FCC News Brief - December 12, 2018

Read DeSantis transition panel weighs water issues - “ Money set aside annually for the restoration of the Everglades and other waterways should also help end the use of septic tanks, a former House speaker suggested Monday as a panel considered potential environmental policies for Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis. Former Speaker Steve Crisafulli said the incoming governor should tap the “Legacy Florida” funding to aid conversions from septic tanks to local sewer systems in coastal areas and near lagoons and estuaries. “At the end of the day, I think that there is a conversation to be had about a dedicated funding source that could be used for those conversions,” said Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican who served as speaker from 2014 to 2016...It remains to be seen if the proposal will make a final report produced by a DeSantis transition committee considering issues related to the environment, natural resources and agriculture...Crisafulli said using the “Legacy Florida” money for septic-tank conversions should satisfy the courts, where a battle has been playing out about whether lawmakers improperly used from the 2014 voter-approved Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative. A Leon County circuit judge ruled lawmakers improperly diverted portions of the money to such expenses as staffing, though the case has been appealed…” Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.

Read Water woes await Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis: Transition team wants to do more now - “Congressman Brian Mast convened the first meeting of Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis' environment transition team with a sense of urgency. The 40-member panel will frame water issues and identify steps to improve water quality for the new administration. And Mast wants to know what the current administration did that works and he wants more of it now. DeSantis, who calls himself a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist, inherits a quartet of water problems. In addition to the slow pace of Everglades restoration, red tide infested both east and west coasts this past year, algae-blooms plague north Florida springs and urban and agricultural runoff foul Lake Okeechobee, which also complicates efforts to restore the flow of water into Florida Bay. The environment advisory group spent much of its inaugural meeting focused on Lake Okeechobee. Periodic discharges there, to relieve pressure on the Herbert Hoover Dike, sends pea-soup-colored water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and harms tourism-dependent economies on both coasts.Mast said the group will make its recommendations to DeSantis by the end of the month. He encouraged the 40-member panel to work with a sense of urgency. "(Water) is the lifeblood of Florida's environment, which I believe is the lifeblood of Florida's economy," said Mast. Monday's meeting included a briefing on recent legislation that includes 20-year goals to improve water quality in the springs and Everglades… James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat.

Read Water managers face scrutiny from DeSantis - “Florida’s incoming governor stopped short of demanding South Florida water managers step down over a contentious land deal with sugar farmers, saying he would instead await a recommendation from his transition team. That doesn’t mean their days may not be numbered. On Sunday, the team leader for environmental matters, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Treasure Coast Republican whose district has been repeatedly slammed by algae blooms that a reservoir on the land could help fix, called for the board to resign...The dust-up stems from a decision by the South Florida Water Management District last month to continue leasing land to Florida Crystals on land slated for a 17,000-acre Everglades reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir was opposed by sugar farmers, who succeeded in paring down the project from an original footprint covering 60,000 acres and big enough to clean and store water and help cut polluted lake discharges that have regularly triggered slimy foul blooms that close beaches and hurt waterfront businesses...Mast held the transition team’s first meeting on Monday in Tallahassee. The group did not address concerns over the board but plan to take it up at the next meeting. Mast’s office said his views on the district’s actions had not changed. “There was no law passed requiring the board to sign a lease without any public input nor any law passed preventing a one month pause so the governor-elect and public could understand what was being proposed,” spokesman Brad Stewart said in an email. “In fact, the law requires public disclosure and their actions certainly violated the spirit of that law and probably the letter of the law as well.” Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald.

Read University of Florida leads effort to restore Cedar Key oysters- “Here, on a barge a little more than a mile off of Shell Mound Campground, about 60 scientists, conservation officials, builders and oystermen gathered to celebrate a collaborative effort. They came by airboat and skiffs to witness the restoration of the Lone Cabbage Oyster Reef, a project more than eight years and $6.8 million in the making. The blue and orange ribbon on a portion of the 3.5-mile lime rock barrier was cut shortly before 10 a.m. Monday, after words from University of Florida wildlife, ecology and conservation Professor Peter Frederick, who helped spearhead efforts to return the reef to its former glory. The goal of the project is to help increase resilience along the Nature Coast in the face of climate change and sea level rise. It was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, without using state or federal tax dollars. A team of UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Science scientists helped coordinate the project, led by Frederick, UF professor Bill Pine and Leslie Sturmer, a shellfish expert at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station in Cedar Key...For Cedar Key City Vice-Mayor Sue Colson, who worked along the same reefs 30 years ago, there was reason to celebrate as well. The project helped employ local workers. Efforts to heal the estuary remain vital to those in the area who harvest oysters and are involved in the seafood industry. “It’s not the instant dollar, it’s the future dollar,” Colson said. “We need projects like this one, for the people who work here, for tourism, to maintain the health of the waterfront.” Kevin Brockway reports for the Gainesville Sun.

Read Florida’s Water future: Where is it going? Where will it come from?  “Florida’s problem isn’t a lack of water, but where it is, how it’s used, where it gets dumped when we’re through with it, and how much it will cost by 2035 to satisfy farms, 5 million new Floridians — and the needs of the environment. Florida tapped 6.4 billion gallons of water per day three years ago. By 2035, Florida will need another 1.1 billion gallons a day, a 17% increase. The good news: The state’s water management districts — the water-use regulatory bodies that cover the state — have identified enough water conservation opportunities and water supply projects to keep the water flowing in Florida through at least 2035. The bad news: Building everything the districts have in their plans will cost billions, and then there’s the ongoing spending on energy, operations and maintenance to run them. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the water management districts spent nearly $350 million on water supply and water quality projects and another $300 million on flood protection and natural systems...One part of ensuring adequate water supply involves the state’s acquisition of conservation lands, which limit development and provide areas for recharging aquifers. Currently, a dedicated revenue source for managing the state’s lands does not exist, and the additional lands for conservation will require funds for both acquisition and management…” Mike Vogel writes for Florida Trend.

Read St. Petersburg has spilled 2 million gallons of wastewater in the last three months - “Nearly 230,000 gallons of wastewater spilled from a tank Monday at one of the city's water treatment plants. Those are just the latest of nearly 2 million gallons of wastewater to gush from city infrastructure in the last three months. That includes an incident that stretched from August into September, when workers at another facility discovered that a line that should have sent wastewater used in the reclamation process back to the beginning of the plant for retreatment had instead been connected straight to the stormwater system. Over a period of 50 days, almost 1.7 million gallons of wastewater were inadvertently dumped into a nearby pond before the accident was noticed, according to the city's report to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Between those incidents, records show there were four other spills. The six discharges, which include three over a three-day period in October, are the latest examples of the city struggling to overcome the 2015-16 sewage disaster in which it released up to a billion gallons of waste — 200 million gallons of which ended up in Tampa Bay. They also come amid a change in the city's public notification practices: It no longer notifies the public about spills that don't leave facility grounds…” Josh Solomon reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Plastic pollution affects all of us - “The plastic pollution problem is worse than many people realize. Many of you may have read about the floating islands of plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Recently there was an account of the discovery of 115 plastic cups found inside a dead whale that washed up on a beach in Indonesia. But most of stray plastic pieces in the world lie in less dramatic numbers and locations. Although the most obvious problem for many people is esthetic, the real problem is ecological and perhaps medical. I recently attended an eye-opening educational session on plastic that was presented by the University of Florida Extension Office and Florida Sea Grant at Bok Tower Gardens. The program presented by scientist Maia McGuire focused on microplastics, which she explained is the hidden threat that the proliferation of plastic waste poses...The reason this is an issue is because this means the plastic pieces end up in the food chain, which means it ends up in our digestive systems..” Tom Palmer writes for The Ledger

Read Solar co-op offers support, discounts for Alachua County homeowners- “For the second year in a row, Alachua County residents can come together to go solar for less. Local organizations have partnered up and launched a solar cooperative for community members to have an easier and cheaper path to installing solar panels. By banding together, members of the co-op can purchase solar systems with a bulk discount of about 20 percent. The Solar United Neighbors of Florida, along with the Alachua County chapter of League of Women Voters, led the creation of the cooperative. Once enough people join the program, a member of Solar United Neighbors of Florida will send out bids to contractors in the state. From those bids, the group chooses a single company to install the panels at an agreed-upon price…” Sarah Nelson reports for the Gainesville Sun.


From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events:

December 12, 6:00PM-8:00PM - “Evenings at the Homestead: Toxic Puzzle Film" - (Sanibel) - The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will host "Evenings at the Homestead: Toxic Puzzle Film" on Dec. 12 at from 6 to 8 p.m. in the pavilion at the Bailey Homestead Preserve. This award-winning documentary "Toxic Puzzle," is about the hunt for a link between toxic algal blooms and ALS and Alzheimer's, and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with refreshments available. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through Eventbrite here. For more information contact the SCCF at 239-472-2329.

December 17, 2018 – 2:00PM-5:00PM– Alachua County Legislative Delegation – (Gainesville) – Attend the Alachua County Delegation meeting at Santa Fe College NW Campus (Fine Arts Hall, 3000 NW 83rd St. Gainesville, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be placed on agenda, email Adriana Mitchell, Mitchell.adriana@flsenate.gov .

December 17, 2018 – 12:00PM-5:00PM– Volusia County Legislative Delegation– (Daytona Beach) – Attend the Volusia County Delegation meeting at Daytona Beach City Hall (301 S Ridgewood Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32114). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

December 17, 2018 – 1:00PM-2:00PM– Pasco County Legislative Delegation– (Land O’Lakes) – Attend the Pasco County Delegation meeting at the Pasco County School Board District Campus (7227 Land O'Lakes Blvd, Building #3, Land O'Lakes, FL 34638). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, email harrison.patty@flsenate.gov by noon Wednesday December 12, 2018.

December 18, 2018 – 4:00PM-6:00PM– Clay County Legislative Delegation– (Green Cove Springs) – Attend the Clay County Delegation meeting at the Clay County Commission Chamber, (4th Floor, 447 Houston St., Green Cove Springs, FL 32043). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be placed on the agenda, contact Tammy Still, (tammy.still@myfloridahouse.gov ).

December 18, 2018 – 1:00PM-2:00PM– Pinellas County Legislative Delegation– (Seminole) – Attend the Pinellas County Delegation meeting at the St. Petersburg College-Seminole Campus (9200 113th Street, Seminole, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  

December 18, 2018 – 9:30AM-4:00PM– Broward County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Lauderdale) – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at 115 South Andrews Avenue Room 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, complete this Speaker Form.

January 14, 2018 – 9:00AM-11:00AM– Suwannee County Legislative Delegation– (Live Oak) – Attend the Suwannee County Delegation meeting at Live Oak City Hall (101 White Ave SE, Live Oak, FL 32064). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 14, 2018 1:00-3:00PM– Columbia County Legislative Delegation– (Lake City) – Attend the Columbia County Delegation meeting at the Florida Gateway College Administrative Building 1 Board Room (149 SE College Place, Lake City, FL, parking near Library). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 14, 2018 4:00-6:00PM – Baker County Legislative Delegation– (Macclenny) – Attend the Baker County Delegation meeting at the Macclenny City Hall, Commission Room (118 E Macclenny Ave, Macclenny FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 15, 2018 – 9:00AM– Martin County Legislative Delegation– (Stuart) – Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at Indian River State College Chastain Campus, Wolf Technology Center (2400 E Salerno Road, Stuart FL 34997). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!

January 15, 2018 – 5:00PM-9:00PM– Brevard County Legislative Delegation– (Palm Bay City) – Attend the Brevard County Delegation meeting at Palm Bay City Council Chambers (120 Malabar Road, Palm Bay City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  Deadline to appear is noon January 7, email Anna Budko, Anna.Budko@myfloridahouse.gov.

January 15, 2018 – 9:30AM-4:00PM– Broward County Legislative Delegation– (Fort Lauderdale) – Attend the Broward County Delegation meeting at 115 South Andrews Avenue Room 430, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To be placed on the agenda, complete this Speaker Form. Topics for this meeting include the environment and growth management.

January 16, 2018 – 1:00PM– Dixie County Legislative Delegation– (Cross City) – Attend the Dixie County Delegation meeting at Dixie County Commission Chamber, County Courthouse, (214 NE Hwy 351, Cross City, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 16, 2018 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– Indian River County Legislative Delegation– (Vero Beach) – Attend the Indian River County Delegation meeting at Indian River County Administration Complex, (1801 27th St, Building A, Vero Beach, FL 32960). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, a request form and corresponding materials must be delivered to Sen. Mayfield's office no later than January 9. To receive a request form, email Margaret Mitchell at Mitchell.Margaret@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2018 10:00-11:30AM – Lafayette County Legislative Delegation– (St. Mayo) – Attend the Lafayette County Delegation meeting at County Commission Chamber, Lafayette County Courthouse (120 W Main St, Mayo, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! For more information, email Tonya Shays at shays.tonya@flsenate.gov .

January 16, 2018 – 4:00PM– Gilchrist County Legislative Delegation– (Trenton) – Attend the Gilchrist County Delegation meeting at County Commission Meeting Facility, (210 S. Main Street, Trenton, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 

January 19, 2019 - 10:00am-12:00pm - Rising Sea Levels- Are we losing our coastal cities? (Deerfield) - The Deerfield Progressive Forum will host Dr. Colin Polsky, Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies and Professor of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University, for a discussion of sea level rise and its impacts on Florida. For 39 years progressives in South Florida have been enlightened by a series of weekly talks presented by nationally distinguished speakers on provocative current issues. Lively discussion follows each talk. The Deerfield Progressive Forum meets every Saturday morning from December through March from 10:00 AM-noon in Century Village, Deerfield Beach. For more information, visit their site here.

January 22, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Preview Webinar - The 60-day 2019 Florida Legislative Session starts on March 5 and is scheduled to end on May 3 of 2019.  The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others.  1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that may be up for consideration during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and will discuss how this could impact state and local governance and planning in Florida. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162191) and .15 CEUs for Florida Environmental Health Professionals. 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

January 28, 2018 – 2:00PM-5:00PM– Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation– (Boynton Beach)– Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at Lakeside Medical Center, (39200 Hooker Highway, Belle Glade). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, complete this form and return by mail or email to Christine Shaw, Cshaw1@pbcgov.org.

January 28, 2018 – 2:30PM-6:00PM– Orange County Legislative Delegation– (Orlando)– Attend the Orange County Delegation meeting at the Orange County Administration Center, Commission Chambers (201 South Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!  To participate in the delegation meeting, email LD@ocfl.net to request an appearance form.

March 27, 2019 - 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free 2019 Florida Legislative Update Webinar - This free webinar is scheduled for a little more than three weeks into the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. The actions taken during the session likely will have significant public policy impacts for planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians with myriad impacts for concerned citizens, professionals, local elected officials and others. 1000 Friends President Paul Owens, Policy and Planning Director Thomas Hawkins, and Board Member Emeritus and Past Chairman Lester Abberger will discuss key growth management, design, conservation and related bills including budget recommendations that are being considered during the 2019 Florida Legislative Session and other legislation that may surface as the session progresses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM LEGAL CREDITS for planners (#9162194). 1000 Friends has applied for professional certification credits for Certified Floodplain Managers, Florida attorneys, Florida Environmental Health Professionals, and Florida DBPR Landscape Architecture but cannot guarantee credits will be approved. Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/.

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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