is also threatened by ongoing urban sprawl in the Keys.” Read Florida Keys mole skink denied protection by Trump administration

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “The project has to include both the reservoir approved in May by the Florida Legislature… and a stormwater treatment area to hold and clean excess Lake O water and stormwater treatment areas to clean the water before it’s sent south to Everglades National Park… [M]odeling will determine which will be more cost-effective: a deep reservoir on a smaller footprint or shallower water spread out over more land…The district has ‘been contacted by a number of landowners’ interested in selling, said Ray Palmer, a member of the district’s real estate department… In previous meetings Morrison (the district’s head of federal policy and coordination) has said the reservoir:… -Will be dynamic, not static, meaning the water level will rise and fall, allowing more than the reservoir can hold at one time to be stored, cleaned and moved south over the course of a year. – Is being planned at a rapid pace. The usual three-year planning process is being compressed into one year.” Read Lake Okeechobee reservoir: Willing sellers contact SFWMD to offer more land

Tom Trotta writes for the Naples Daily News – “The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been wildly successful in Florida and throughout the nation since its passage in 1973, preventing more than 99 percent of listed species from going extinct. The bald eagle, symbol of our nation, is one of the ESA’s great successes: In Florida, the number of nests increased from 88 in 1973 to more than 1,500 today. Because of the ESA, the Florida panther population is expanding northward and tourists who flock to see Florida manatees are not disappointed. Unfortunately, the ESA itself is now threatened. Some members of Congress are offering misdirected legislation to weaken and gut this landmark wildlife conservation law… These fundamental attacks on the fabric of the ESA must be defeated or threatened and endangered species will inch closer to the brink of extinction – and may eventually go over the edge. Florida has a deep dependence on tourism, by far our biggest industry, and the beauty and biodiversity of our environment is a significant draw for tourists. People spend $16 billion on wildlife activities yearly with wildlife observation bringing in $3.9 billion… The ESA needs full federal funding to continue helping wildlife, and it needs to be protected from cynical legislative undermining.” Read Endangered Species Act protects Florida’s unique beauty

The Ocala Star Banner Editorial Board writes – “The single biggest move that would draw people and their dollars to Silver springs would be to open the springs to swimming… Once the destination of hundreds of thousands of tourists a year eager to see “World Famous Silver Springs,” Paradise Park and Six Gun Territory, among other attractions, today Silver Springs is struggling to find its place and fix its problems. As residents testified…, there is abject poverty, chronic homelessness and open drug use in the community.” Read Quit languishing on Silver Springs

 

 

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.

 


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 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 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 outreach@apalachicolariverkeeper.org.

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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