Kate Payne reports for WFSU – “The Florida Defense Alliance says state lawmakers are putting military bases at risk, by not buying up conservation lands. The group sees Florida Forever as a way to stem development around the installations. The program is also a top priority for environmentalists… Representative Holly Raschein of Key Largo says her district’s bases are feeling the pressure of development. ‘I commit to you, and I think I can bring Representatives Trumball and Ingram on with me, that we are going to take this up. And we’re going to have to rewrite the budget after this storm season. But land acquisition and those things are very, very important,’ Raschein said… Lawmakers routinely funded Florida Forever at $300 million a year before the Great Recession. But in recent years the program hasn’t survived budget talks.” Read Military Support Organization Backs Florida Forever Program
Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times – “Audubon of Florida reported… that [Hurricane Irma] destroyed all 44 nests around Lake Okeechobee built by the endangered Everglades snail kite… ‘Post-Irma assessments of the lake indicate that many adults and juveniles in the area rode out the storm and survived, but sadly, nests with eggs or flightless babies perished,’ [Sean Cooley of Audubon Florida] wrote… The nesting this year was hurt by the drought that occurred before hurricane season – meaning the birds were harmed by both dry and wet seasons… Audubon considers [the birds] to be a barometer fro the health of the Everglades and the success of the ongoing multi-billion restoration project. That’s because the alterations to the River of Grass… [have] made it nearly impossible for the birds to find the native snails that they eat… ‘Population models predict that if current trends continue, this majestic species could become functionally extinct in a matter of 20 to 30 years,’ Audubon Florida noted in a 2011 report. But in recent years, the kites have been spotted feeding on larger, invasive snails... Whether that’s helpful to saving the birds or not remains under study… [Hurricane Irma’s effect on nesting demonstrates,] ‘why we want endangered species like this to be more robust – so they can be more resilient,’ [Julie Hill-Gabriel, deputy director of Audubon of Florida] said.” Read Irma roughs up endangered snail kites, birds that help us gauge the Everglades’ health
The Herald Tribune writes – “[T]he reservoir created in DeSoto County by the authority was full, with 6 billion gallons of water. Underground storage wells were also full, with 6.3 billion gallons. These bountiful conditions exist not only because we are in the midst of rainy season but because the reservoir and aquifer-storage wells were created through a four-county collaborative… that has been planning and executing a visionary strategy for nearly four decades. The Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority has been able to fill the reservoir and wells due to an innovative, environmentally sound process of skimming and storing specified percentages of the river water during high-flow months. This approach has prevented faucets from going dry during droughts and reduced the environmental stresses of overpumping… [T]he authority’s intake system will accommodate 102 million gallons per day, about 1 percent of the river’s total flow. (During dry spells, the authority dramatically reduces or eliminates its pumping and relies on stored supplies. There are also other wells and supplies, so the authority can essentially rotate its sources as warranted.)... Coordination and political differences between the four counties have posed challenges, but working through them has again paid dividends.” Read Water, water everywhere to drink
Philip Levine writes for the Miami Herald – “Miami Beach is implementing a plan to make the city more resilient against sea-level rise. However, let’s be clear – most cities cannot afford to do it on their own, nor should they. To better safeguard our environment, real estate market, and tourism-based economy, state leaders must do their part, and: - Create a resiliency commission… Made up of leaders and experts from across the state, this commission could coordinate with existing regional planning councils, providing expertise and a tailored blueprint – city by city, town by town – on how to make our local communities more resilient against environmental threats, whether they are hurricanes, sea-level rise, diminished water quality, infectious diseases, agricultural pests, or any other natural disaster. – Create a dedicated resiliency fund, with which state government would invest in our cities’ infrastructure. This fund would partner with local municipalities that have identified weaknesses and want to co-invest.” Read Florida must invest in infrastructure
Krista Torralva reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Ellen Miller sat in a lawn chair Tuesday and watched her home of 49 years slip into a 15-foot-deep crater… The area where [her family lives], near Rock Springs, is prone to sinkholes, because the limestone is especially porous and cavernous and the amount of dirt above the rock is shallow, said Orange County sinkhole consultant and engineer Devo Seereeram… The biggest trigger, however, is the amount of rain from Hurricane Irma, he said.” Read Apopka sinkhole up close: Family rescues belongings as home swallowed
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “The fish are getting picked up. A South Florida Water Management District crew arrived… to start cleaning up thousands of dead fish in a district-owned canal in Port St. Lucie.” Read South Florida Water Management District cleaning up C-24 Canal fish kill in Port St. Lucie
Gimleteye writes for Eye on Miami – “I’m a consumer, just like you. My carbon footprint is much larger than it should be. I don’t like to be made feel guilty, and this perception holds back some climate change deniers from switching sides… In the United States, our choice is to be “free” to pollute to whatever extent government incentivizes consumption. I do drive a gas combustion car. I do take airline flights to see my children. I have used many plastic bags in a lifetime of grocery shopping. But as a taxpayer in the first world, I also recognize that my use of gasoline, electricity and other consumer products is shaped by government. For example, mileage standards in autos… At Eye on Miami, we have been arguing local county government should halt an effort by developers to move the Urban Development Boundary because, among other problems, it reinforces the sprawling development pattern that forces more people into cars onto congested highways and streets… Another example of how government turns value judgments by polluters into a limited set of choices for consumers is the dismantling of campaign finance rules (Citizens United)… President Trump’s likely, imminent withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and surrendering regulatory agencies like the U.S. EPA to lobbyists and lawyers who represented polluting industries… are further examples of hurling consumers toward forced choices and an un-American form of hopelessness. American voters could do better and would have in 2016, if elections were secure and districts drawn fairly. In a recent letter to the editor of the New York Times, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse observed succinctly: ‘… The Supreme Court let unlimited money into politics. The fossil fuel industry has unlimited money and… a multi-hundred-billion-dollar subsidy to protect. The fossil fuel industry used its unlimited money (and related threats) to capture the Republican Party. Climate change then became ‘partisan’ and untouchable… Before Citizens United there were multiple bipartisan climate bills every year; afterward, none.’… The best way forward is to vote in 2018 for incumbents and candidates who will act in taxpayers’ and voters’ best interests on climate change…” Read An appeal to climate change deniers, the choice really is yours
Jessica Lipscomb reports for the Miami New Times – “After purchasing plywood, filling up on fuel, and buying enough food to feed the family, most Floridians are probably feeling a little strapped this month… ‘Everybody’s power went out, but the impact of that is very different on different people,’ says Chuck Elsesser, an attorney at Miami’s Community Justice Project… To help those who are scrambling to pay their bills or pick up extra shifts, the team at the Community Justice Project has put together a guide (handily translated into English, Spanish, and Kreyol) with information and links that show how to apply for state and federal benefits. Here are five other financial relief programs that could help you balance your checkbook after a big storm: 1. Disaster Unemployment Assistance… 2. Student Loan Forbearance… 3.Food Replacement… 4.Mortgage or Rent Forgiveness… 5.Overdraft and Late Fee Waivers…” Read Five Programs to Get Back on Your Feet
From Our Readers
The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.
Upcoming Environmental Events
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org, (386) 855 – 5096) or Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson (email@example.com, (352) 222 – 8893).
September 26, 6:00 pm – Attend “Is Pensacola a Strong Town? – An Evening with Chuck Marohn” in Pensacola. Chuck will discuss how communities in northwest Florida can become more fiscally responsible, manage growth more responsibly and protect taxpayers from long-term expenses. For more information, and to register, click here.
September 29, 2:00 pm – Attend or view a live stream of FSU’s Environmental College of Law Fall 2017 Environmental Forum: “The Psychology of Climate Change: Why do People Believe What they Believe?” For more information, click here.
October 3, 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. October’s lecture is a Springs Overview – Past, Present, and Future with FSI Executive Director, 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.
October 7, 9:00 am – Attend the 2017 Everglades Symposium: Citizen Empowerment in Miami. For more information and to register, click here.
October 11, 12:45 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussions Group meeting at the Belvedere Library Community Room in The Villages. Gary Kuhl and Amy Giannotti will be speaking. Gary Kuhl is a former Executive Director of the SWFWMD and Amy Giannotti is the Water & Lakes Manager in Winter Park, FL. For more information and to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 11, 7:00 pm – Attend “Losing the Grand Canyon: FAF Presents an Unforgettable Evening with Kevin Fedarko” in Orlando. Kevin is one of 24 who have hiked the entire 800-mile journey through the Canyon. What he learned along the way should concern all of us in Florida who love our environmental treasures. The evening will be moderated by Diane Roberts and tickets are $50. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.
October 19, 6:30 pm – Attend “Natural Treasures of the Florida Panhandle,” a presentation by Bruce Means, Coastal Plains Institute, at The King Life Sciences Building, FSU, in Tallahassee.
Do you know of an upcoming environmental event or meeting you would like to include in the FCC News Brief? Send us a quick e-mail and we will include it for you.
We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest environmental news from around the state. Our hope is that you will use this information to more effectively and frequently contact your elected representatives, and add your voice to the growing chorus of Floridians concerned about the condition of our environment and the recent direction of environmental policies.
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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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