Bruce Ritchie reports for Politico Florida – “Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham… expressed disappointment that more Florida businesses have not supported Everglades restoration and land conservation in recent years. The former two-term governor, who chairs the Florida Conservation Coalition, spoke during a webinar hosted by the 1000 Friends of Florida group to spur support for the Florida Forever land-buying program… Graham said the recession in 2009 brought Florida’s history of land conservation to a ‘screeching halt.’ He later suggested examples are now needed to show legislators the economic benefits of conservation lands in attracting tourists and workers to the state… Will Abberger of The Trust for Public Land… noted statements by Senate and House leaders about the need to provide Florida Forever funding next year. ‘We… know that 2018 is an election year,’ Abberger said. ‘I believe our legislators do understand that conservation of our natural resources is an important issue for their constituents and they are going to need an environmental or conservation issue to run on this November.’” Read Bob Graham: Focus on economic importance of parks
Meredith Rutland Bauer reports for Make Change – “The best place to find Florida park ranger Scott Davis on any given Saturday is on the side of a two-land road, botany kit in hand, hunched over and staring at weeds while trucks and minivans speed past… He spends his workday, and many hours beyond, trying to save milkweeds, and the dwindling population of magnificent monarch butterflies that depend on the plant to survive… Day after day, he, his co-workers, and a cohort of volunteers work on cataloguing milkweeds, growing more saplings, and reintroducing this beleaguered plant into the North Florida landscape… [M]onarch butterflies help pollinate local crops and wild plants during their migrations…, a function that is becoming more important as other pollinator populations, such as bees, dwindle nationwide… Davis’ full-time-plus commitment reflects a refuge system that, according to the nonprofit National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) ‘has been underfunded since its inception.’” Read One U.S. Park Ranger’s Personal Quest to Save the Monarch Butterfly
Ken Wells reports for The Wall Street Journal – “[S]cientists found through scenes caught on camera that some animals – deer and bear among them – were teaching their young to use [wildlife] crossings… [A] November 2016 Western Transportation Institute report based on five years of animal-vehicle collision data showed that roadkill numbers for large wild mammals fell 80% along sections of the highway served by three of the more prominent crossings, while such deaths increased along sections with no structures. Crossings, especially when combined with miles-long fences that steer animals toward them, ‘can substantially reduce collisions,’ says Marcel Huijser, a Western Transportation Institute road ecologist and the report’s lead author… Collisions between wildlife and vehicles have risen 50% in the past 15 years, and such accidents now cost Americans $8 billion annually in damages and cleanup costs… About 200 people a year die and 29,000 are hurt in wildlife-vehicle crashes in the U.S., according to data published by Defenders of Wildlife… There may be as any as 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions a year- and the animals almost always die… Also driving growth in crossings is conservation, or the notion of using them to reconnect wildlife habitats, fragmented by roads and bridges.” Read Wildlife Crossings Get a Whole New Look
A.G. Gancarski reports for Florida Politics – “The long-awaited dredging of the St. Johns River to 47 feet near JAXPORT… appalls the St. Johns Riverkeeper… ‘We cannot afford to kick the can down the road and allow this potential boondoggle in the making to begin before it has been fully vetted,’ states St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman… ‘We are putting our river at risk, before JAXPORT has demonstrated that the dredging is a wise investment and even necessary.’” Read St. Johns Riverkeeper rails against ‘deep dredge runaround’
Jessica Lipscomb reports for Miami New Times – “Today… [is] the U.S. Conference of Mayors… [E]nvironmental groups are hoping to get a commitment from the group to transition their cities to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035… Ready for 100 was launched last year to challenge 100 cities across the country to commit to using 100 percent renewable energy… Today at 7 a.m., activists from South Florida and beyond assembled to spell out “100+ Mayors for 100% Clean Energy” on the beach outside the conference hotel… Although Ready for 100 has set a target goal of… 2035, Miami Beach officials are considering ways to power all city buildings with clean energy by 2025… While making the switch would come with a high upfront cost (officials estimate Miami Beach would have to buy at least $24 million of solar panels to generate enough energy), three U.S. Cities have already made the transition. Burlington, Vermont became the first city run completely on clean energy in 2015…” Read Environmentalists Form Giant Human Message Outside Miami Beach Mayor’s Meeting
The Ocala Star Banner Editorial Board writes – “After weeks of depressing news about diminished flows and plans for further drawdowns, springs advocates finally have something to celebrate. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet voted to buy Blue Springs Park… for $5.2 million… Protecting the land immediately around springs certainly benefits the quality and quantity of the groundwater flowing through them. But those benefits are offset when lawmakers and regulators fail to curb excessive groundwater pumping and pollution in the surrounding area.” Read Preserving land not enough for springs
Nancy Coleman reports for CNN – “What will it take for people to care about climate change? For some, the thought of a crummier cup of coffee in the morning just might do it.” Read Climate change could lower the quality of your coffee
Florida Politics reports – “Florida lawmakers will head back to Tallahassee in mid-September to kick-off the 2018 Legislative Session… The first week of committee meetings begins on or after 1 p.m. on Sept. 12… The 2018 Legislative Session begins… on Jan. 9. The annual 60-day Session is scheduled to end on March 9.” Read Legislative leaders announce committee week schedule
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
June 24, 10 am – Attend “Recall in the Wild” in Naples. Learn how to keep your dog and native wildlife safe when hiking in Southwest Florida’s wild places. For more information, click here.
June 27, 2:00 pm – Listen to an educational webinar on how to use the Clean Water Act to file and win a citizen lawsuit. Speakers will include Heather Govern from the National Environmental Law Center and Whitey Markle from the Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club Group. To register, 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.
Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.
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 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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