Bob Graham writes for the Orlando Sentinel – “When I look back at my nearly 40 years of public service to the people of Florida, my legacy is not the offices to which I was elected, but what I achieved while in those offices…Of all those achievements, there are none more permanent and therefore significant than the land and water we conserved to protect Florida’s environment, economy and quality of life… We conserved these lands through a series of programs…that spoke directly to the people of Florida. The connection was tangible. Buy this forest, and you will save the Wekiva River… Buy the Big Cypress; it will contribute to the salvation of the Everglades… If you have ever swam at Wakulla Springs, cruised up the St. Johns River, enjoyed seafood from Apalachicola, kayaked down the Suwannee, taken a glass-bottom boat ride at Silver Springs, or admired America’s Everglades, you have directly benefited from these programs… To fund these programs, we used the common-sense approach of allocating a portion of the taxes on real estate transactions…toward purchasing environmentally sensitive lands. The premise could not be simpler: Allow growth to pay for conservation. These same programs to save our rivers, springs, coasts, habitat, farms and the Everglades exist today under the name Florida Forever. And funding…for these programs was enshrined in the Florida Constitution by the 75 percent of Florida voters in the 2014 election who supported Amendment 1… Contact your state representative and senator today and ask them to allocate 25 percent of Amendment 1 dollars to Florida Forever. Tell them their legacy and the best parts of Florida are on the line.” Read Protect Florida’s legacy – its lands and waters
Bob Graham writes for The Florida Times Union – “As 1000 Friends of Florida’s Florida 2070 project illustrates, more than 5 million acres of natural and agricultural lands will be permanently lost to development over the next 50 years if current growth patterns continue. Restoring Florida Forever funding ensures that we do not lose the best parts of Florida, forever… [T]he Northeast Florida Timberlands & Watershed Reserve project, which is currently on the (Florida Forever) priority acquisition list, would connect the Osceola and Ocala National Forests…, providing natural pathways for black bears, hikers and gopher tortoises to wander. Conserving these lands will protect the water supply of ever-growing Northeast Florida communities, helping to ensure we have fresh, clean water to drink… The Florida Conservation Coalition is calling for a minimum of 25 percent of all Amendment 1 funds to be dedicated to land conservation through Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust and for increased funding for… the Rural and Family Lands program.” Read Legislature must protect funding of Florida Forever
David Bauerlein reports for The Florida Times Union – “The St. Johns Riverkeeper filed suit Friday to block dredging of Jacksonville’s ship channel, contending the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to fully account for the environmental harm that dredging will unleash on the river. The suit against the Army Corps… seeks to toss the environmental impact statement and freeze any move to dredge the harbor until after a new report is done.” Read St. Johns Riverkeeper sues to stop Jacksonville dredging
Jim Turner reports for The News Service of Florida – “Revamped plans for a deep-water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee… have improved the proposal in the eyes of House Speaker Richard Corcoran. But the House still isn’t ready to sign on to Senate President Joe Negron’s proposal… A philosophical difference over increasing state debt through bonding… remains a barrier for the measure (SB 10), which carries a potential $1.5 billion price tag as it heads to the Senate floor…The bill proposes $64 million for water-storage project next fiscal year, delaying for a year plans to increase the state’s share through bonding… ‘We’re all entitled to our points of view on bonding, but when the voters speak and send us a directive to do bonding for environmental land purchases, I think we’re obligated to honor that constitutional imperative,’ Negron said… In addition to revamping the reservoir plans, the proposal would encourage economic development in the Everglades Agricultural Area through…support for expansion at the Airglades Airport in Clewiston and plans for an inland port in Palm Beach County.” Read House still not buying Negron’s water plan for deep-water reservoir
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “[A]bout 40 (fishing) guides and anglers set out from docks behind the World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada to spell out a simple missive in Little Basin: Help… The flats fishing industry, which pumps an estimated $465 million a year into the Florida economy according to a 2012 report, has been slammed by ongoing water troubles. In the fall of 2015, a regional drought coupled with lack of freshwater from decades of flood control triggered a seagrass die-off that eventually covered 25 square miles. The grass provides critical habitat for bonefish and other flats fish that draw anglers from around the world… Dave Preston, a spokesman for Bullsugar.org,…organized the event with the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association.” Read One word, loud message
The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “Seventeen members of Congress representing Florida recently… put the U.S. secretary of the interior – and, by extension, President Donald Trump – on notice: Keep the eastern Gulf of Mexico off limits to drilling for gas and oil, or expect a fight. Good for them. Drilling and related activities pose risks to the marine environment, Florida’s tourism-based economy and American military operations that far exceed any benefits to the state or nation of the fuel that would be extracted or the revenue that would be generated… The letter… was signed by five Republicans… and 11 Democrats from the House. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was the lead writer; unfortunately, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio did not sign on, continuing his troubling reluctance to fight for Florida on this issue… The letter… articulates the stance of a solid majority of Florida’s congressional delegation and, we believe, the overwhelming sentiment of the people they represent.” Read Keep drilling out of eastern Gulf
Eric Staats reports for the Naples Daily News – “Pythons are apex predators that scientists say have the capacity to decimate native populations. The snakes… eat raccoons, rabbits, wading birds, even deer. One study blamed pythons for a 90 percent decline in small mammals in Everglades National Park… [A] (Conservancy of Southwest Florida) team tracks radio-tagged snakes and then follows them to other snakes, hopefully egg-laden females. The goal… is to break the breeding cycle. Since 2013, the team… has captured more than 250 snakes in a 25-square-mile area along the urban edge of East Naples… That’s more than three tons of python and, more importantly, more than 3,000 python eggs.” Read Eco-warriors use brains, brawn to fight python menace
Michael E. Mann writes for TIME – “Science is under attack at the very moment when we need it most… Trump should read the landmark “2020” report… by Mission 2020, a group of experts convened by the former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report establishes a timeline for how we can ensure a safe and stable climate. We don’t have much time – 2020 is a clear turning point. If emissions continue to rise beyond 2020, the world stands very little chance of limiting global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius,… a temperature limit that many of the world’s most vulnerable communities consider a threshold for survival… The good news is, we’re already moving in the right direction. Global carbon emissions have plateaued… thanks to China’s widespread economic transformation and the global boom in renewable energy production. The study shows that by 2020, renewable energy must beat out coal in all major energy markets… Deforestation must be reined in, and the restoration of already degraded land must be well underway. All of the Fortune 500 companies that represent heavy industries must have committed to the Paris targets, and their emissions-reduction plans must be in effect. And, finally, capital markets must double investment in zero-emission technologies… No politician should ignore the warnings of scientists, economists and military leaders, and argue against health, increased stability and economic prosperity – all of which depend on how the world responds to climate change.” Read The Single Shining Hope to Stop Climate Change
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. To watch a promotional video, 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 21, 9:30 am – Attend a celebration of Sierra Club Founder John Muir’s Birthday in Brooksville. There will be a guided trail walk and a picnic luncheon featuring Jerry Cowling as John Muir. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
April 22, 7:30 am – Attend Clermont Earth Day & Lake Clean-Up 2017 at the Lake Hiawatha Preserve (450 N. 12 St./SR 561) (West of the roundabout) in Clermont. To register for the Lake Clean Up, click here. Several prizes will be given to volunteers for most weight, youngest participant, oldest participant, oddest object found, etc. Pre-registrants will be given T-shirts. After the clean up, there will be environmental education, an earth kids zone, DJ music and entertainment, food vendors, prizes, and more! For more information, email email@example.com or call (352) 394 – 3500
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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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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