FCC News Brief - July 31, 2017

Cynthia Fernandez shares – “[T]he Conservation Trust for Florida… announced the protection of 3,245 acres of conservation and ranch lands in Osceola County… The easement was purchased by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) for $5.4 million. The Florida Forest Service will monitor the property to ensure compliance with the terms of the easement… Owned by the Adams Ranch, which has been in operation since the 1930s, the property is the fourth parcel the Adams family has placed under conservation easement.” Read 4th Adams Ranch easement protects 3,245 acres

Kimberly Miller reports for the Palm Beach Post – “In a move that hasn’t been made since 2014, the Army Corps of Engineers is letting Martin County’s St. Lucie Canal run into Lake Okeechobee to increase lake levels lowered by spring drought. Water from the canal, also called the C-44, comes from the east. It’s a reverse of what happened last summer where water from the lake went through the canal into the St. Lucie estuary. Trickling through row crops, golf courses and some residential areas, the canal water has contained as much as two times the amount of phosphorus this month than what is considered normal… This month, a “significant” algae bloom was identified on the lake… On Friday, Audubon Florida scientist and Lake Okeechobee expert Paul Gray found the glowing green algae at the Pahokee Marina with people fishing in it. ‘Why are there no warning signs,’ he asked… ‘This summer, environmental activists have been silent as millions of gallons of untreated water have flowed into Lake Okeechobee from Martin County waterways,’ said Hillary Hyslope, executive director of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce. ‘Efforts should be focused on cleaning water before it goes into the lake.’” Read Large algae bloom forms on Lake O; could we see a repeat of 2016?

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “[A] bill approved… by the U.S. House of Representatives… includes $82 million to the Army Corps of Engineers for Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation… and $76.5 million to the Corps for other South Florida ecosystem restoration. The Make America Secure Appropriations Act... also includes two appropriations totaling nearly $1.1 million added by U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Palm City Republican, to develop ways to combat harmful algae blooms: - $598,000 for the Department of the Navy Research Laboratory’s work on coastal contamination and contaminated sediments. - $500,000 for the Aquatic Plant Control Research Program, the nation’s only federally authorized program developing technology to manage non-indigenous aquatic plant species, such as algae blooms… The funding still has to be OK’s by the U.S. Senate and signed by President Donald Trump.” Read U.S. House Oks $160 million for Lake Okeechobee dike, Everglades, algae research

Deborah Buckhalter reports for the Jackson County Floridan – “A large number of people came to the Jackson County Commission meeting… to support a request that the county, by ordinance, outlaw the installation of a deep injection well at Springhill Landfill… Commissioners voted to ask the circuit court for a temporary injunctive relief to prevent the installation of the well until it can be determined, in perhaps another court action, whether the county has the right to zone wells out of the county even if the state issues a permit for the well’s construction. That vote was unanimous. And on a 4-1 vote… the board also voted to outlaw all deep injection wells in the county. Board attorney Michelle Jordan also gave commissioners other ammunition to think about. Disposing of the leachate on site would constitute a change of use on the property where the landfill sits. That change of use… requires an amendment to the development order which governs activities on the site. The company has not sought such an amendment to date and so cannot at this point put in the well without violating local law.” Read County tries to block disposal well at landfill

Glenn Compton writes for The Bradenton Times – “USFWS is under pressure to reduce the protective designation of the Florida panther, moving the species from the endangered list to the threatened list. Such a delisting would be disastrous for the panther… According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ‘A species can be delisted if the Secretary of the Interior determines that the species no longer meets the endangered or threatened status based upon the five factors listed in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA: (1) the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (5) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.’ Since the listing of the Florida panther as endangered in 1967, panther habitat has significantly declined due to rapid urban sprawl and agricultural land conversions… The Florida panther has not recovered in numbers to ensure its long-term viability as a species.” Read Delisting Would Put Panthers in Peril

The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board writes – “Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given its approval for the extension of State Road 7, will the city of West Palm Beach finally see that its obstinate stand against this project has reached the end of the road?... [There] is a very real need for more traffic options in this rapidly growing part of the county. North and west of SR 7, a torrent of new homes and businesses is slated for construction, the biggest being 4,500 homes in newly incorporated Westlake; 3,900 homes in Indian Trail Grove from GL Homes; and the 3,250-home Avenir… Years ago when West Palm Beach started this fight…, it might have been reasonable to argue that blocking the road would be a curb on growth in the area. But the county commission approved development anyway. Now it is irresponsible to hold back construction of a four-lane north-south highway to connect the coming communities to the rest of the county…” Read After Corps’ ruling, West Palm should quit the SR 7 fight

Darryl Fears reports for The Washington Post – “[A]nalysts say the metropolitan area [of Tampa Bay] is the most vulnerable in the United States to flooding and damage if a major hurricane ever scores a direct hit. A Boston firm that analyzes potential catastrophic damage reported that the region would lose $175 billion in a storm the size of Hurricane Katrina. A World Bank study called Tampa Bay one of the 10 most at-risk areas on the globe. Yet the bay area – greater Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater – has barely begun to assess the rate of sea-level rise and address its effects… Worried that area leaders weren’t adequately focused on the downside of living in a tropic, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council reminded them of the risks by simulating a worst-case scenario hurricane, a category 5 with winds exceeding 156 mph, to demonstrate what would happen if it entered the Gulf of Mexico and turned their way. The fictitious Phoenix hurricane scenario projects that wind damage would destroy nearly half a million homes and businesses. About 2 million residents would require medical treatment, and the estimated death toll, more than 2,000, would top the number of people who perished from Hurricane Katrina…” Read Tampa Bay’s coming storm

The Associated Press reports – “Florida’s governor wants to know if state law needs to be changed to better protect wildlife after a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat went viral.” Read Florida governor disturbed by video of shark dragging





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Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper




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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 4-6, 3:00 pm – Watch the Florida Wildlife Corridor’s newest documentary, “The Forgotten Coast” at The Calusa Nature Center in Fort Myers. The film showcases an expedition along Florida’s west coast from the Everglades to the Panhandle. The film showing is included with regular admission to the museum. 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 12, 4:00 pm – Participate in the Hot City-Cool City Walking Tour in Pensacola. During the walk, participants will explore old and new ways that cities can adapt to the higher temperatures and heavier rainfall of our changing climate. For more information email 350pensacola@gmail.com, call (850) 687 – 9968, or 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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