FCC News Brief - June 20, 2017

Kate Payne reports for WFSU – “A plan to protect 39,000 acres along the upper Apalachicola River won early-stage approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Acquisition and Restoration Council… The conservation easement boasts eight miles of river frontage… It’s home to Florida black bears and manatees, and 67 archaeological sites, some dating back 10,000 years. Conservationists say the project is vital to preserving one of the most biologically diverse areas in North America… ‘To stand there on those bluffs at night, and to look over that river and not to see lights, not to hear roads… [T]here is almost no place like that left in Florida,’ Karels (of the state forest service) said… The project faces further reviews before the Cabinet is able to consider it.” Read DEP Considers 39,000 Acre Conservation Project Along Apalachicola River

Wayne Washington reports for the Palm Beach Post – “(Palm Beach) County commissioners advanced a proposed budget… that includes $3 million to begin a three-year, $9 million process to reacquire full ownership of a 571-acre tract the county purchased with public bond money in 2000. The South Florida Water Management District purchased a 61 percent stake in the land in 2006 for $13.7 million… But when the district’s plan to build a reservoir on the land changed, the district approached the county about a joint sale. That angered environmentalists and preservationists who feared that private ownership of the land would open the door to its eventual development… They urged the county to reacquire full ownership of the land… Two commissioners – Hal Valeche and Steven Abrams – pushed for the sale of the land, arguing… that anti-development restrictions called conservation easements could be made a part of a deal to sell the land… The commission’s new (conservation) posture will get a more rigorous test later this year when GL Homes is expected to formally present its plan to change rules in the Ag Reserve that have limited development there. It’s one thing to move to reacquire full ownership of land in the Agricultural Reserve or even to reject the Iota Carol proposal. It will be something altogether different for the county to rebuff GL Homes, a savvy, well-connected developer whose upscale projects already dot portions of the Ag Reserve.” Read Buyback of conservation zone near Boynton lauded by environmentalists

Monique O. Madan reports for the Miami Herald – “One of the last prime waterfront properties in Miami-Dade is at the center of a tug-of-war between the village of Palmetto Bay and real estate developers. CalAtlantic Homes… wants to build 600 homes and a private marina on the 69-acre site of the former Florida Power & Light Cutler Power Plant. But Palmetto Bay council members, who have been battling over development along traffic-clogged Old Cutler Road, have put a moratorium on approving any new site plans for the FPL property. In addition to issues over the proposed density of the development, the debate is complicated by a report that says the land is polluted with arsenic and vanadium.” Read An FPL power plant once stood there. Homes may be next. But there is a problem.

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “Every year, while hundreds of golf courses around the state use treated wastewater to keep fairways emerald green and protect dwindling water supplies, Miami-Dade County taps a surprising source to irrigate its course on Key Biscayne: drinking water… The state now leads the nation in the amount of water it reuses, with the west coast and inland farming counties reusing close to 100 percent of their wastewater last year… But in South Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties reuse a meager 4 to 7 percent. By 2025, that’s supposed to change when a 2008 state law requiring counties that now dump most of their wastewater offshore in massive pipes to begin reusing 60 percent. In Miami-Dade, that amounts to 117 million gallons a day. Up until last year, the county had a solid plan: pipe 90 million gallons a day… to nearby Turkey Point to help cool two new nuclear plants… But last year, Florida Power & Light shelved the reactors… The county is now facing expensive alternatives and deciding whether to challenge the law… Tearing up roads to install pipes can be costly… Alan Garcia, director of Broward’s water and sewer department [said,] ‘You can’t tell someone, ‘Hey, I’m going to double your utility bill to get these pipes in the ground.’’… At the Virgina Key plant, most of the waste comes through aging leaky pipes that are contaminated with saltwater. When the county considered it as a source for reused water, they discovered it would need to have the salt removed in a costly process called reverse osmosis…The county has also investigated using reclaimed water as a way to replenish wetlands… But in South Florida, where marshes and bays are nearly free of nutrients, the water would have to undergo additional cleaning to eliminate the phosphorus and nitrogen… [T]he county has also been a victim of its own success at conservation efforts. Combined with changing patterns of development and low-flow plumbing, it now expects to have enough water to last through 2035.” Read Miami-Dade, lagging behind state, seeks cheap, non-icky ways to recycle its wastewater

Anne Geggis reports for the Sun Sentinel – “[M]ore cities in South Florida [are letting] homeowners replace [their] traditional grass [lawns] with alternatives such as plants, tumbled glass and seashells. The goal is to conserve limited water in a booming region… ” Read Fed up with your water-guzzling lawn? Some cities are giving homeowners more options

Wayne K. Roustan reports for the Sun Sentinel – “We complain about traffic. We swear it’s getting worse. But still we won’t get out of our cars. Census data show that the number of people who drive alone in their cars in South Florida hasn’t budged since 2000. An average of 79 percent of South Florida’s commuters drive alone… About 3 percent use public transportation. And recent attempts to sway commuters have been ineffective… FDOT’s daily traffic counts show that as many as 795,000 vehicles traveled on Interstate 95 through South Florida every day last year. That is expected to increase to more than 1.3 million each day by 2040 when South Florida’s population is forecast to grow from 5.8 million to 7.3 million… The trend for ridership, nationally, for transit is going down,’ said Greg Stuart, executive director of Broward County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.” Read Mass transit still a tough sell in South Florida

David Bauerlein reports for The Florida Times Union – “TraPac has tentatively signed on to a plan to move its operation two miles downriver to the Blount Island Terminal, a change in location that would cut $200 million from the cost of deepening Jacksonville’s ship channel… TraPac and the port authority have to work through complex legal and financial matters. TraPac has more than two decades remaining on its exclusive lease with JaxPort for its current 158-acre location. Tens of millions of dollars of debt incurred to build that terminal still have to be paid.” Read Moving port’s biggest tenant for river deepening is easier said than done

Ledyard King reports for USA Today – “[T]he Trump administration is extending by more than five weeks the amount of time recreational anglers have to harvest red snapper in federal waters off the Gulf of Mexico… The deal to reopen the season represents a major victory for private fishing advocates who argue the federal restrictions on red snapper have not only hurt the economies of Gulf Coast communities but also are unnecessary because the once-depleted fish stock has bounced back to robust levels. It’s also another defeat for environmentalists… Representatives of the charter boat and commercial fishing industries don’t like the change either, fearing it could inflict long-term damage.” Read Red snapper fishing change raises concern





From Our Readers


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Job Openings

Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper

Part-time Contractor with the Florida Wildflower Foundation




Save the Last Great Place on Sarasota Bay

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Prevent the Loss of One of Florida’s Most Popular National Wildlife Refuges

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Stop the Division of Herky Huffman/Bull Creek WMA 2016

Now or Neverglades Declaration

Save the Econlockhatchee River!

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Ask the USACE to reject Harbor Sound application to fill wetlands

Paynes Prairie in danger

Save the Biggest Wetland Mitigation Bank in the U . S . A . from Development

Deny Beruff’s Mitigation Bank Permit

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state




Upcoming Environmental Events

June 20, 2:00 pm – Join Sierra Club at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting as they support stronger restrictions on summer application of fertilizer. For more information, click here.

June 21, 2:00 pm – Attend 1000 Friends of Florida’s webinar: Florida Forever Advocacy: A Game Plan for 2018. Speakers at this webinar will share strategies for Florida’s environmental groups and concerned citizens to support full funding for Florida Forever in 2018. For more information and to register, click here.

June 23, 6:00 pm – Attend the Lost Springs Film Screening and Discussion in Gainesville. Matt Keene’s new documentary, “Lost Springs,” chronicles the Ocklawaha River’s hidden springs that return to life every three to give years when there is a drawdown at Rodman Reservoir. Filmmaker Matt Keene, springs artist Margaret Rolbert, boat captain and environmental activist Karen Chadwick, and St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman will share stories about the lost springs and the fight for their restoration. For more information, click here.

July 11, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’tomors springs. July’s lecture is on Springs Biology. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. More information is available here or by calling (386) 454 - 2427.

July 11, 6:00 pm – Attend a public solar information meeting at the Bob Graham Center on the University of Florida Campus in Gainesville. The Alachua County Solar Co-op is open to new members until July 28th.

July 19, 6:45 pm – Attend a public solar information meeting at the Millhopper Branch of the Alachua County library system in Gainesville. The Alachua County Solar Co-op is open to new members until July 28th.



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About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of 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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