FCC News Brief - February 22, 2019

Read Florida resumes court fight against oil drilling plan in Everglades - “A plan for oil drilling in the Everglades ran into a major obstacle Wednesday, when the state of Florida went to court to stop it and promised to assist local governments in their own fight against the project. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked for a rehearing before all the judges of the First District Court of Appeal, where a three-judge panel had ordered the state to issue a drilling permit to Kanter Real Estate LLC for a spot in the Everglades of western Broward County. “Protection of the Everglades is of exceptional public importance because it affects residents of the State of Florida as a whole,” the department said in its motion. “The restoration of the Everglades is a matter of heightened public interest, and public interest alone should be deemed sufficient to demonstrate that it affects large numbers of persons throughout the State of Florida.” Kanter, which owns 20,000 acres in the Everglades, has proposed an exploratory well a few miles west of Miramar….Diana Umpierre, Everglades restoration organizer for the Sierra Club, said the group “appreciates that FDEP has decided to continue fighting to uphold their decision to deny this exploratory oil permit.” “The future of South Florida is dependent on a restored Everglades, including key restoration projects in the Everglades Protection Area where Kanter Real Estate wants to explore for polluting fossil fuels,” she said. The department, which had originally denied the permit, said it was right to do so, even though a judge had found the land was degraded and hydrologically isolated. The department said it was acting to protecting the larger Everglades, not a single 5-acre spot…” David Fleshler reports for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Read Treasure Coast’s Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch appointed to SFWMD board by Gov. Ron DeSantis - “ Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch of Sewall's Point, a longtime advocate for the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, to the South Florida Water Management District board. DeSantis made the announcement Thursday afternoon at the Florida Oceanographic Society's Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island. At a news conference Thursday at Naples, DeSantis added to the SFWMD board: Charlette Roman, a Marco Island councilwoman, Carlos "Charlie" Martinez, retired home builder from Miami-Dade County, Cheryl Meads, Islamorada village council member. Executive Director Ernie Marks of Palm City announced his resignation at the February meeting effective March 5. Thurlow-Lippisch, a Republican, served as a Sewall's Point commissioner from 2008 to 2016 and the town's mayor from 2011 to 2012. In 2016, she ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 seat on the Martin County Commission against incumbent Doug Smith. In early January, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Palm City Republican, told TCPalm opinion and engagement editor Eve Samples he had recommended Thurlow-Lippisch and former Florida Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart to DeSantis as board appointees. Thurlow-Lippisch told Samples that if named to the board she would focus on having more "open and honest discussion" about environmental challenges facing our region. “I feel like people on the board, they’re just under the iron hand of the governor — and that’s how it was with Gov. (Rick) Scott," she told Samples. "It was an iron hand, because his only goal was jobs, jobs, jobs. And he achieved that goal, but there were sacrifices, and one of them was the natural environment." Tyler Treadway reports for the Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Read Budget time: Jimmy Patronis, FWC outline next fiscal year’s needs - “Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is asking lawmakers to consider funding a nearly $29 million upgrade to the state’s accounting and cash management system. The project was one of a few presented to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on Wednesday...Jennifer Fitzwater, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)’s Chief of Staff,  followed Patronis’ presentation. She outlined a request from her agency that seeks $85.7 million more than the 2018-19 baseline budget. Two new full-time positions requested by FWC would staff a “harmful algal bloom task force,” Fitzwater said. Those two positions, combined with other improvements to FWC’s Center for Red Tide Research, total a roughly $4.2 million ask. “A big chunk of that is going to be a grant program that would be administered, through the institute, for innovative technologies that try to address and remediate red tide,” Fitzwater said. Another $2.5 million request would, if funded, help FWC complete a redfish hatchery to reintroduce the species in areas where red tide killed them off. The hatchery is located at Hillsborough County’s Apollo Beach. More than $5 million of the additional money FWC requested, meanwhile, would go toward facility improvement. That includes a $1.16 million upgrade to the agency’s Bryant Building in Tallahassee…” Danny McAuliffe reports for Florida Politics.

Read Tallahassee leaders commit to convert to 100 percent clean energy - “The City of Tallahassee is committing to  transitioning to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050. Wednesday evening, the Tallahassee City Commission unanimously approved a resolution establishing a goal of powering city operations entirely with renewable sources like wind and solar by 2035, and community-wide by 2050. With the approval, the Sierra Club Big Bend group says Tallahassee has become the seventh city in Florida, and the 108th city in the nation, to commit to powering itself with 100 percent clean, renewable energy. “We commend the City for taking this step. The goals set forth in this resolution will take Tallahassee into the solar age, making Tallahassee truly the Capital of the Sunshine State,” said Grant Gelhardt, Chair of the local Sierra Club Big Bend Group. “This goal would not only put the City as a leader in Florida, but put Tallahassee among the leaders in the nation in sustainability and conversion to 100 percent renewable energy.” In addition to committing to transform its energy system, the resolution also sets a goal of 100 percent clean transit. Leaders also plan to electricity the city’s vehicle fleet by 2035…” From WTXL News.

Read Florida passes new rules designed to protect sharks from anglers - “State wildlife managers passed several rules Wednesday designed to reduce conflict between shore-based shark anglers and the general beach-going public.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is meeting in Gainesville this week to discuss shark-fishing regulations and other wildlife issues. Wednesday, the commission passed regulations that say shore-based shark anglers must release protected species while the gills are still in the water. If they're afraid to go in the water to cut the steel leader, an angler must cut the line and let the shark swim away.  "Survival of the released shark is important (and) the rule would require the immediate release of all prohibited sharks when caught from shore," said Jessica McCawley, who gave a presentation on the rules to commissioners and a crowd of several dozen. FWC commissioners also banned the practice of chumming from swimming and recreational beaches. The rules are expected to go into effect on July 1, McCawley said. Shore-based fishing includes beaches, fishing piers, jetties and bridges.  In Florida, it's illegal to land and possess protected sharks like lemon, tiger, white, hammerheads and 22 other species. Commissioner Joshua Kellam said he witnessed a disturbing catch this past weekend at Juno Beach on the East Coast...Tom Ingram with the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association said the new regulations should help conserve Florida's shark population. "We’re very grateful for your leadership for addressing the issue of shore-based shark fishing," Ingram told commissioners. "We’re aware that shore-based shark fishing has resulted in sharks being taken out onto the beach for photos and measurements." Chad Gillis reports for the Fort Myers News-Press.

Read Miami battles rising seas - “Climate change is not a distant threat for Miami; it’s a daily presence in people’s lives. The city has been fighting to stay above water for decades. It knows that its future as a vibrant international hub for business, tourism, arts and culture depends on making the city more resilient to the impact of global warming. That’s why the city of Miami is moving aggressively to adapt; in 2017, its citizens voted to tax themselves to build resilience against flooding and storm surges by approving a $400 million bond issue that is financing projects across the city. Miami can access a wealth of resources, including sea level rise projections, thanks to its membership in regional bodies like the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact. The city has also gained a broader perspective on urban resilience challenges and approaches by joining global networks such as the Global Commission on Climate Adaptation, where we both serve as board members, and 100 Resilient Cities. Finally, we have learned that effective adaptation is a collective endeavor. It requires a holistic, long-term approach that takes into account the needs of our citizens today and in the future. This requires robust and meticulous long-term planning, informed investment in resilient infrastructure, adapting land use and building policies to address the climate challenge, advancing new transportation solutions, educating and informing citizens about climate change, training and mobilizing volunteers during emergencies, informing private property owners of climate risks, and forging partnerships with research institutions and business innovators. As this long list makes clear, there isn’t a single aspect of our daily lives that isn’t affected by climate change…” Ban Ki-moon and Francis Suarez write Opinion for the New York Times.

Read America’s unusual-and unseen- water treatment facilities - “Philadelpha utilizes sand filtration. Los Angeles? Aeration discs. Almost every city uses waste-eating microorganisms. The Clean Water Act of 1972 mandated that every municipality in America must clean its sewage before discharging the water back into rivers, lakes, or the ocean. Today, there are around 16,000 publicly owned wastewater treatment plants in operation across the country, all of them responsible for transforming what we flush down the toilet into something useful—or at least something not actively harmful. Chicago-based photographer Brad Temkin became interested in water treatment infrastructure while working on a previous project about rooftop gardens. That got him wondering what happens to all the rainwater that isn't captured, which led him to ask permission to photograph Chicago's network of underground water tunnels. The more Temkin learned about water, the more he wanted to know. "We take it for granted," he says. "It's the most valuable resource we have, outside of air, and we just assume that it's always going to be there."...Because most water infrastructure is underground, few people ever see it; Temkin had to get special permission from each city to photograph their facilities. Photographing in sewers required its own set of precautions, including an oxygen meter and gas mask in case of emergencies. When he was near running water or an open manhole he had to wear a harness. A committed environmentalist, he's less interested in highlighting threats to the natural world than potential solutions. "For all the bad things that are happening, I think we're at our best when facing a problem," he says. "I'm more interested in how we fix things than in how we screw them up." Michael Hardy reports for Wired.

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Job Openings:

Development Coordinator - Conservation Florida

Sustainability Administrator - City of Fort Lauderdale

Marine Science Faculty Position- Florida Keys Community College

Communications Coordinator - Florida Sea Grant

Pinellas County Sustainability & Resiliency Coordinator

Education Specialist - Nature’s Academy

Gulf Research Program’s Science Policy Fellowship

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Upcoming Environmental Events:

February 22 - 6:30PM - 9:30PM - Lectures on the Lawn: The Florida Wildlife Corridor’s ‘The Forgotten Coast’ - (Odessa) - Pasco County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources is hosting part two of a cultural event in the Lectures on the Lawn series. Join us Friday, February 22, 2019, at the newly-developed Starkey Ranch District Park for a special screening of The Florida Wildlife Corridor’s “The Forgotten Coast.” The keynote presentation for this free event will feature Mallory Dimmitt, a seventh-generation Floridian and expedition team member, who is working to raise awareness for statewide conservation. “The Forgotten Coast” is a documentary film showcasing Florida’s wildlife corridor stretching from the Everglades to the northernmost part of the Florida Gulf Coast. The lawn-seating event also features live music, so bring your chairs, blankets and a picnic. For a printable flyer with complete details, including on-site food truck and local brewery offerings, click here: bit.ly/2Nb4PmC. Starkey Ranch District Park
11880 Lake Blanche Drive, Odessa, FL 33556

February 27 - 12:00PM-1:00PM - “What the Frack” - (Hialeah) - Communities across Florida have already made it clear they want fracking banned, passing 90 local measures against fracking in cities and counties that represent over 70% of the state population. It's time the Legislature stepped up and passed a statewide ban. Join Rethink Energy Florida, the Institute for Civic Engagement, YES! Club, Earth Ethics Institute and hear from knowledgeable panelists to discuss the impacts of FRACKING on our health, local economic development and communities. Miami Dade College -Hialeah Campus; 1780 West 49th Street, Hialeah FL 33012. For questions or more information contact Salome at 786-387-5111 or SaGarcia@fwwatch.org , stay updated on the event’s facebook page here.

March 2nd & 3rd - Florida SpringsFest 2019 - (Ocala) - Since 2000, Florida SpringsFest has been educating visitors about the importance of Florida’s springs. In 2019, Florida SpringsFest will be held on Saturday March 2 and Sunday March 3, at Silver Springs State Park, with the theme sustainability. This two-day event will feature everything that Silver Springs has to offer- Glass Bottom Boat tours, canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals, interactive education center, ranger programs, and trails through beautiful gardens, overlooking the crystal-clear spring. In addition, SpringsFest includes environmental speakers, educational displays, artists, crafters, demonstrators, food vendors, live entertainment, a student art show, a silent auction, and more! Join us for this two-day event to learn about Florida Springs! History, science, fun, music, food, and friends- all for $2/person park admission! Glass bottom boat rides are not included with your park entry, but will be HALF-OFF all weekend! Follow the Florida Springsfest Facebook for more information!

March 11 - 6:00 PM-7:30 PM - ‘Environmental Justice: What, Why, You’ discussion - (Pensacola) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. in welcoming Wilma Subra, environmental scientist and advocate, guest speaker for Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series for March. Ms. Subra will discuss Environmental Justice issues in our community and across the state and nation. Subra served for seven years as vice-chair of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology, for six years on the EPA's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and for five years on the National Advisory Committee of the US Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. She appeared in the 2010 documentary Gasland. The event is being held at Ever’ man Educational Center, 327 W Garden Street, Pensacola, FL. RSVP on Facebook here, or get your free event ticket from EventBrite here. Light refreshments will be served.

March 13 - 10:00 AM-4:00 PM - Reclaiming Florida’s Future For All: Clean Water, Clean Air, Clean Energy - (Tallahassee) - Rethink Energy Florida is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee FL 32301)! We are advocating to protect Florida’s clean water, support renewable energy, and BAN Fracking! We will be talking with our legislators about these critical issues. This event is co-sponsored by Floridians Against Fracking, Sierra Club Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, Environment Florida, ReThink Energy Action Fund, Food and Water Watch Florida, Center for Biological Diversity, Ignite Change, and Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. RSVP here or check out the Facebook event for more information.

March 13 - 7:30AM-6:00PM - Ride the Bus for Clean Water! - (Jacksonville-Tallahassee) - St. Johns Riverkeeper and fellow river advocates are joining partners on March 13th for Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All Advocacy Day at the Statehouse in Tallahassee. During our bus ride from Jacksonville, St. Johns Riverkeeper staff will provide training and talking points to help bus riders become effective advocates. At the Capitol, you will have the opportunity to meet your state legislators and ask them to protect all of St. Johns River’s waterways, including its springs and tributaries. Bring family and friends with you to support water conservation efforts. 2019 is off to a clean start for our state’s waters, but we need to ensure the St. Johns River is not forgotten! Bus Meeting Location: Lowe’s, 5155 Lenox Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205. For more information and to register (FREE), visit the website here.

Register by Friday, March 8, 2019. Registration is FREE but seating is limited.

March 27 - 12:00 PM -1:30 PM - 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/.

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) 

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.


Save the Heritage Trees at Martin Luther King Jr. Park - Winter Park

No Fracked Gas in Tampa Bay

Help Save Our Panthers

End collection & removal of tropical marine life from Phil Foster Park

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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.

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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.  

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