FCC News Brief - August 18, 2017

Randy Schultz writes for the Sun Sentinel – “Under Scott, the (water management district) board doesn’t set policy. Scott sets policy, through directors he chooses. The new one is Ernie Marks… Will things change under Marks? Will Scott ask the Department of Justice to free Florida from federal court supervision of Everglades restoration? Does the water management district, which just boasted about seven straight no-new-taxes years… have enough money? Who knows? What matters for now is that the news release announcing Marks’ hire praised the governor for his Everglades policy. Under Rick Scott, an agency that should be all about science is all about politics.” Read For Rick Scott, political protection beats flood protection

Charles Guy writes for The Gainesville Sun – “I object to the content and context of Bob Palmer’s Aug. 13 column, “IFAS ‘science’ protects lawns, not springs.”… I can emphatically state that everyone I know in the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – and it is many having been a past chair of the IFAS Faculty Assembly – is dedicated to the conservation and preservation of Florida’s natural environment… The product of our work is critically vetted through peer review before it is ever approved for publication… I reject the statement that, ‘IFAS’ recommendations are based not on the overall environmental impact of lawn fertilizers, but narrowly on measurements of nitrogen leaching through manicured IFAS research plots’ because it is contextually incorrect. While technically correct, the statement fails to convey how research funding is acquired… Scientists address the questions they can and not necessarily those they would like to address. The questions raised by Palmer might require $16 million or maybe even $100 million to answer, but only $4.2 million was made available. Contrary to what one might conclude from Palmer’s opinion piece, researchers in IFAS are constantly working on cultural methods for turf grasses that will reduce and minimize the release of nitrogen and phosphorus into the environment. This will only be possible through the application of the scientific method and validated empirical evidence, not necessarily through yet untested common-sense ideas.” Read IFAS dedicated to protecting environment

WTXL reports – “For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Florida Wildlife officials are considering letting anglers reel in a limited number of Goliath Grouper… Goliath Grouper… have not been legally harvested since 1990 due to over-fishing. The population has substantially recovered.” Read Florida Wildlife officials considering letting fisherman fish the Goliath Grouper

The SWFWMD shares – “Governor Rick Scott appointed Jim Murphy to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board.” Read Governor Appoints Jim Murphy to the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board

Alanna Quillen reports for WPTV – “[The New Guinea flatworm] is making its way throughout Florida, just a year after the invasive species entered the state. Now, local pest control companies and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are confirming a report of the New Guinea flatworm found in Loxahatchee… ‘… [T]hey have toxic slime, that if you get it on your skin, it will actually cause on allergic reaction,’ said Tilford (of Toad Busters)… Jamie Vasquez, a branch manager with Tropical Pest Control… said it’s the same worm that transmits the deadly rat-lungworm parasite, which can lead to a disease that causes meningitis… The worms can… crawl on fruits and vegetables. ‘If you don’t wash them, you can contract meningitis that way,’ Vasquez added.” Read Toxic New Guinea flatworm surfaces in Loxahatchee

The News Service of Florida reports – “Black bears mothering cubs under 100 pounds would be off-limits if the state conducts bear hunts in the future, under a measure filed… by Sen. Linda Stewart… Stewart’s proposal (SB 156), filed for the 2018 legislative session, also would make the unlawful harvesting of saw palmetto berries on state lands a second-degree misdemeanor. The berries are staple of bear diets.” Read Bill Would Protect Mother Bears in Hunts

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “(Rep.) Mast… announced… he will introduce legislation to establish a competition – with prize money – for developing innovative, environmentally safe ways to combat harmful algae blooms… Prize money would come from private donations… To solicit prize money and determine prizewinners, the Commerce Department also would establish a 30-member board with: representatives of federal agencies including the [EPA], the Department of Interior, NASA and the Army Corps of Engineers, officials from 29 states, including Florida, impacted by blooms, environmental scientists, and representatives from environmental nonprofits.” Read U.S. Rep. Brian Mast to file bill encouraging new technology to fight blue-green algae

Michael Dooner and Eric Draper write for the Tallahassee Democrat – “[F]orests protect surface waters and many of our iconic springs while they also filter the rainwater that recharges underground aquifers – the source of drinking water for 90 percent of Florida residents. These forests clean the are we breathe, provide wildlife habitat for game and threatened and endangered species, and provide a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities… The continued health, vitality and sustainability of Florida’s working forests rely on strong markets for forest products, smart regulation that recognizes this is a beneficial land use to society, and importantly, tax policies that recognize the unique nature of this enterprise and promote the ongoing investment in healthy working forests… It is vital that Congress, in simplifying and modernizing our tax code, recognize the economic and environmental importance of our forestry sector, and the long-term and capital intensive nature of this business.” Read Protect forestry economics in tax reform





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Upcoming Environmental Events    

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.

August 31, 6:30 pm – Attend the “Get the Dirt Out Workshop” in Jacksonville. Become a water watershed protector when you join this program designed to educate citizens about Duval County’s “dirt laws” and train them to be watchdogs in their neighborhoods to keep dirt out of our waterways. For more information, click here. To register, click here

September 5, 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. September’s lecture is on Springs Advocacy with guest speaker Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director of Florida Conservation Voters Education Fund. 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.

September 12, 6:30 pm – Attend a screening of “Troubled Waters,” in Orlando followed by a panel discussion featuring Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, and Professor James C. Adamski. For more information and to register, click here.

September 12, 7:00 pm – Attend in Algal Bloom Awareness Presentation in Orange Park. Aquatic ecologist Robert Storm Burks will explain what causes blue-green algal blooms and why they may be toxic. Learn how to report algae occurrences using Water Rangers, a new web-based app. For more information, click here.

September 16, 9:00 AM – Participate in the Big Talbot Island Cleanup. For more information, click here.

September 23, 9:00 AM – Attend “Solar Rocks for the Equinox” at Rum 138 (2070 SW County Road 138) in Fort White. The event will feature solar experts and exhibitors to showcase affordable solar energy solutions. The event is free and open to the public. Live music and local food options will be available. For more information, contact Chris Mericle (cjmericle@gmail.com, (386) 855 – 5096) or Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (merrillee.malwitz-jipson@sierraclub.org, (352) 222 – 8893).



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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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