The Sarasota Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “Two statewide organizations are among those sounding alarms about misguided proposals in the Florida Legislature that would prevent local governments from protecting trees. Good: The more opponents, the better, in order to have any chance of fending off yet another attempt by the Legislature to micromanage cities and counties.” Read State shouldn’t micromanage trees
Sara Nealeigh reports for the Bradenton Herald – “Florida is one of just eight states that reached record-warm temperatures for the first 11 months of 2017… Year-to-date, the average temperature in Florida was 73.7 degrees, making it the warmest year since 2015. It’s a 2.5-degree departure from the 20th century average… It’s a continuation of a trend they have seen over the last several years.” Read Climate change’s ‘fingerprints’ could bring another record-setting warm year to Florida
Howard Goodman writes for the Palm Beach Post – “For the last nine years, government leaders from the four counties of Florida’s southeast corner – Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe – have been meeting regularly to figure out how to meet the common challenges from a future of greater flooding, fiercer storms, bigger storm surges, worse heat waves… Without drawing much public attention, they’ve been working together as the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, thinking about problems as big and diverse as sea walls, flood insurance and building codes… At a… Summit…, previously reticent business leaders for the first time joined the climate experts and county staffers and elected officials. Together, they pledged to build ‘the business case’ for making proactive investments in the infrastructure that will be needed to protect our communities and the commerce we all depend on… (Palm Beach County Mayor) MicKinlay said she is worried about the potential impact on agriculture, one of Florida’s strongest economic pillars, as well as Palm Beach County’s. The farms and orchards are susceptible to new invasive pests and diseases, along with increasingly intense natural disasters and changing rainfall and temperature patterns… If seas rise high enough, ‘we’ll see a westward migration of population’ in the county, McKinlay said – putting new pressures on agricultural communities and taking farming lands out of production.” Read Counties, and now some businesses, focusing on climate threat
Jim Turner reports for The News Service of Florida – “Craig Fugate, a former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Florida Division of Emergency Management,… said… that Floridians must brace for storms that will be stronger, have longer periods at top speeds and bring more rain than in the past because of the changing climate… [He] highlighted the need for people in Florida to plan year-round for the six-month hurricane season and for people who live outside flood zones to consider flood insurance… [A] survey… found that many Floridians entered the 2017 storm season without such things as adequate window protection, backup batteries and water supplies or failed to have evacuation plans… ‘It is a situation, moving forward for Florida, we being the hurricane capital of the country, not only storms that could come each and every year, but more storms and more damaging storms,’ [Erik Salna, associate director and meteorologist at Florida International University’s hurricane research center,] said.” Read Floridians warned to prepare year-round for stronger hurricanes
Metro Jacksonville reports – “South Shores is located along the St. Johns River and was largely built on top of a former swamp. In recent years, flooding has become a significant concern throughout the community… [T]he city is pondering a dramatic solution. The $6.5 million plan on the table is to possibly acquire 73 flood prone properties, razing the residences sitting on them and convert a large portion of the community back into a swamp wetland.” Read South Shores: A historic neighborhood near its end?
The Associated Press reports – “With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles…. Iguanas have been damaging roads, showing up in shopping malls and are a common site on golf courses… In the Keys, the animals damage natural areas, and consume plants important to dwindling species like butterflies… Iguanas also can spread salmonella by defecating in people’s swimming pools.” Read Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “[P]ythons… are considered an invasive species… They have virtually wiped out all the raccoons, foxes and other small mammals that once thrived in the southern part of the River of Grass. A recent study has raised the question of whether they’re also spreading new parasites among native Florida snakes. The state has set out to kill off as many pythons as possible… The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals… fired off a letter to the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to question how one record-breaking python was killed… The correct way to kill a python, the letter pointed out, is with a single shot to the brain… The letter brought promises from both the wildlife commission and the water agency to look into the matter.” Read Florida must kill pythons. PETA has trouble with how.
Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman report for The New York Times – “One Environmental Protection Agency employee spoke up at a private lunch…, saying she feared the nation might be headed toward an ‘environmental catastrophe.’ Another staff member… sent a letter to Scott Pruitt… raising similar concerns about the direction of the agency. A third… went to a rally where he protested against agency budget cuts. Three different agency employees, in different jobs, from three different cities, but each encountered a similar outcome:… [W]ithin a matter of days requests were submitted for copies of emails written by them that mention either Mr. Pruitt or President Trump, or any communication with Democrats in congress that might have been critical of the agency… Mr. Blutstein said… that his requests to the agency tracked employees who had made public statements critical of Mr. Pruitt. He said he wanted to know if any of them had used agency email inappropriately, or had violated agency rules in some other way…” Read E.P.A. Employees Spoke Out. Then Came Scrutiny of Their Email.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
January 9, 12:00 pm – Attend Springs Academy Tuesday, a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs, in High Springs. January’s lecture is on Springs Biology with special guest Dr. Stephen Walsh of the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 2427.
January 20, 9:00 am – Participate in the annual Newnan’s Lake Cleanup in Gainesville. Volunteers will meet at Earl P. Powers Park (5910 SE Hawthorne Rd) on the southwest edge of the lake. Current Problems will provide cleanup supplies such as bags, grabbers, gloves, nets, and scales. There will be snacks and drinks for volunteers. For more information, contact Megan Black at email@example.com.
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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.
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