FCC News Brief - August 7, 2017

Kim Slowey reports for Construction Dive – “Several of Florida’s major rivers, like the Hillsborough River in Tampa and the St. Johns, which runs through Jacksonville, are spring-fed. If those rivers were to stop flowing, it would be disastrous for the economies that depend on them… [E]veryone who uses water is contributing to the problem. According to the [Florida Springs Institute], aquifer levels have fallen below what is necessary to maintain a healthy aquifer-spring system. A 10-to-20-foot reduction in aquifer levels is enough to stop a spring from flowing, and some urban areas have already recorded 30-to-90-foot drops. According to the United States Geological Survey, groundwater in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area has been pumped to the point that saltwater has entered the supply, a series of sinkholes have formed and surface water has been depleted… Crowley said there is an argument to be made that a per-gallon charge levied on utility companies could provide the extra money for conservation efforts and help create efficiency in the water utility system. But those costs would also be passed on to consumers and businesses.” Read Is development draining the FL aquifer system beyond repair?

Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “This weekend when theaters nationwide begin showing “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,”… Miami appears as a key supporting cast member… When he returned to South Florida this week to promote the new movie, Gore sat down with the Miami Herald… On Florida: ‘Solar jobs in the U.S. are growing 17 times faster than other jobs. A lot of those jobs ought to be created here in South Florida but of course the fossil fuel-burning utilities kind of control the Legislature and certainly the governor. So it’s hard to make progress… On why he frames climate policy as a moral choice: ‘… [W]hat moral right do we have to subject all future generations to the growing danger of chaos and disruption and a diminished future? But even before you get to that point, just look at the effect it’s having on us now. And everywhere in the world the harshest impact is on poor people…’” Read Al Gore on Miami’s future, new sequel to his climate movie and Donald Trump

The Associated Press reports – “[A] sinkhole that swallowed two homes last month is growing... Officials aren’t sure what caused the destabilization but think seismic vibrations from trucks and construction equipment around the hole could be to blame. Dump trucks were scheduled to bring in boulders… to try to stabilize one side of the sinkhole so a small barge can be brought in. Authorities hope to create a boat ramp so they can work from the barge, which will float on water in the sinkhole… Thousands of property owners in [Palm Beach] County will be in newly created flood hazard zones later this year, and that means they’ll be required to buy flood insurance for the first time.” Read Florida briefs: Sinkhole grows; flood zones expand

Rep. Bill Posey writes for Florida Today – “Maintaining our beaches and shorelines is necessary to promoting tourism, recreation, and supporting marine life. That’s why I introduced bipartisan legislation with members of the Florida delegation to place a moratorium on seismic exploration off the coastline of Florida so we can study its effects on our sea life… The moratorium remains in place until science proves there is minimal impact on fish, sea turtles, and the various marine mammals that inhabit the waters off our coast.” Read Moratorium on seismic exploration a must to study effects

Drew Wilson reports for Florida Politics – “Scientists working for the South Florida Water Management District presented findings… pointing to inflows north of Lake Okeechobee as the source of nutrients causing recent algae blooms in the lake… Everglades Agricultural Area Farmers, a group representing mainly sugar farmers south of the lake, saw the report as vindication for what they have been telling state lawmakers all along: sugar isn’t the problem, and southern storage isn’t the solution… South Florida farmers… said it’s time for lawmakers to do their part by tackling the problem at the source with a northern water storage and treatment plan.” Read Scientists blame northern inflows for current Lake O algae bloom

Alexis Spoehr reports for the Suwannee Democrat – “The Suwannee River League of Cities… is one of 18 smaller leagues that comprise the Florida League of Cities… The SRLC discussed the new Florida Water Challenge, which is to improve the amount of water Florida has from now until 2070. There are seven programs for the water challenge and will cost about $3.1 trillion to complete.” Read SRLC discusses water challenge in Live Oak meeting

Veronica Carter reports for the Public News Service – “Citrus trees in the Sunshine State are under attack from the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a tiny… brown insect… that feeds on the new leafs of citrus trees and some ornamental plants. It also leaves behind plant bacteria and leads to what’s called citrus greening disease. Researchers have found a wasp (Tamarixia) that controls the bug, and homeowners are asked to set some of them free into their own yards and gardens. The Florida Department of Agriculture is mailing out packages of the wasp to anyone who requests them… Environmental groups urge the use of natural predators as opposed to toxic pesticides.” Read Florida Homeowners Asked to Help with Citrus Crop

Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones – “Every summer, an algal bloom stretches along the Chesapeake Bay, the most productive estuary in the continental United States. As the algae dies, it sucks oxygen from the water, suffocating or driving away marine life. Cleaning up the dead zones would lead to more productive fisheries, increased tourism, and higher property values… What drives the algal blooms is what makes corn grow tall: nitrogen. The corn that farmers plant sucks up 50 percent or less of the nitrogen in the fertilizer they apply in the spring… [C]ome harvest, there are no plants to absorb the excess, and so it leaches into streams and runs off into the bay – where it fertilizers… algae. By paying farmers to plant a winter-hardy crop like rye right after corn is harvested in the fall, Maryland is trying to solve that problem. The program owes its origins largely to a 1998 University of Maryland study that showed planting rye after corn reduced nitrate leaching by about 80 percent. When cover crops were used for seven straight seasons, the researchers found, the nitrate levels in the water table dropped by 50 percent or more. Now, more than half of all corn and soybean acres in Maryland are covered in the winter, keeping 3.4 million pounds of nitrogen out of the Chesapeake Bay.” Read How Midwestern Farmers Could Help Save the Gulf of Mexico





From Our Readers


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Job Openings

Organizing Representative in Miami for Sierra Club Florida

Administrative Director for the Apalachicola Riverkeeper




Tell NOAA: Protect Marine Life from Dangerous Seismic Airgun Blasting

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

Ask County Commissions to Pass Bear-Friendly Trash Ordinances

Stop the Port Canaveral Rail Extension Project

Paynes Prairie in danger

Help Florida Become a “Pay for Shade” state




Upcoming Environmental Events    


August 8, 12:30 pm – Attend an Orlando City Council meeting to support Orlando committing to 100% renewable energy. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

August 9, 6:30 pm – Attend a free screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” in Orlando. For more information, and to register, click here. Seating is limited.

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.

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



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