Ann Shortelle writes for The Daytona Beach News-Journal – “In Florida, April is Water Conservation Month, a designation intended to heighten public awareness about the variety of ways we all can reduce our water use. Many counties and cities…are adopting Water Conservation Month proclamations as a way to show their commitment to protecting our water resources. The designation is especially timely this year, as it coincides with the issuance of several Water Shortage Warning Orders that encompass multiple counties…[W]e must focus on intense water conservation…Public water supply is the largest category of water use within the (St. Johns River Water Management) district…Half of [it] is used in outdoor irrigation. Individually and collectively, we can make a difference. Changing old habits is important and can be as simple as following watering restrictions, using water-efficient appliances or replacing landscape materials with drought-tolerant plants. Water conservation must be a way of life, as saving water is the simplest and least expensive way to protect our precious water resources.” Read We must focus on intense water conservation
A.G. Gancarski reports for Florida Politics – “It’s been a rough couple of news cycles for Senate Bill 10, with a Republican U.S. Senator and the St. Johns Riverkeeper mounting opposition to the…measure… ‘Senator Rob Bradley and the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources have amended SB 10 to shift state funds for acquiring land for conservation toward acquiring land for water supply development. The amended bill would encourage surface and groundwater withdrawal projects and unsustainable growth. It does not encourage water conservation. This would open up the St. Johns River and other waterways to surface water withdrawals and more threats from sprawl, while providing fewer funds to acquire critical conservation lands,’ read a statement from the Riverkeeper.” Read Despite pushback on Lake Okeechobee plan, Rob Bradley remains confident
The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board writes – “The anguish is understandable in the Glades, already so familiar with economic hardship – and Negron owes it to those constituents to show that he understands. So far, he has offered little more than generalities…But the reservoir is needed. A 2015 University of Florida Water Institute study determined that water storage is required both north and south of the lake to prevent the toxic green algae blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries…More water storage north of the lake, though necessary, won’t alone provide relief to the estuaries…Septic tanks do need to be eliminated in Martin and St. Lucie counties, but their actual contribution to last year’s St. Lucie estuary pollution was a scant 4 percent of the nitrogen load, according to Gary Goforth, former South Florida Water Management District chief engineering consultant on Everglades restoration…[A] south reservoir has always been central to Everglades restoration. Even now, it is scheduled to be launched in 2021; Negron is merely trying to speed up the process.” Read Glades’ worries deserve answers but shouldn’t kill reservoir
Paul Laura writes for the TC Palm – “The northern solution is for static reservoirs and deep-well injection sites to hold back water during high-rain periods…This solution reduces discharges from Lake Okeechobee, but does not resolve water requirements for the Everglades, [or] refresh the Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade aquifers…The southern solution is for a dynamic reservoir that reduces discharges…, provides continuous flow to the everglades…, [and] refreshes aquifers of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade…A possible third alternative is to have a combination of deep-well injection to the north and a dynamic southern reservoir. Deep-well injection would give quicker reduction to the…discharges while the southern reservoir is being built. A further compromise builds a dynamic reservoir from the Everglades Agricultural Area-A2 site, which is state land. At a 12-foot depth, this would reduce the need for private land by 30,000 acres. This is a partial solution…The Martin County Democratic Party wants to see some type of guarantee in Senate Bill 10 providing a significant number of jobs to local residents.” Read Solving Florida’s water problems
Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “Sen. Frank Artiles put on a brown jacket with “NextEra” emblazoned on the back and waved the green flag for the unofficial start to [a] truck race at this year’s Daytona 500 weekend…Artiles, the chairman of the Florida Senate’s Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, also used the event to conduct a fundraiser, which he says raised him more than $10,000. Artiles…[returned] the favor to Florida’s largest utility. In the first meeting of his energy committee…Artiles…scheduled two…bills sought by FPL that will address two court rulings that dealt significant blows to the company…SB 1238, by Sen. Aaron Bean…would allow utilities to charge customers for exploratory natural gas fracking in other states, overturning a Florida Supreme Court ruling against FPL last year…Artiles…voted to put Amendment 4 on the ballot, even though ‘the utility industry wanted to kill it.’ The measure exempts from property taxes any installation of solar equipment on a commercial property.” Read State Sen. Frank Artiles drops green flag, accelerates two bills favorable to FPL
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “[E]xotic fish, originally dumped by pet owners or escaped from fish farms, are now as likely to be found in remote sloughs and canals crisscrossing the Everglades as weed-chocked urban canals. The fish have not grabbed headlines…like pythons as they stake out more territory. But they are no less insidious…[P]et owners [need] to realize the full damage caused when animals, including little fish, are released into the wild…As silly as it may sound…fish owners should take advantage of the same pet amnesty day offered to python and tegu owners to get rid of unwanted animals.” Read What’s smaller than a python but just as bad for South Florida? Invasive fish
Eva Botkin-Kowacki reports for The Christian Science Monitor – “If global carbon emissions are halved each decade, nearly net-zero emissions will be achieved by 2050, according to the carbon law framework outlined in [a new] paper. And, the scientists say, it’s doable. ‘The carbon law is an effort of translating what science says is necessary for us to do to deliver the Paris agreement for a safe climate future for humanity,’ lead author of the paper Johan Rockstrom…[explained.]…This carbon law can be used at any scale, he points out. It isn’t just for global emissions. Nations, cities, and companies can also use the guideline of halving emissions to build carbon-cutting plans. Even an individual person could apply this framework to their own personal carbon emissions…Rockstrom and his colleagues propose carbon pricing across the world that rises over the same period…. ‘In the 2020s, carbon pricing across the world must expand to cover all GHG emissions, starting at $50 per metric ton at least and exceeding $400 per ton by mid-century…Renewable energy sources have already been doubling every five and a half years globally, Rockstrom says. Continuing that rate will mean that the entire energy sector could be decarbonized before the middle of the century.” Read Could a Moore’s Law for carbon emissions halt climate change?
Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle write for The New York Times – “What can you – just one concerned person – do about global warming? It may feel like a more urgent problem these days, with proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and each year warmer than the previous one. You could drive a few miles fewer a year. Reduce your speed. Turn down your thermostat in winter. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. Reduce your meat consumption. Any one of those actions would help. But none would come close to doing as much as driving a fuel-efficient vehicle…Improving fuel economy carries particular salience after the Trump administration announced this month that it would re-examine the progressively more stringent Obama-era fuel economy standards for vehicles in model years 2022 to 2025.” Read What You Can Do About Climate Change
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Upcoming Environmental Events
April 1, 10:30 am – Attend Solar: Unlimited Energy for the Sunshine State, a free educational program on solar power, at the Coastal Region Library (8619 W. Crystal St.) in Crystal River. For more information, please contact Nancy Kost at (352) 628 – 0698 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 1, 12:30 pm - Attend a free "Solar Co-op Information Meeting" for the Sarasota County Solar Co-op at North Port Library (13800 Tamiami Trail) in Northpoint. To register, click here.
April 9, 1:00 pm – Attend the 2017 Our Santa Fe RiverFest & Songwriting Contest in Fort White. There will be live music, a silent auction, and food! For more information and tickets, click here.
April 12, 12:45 pm – Attend The Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library community room in The Villages. Presenters include Lloyd Singleton, UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension Agent; Matt Keene, award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and St Johns Riverkeeper 2015 Advocate of the Year; and Jamie Letendre, FDEP Environmental Specialist of St. Martins Marsh & Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserves. Matt Keened will speak about the Rodman Dam. For more information and to RSVP, email email@example.com.
April 18, 5:00 pm – Attend the Suncoast Climate Change Symposium at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium (8350 N. Tamiami Trail) in Sarasota. The symposium will host presentations on climate change and its consequences for Florida, featuring Dr. Harold Wanless of the University of Miami, noted geologist and sea-level rise expert. The sustainability manager for the City of Sarasota will also discuss Sarasota’s “Climate Adaptation Plan.” Tickets are $15 for the general public, and free for students. To purchase tickets, click here.
April 18, 5:30 pm - Attend a free "Solar Co-op Information Meeting" for the Sarasota County Solar Co-op at the North Sarasota Library (2801 Newtown Blvd) in Sarasota. To register, click here.
April 25, 5:30 pm - Attend a free "Solar Co-op Information Meeting" for the East Broward County Solar Co-op and the West Broward County Solar Co-op at the Northwest Regional Library (3151 N. University Drive) in Coral Springs. To register, click here.
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