Martin E. Comas reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “In a room filled with hundreds of residents, Seminole County commissioners…unanimously agreed to enact some of Central Florida’s toughest regulations on when and where home owners can apply fertilizers on their lawns, including imposing a summertime ban. It’s an effort…to reduce the amount of nutrients…that…end up…[in] lakes and rivers, spurring algae growth and polluting the waterways. The new regulations will take effect Oct. 1. Until then, Seminole will launch an educational campaign to inform property owners about the correct ways to apply fertilizers to lawns.” Read Seminole enacts tough new fertilizer regulations
Jon Ullman writes for Sierra Club Florida News – “[A] boisterous, infuriated crowd of 500 [confronted Congressman Matt Gaetz at his Town Hall meeting].” Read Northwest Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz faces fury over EPA elimination bill
Jono Miller writes for the Herald Tribune – “Myakka River State [Park’s]…management plan is now being updated…[A]fter decades of love, the park is showing signs of wear and tear. Visitation keeps increasing while staff levels have dropped, which diverts staff from managing/restoring the natural resources to unclogging toilets or officiating road rage…[P]roposed changes to the (management) plan…include efforts to generate revenue by harvesting natural resources from the park…[T]imber harvesting, fuel and stump harvesting, and palm frond harvesting are…all being proposed, not as a form of management, but as a potential source of revenue…Former employees and others familiar with Myakka Park don’t believe these could ever produce much revenue, but they do represent a foot in the door for future commercialization of not only Myakka Park, but all 174 state park units…Myakka Park already generates more money than it costs to operate (although more should be spent on operation). If increasing income was the real goal, modest adjustments such as more competitive charges for RV camping or seasonal campground pricing would generate far more money. And remember that Amendment 1 was passed? Manatee and Sarasota Counties are sending $35 million a year to Tallahassee and some (not a lot) has been coming back to aid in Myakka park restoration efforts…The Division of Recreation and Parks will be holding a…hearing…Thursday, March 2…” Read Plan takes the green out of Myakka Park
Tony Doris reports for my Palm Beach Post – “With the addition of several hundred thousand dollars approved this month, the cost of the city’s fight against the State Road 7 extension has mounted to nearly $2.1 million over the past five years…West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and the city commission have fought the project at every step, arguing the city cannot risk a major roadway on the edge of the 23-square-mile nature preserve, which serves as the city’s main water source… ‘The threat is significant, from runoff, construction and spills from trucks that might be on the road…’…The South Florida Water Management District has issued a permit for the project. But the city challenged the permit…and is awaiting a decision. The city also is waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to decide whether it will permit the project. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, is waiting for the Army Corps to clarify questions it has about the project…The city has documented damage from Northlake Boulevard, which cuts through the northern tip of Grassy Waters Preserve…” Read West Palm cost to fight State Road 7 extension tops $2 million
Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “Rep. Amy Mercado…and fellow Orlando Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart laid out bills…to ban (black bear) hunts for 10 years… ‘The bears, we’ve encroached on their homes,’ Mercado said. ‘They were here first. And a slaughter of the bears is unacceptable.’ Mercado’s House Bill 491 and Stewart’s Senate Bill 1304 would call for the state to stop the harvest of of the bears’ primary food before they go into winter denning season…They also seek to redirect controlled burns so that they do not affect bears’ habitats at the wrong times of the year and channel some money from the state’s Non-Game Wildlife Fund into grants to purchase bear-resistant trash cans for neighborhoods near bear habitats…It also would have state officials run more census studies…Stewart and Chuck O’Neal, co-chair of The League of Women Voters Florida environmental committee, said he and Stewart’s staff have worked with state officials to try to alleviate (concerns regarding a similar bill last year)…” Read Linda Stewart, Amy Mercado introduce bills to protect bears, their food and habitat
Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News – “The Florida Congressional delegation urged President Donald Trump to include projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) in his Fiscal Year 2018 budget… ‘…As a senior member of the Appropriations committee, I continue to prioritize projects within the Central Everglades Restoration Program (CERP), and welcome support from the executive branch. We are fortunate to have this natural treasure in our state, and must do everything we can to preserve it for future generations,’ stated Congressman Mario Diaz Balart.” Read Members of Congress ask Trump to fund CERP
The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “GOP-backed bills in the Legislature seek to prevent local governments from regulating businesses and allow lawmakers to overrule judicial decisions. Other measures would make it harder for voters to amend the state Constitution and for average citizens and watchdog groups to challenge development…Lawmakers have in recent years preempted local governments from acting on a long list of issues from banning plastic bags to establishing local minimum wages…It is absurd to suggest that Florida needs more unchecked development, especially after lawmakers previously dismantled growth management laws.” Read Stop power grabs by state lawmakers
The Associated Press reports – “[A] Florida panther has been found dead from an apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida…A total of four Florida panthers have been found dead in 2017, with two road fatalities.” Read Panther found dead from apparent vehicle strike in southwest Florida
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
March 2, 5:00 pm – Attend the Public Hearing for the Myakka River Management Plan Update at the Suncoast Community Church Activity Center (8000 Hawkins Road) in Sarasota, FL.
March 2, 6:30 pm – Join the Sierra Club Adventure Coast Committee when featured speaker Phil Compton will present the Sierra Club Campaign “Ready for 100,” designed to help communities transition to 100% renewable energy use. The meeting will be held at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Blvd.) in Spring Hill. Social begins at 6:30 pm followed by the meeting and program at 7:00 pm. For more information, email email@example.com.
March 8, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group Meeting at the Belvedere Library in The Villages, FL. Guest speakers will include Laura Seckbach Finn, the founder of Fly By Night, Inc., and Nigel Rudolph, from the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Laura will focus on Florida bats and Nigel will discuss the history and culture of the Crystal River. For more information and to RSVP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
March 7-9 – Attend FGCU’s Biodiversity Conference in Fort Myers. For more information and to register, click here.
March 10, 7:30 PM – Attend the Panthers vs. Wild Hockey game and support conservation efforts for the Florida panther. To buy your tickets, click here.
March 14, 9:00 AM – Participate in Florida Coasts & Ocean Advocacy Day at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. Join the Surfrider Foundation and Florida Coastal & Ocean Coalition in sharing your support for our ocean and beaches with your legislators! Advocate for clean water, healthy beaches, and an end to plastic pollution. For more information, click here.
March 22, 10:00 AM – Participate in Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. Floridians will make their voices heard by speaking directly with their elected officials on key energy and water issues facing Florida. Public transportation from several cities across the state will be offered, as will advocacy training on March 21st. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
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We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. 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 70 conservation organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
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