FCC News Brief - July 17, 2017

The Tallahassee Democrat reports – “Ney Cody Landrum… died July 12, 2017 at the age of 86… His desire to improve the quality and management of Florida’s vast public land holdings governed his actions, in both private and public work… In 1970, he was appointed Florida State Parks Director, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. During his tenure, Florida’s state parks program was doubled in size… He… was recognized for his work by the U.S. Department of the Interior with its “Conservation Service Award,” its highest honor given to an individual other than its own employees… He took advantage of his spare time to do extensive volunteer work for the Florida International Volunteer Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development in Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Much of this effort was in Belize, where he worked closely with Maya Indians on programs to improve the eco-tourism potential of their reservations.” Read Ney Cody Landrum

Mary Ellen Klas reports for the Miami Herald – “The Suwannee River Water Management District… failed to properly account for more than $26 million, according to a critical audit recently released by the Florida Auditor General… The district is overseen by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is now headed by Noah Valenstein. His last job was executive director of the Suwannee River WMD during the time the audit was underway… State law requires that when land purchased through the state’s land-buying Preservation 2000 is then sold, the money must be returned to the DEP which then puts it back into the pot for new land acquisition, the Florida Forever Trust Fund. The millions in proceeds from Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever land sales should have been returned to the state general fund to be used by DEP, auditors said. But because the district has kept no paper trail, neither the district nor auditors could determine how much should be returned to the state. ‘Consequently, the district may have retained funds to which they were not legally entitled,’ the audit concluded.” Read Auditors find millions in ‘questionable’ costs at water district

Laura Reynolds writes for the Palm Beach Post – “One of the several reasons to protect open spaces is to allow for aquifer recharge. Aquifer recharge occurs over development free spaces when rain water seeps into the ground and ultimately percolates into the aquifer that later becomes our drinking water. When rain falls on pavement, buildings, or compacted ground it does not seep into the ground. Instead, rainfall over developed areas is required, based on the [SFWMD] flood protection rules, to be diverted into man-made catchment areas, and most of the time, flows into man-made canals, then into the inter-coastal, estuaries and ultimately to tide… [T]he SFWMD does not consider the elimination of aquifer recharge as it permits open spaces for development or how to mitigate for that. This means that developing these last bastions of open spaces, results in more runoff to the estuaries and the costal areas…, less re-charge to the aquifer, decreased water quality and more consumption of what remains flowing into our aquifer. This is not sustainable… So, maybe Ernie Barnett is technically right that a permit from the SFWMD ‘certifies’ that bad things won’t happen resulting from this one tiny project. However, one tiny project after another chips away at the sustainability of our aquifer and of our state’s overall water quality… It is imperative that we restore our environmental safety net by allowing the [water management districts] to operate independently and with adequate resources to address cumulative impacts.” Read SFWMD aquifer rules reveal the agency wears no clothes

Andy Reid reports for the Sun Sentinel – “The state of Florida is threatening to stop cooperating with a team of independent scientists that monitors progress on Everglades restoration for Congress. Scientists for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine… warned that the effects of climate change could require adding more water storage alternatives to Everglades restoration plans. State officials have objected to the group’s findings, saying the committee shouldn’t be suggesting changes that could lead to more studies and delays of Everglades restoration projects.” Read Florida may break from scientists who issued climate change warning about Everglades

Matthew F. Smith & Julie Glenn report for WFCU – “David Shindle, the Florida Panther Coordinator for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, joins Gulf Coast Live to talk about the process by which endangered species are reviewed, and what could change when it comes to the protections now in place for the [Florida panther.] Also joining the program is Dr. Melanie Culver, a geneticist whose 2000 study of North American big cats found a genetic bases that could question the Florida panthers taxonomy, which raises new questions despite her support for their continued protection. And Amber Crooks with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will join the program to discuss… what supporters of the conservancy have to say about protections for the big cat.” Listen to Should Panthers be Protected? Iconic Cat’s Federal Protections Up for Review

Robert Knight writes for The Gainesville Sun – “I am frequently asked if I think Florida’s springs will be saved. My standard answer is simple, ‘Only when enough people understand and care about springs (and the rest of Florida’s environmental woes) to affect true political change.’… For individuals who feel powerless to effect… environmental change, the Florida Springs Council is a beacon of light in the darkness. Many hands uniting in support of a common cause can and will make lasting changes for the better.” Read Joining hands in support of springs

Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida – “Florida wildlife officials want to look at banning the importation of shark fins through the state’s ports. But they are not getting behind a federal proposal to prohibit possession of shark fins… Eight members of Florida’s congressional delegation are co-sponsors of the proposal… Critics of the federal proposal are concerned, in part, about potential impacts on commercial fishermen… ‘We are participating in the global trade, so much like the demand for ivory has jeopardized elephant populations,’ Snyder (of Oceana) said. ‘It’s this demand for fins that is contributing to the population declines for sharks.’ Yet, Robert Hueter, a shark researcher and associate vice president for research at… Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, in supporting the commission’s stance, said an expanded U.S. ban on possession won’t solve the international trade… ‘Whatever we give up will likely be filled up by nations practicing less sustainable fishing than the U.S.,’ Hueter said… A better approach, Hueter said, would be to stop the importing of all shark products from nations that don’t practice sustainable shark fishing, particularly those that still permit finning. ‘Some authority already exists to do this,’ he said.” Read Florida wildlife officials hope to ban shark fin imports

Susan Salisbury reports for the Palm Beach Post – “Florida Power & Light’s proposed modernization of its Lauderdale power plant in Dania Beach overcame one hurdle in the approval process Thursday in obtaining an exemption from a state rule. The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the company’s request that it not be required to issue a request for proposals to determine whether the proposed replacement of the plant with a more efficient, larger natural gas-fired plant is the most cost-effective alternative… The granting of the exemption does not relieve FPL of a requirement to prove there’s a need for the plant…” Read FLP project in Dania Beach to proceed after exemption from state rule




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Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state



Upcoming Environmental Events    

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.

July 22, 1:00 pm – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Seminole County Mail Library (215 North Oxford Road) in Casselberry. The meeting is hosted by the Seminole County Solar Co-op. For more information, click here.

August 10, 7:00 pm – Attend Chasing Coral – Movie Night in Tallahassee. Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world. For more information, click here.

August 15, 7:00 – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Coral Gables Adult Center (2 Andalusia Ave.) in Coral Gables. The meeting is hosted by the Central Miami (North) Solar Co-op. For more information and to register, click here.

August 16, 7:00 – Attend a free, public solar information meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church (7701 SW 76th Ave.) in Miami. The meeting is hosted by the Central Miami (South) Solar Co-op. For more information, click here.

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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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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