Read Conservation groups warn about proposed development in FL panther habitat - “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a proposal by developers to build a sprawling residential community on thousands of acres of prime Florida panther habitat in eastern Collier County; but several environmental groups are fighting back. WMNF News interviewed Amber Crooks, environmental policy manager for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “The Florida panther is our state mammal. It’s been here in Florida for millennia. Unfortunately, it’s an endangered species. There’s only about 120-230 panthers left in the wild. It’s protected by the Endangered Species Act. So any time that in panther habitat a development, mine or other impact is being proposed, we do have to consider loss of habitat and also the impact of things like traffic. Because one of the leading causes of panther mortality is getting hit on our roadways. “It’s called the Eastern Collier Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This is something that’s proposed under the Endangered Species Act. Again, it’s because there is an application before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for development and mining on 45,000 acres of panther habitat out in Eastern Collier County. This Habitat Conservation Plan — although it got this rosy name, it sounds positive — it actually comes hand in hand with an ‘incidental take’ permit — that development permit I spoke about when there is proposed activities in endangered species habitat. The Florida panther’s not the only one that lives out there in Eastern Collier County. It does happen to be one of the core habitats remaining for the Florida panther. But the HCP would also, if it’s approved, permit impacts to other listed species. There’s about 18 other listed species that’s contemplated under this plan…” Sean Kinane reports for 88.5 WMNF.
Read UCF, Conservation Florida join forces to protect natural lands - “A new partnership between Conservation Florida and both UCF’s Biology department and UCF Coastal increases the bench strength of statewide land protection work. Conservation Florida brings 19 years of land protection, advocacy and landowner education to the partnership, with conservation projects currently totaling more than 180,000 acres. UCF’s contribution is a team of biologists, engineers, social scientists, economists, and emergency managers. “We are honored to partner with the University of Central Florida to creatively address Florida’s conservation future in areas critical to the health of Florida’s water, wildlife, economy, and overall quality of life,” said Traci Deen, executive director of Conservation Florida. “Thoughtful, research-based land protection in the Central and South Central Florida regions is the ultimate goal.” For UCF, the partnership represents teaching, learning and research opportunities out in the field. Some of the work will include protecting the Kissimmee River Basin in the heart of the peninsula, home to family-run ranches and wide-ranging species like the Florida panther. Conservation Florida is targeting projects that will help protect some of the world’s rarest habitats and species living in Florida’s heartland…” Conservation Florida press release.
Read Are Martin County governments doing enough to prepare for climate change? - “On "Black Friday," the federal government released its Fourth National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive report which says, basically, that Florida — South Florida in particular — is up a rising creek sans paddle...Couple this with a June report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which asserted that within 30 years, some 64,000 homes in Florida — half of them in South Florida — will have to deal with chronic flooding. The report lets you break things down by ZIP code: By 2045, according to the data, 1,240 homes in Martin County are at risk. Those homes collectively are valued at $358.5 million and generate $4.9 million in annual tax revenue. They're also home to 1,745 people who could be displaced should it all come to pass. A lot of people don't believe it will, of course. But even in conservative Martin County, it would be irresponsible for government to ignore the possibility that it might. And whether they articulate it or not, local governments do try to build "resiliency" into their systems so they might weather these coming storms. The question is whether they're doing enough. At the county level, the term "climate change" is cited just once in the comprehensive plan (an attempt by activists last year to have the term added to the preamble was rebuffed). But Deputy County Administrator Don Donaldson says officials know, for example, that sea levels are rising: They've got the measurements to prove it, and the county's spent millions on beach renourishment and other programs designed to mitigate it…” Gil Smart reports for the Treasure Coast Newspapers.
Read Monumental disaster at the Department of the Interior - “This is a tough time to be a federal scientist—or any civil servant in the federal government. The Trump administration is clamping down on science, denying dangerous climate change and hollowing out the workforces of the agencies charged with protecting American health, safety and natural resources. At the Department of the Interior (DOI), with its mission to conserve and manage America’s natural and cultural resources, the Trump administration’s political appointees are stumbling over one another to earn accolades for disabling agency operations. I should know; I was one of dozens of senior executives targeted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for reassignment in a staff purge just six months into the new administration...In a new report, Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has documented some of the most egregious and anti-science policies and practices at the DOI under Secretary Zinke. The report describes suppression of science, denial of climate change, the silencing and intimidation of agency staff, and attacks on science-based laws that help protect our nation’s world-class wildlife and habitats. It is a damning report and required reading for anyone who values public lands, wildlife, cultural heritage, and health and safety…” Joel Clement writes for Scientific American.
Read Joint agency water reclamation project to benefit Weeki Wachee Springs - “Weeki Wachee Springs, Hernando County’s treasure, needs to be protected and improved to maintain the water quality at the Springs, as well as groundwater, rivers, lakes, and Gulf. Southwest Florida Water Management District is working on a reclaimed water project, called US 19 Reclaimed Water project and will benefit Weeki Wachee Springs by reducing groundwater demand, reducing nitrogen loading and water quality at the Springs. A 3 million gallon tank at the Glen Wastewater Treatment Plant will store highly treated reclaimed water, which will then be used for irrigation, industrial purposes and irrigate commercial and residential properties. Water that comes into the plant is treated, cleaned and reclaimed….This project is part of a cooperative project between SWFWMD, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Hernando County...John Allocco, Hernando County Commissioner states, that this allows the county to comply with some of the new regulations to reduce nitrogen loading in the water. This collaboration also returns tax money back to taxpayers to offset the costs of reducing nitrogen loading and improving water quality in the springs. The new plant is expected to be completed by end of summer 2019…” Leslie Stein reports for the Hernando Sun.
Read Red tide persisting along Southwest Florida coast - “Red tide is still plaguing coastal areas in Collier and Lee counties, but the outbreak is patchy and weaker than it was a few weeks ago. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports varying conditions in the region, with counts ranging from natural background levels to 1 million cells per liter and higher. Respiratory irritation was reported this week in Collier, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. "We had respiratory irritation reported at all of our beaches (Tuesday) due to the onshore winds," said Rhonda Watkins, an environmental specialist with Collier County Pollution Control. "(But) there have been no reports of dead fish this week." Most recent counts show low to medium concentrations along the Southwest coast, although there is a spike in the Captiva area...The National Weather Service says winds here will be out of the northeast or southeast through the rest of the week, which is good news for those impacted by red tide. "(Wednesday) afternoon, winds will shift to the northeast and will remain offshore through Saturday, so this should help minimize any impacts at the beaches," Watkins said. This bloom (caused by the organism Karenia brevis) was first documented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in October of 2017 and is the longest outbreak in more than a decade…” Chad Gillis reports for the Naples Daily News.
Read The secret to good health may be a walk in the park- “Minneapolis was then, and still is, a slice of heaven for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. According to an ambitious project of the Trust for Public Land, Minneapolis leads the nation’s metropolitan areas in providing the best overall access for the most people to well-equipped and serviced public parks and recreation. Its neighbor, St. Paul, is a close second...An analysis by the trust revealed that 96 percent of Minneapolitans and 98 percent of St. Paulites live within a 10-minute walk of a park, compared with 70 percent of residents in the 100 largest cities over all. New York City, with 99 percent of residents enjoying easy access to a park, playground, trail or other open area, ranks ninth overall in terms of public outdoor access when park size and other factors are considered...Last year, in partnership with the National Recreation and Parks Association and Urban Land Institute, the trust started a noble initiative that could bring Minneapolis-type benefits to every resident in the country: access to “a high-quality park within a 10-minute, or half-mile, walk,” Adrian Benepe, senior vice president for the trust and former New York City parks commissioner, told me. Thus far, more than 220 mayors, including those serving most of America’s largest cities, have signed on to support the project, which has the potential to do as much or more for the nation’s physical and mental health than anything Congress might pass. “Parks are key to good, healthy cities,” Mr. Benepe said. “The connection between parks and health is well established.” A 10-minute walk can enhance physical fitness, reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve brain function, like learning and memory. The 10 minutes it takes to walk back home, not to mention the activity done in between, are a bonus. “Parks are the key to good public health and to the environmental health of cities,” Mr. Benepe said. Hanaa A. Hamdi, the trust’s public health director, says research has shown that community green spaces can reduce violent crime; counter stress and social isolation, especially for older adults; improve concentration for children with attention deficit disorder; enhance relaxation; and promote self-esteem and resilience…” Jane E. Brody reports for the New York Times.
Read Microplastics found in gut of every sea turtle in new study - “Plastic was found in the gut of every single sea turtle examined in a new study, casting fresh light on the scale of plastic pollution in the world's oceans. The research, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined more than 100 sea turtles of all seven species, across the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, along with Greenpeace Research Laboratories, looked for synthetic particles including microplastics in the bodies of 102 sea turtles. More than 800 synthetic particles were found in the turtles and researchers warned that the true number of particles was probably 20 times higher, as only a part of each animal's gut was tested..."The ubiquity of the presence of the particles and fibers underlines the gravity of the situation in the oceans and our need to proceed with firm and decisive action on the misuse of plastics," senior study author Brendan Godley, professor of conservation science at the University of Exeter, told CNN in an email…” Matthew Robinson reports for CNN.
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:
December 6, 2018- 6:00PM- Help Dunedin Commit to 100% Renewable Energy - (Dunedin) - Suncoast Sierra Club is proposing that the City of Dunedin commit to using 100% renewable energy. We need as many people as possible to show up to the City Council meeting on Thursday. Your presence will let city officials know that the general public supports this movement forward. You do not need to be a Dunedin resident to attend. The time is subject to change and we'll know it once the agenda is released. The event pages will be updated with this info. Wear green to show you are in support. For more information, visit the Facebook Event site here and the website event here.
December 6, 12:00pm-1:30pm - Free Recycle Right to Meet Industry Challenges Webinar - Florida has made great strides in increasing its recycling rates but shrinking global markets for recycling materials and increased “contamination” or non-recyclables in the stream are presenting daunting challenges for the industry. Join Karen Moore, Recycling Manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Dawn McCormick, Chair of the Florida Recycling Partnership and Waste Management Director of Communications; and a County Recycling Manager as they discuss these challenges and cost implications for Florida’s counties, cities and businesses. This event has been approved for 1.5 AICP CM for planners (#9162164) 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/.
December 6, 2018 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation – (Boynton Beach) – Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at the Green Cay Nature Center (12800 Hagen Ranch Road, Boynton Beach). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!
December 6, 2018 – 1:00PM – Marion County Legislative Delegation – (Ocala) – Attend the Marion County Delegation meeting at the Marion County Extension Auditorium (Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2322 NE Jacksonville Rd, Ocala FL 34470). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To be placed on the agenda to speak, email Rep McClain’s office at Stan.McClain@myfloridahouse.gov
December 7, 2018 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– St. Johns County Legislative Delegation – (St. Augustine) – Attend the St. Johns County Delegation meeting at the County Commission Auditorium (500 San Sebastian View, St. Augustine, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!
December 7, 2018 – 3:00PM-5:00PM – Flagler County Legislative Delegation – (Bunnell) – Attend the Flagler County Delegation meeting at the County Commission Chambers (1769 E Moody Blvd, Building 2, Bunnell, FL). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!
December 7, 2018 – 10:30AM-3:00PM– Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation – (Miami) – Attend the Miami-Dade County Delegation meeting at the County Public Schools Administration Building (1450 NE 2nd Ave, Miami FL 33132). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources!
December 10, 2018 – 9:00AM-12:00PM– Duval County Legislative Delegation – (Jacksonville) – Attend the Duval County Delegation meeting at the Jacksonville City Council Chambers (City Hall First Floor, 117 W Duval Street). You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! Questions may be directed to Duval Legislative Delegation office staff at 904-630-1680.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 email@example.com 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, (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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 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 – 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.
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.
We hope you enjoy this service and find it valuable. Our goal is to provide you with the latest and most relevant environmental news for Floridians. 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.
Please send all suggestions, comments, and criticism to Haley Burger at WeAreFCC@gmail.com
About the FCC: The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 80 conservation-minded organizations and over two thousand individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, fish and wildlife, and water resources.
For more information, visit https://www.wearefcc.org/