Read Federal report: Salt causes release of more blue-green algae toxins into local waters - “A federal report suggests that the presence of salt causes blue-green algae cells to burst and release all toxins into the water. The United States Geological Survey report shows that while blue-green algae blooms like the one experienced this past summer typically start in Lake Okeechobee, the amount of toxins released by the algae may increase as it moves toward the salty coast. Saltwater causes the toxin-carrying membranes to rupture, releasing toxins that were stored inside, the recent report says. "This study indicates that as freshwater cyanobacteria are transported to brackish and marine waters, there will be a loss of membrane integrity which will lead to the release of cellular microcystin into the surrounding waterbody," the report says. "If it’s very salty outside of the cell, all of the water that’s in the cell will rush out into the saltwater, and that kills the cell," said Jim Beever, with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. "And the contents of the cell will get out into the water column. This is a good study and they’ve confirmed the specifics of the species that bloom in Lake Okeechobee and how they react when they get into the system." Developers worked with the state and the federal government to connect the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers to Okeechobee decades ago in order to drain lands south of Lake Okeechobee for farming and urban communities. The report describes Lake Okeechobee as a "shallow waterbody that has undergone ecological changes because of external nutrient loading from agriculture and, more recently, by internal loading of phosphorus from lakebed sediments. Ample phosphorus and other nutrients create the ideal conditions for cyanobacterial blooms and have been documented in the lake since 1970." Those conditions, the report says, provide a nursery of sorts for the blue-green algae to develop and thrive…” Chad Gillis reports for the Fort Myers News-Press.
Read Untold Florida: Officials are actively working to improve water quality in High Springs - “In February, High Springs replaced a major pipeline that was causing problems, primarily from frequent bursts due to age. Hoffman said since replacing the pipeline, issues with water have improved substantially. “In the past, High Springs has had issues with water contaminants,” Hoffman said. “We’ve implemented new measures to reduce contaminants and it has really been helping.” Hoffman explained that High Springs is now adding small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to purify the water. Despite these changes, High Springs still receives its fair share of boil water notices. Sharon Tugman, owner of Secret Garden Bakery, said boil water notices hurt local businesses. Boiling water every time she needs it for baking or running the restaurant is time consuming, she said...Russell Simpson, the FDEP Northeast District Ombudsman, said High Springs has certainly encountered water safety concerns in the past, specifically with disinfection byproducts (DBP), contaminants used to disinfect water. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that byproducts of water disinfection have been linked to an increase in cancer incidents. It is for this reason that the EPA sets limits for disinfection byproducts. The state sets maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for disinfection byproducts. High Springs was in violation of all state levels set for disinfection byproducts in 2016, but improved to just one violation in 2017...Simpson stressed High Spring’s efforts to clean up the water are working. “The changes they have implemented are decreasing the levels, and the system is now meeting the standards,” he said. High Springs is also collecting more water samples and working with the FDEP to ensure the public remains notified of all results, Simpson added. These samples test for any possible contaminants in the water, and with more testing, High Springs is able to better respond to potential concerns…” Savannah Hill reports for WUFT.
Read Where did all the lobsters and stone crabs go? How the fishing industry is bouncing back - “The red tide algae bloom plaguing Southwest Florida hasn’t hit the Florida Keys. And Hurricane Irma happened more than a year ago. But they’re both affecting the island chain’s commercial fishing industry. That’s a crucial impact because the industry is the second-largest stand-alone economic generator in the Keys next to tourism. Fishing is estimated by the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association to bring in about $900 million a year to the Monroe County economy. That includes transactions such as fuel sales, dockage fees, and boat and engine repairs. The industry generates about $150 million annually in sales for commercial anglers. A third of that income is through lobster fishing alone, which took a beating last season, said said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association...And, while the bulk of the red tide making headlines remains on the southwest coast, fishermen believe it is affecting stone crab season in the Keys. “Stone crab season is a different story,” Padron, who is also a director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, said. “A lot people, especially in Marathon, are bringing their traps home already.” He called the Florida west coast “a dead zone” for stone crabs. Kelly said red tides are fatal to juvenile stone crabs. Because Keys fishermen harvest claws (the rest of the crab is released to regenerate removed claws) over large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the red tide of Southwest Florida has had a significant impact on supply. “I would characterize stone crab production as: Upper Keys, fair at best; Middle Keys, dismal; Key West, fair,” Kelly said. “Our greatest concern will be for the long haul and what impacts the red tides will have in a year or two from now…” David Goodhue reports for FL Keys News.
Read B-CU students work to improve area’s waters - “Bethune-Cookman University students are working on a project that could help reduce some of the harmful algal blooms that plague the Florida waterways. The project’s goal is to use native wetland plants to reduce the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and other algal-feeding nutrients entering the waterways, B-CU environmental science Professor Hyun Jung Cho said...The project, which began last year, takes place at a kidney-shaped murky pond behind an old cement factory near the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and Reed Canal Road. The pond is small but significant because it’s part of a chain of waterways that leads to the Indian River Lagoon. Storm water, which contains fertilizer, oils and pesticides from Daytona and South Daytona flows into the Nova Canal before then flowing into Reed Canal. That canal feeds directly into the pond making it one of the last places the water stops before reaching the Halifax River and then the lagoon, Cho said. While the city of South Daytona built the original pond as part of its storm management plan in the ’90s, Cho’s project called for a major expansion. Funded by nearly $365,000 in grants, of which, more than $181,000 comes from the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, the project transformed what was once a dumpsite into a wetlands area…” T.S. Jarmusz reports for the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Read Funding requested for infrastructure projects that reduce flooding and protect springs - “At the Monday, December 3, 2018 Hernando County Legislative Delegation meeting, the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners requested funding for infrastructure projects that will create and maintain functionally appropriate, sustainable, accessible and high-quality facilities in our community. The delegation included Chairman Representative Blaise Ingoglia, Vice Chairman Representative Ralph Massullo, Jr., M.D. and Senator Wilton Simpson. The following projects were presented to the delegation for potential funding: Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion to Decommission Spring Hill (Osowaw) Water Reclamation Facility...This proposed springs protection project would expand the Airport Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) from a permitted capacity of 3.5 million gallons per day (MDG) to 6 MGD. This expansion is required and is the critical path to take the Spring Hill (Osowaw) contact stabilization WRF offline. The Spring Hill WRF has out-of-date technology that does not nitrify or denitrify wastewater. Subsequently, the effluent from the Spring Hill WRF currently discharges in the Weeki Wachee Priority Focus Area and is releasing high concentrations of nitrogen into the springshed...Project Name: Septic to Sewer, District A, Phase 1: This proposed springs protection project would provide a central wastewater collection and transmission system to county residents in approximately half of District A defined in the Septic to Sewer Study. The project would provide sewer service to approximately 450 properties in the Spring Hill area of Hernando County. It would include the construction of multiple pumping stations, gravity sewers and force-mains necessary to collect the wastewater produced and convey it to the Glen Water Reclamation Facility…” Hernando Sun Staff report.
Read Water and climate dominate World Economic Forum Risk Report - “Environmental risks, steadily rising in importance, are recognized as authentic and relentless obstacles to peace, wealth, and health, according to the World Economic Forum’s global risk report, an annual survey of business, academic, and political leaders. The report analyzes the strength and likelihood of 30 risks and 13 trends that shape global society. Four of the five environmental risks in the report, all related to climate change and extreme weather, are judged to be large impact and high likelihood threats. Water crises, deemed a “societal risk” because of their broad reach, ranked third in the high-impact category, the third consecutive year in the top three. Harsh droughts last year in India, South Africa, and Vietnam slashed farm production and cut hydropower generation. Meanwhile, depletion of India’s groundwater reserves could squeeze long-term economic growth and flush rural residents into already jammed cities. These and other environmental threats to social well-being “are more prominent than ever,” the report states. “Over the course of the past decade, a cluster of environment-related risks — notably extreme weather events and failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as water crises — has emerged as a consistently central feature of the risk landscape, strongly interconnected with many other risks, such as conflict and migration,” according to the report…” Brett Walton writes for Circle of Blue.
Read Swampy things: The giant new salamander species discovered in Florida and Alabama - “Sometimes you go into a Florida swamp to study turtles and end up encountering a two-foot-long salamander previously undescribed by science. That’s what happened to biologist David Steen back in 2009 when he pulled up one of his turtle traps from the swampy waters around Elgin Air Force Base. The trap didn’t contain turtles, but he did find a giant, eel-like salamander resting comfortably inside….Why did it take so long to discover a two-foot-long salamander? “I think it’s a combination of things,” says Steen, who is now the research ecologist at the George Sea Turtle Center and executive director of The Alongside Wildlife Foundation. “One, this creature is completely aquatic. It lives in swamps and mud. These are not really places where people spend a lot of their time. It’s also superficially similar to another species, the greater siren, so unless you knew what you were looking for you would probably assume it was something we already knew.” “We could wait another 10, 20, 30 years to figure out all the details about the species but we felt it was important to document it. Maybe that will provide some incentives for people to do formal studies and surveys. As you know, you can’t afford formal protections to a species that people don’t even know about or don’t even recognize.” That possible future protection could be important. The paper doesn’t get into the reticulated siren’s potential conservation status, but a press release about the discovery calls it “at least vulnerable to population declines.” That’s because its habitat in the U.S. Southeast is increasingly under pressure from a growing human population, development, agriculture, logging, climate change and other threats…” John R. Platt reports for The Revelator.
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 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 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 email@example.com .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 email@example.com .
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/.
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