FCC News Brief - December 9, 2017

Nate Monroe reports for The Florida Times Union – “The St. Johns River’s watchdog filed an injunction Monday seeking to block the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from beginning its high-profile project to dredge Jacksonville’s harbor, citing recent changes to the deepening plan and prolific flooding caused by Hurricane Irma that need more study. The St. Johns Riverkeeper filed the injunction in part because its federal lawsuit challenging the dredging project is not expected to be resolved until at least the summer… ‘In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the urgency and importance of assessing the potential flooding impacts from dredging is even more apparent,’ Lisa Rinaman, the St. Johns Riverkeeper, said… ‘Failure to evaluate these impacts when we know that the dredging will likely increase storm surge and tide levels only puts our community and our river at greater risk and makes us more vulnerable in the future.’” Read St. Johns Riverkeeper injunction seeks to block Army Corps from dredging

Florida Politics reports – “Eric Sutton, assistant executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), will move up to executive director of the agency, effective Friday… ‘As we continue to face changes and new challenges, it is important to have continuity,’ [Commissioner Bo Rivard said.] ‘Eric has been filling roles lately due to Nick’s national leadership positions and has proven himself capable of this important role.’… ‘He has worked in government and the private sector since the early 1990s in areas including acquisition and management of public lands, land use regulations, listed species policy, invasive species management and coastal management,’ according to the release. ‘He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in zoology from the University of South Florida. The emphasis of his work was on endangered species population biology.’… His appointment will now go to the Florida Senate for confirmation.” Read Eric Sutton tapped as new FWC director

Bill Smith reports for News Press – “The South Florida Water Management District is split in to two operational units, the Big Cypress and Okeechobee basins, with all of Lee County in the Okeechobee basin. While the northern part of Lee County is in the watershed of the Caloosahatchee River, which takes water from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico, there is a natural connection between south county and water systems in the Big Cypress basin and the Everglades. Cecil Pendergrass, chair of the Lee County Board of Commissioners, is asking colleagues to get behind an effort to change the water management designation of land in Lee County south of Daniels Parkway… He… sees Big Cypress as having more of an interest in funding solutions to south county water issues. ‘We’re paying all this money to the Okeechobee basin – that’s going from here up to Kissimmee,’ Pendergrass said. ‘We’ll get more benefit with Big Cypress flood control resources, with dredging and managing water.’” Read Plan floated for new south Lee County flood control effort

The St. Augustine Record Editorial Board writes – “There are three small areas left in Florida where you can take a small hammer and a five-gallon bucket, wade to mid-calf and harvest oysters that won’t send you to the hospital – or scurrying toward a bathroom. The Matanzas River is one… Roughly one-third of the 186-square-mile watershed is developed, one-third is publicly owned and the final one-third is up for grabs. Who does the grabbing and how is the main concern of the Matanzas riverkeeper. And it is a battle we can’t lose. The Matanzas Riverkeeper began in 2012. That’s when Neil Armingeon came onboard after more than a decade as the St. Johns Riverkeeper… Armingeon is leaving. Jen Lomberk will take his place. She’s just out of UF’s Levin College of Law, with a background in environmental and land use law and policy.” Read On Tuesday, a new Riverkeeper digs in

Anthony Piel writes for the TC Palm – “Citizens of Florida’s Treasure Coast have been increasingly affected by… polluted… waterways… Although the principal sources of the pollution include industrial and agricultural runoff of excessive fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, a significant portion comes from defective residential septic systems leaking infected human fecal matter into our groundwater, rivers and coastal waterways… Recently, the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have drawn attention to exposure to the waterborne BMAA neurotoxin…, which has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, amytrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurological diseases and defects. Clearly, this is not the time… to cut budgetary funding or otherwise limit the essential roles of the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and/or the World Health Organization in their efforts to safeguard human health and safety… All Florida counties… need to protect their underground water source. We have to be willing to legislate safeguards, pay for research, carry out on-site inspections, prosecute violations and help cover (septic) conversion costs (by appropriation of sufficient funds from federal, state, county and municipal levels).” Read Address water pollution first – then manned mission to Mars

Nathan Rott reports for NPR – “One of the largest credit rating agencies in the country is warning U.S. cities and states to prepare for the effects of climate change or risk being downgraded.” Read Credit Rating Agency Issues Warning on Climate Change to Cities

Christine Hauser reports for The New York Times – “Patagonia, REI and other outdoor clothing and equipment retailers are speaking out against President Trump’s plan to slash the size of two national monuments in Utah by some two million acres… ‘The administration’s unlawful actions betray our shared responsibility to protect iconic places for future generations,’ Ms. Dessouky (Patagonia’s General Counsel) said. ‘We worked to establish Bears Ears National Monument and will now fight to protect it.’… At least three lawsuits so far have been filed challenging the president’s decision… The expected legal battle could alter the course of American land conservation, and usher in logging, mining and other commercial activities onto preserved public places.” Read Patagonia, REI and Other Outdoor Retailers Protest Trump’s Decision to Shrink Utah Monuments

Andrew E. Kramer reports for The New York Times – “[T]he polar ice cap has been melting so quickly as global temperatures rise that once improbable ideas for commercial activities, including fishing near the North Pole, are becoming realistic. While Russia, the United States and three other countries with Arctic coastline control the exclusive economic zones near their shores, overfishing in the international waters at the central Arctic Ocean could collapse fish stocks… To address the problem, five nations with Arctic shorelines completed negotiations on Thursday with countries farther south that operate major trawling fleets… The deal prohibits trawling in the international zone of the Arctic Ocean that is newly free of ice for 16 years, or until a plan for sustainable fishing is in place.” Read Russia, U.S. and Other Nations Restrict Fishing in Thawing Arctic




From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Associate Director for the Center for Earth Jurisprudence

Florida Field Campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity

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



Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Solar in Jacksonville      

Tell Congress to Stop Attacking Protections for Dolphins and Whales

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


Upcoming Environmental Events    

December 10, 2:00 pm – Attend “Leaving an Environmental Legacy” in Sanford. Aliki Moncrief will explain how funds from the Water and Land Conservation Amendment are being spent and how you can help ensure that policy makers are doing the right thing for our environment. 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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.

December 13, 8:00 am – Attend a meeting of the Legislative Committee of the Constitutional Revision Commission in Tallahassee. A proposal to dedicate funds in the LATF to the Florida Forever Trust Fund will be considered. For more information, click here.

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 resourcewisdom@gmail.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 floridaconservationcoalition@gmail.com.



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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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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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