The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board writes – “The Florida panther is the Sunshine State’s official animal, namesake of South Florida’s hockey team and featured on tens of thousands of Protect the Panther state license plants… The Florida panther deserves federal protection, and without it one of this state’s most iconic animals would be unnecessarily endangered. Since the endangered list was created in 1967, the Florida panther has been on it. Protection has worked, with a current estimated population of about 200. In the mid-1990s, there were no more than 20 to 30 Florida panthers… Floridians should stand up for this treasured animal that has become a part of the state’s identity… The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should heed the slogan on those specialty Florida license plates: Protect the panther.” Read Florida panther should remain on endangered species list
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “In 2000, geneticist Melanie Culver and three fellow scientists published a study… that concluded that all the panthers, pumas and mountain lions in North America are actually a single subspecies. In other words, according to the Culver study, Florida panthers are nothing special, genetically… But Culver… said she believes the Florida panther still belongs on the endangered list, just not the way it’s listed now… [Florida panthers] have long been considered a distinct subspecies of the puma… Dave Onorato, a biologist with the [FWC’s] panther study program, said one shortcoming (of the Culver study) is that [it] used a small number of samples for the panthers. He noted that when the state has done its own DNA tests, using an approach different from Culver’s, ‘The panthers still cluster as their own subset, away from the Texas and Western subsets.’… To Culver, the problem is that the panther should not have been put on the endangered list as a subspecies of puma. Instead, she said, panthers belong on the list as what’s known as a “distinct population segment” of the puma. The fact that this population of panthers is the only colony of pumas east of the Mississippi, and it’s largely confined to the southern tip of Florida, still qualifies them as endangered, in her view. While 200 panthers is an improvement, she said, it ‘isn’t what we would consider sustainable…’” Read Geneticist says Florida panther still deserves endangered species protection
Donna Meredith writes for the Tallahassee Democrat – “Everyone around here knows about wonderful Wakulla Springs, but just two hours from Tallahassee, Manatee Springs State Park also can boast of a first magnitude springs… Just an hour south of Manatee Springs, Homosassa Springs State Park offers manatee programs three times daily.” Read Wildlife wows at west coast parks
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “It’s been nearly 10 years, but debate continues: What stopped a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in mid-construction? U.S. Sugar Corp. and the South Florida Water Management District blame a 2008 lawsuit three environmental groups filed to challenge one aspect of the project. But environmental groups insist then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s 2008 plan to buy U.S. Sugar’s land for a much larger Everglades restoration project killed the need for the reservoir.” Read Analysis: 1-2 punch KO’d 1st Lake Okeechobee reservoir to curb discharges
The St. Augustine Record reports – “The University of Florida Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Laboratory received a grant… for $18,348 from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program. Money from the grant program, which is funded by sales of a sea turtle specialty license plate, will be used to support the creation of an improved classification system for an infectious and potentially fatal tumor found in sea turtles called fibropapilloma.” Read Specialty license plate provides funds for sea turtle rehabilitation
Terence Smith reports for Creative Loafing – “Braving torrential downpours, activists representing the Tampa Bay Divestment Coalition stood outside of a Chase Bank branch… in St. Petersburg as part of an international day of action aimed at J.P. Morgan and Chase along with other banks that invest in environmentally destructive practices. The Tampa Bay Divestment Coalition (TBDC) consists of 45 local community organizations, primarily with the intention of encouraging divestment from companies that profit from fossil fuels. J.P. Morgan and Chase have become a major target of criticism locally through their funding of the Sabal Trail Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline currently under construction.” Read In St. Pete, activists call for divestment from big banks
Bill Chappell reports for NPR – “The G20 Summit ended… with affirmation to pursue the Paris climate accord by leaders of the world’s strongest economies, minus President Trump. ‘The leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible,’ reads a declaration adopted on the final day of meetings…, by a group that includes Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, and which some are now calling the ‘G19,’ at least when it comes to the question of climate change. The C40 network of some of the world’s largest cities, whose leaders include former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said in a tweet that its members ‘stand together with the G19 leaders’ to uphold the climate accord.” Read ‘G19’ Nations Affirm Climate Plan, Acknowledging U.S. Withdrawal
Laurel Wamsley reports for NPR – “Volvo has announced that starting in 2019, all of the new models it produces will be electric or hybrid… While all of its new car lines will be ‘electrified’ starting in 2019, for a few years Volvo will continue production of existing models that don’t have electric motors.” Read All New Volvo Models will be Electric or Hybrid Starting in 2019
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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’s 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 11, 6:30 pm – Attend “With or without the Paris Accord: Moving forward on climate action” at the Bayview Senior Center (2000 East Lloyd St.) in Pensacola. Learn about the Accord and how it is progressing despite the American withdrawal. There will be refreshments and a discussion after the presentation. For more information call (850) 687 – 9968 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 12, 8:00 pm – Attend a showing of “Apalachicola River: An American Treasure,” a documentary about Florida’s largest river, at Blue Tavern in Tallahassee. For more information and to indicate your interest in attending, click here.
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.
August 20-23 – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute for its annual Florida Springs Field School; four days of outdoor activities and springs education in the Ocala National Forest! Field trip locations include Silver Springs State Park, Salt Springs, Juniper Springs, and Silver Glen Springs. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 - 2427.
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