Jim Ash reports for WFSU – “Graham says the Legislature’s recent track record on complying with voter mandates has him thinking citizens’ initiatives need more teeth… Florida Forever is no exception… Before the recession,… [l]awmakers routinely appropriated $300 million a year to rescue wilderness acres from the bulldozer… Graham… has been blasting lawmakers for not funding Florida Forever in recent interviews and webinars. Graham is a Democratic icon. But environmental icon Nathaniel Reed, who is associated with former Republican administrations, is also crying foul. ‘I find it absolutely reprehensible to go against the will of 75 percent of the citizens and voters of Florida, who passed Amendment 1 with the clear understanding that the absolute maximum amount of money was to be spent to acquire the very best of what’s left of Florida.” Read Graham Says Citizen Initiatives Should Self-Execute
Florida Politics reports – “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently awarded nearly $3 million for six stormwater projects to communities across Florida… ‘Funded through annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) grants support projects designed to improve water quality in impaired springs, rivers, lakes and estuaries, which need help meeting Florida’s stringent water-quality standards,’ [a press] release said…. [T]he department has awarded… $6.1 million (in TMDL) funding to date in fiscal year 2016-17. Visit the TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grant Program webpage for more information on the application process and qualification requirements.” Read DEP doles out nearly $3 million in water grants
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “To Waste Management,… the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called ‘leachate,’ and it can safely be disposed of in a well that’s 4,200 feet deep. But to residents of mostly rural Jackson County, the stuff is just ‘garbage juice,’ and it carries a toxic taint that they don’t want in their drinking water. Their allies include the NAACP, all five county commissioners and their Republican state senator… People in Jackson County don’t trust Gov. Rick Scott’s Department of Environmental Protection. They see it as too business-friendly… The DEP does not inspect wells or take samples once they’re operating.. Instead DEP relies on businesses to do that themselves… Waste Management officials contend that the injection wells around the state – some of which have been operating since the 1960s – have experienced no failures, and thus are safe. But that’s not true. Pinellas County officials revealed in 1998 that, for seven years, some of the 20 million gallons of wastewater that they had been injecting into a deep well every day had been leaking back to the surface… State officials said contamination from that migrating sewage was creeping into private wells…, although not enough to force a shutdown. Nevertheless, Pinellas abandoned its deep-well injection entirely and spent $100 million on a system to deliver the wastewater to barrier island communities for irrigation. In spite of that history…, [t]his summer, as part of its preparations to make its beleaguered sewer systems ready for heavy rainfall, [St. Petersburg] is drilling two additional wells. If necessary, city officials have said, the city will pump partially-treated sewage down the wells to prevent discharges into Tampa Bay or local streets and waterways – even though that would violate state law.” Read ‘Garbage juice’ seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county
Jan Engoren reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Project Perch is working to stabilize and increase the burrowing owl populations in Southeastern Florida… ‘…[T]he Florida burrowing owls have been moved from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission species of special concern to threatened last November,’ said Susan Davis, Project Perch coordinator for Palm Beach County… ‘We’ve been losing burrowing owls from Palm Beach and Broward counties for some time,’ she said, noting that historically Broward County had the second largest population in the state after Lee County... Project Perch provides burrows, owl-friendly fencing, educational and protective signage, and comes to the aid of burrowing owls wherever they are in trouble. The group is looking for volunteers to help with a new census to count the number of burrowing owls in Palm Beach County… ‘It’s up to us to save this native species. They don’t fly or migrate anywhere else; they’re ours to keep or lose.’” Read Project Perch works to protect burrowing owls
AC Shilton writes for the Hiking Project – “For three decades, wildlife biologist Deborah Jansen has been advocating for the Florida panther, and her voice has carried much weight…” Read The Cat Lady
Edward Flattau writes for the Huffington Post – “The effort to bring the burgeoning python population in the Florida Everglades under control is an exercise in futility with no immediate salvation in sight… Small mammal populations in the national park have been decimated… Foxes and rabbits have virtually vanished and raccoons, bobcats, and opossums are hanging on by a thread. How this region’s ecosystem adjusts to the killing spree remains to be seen… The reptiles are long-lived, can go without food for months, and are fearless, having no natural enemies in Florida other than humans and an occasional very large alligator… [G]lobal warming is likely to extend the python’s range further north into Georgia and possibly beyond. The jaguar is the natural enemy of the snake in the South American jungles… If [humans] cannot reverse the reptilian tide, natural selection will undoubtedly take over and ultimately restore a balance of some sort… The python would eventually limit its numbers by reducing the population of its prey. In the transition, the landscape would be bound to undergo a significant alteration.” Read Exercise in Futility
Dan Kraker reports for NPR – “An experiment is underway in Minnesota’s Northwoods. A conservation group is planting trees as part of a strategy to adapt to climate change. As temperatures rise, they endanger some species that thrive in the cold. It’s hoped that planting these species in carefully selected, cooler spots will help them hang on.” Read Conservationists Try to Thwart Climate Change by Planting in Cold Spots
Zach Wichter reports for The New York Times – “In recent days, American Airlines has been forced to cancel more than 40 flights in Phoenix. The reason:… [I]t was simply too hot for some smaller jets to take off. Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult – and sometimes impossible – for planes to generate enough lift. As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence.” Read Too Hot to Fly? Climate Change May Take a Toll on Air Travel
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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.
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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 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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