FCC News Brief - April 2, 2019

Quote of the Day: “Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” -Carl Sagan

Read DeSantis announces UF biologist as state’s first chief science officer - “Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his pick to fill the newly created job of chief science officer on Monday, tapping a University of Florida biologist whose past work specializes in how pollution affects water quality. Thomas Frazer is currently the director of the university’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and is on the faculty advisory committee for the University of Florida Climate Institute, which researches climate change. He recently had a research paper on Florida’s algae blooms accepted for publication, according to his online resume...Shortly after he was sworn into office in January, DeSantis created the position of chief science officer, in addition to creating the Office of Environmental Accountability and Transparency within the Department of Environmental Protection…” Emily L. Mahoney reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Fix Florida’s wastewater infrastructure- “As a mother and professional photographer who depends upon clean water to recreate and practice my trade, it profoundly angers me that so few municipal leaders can summon the political will to upgrade the state’s aging and antiquated wastewater infrastructure — until citizens prevail in court. Raw and partially treated sewage routinely flows in our neighborhoods and waterways... Over the past three years, the [Sarasota County]’s utility has spilled more than 800-million gallons of wastewater into Cowpen Slough, Phillippi Creek, Roberts Bay and Sarasota Bay. The water comes from the county’s storage tank and storing pond adjacent to the Bee Ridge Reclamation Facility. These aren’t isolated problems. Wastewater mismanagement is widespread across the state. after Hurricane Irma, Brevard County utilities spilled more than 22 million gallons of raw sewage into the iconic Indian River Lagoon, which has largely collapsed, primarily because of inadequate sewage treatment. From Miami to the Panhandle, inadequately treated sewage is fueling harmful algal blooms, killing ecosystems and contaminating public waters with dangerous pathogens. Any reputable water quality expert will tell you that raw and partially treated sewage provides algae with phosphorous and nitrogen concentrates that allow them to bloom like crazy. Florida’s ecosystems, its water-based economies, and its citizenry deserve better…” Caroline Smith writes Opinion for the Herald-Tribune.

Read For Florida to keep up with the growing population we will need an additional 1.3 billion gallons of freshwater each day - “...By 2030, it is projected that Florida’s population will grow to 23,609,000 — a 26 percent increase over 2010. To keep up with the growing population we will need an additional 1.3 billion gallons of fresh water each day over 2010 water use. Much of this water will be used by an increasingly urban population, as much of our state’s population growth is predicted to take place in urban centers. Protecting water quality in growing urban and suburban areas requires special effort. Data from Florida Friendly Landscaping shows that at least 50 percent of water used by households statewide is for outdoor irrigation of urban and suburban lawns. One thing we can all do is cut back on how much water we use in the yard on lawns and landscaping. This can be accomplished in several ways: using “smart” irrigation systems that water only when soil moisture or weather conditions indicate it is necessary, adopting Florida-Friendly Landscaping practices (placing the right plants in the right places to ensure efficient use of water), auditing and inspecting home irrigation systems to make sure they are working efficiently, and placing mulch around trees and shrubs to hold in soil moisture…” Mary Lusk writes Opinion for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Michael changed forests, full impact unknown - “Hundreds of thousands of trees snapped like matchsticks during Hurricane Michael, recreating the very fabric of the woodland environment. Streams and small rivers were disrupted by the hundreds of small dams the downed timber created on their banks. The roots that held the ground together have been upended, leaving the area vulnerable to erosion. The habitat has changed for woodland wildlife. New hazards, like fire and invasive species, loom ahead. More than 3 million acres were severely damaged by the storm and about half of the damage was catastrophic, meaning 95 percent of the trees were lost, according to the Florida Forestry Service. With large tracts of managed land in the region, the storm is expected to cost the timber industry more than $1.3 billion. “Hurricane Michael was devastating for our timber and forest,” said Jim Karels, state forester and director of the Florida Forest Service. “Hugo, Andrew, Ivan, Katrina, this is the worst forest devastation I’ve seen.”...The near erasure of the forest has marked the beginning of a great competition on the forest floor. With the giants gone, there is suddenly an abundance of resources that weren’t available before to the young trees, including more water and sunlight...What does all this mean for the wildlife that call the forest home? That could take years to fully figure out, said Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “Understanding the impacts to wildlife and their habitats may take months or years, Segelson wrote in an email. “Impacts to individual wildlife species will vary, potentially increasing preferred habitats for some species and decreasing the same for others…”  Katie Landeck reports for the News Herald.

Read FWC: Panther killed by vehicle in Hendry County - “A 4-year-old panther was found dead Saturday on State Road 80, about a half mile west of Murray Road, in Hendry County.   The Florida Fish and Wildlife and Conservation Commission reported that the panther was killed by a vehicle, the eighth panther death this year and the sixth roadkill. Florida panthers are an endangered species. The last reported panther death was a 7-month-old panther discovered on March 24 in Collier County. That panther was also killed by a vehicle, according to the FWC.    Last year, 30 panthers were found dead in Florida, and 26 of those deaths were caused by vehicles, according to the FWC…” Jake Allen reports for the Naples Daily News.

Read Wetlands filter water, absorb sediment, nutrients, pollutants - “...These so called “mudflats” are the salt marshes and wetlands that I have come to recognize as being absolutely critical to having a healthy environment, especially for our rivers, estuaries, and oceans. However, in the 1950′s and 60′s, we didn’t recognize their importance. They were viewed as wasted space that needed to be bulkheaded and filled to make the land usable. These littoral zones are the edges of tributaries, rivers, streams, and ocean where vegetation grows that requires constant water. Both the submerged aquatic vegetation, often called sea grasses, and the emergent wetland vegetation, typical of salt marshes, provide essential food and habitat for virtually all marine and aquatic life at some point in their life. Often these areas are the nursery grounds for many marine or aquatic species... As we filled in wetlands, we also watched as water quality declined...Here in the St. Johns River, we have a history that mirrors the rest of the world in the filling and paving of our wetlands. We viewed this land as more valuable if we could build something on it, rather than letting it fulfill its natural function. The ecological services provided by these areas in water treatment and flood control is worth thousands of dollars per acre. Yet, we routinely watch, even today, as wetlands are converted for other functions. One especially consequential impact of the dredging of our river, combined with the filling and paving of the wetland, has been the change in salinity of the river. Because we have an unlimited amount of seawater just east of Jacksonville, little changes in the hydrology of the river have a tremendous effect on the ecology of the river…” Quinton White writes Special to Jacksonville.com.

Read Federal judge declares Trump’s push to open up Arctic and Atlantic oceans to oil and gas drilling illegal - “A federal judge in Alaska declared late Friday that President Trump’s order revoking a sweeping ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans is illegal, putting 128 million acres of federal waters off limits to energy exploration. The decision by U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason is the third legal setback this week to Trump’s energy and environmental policies. The judge, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2012, also blocked on Friday a land swap the Interior Department arranged that would pave the way for constructing a road through wilderness in a major National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska...Trump’s rollbacks of Obama-era conservation policies have suffered nearly two dozen setbacks in federal court, largely on procedural grounds. While the administration is appealing many of these decisions and holds an advantage if the cases reach the Supreme Court, the rulings have slowed the president’s drive to expand fossil fuel production in the United States…” Juliet Eilperin reports for the Washington Post.

Read Trump doubles down on Keystone Oil Pipeline with new permit- “President Donald Trump issued a new permit for TransCanada Corp.’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline Friday, circumventing a court ruling that blocked a previous authorization by his State Department. The move aims to undercut legal challenges to the $8 billion project, including a November ruling by a Montana-based district judge that faulted the State Department’s previous environmental analysis, according to a person familiar with the matter. It could pave the way for beginning some preliminary work, according to Clearview Energy Partners...Unlike the earlier State Department permit, which was issued after a deep environmental analysis required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the new presidential permit is not directly tied to any such review. And the NEPA statute that generally compels environmental study of energy projects and major agency actions does not apply to the president...”Robert Tuttle and Jennifer A Dlouhy report for Bloomberg.

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.

Job Openings:

Manatee Conservation Contractor - Defenders of Wildlife

Development Coordinator - Conservation Florida

Sustainability Administrator - City of Fort Lauderdale

Marine Science Faculty Position- Florida Keys Community College

Communications Coordinator - Florida Sea Grant

Education Specialist - Nature’s Academy

Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Upcoming Environmental Events:

April 4 & 5 - International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society - (Miami Gardens) - At the second International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society hosted by St. Thomas University and The Nature Conservancy, a diverse group of leaders from multiple faiths and sustainability focused organizations will gather in South Florida to discuss our changing climate, implications and solutions. The conference will explore how participants and communities of faith can take action to address climate challenges. Together, we can implement solutions that are respectful and supportive of the nature that sustains us and must sustain future generations, and preserve the environment that renews our spirits. Registration and agenda.  Moot Court, School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054    View Map - Directions. Thursday, April 4 from 9am-5pm and Friday, April 5 from 9am-12pm.

April 8 & 9 - Everglades Action Day - (Tallahassee) - The Everglades Coalition is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Join fellow advocates from all corners of the state and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and for a strong economy. Your voice on Everglades Action Day ensures that the famed ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials! New to advocacy? No problem. Training and materials will be provided. The Everglades Coalition will sponsor group transportation to make it easy for all to get to Tallahassee (we have an east coast and a west coast bus). Click here to register, see you in Tallahassee! 

April 8 - 6:00 PM - Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series - (Pensacola) - Join us on Monday, April 8th beginning at 6 p.m. at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden   Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 for Earth Ethics April Environmental Education Series.  Earth Ethics in partnership with Earth Day Network is celebrating and supporting those who “protect our species”. This month we welcome Dorothy Kaufmann, Director at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Ms. Kaufmann’s Giving Wildlife A Second Chance presentation will discuss the organizations care of injured or orphaned wildlife including medical care, fostering, rehabilitate and wildlife release. Stay up to date on the event on Facebook here. Or if your not on social media, let us know you’ll be joining us by getting your free tickets at Eventbrite here.

April 9 - Nationwide Youth Lobby Event - (Tallahassee) - Our Climate and NextGen Florida are participating in a Nationwide Youth Lobby Dayby organizing young people in Tallahassee on April 9. We'll head up the evening before to the Florida People's Advocacy Center (603 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32301), then . We have opportunities to attend lobbying webinars with our team: Distributed Youth Lobby Day -- How to Lobby Your Elected Official Webinar, and information on how to plan a Distributed Youth Lobby Day near you. Register for the Tallahassee trip at bit.ly/flyld and share the opportunity with any young people in your life!

April 10 - 1:00pm- 2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group - (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (VEDG) will hold its next program on Wednesday, April 10, from 1:00 to 2:45 p.m., at Belvedere Library Community Room, (325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL 32162.) The guest speaker will be Ryan Armstrong, Manager of Bargains & Blessings Resale store, which is located at 301 N. Main St., Wildwood, FL. Ryan will discuss the work performed in 2014 by volunteers of the United Methodist Church, New Covenant United Methodist Church of The Villages, and men from House of Hope, who helped to renovate and transform the 8,000 square feet to create the resale shop. He will also describe some of the most important successes of this community resale shop. One may purchase quality, affordable furniture, major appliances, clothing, and household goods at the shop. Proceeds of these sales benefit local families who are aided by the Helping Hands Ministry. This program is FREE and open to all. Bring your neighbor and some questions. For additional information, send your note to raivedg@gmail.com.

April 12-13 - 10th Annual Florida Wildflower Symposium - (Gainesville) - The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s signature annual event, focusing exclusively on the state’s native wildflowers and their ecosystems. The purpose of the event is to immerse participants in an educational experience that exposes them to the reality of Florida’s environmental challenges while giving them the tools to affect change. The symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center 2142 Shealy Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608. For more information and registration, visit the website here.

April 13 - 11:00AM-3:00PM - Earth Day Celebration - (Fort Walton Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for an Earth Day Celebration at Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is  "to protect our species”. We will have vendors that will support the theme, but others will include recycling, hybrid vehicles, solar energy, water education, plastic pollution, and more! This year Earth Day FWB is partnering with Drive Electric Earth Day website. Interested in being a vendor? Click here. Interested in being a sponsor? Click here. Stay up to date on the event’s activities at the Facebook event site here,   and website here.

April 13 - 9:30 AM-4:00 PM - Recognizing the Rights of Nature in Florida Law - (Apopka) - Speak Up Wekiva has organized a workshop featuring the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss a campaign to bring Rights of Nature to Florida’s charter counties. This particular meeting is for community organizers who have an understanding about the Rights of Nature movement and are ready to take action in Florida.  Space is limited-please email ChuckforFlorida@gmail.com to RSVP and ask for more information.

April 20 - 6:30 PM - Film screening of “Woman at War” - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc, in partnership with Pensacola Cinema Art, for a viewing of “Woman at War”. This is a foreign Indie film based in Iceland that conveys a global message relatable to all Earth Warriors. “Woman at War is confronting some of the heaviest dilemmas of our time (e.g. how do we bring new life into a broken world).” Although fantastical, the climate change theme and how we deal with these issues is prominently displayed throughout the film.Join us at Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street (former Sun Trust building), Pensacola, FL. You must RSVP through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-at-war-movie-viewing-tickets-58810076522 in order to reserve your seating. Seating is limited to 30 spots. Tickets, to paid at the door, are $7 and includes free popcorn, wine or water, and light refreshments. There is free off-street parking for attendees. Contact Mary at earthethicsaction@gmail.com for more information.

April 27 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM - The Water Festival - (Deland) - The Volusia Water Alliance invites one and all to a street party celebrating water with a day of fun activities and performances in historic downtown DeLand. The festival will feature live mermaids, sidewalk chalk artists, dance and musical performances, a Blessing of the Waters (a Native American tradition), children’s games and activities, a Dog Zone, educational displays, and vendor booths. Visit VolusiaWater.org for more information. Admission is FREE. A few sponsorships and vendor spaces are still available. (West Indiana Avenue, DeLand, FL 32720) 

April 27 - 12:00pm - The League of Women Voters Broward County Annual Luncheon featuring former Governor Bob Graham - (Margate) - Members and non-members alike are invited to join the Broward County chapter of the League of Women Voters on Saturday, April 27 at the Carolina Golf Club (3011 Rock Island Road, Margate, FL). Keynote speaker Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and US Senator, founder of the Save the Everglades movement, and a beloved figure in Florida politics, will speak about how and why we should participate in our democracy today. Reserve your tickets by April 19 by visiting this link: Order tickets here. Send questions or special needs to info@lwvbroward.org.

May 16-19 - 39th Annual Florida Native Plant Society Conference - (Crystal River)- Our theme this year "Transitions" is pertinent to the Nature Coast region of Florida in a number of ways - sea level rise, migrations of ecosystems due to climate change, and the transition zone between north and south Florida.  You will be delighted by mind-expanding experiences, tempted by sumptuous meals (including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free) and amazed by the networking and social opportunities. As always, we will offer an abundance of presentations and workshops. 9301 West Fort Island Trail, Crystal River, FL 34429 . Click here for attendee and vendor registration.

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.


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