Chad Gillis reports for the News Press – “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for developing and executing a plan to clean up the (Caloosahatchee) river… At the center of [an upcoming] meeting is pollution levels in the river that were adopted in 2009. From those rules came what’s called a Basin Management Action Plan, or BMAP, a tool used to assess water quality conditions and make plans for cleanup uf pollution… ‘In the lower basin it’s going to be getting our wastewater and stormwater systems retrofitted, and even where we’ve got permits for discharge I think we really need to set a goal as a community to get off discharge all together,’ said Rep. Matt Caldwell… ‘Some of that might require advanced wastewater treatment and might include deep well injection for large events – if you get a big storm, what is the better choice?’ The BMAP for the lower portion of the river was adopted in 2012, and the plan requires a review every five years. The meeting is part of the update process. The entire watershed includes the river from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico as well as 37 tributaries and discharging waterbodies. But this phase, which focuses on the lower portion of the river, only accounts for an estimated 15 percent of the nitrogen load. About 85 percent of the nitrogen comes from upstream… Lake Okeechobee releases account for about 61 percent of the nitrogen load. ‘We would like to see them look at it as a more holistic approach,’ said Marisa Carrozzo with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. ‘You have a plan for reducing phosphorus upstream in Lake Okeechobee… We’d like to see a total nitrogen (maximum) in Lake Okeechobee as well.’… Carrozzo said the Conservancy… would also like the nitrogen estimates to be updated from the 2004 development and land use numbers that have been used as a baseline for the estimates. ‘We’d like to see them look at the land use data… ([a]nd) we’d like to see actual monitoring of data and trends in the updates…’” Read Nitrogen pollution focus of DEP meeting
Jeremy Stalker writes for The Florida Times Union – “I have been studying hydrology and sea level rise in North Florida for six years and in South Florida for 12 years. The scientific analysis presented by the Army Corp. of Engineers to estimate the physical impacts in the river are incorrect, incomplete and seriously flawed… The analysis of the proposed dredging ignores the steadily increasing rise of sea level and its impacts. This plan uses an exceptionally low rate of sea level rise that is not supported by any scientific observations currently being collected… This higher sea level will also push saltwater farther up the river. The dredging will accelerate this salinization process by increasing the volume of area the seawater can enter through… The likely increase in freshwater withdrawals from the river upstream in Central Florida will only exacerbate this problem… We need an honest assessment of dredging’s environmental impacts – only then can we really weigh cost and benefits.” Read We need objective info on dredging
David Bauerlein reports for the Florida Times Union – “The Rotary Club of Jacksonville had hoped to hear opposing sides of the debate over plans to deepen the St. Johns River, inviting JaxPort’s top administrator to share the podium with a critic during the club’s Monday luncheon. But Jacksonville’s port authority turned down the invitation, citing an ongoing lawsuit by St. Johns Riverkeeper… St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said JaxPort is grasping for excuses to avoid a public discussion about the river deepening… ” Read JaxPort won’t talk dredging to community groups, citing legal advice
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “After record rain sent water levels souring across farmland south of Lake Okeechobee and water conservation areas from Palm Beach to Broward counties last month, South Florida water managers raced to flush the peninsula, pumping billions of gallons out to sea and into Biscayne Bay, and opening floodgates normally closed to protect endangered Cape Sable seaside sparrows… The water that swamped sparrow nests in prairie grasses inches from the ground provided just a half inch of relief in the water conservation area, wildlife officials said… The [South Florida Water Management District] has been particularly critical over protections for the sparrow, which nests only in Everglades National Park and prevents draining the conservation area to the north into western nesting grounds. Deriding protections as ‘single species management’ at the cost of restoration, they’ve repeatedly blamed the sparrow over the decades for standing in the way of restoration and incorrectly claimed the population nesting in western prairies was blown north by a hurricane off its historic nesting grounds at Cape Sable. ‘It’s an idea close to the lunatic fringe,’ Stuart Pimm, a Duke University conservation ecologist… wrote… The suggestion also ‘diverts from the inconvenient truth that the Corps and the District have massively harmed the natural vegetation of the southern Everglades by making the water flow in the wrong place at the wrong time of year.’ No evidence exists to support the theory that a hurricane shifted sparrow nesting grounds, added Larry Williams, the Service’s Florida field supervisor. ‘The fact is nobody looked for the birds in these northern areas until the 1970s and 1980s,’ he said… Wildlife managers are working to expand the bird’s nine active nesting grounds to allow flexibility as restoration work is completed… ” Read More summer rain means more environmental problems across South Florida
Steve Patterson reports for The Florida Times Union – “The budget Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry proposed… includes money to remake a flood-prone creek that attracts tires and trash as a core-city greenway for biking and kayaking. The spending plan schedules $4.75 million by 2021 to upgrade McCoys Creek… that… [reaches] the St. Johns River downtown.” Read Jacksonville budget seeks money for McCoys Creek greenway, pipe removal
FWC shares – “There are more manatees and sea turtles in Florida than in any other state… It’s easy to show support for these iconic Florida species by sticking on a decal. Every July the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) introduces new manatee and sea turtle decals available with a $5 donation… Decals generate funding for research, rescue and management efforts that help Florida’s manatees and sea turtles survive.” Read Stick on a decal to show support for Florida’s manatees, sea turtles
Kevin Bouffard reports for The Daytona Beach News Journal – “Florida strawberry growers already have experienced a dress rehearsal for the impacts of climate change during the past two seasons. At the beginning of the 2015-16 strawberry season in November, the above-average hot weather delayed flowering and fruit production on the young plants, pushing the first crop well into December… That had a devastating effect on farm income because Florida strawberry growers depend on the extremely high prices they can get in those first few weeks, when the state is the only domestic producer of strawberries.” Read Study offers warning for Florida farmers from global warming
David A. Super writes for The Hill – “Extreme legislation introduced by Rep. Bruce Westerman would give logging interests virtual absolute primacy in setting forestry policy, to the exclusion of others that depend on our forests.” Read Congress, don’t let logging industry decide fate of American forests
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
August 1, 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. August’s lecture is on Springs Stresses with Dr. Robert Knight. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 - 2427.
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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