FCC News Brief - June 4, 2019

Read $60 million in federal money awarded to Tamiami Trail bridge projects - “Monday the Department of Transportation awarded $60 million to the state to raise more unbridged sections of the Tamiami Trail. The money would be used for key Everglades restoration projects designed to help water flow more easily south to the Everglades. The project would raise part of Tamiami Trail to allow for increased water flow...Congressman Brian Mast was among supporters of the project. “Moving a much greater amount of water south—mimicking the natural water flow—is critically important for our environment, health, safety and economy. This project will see huge benefits to restore the Everglades and prevent harmful discharges,” he said in a statement Monday. Senator Marco Rubio also supported the project. “I commend Secretary Chao and the Department of Transportation for awarding $60 million in federal funds, plus a nearly $40 million state match, to raise the unbridged sections of the Tamiami Trail. Without this critical funding to raise the road, recently authorized projects to the north, including the Central Everglades Planning Project and the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir would not be able to achieve their full restoration capabilities," said Rubio in a statement…” From WFTX Digital Team.

Read Orlando bans single-use plastics and polystyrene at venues and parks, including Amway Center, Camping World Stadium and Dr. Phillips Center - “So long, single-use plastics and polystyrenes. No longer will Orlando or its contractors use items such as plastic straws, bags, cutlery and Styrofoam food containers and cups at city parks and venues. Citing environmental benefits including the reduction of millions of pieces of trash flowing into landfills and the waterways, commissioners Monday unanimously signed off on the policy. The policy has been in the works since it was a popular inclusion in the city’s Community Sustainability Action Plan last year. Plastic straws will be available upon request for customers with disabilities, and gatherings like family reunions and birthday parties with fewer than 100 participants will be exempt, though encouraged to comply. The move was applauded by supporters at City Hall. Orlando says it’s the state’s first city to ban all three of plastic bags, straws and polystyrene, though other cities have banned some of the products.“It’s one of these areas that as a city we strive to lead in, so other governments follow,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said…” Ryan Gillespie reports for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read Twenty-six apply to be Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer - “A Hurricane Michael survivor and former White House staff member are among the applicants for the DeSantis administration’s new position of chief resilience officer. Florida joins a growing number of states funding a position just to deal with climate change. According to records obtained by WMFE, the position drew 26 applicants, including the administrator of the state’s Resilient Coastlines Program and director of Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center. Dan Kreeger of the Association of Climate Change Officers says Florida is among a growing number of state and local governments with these kinds of positions. “It’s going to take somebody thinking out of the box to say the rules upon which we’ve governed in the past may not be a fit for what we need to do to be successful with tackling these challenges in the future.” The chief resilience officer will report to the governor’s office and coordinate a statewide response to climate change. It’s a dramatic change from former Gov. Rick Scott, who banned the term climate change from official communications…” Amy Green reports for WMFE.

Read So this soft-shell steps into the street...- “I was driving to work thinking about my day when suddenly there was this turtle...The helpful state fish and wildlife folks pointed me to the volunteer Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, which rescues sick, injured and orphaned animals, creatures caught in barbed wire, gopher tortoises in trouble and, sadly, sandhill cranes hit by cars when drivers assume they can easily lift off and get out of the way. They can't. Director Kris Porter, a retired Busch Gardens zoologist, tells me the turtle on Swann was likely a soft shell (pictures showed she was right) who might have been out to lay her eggs in sandy soil. And yes, when a turtle is trying to protect itself, that mouth can do considerable damage to a human finger. "They're nothing to mess with," she says. ...It is an interesting Florida phenomenon that even the hardcore among us will stop for a slow-moving turtle or to shepherd a mother and baby ducks in a state where endless development makes wildlife encounters too common. You can look up in traffic and see an osprey with a fish in its talons. A bald eagle, if you are really lucky. Porter sent out a volunteer. No sign of the turtle. I drove through at lunchtime fearing roadside carnage but found none. I like to think she was back at the pond wondering what all that was about. Turtle 1, City 0. Maybe Floridians understand better than most that we don't so much live in a city as we put our cities where wildlife was already trying to live…” Sue Carlton writes Opinion for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read Hurricanes may pack more storm surge, rainfall and wind due to climate change - “Matthew in 2016. Irma in 2017. And Michael in October.  Major hurricanes punished the Sunshine State the past three seasons. Those three monstrous storms battered Florida's East Coast, Gulf Coast, Panhandle and Keys, accounting for more than 200 deaths and $85 billion in damages across the continental U.S. Is this an omen of the future? Climate scientists fear man-made global warming will spawn stronger hurricanes, packing heavier rainfall, higher storm surge and greater winds. "There’s plenty of evidence now in the literature that indicates these big weather events — these mesoscale systems in the Midwest and tropical cyclones — are all becoming wetter. And that is an issue," said Steven Lazarus, a Florida Institute of Technology ocean engineering and marine sciences professor. "They’re dumping more rain. And they will continue to do so," Lazarus said…” Rick Neale reports for Florida Today.

Read Climate crisis seriously damaging human health, report finds - “A report by experts from 27 national science academies has set out the widespread damage global heating is already causing to people’s health and the increasingly serious impacts expected in future. Scorching heatwaves and floods will claim more victims as extreme weather increases but there are serious indirect effects too, from spreading mosquito-borne diseases to worsening mental health. “There are impacts occurring now [and], over the coming century, climate change has to be ranked as one of the most serious threats to health,” said Prof Sir Andrew Haines, a co-chair of the report for the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (Easac)...The report anticipates the spread of infectious diseases in Europe as temperatures rise and increase the range of mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever and ticks that cause Lyme disease. Food poisoning could also rise, as salmonella bacteria thrived in warmer conditions, the report said. It even found research suggesting antibiotic resistance in E coli increases in hotter conditions....” Damian Carrington reports for The Guardian.

Read On the trail of Tupelo honey, liquid gold from the swamps-“Hurricanes, blights and encroaching development have cut into the harvest in Florida and Georgia, but a small cadre of beekeepers still fiercely pursues this lucrative prize. The most expensive honey in America starts in these mucky Southern swamps, where white Ogeechee tupelo trees twist up out of water so dark you can’t tell if that was an alligator or a snake that just broke the surface. For two precious weeks each spring in this slice of southeastern Georgia and in the Florida Panhandle, tupelo trees bloom with pale, fragile flowers that look like pompoms for tiny cheerleaders. Beekeepers tuck their hives along the banks, or occasionally float them out into the water on rafts. Then the bees get to work, making honey that looks and tastes like no other...Beekeepers who chase the tupelo bloom are a fiercely competitive and vanishing breed. All told, there are probably fewer than 200 beekeepers producing the honey in any notable quantities in Florida and Georgia, wholesale buyers and agricultural officials estimate. That doesn’t include of other beekeepers who might secrete a few hives along the riverbanks. The honey-gathering season just ended, and it was a bad one, at least in Florida. In October, Hurricane Michael, the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the contiguous United States in 26 years, made landfall in the heart of tupelo country. Wooden bee boxes were smashed into kindling or blown away. Trees were bent and stripped of their leaves. Blooms started five months early, if they came at all…”Kim Severson reports for the New York Times.


From Our Readers

The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.

Job Openings:

Sustainability Administrator - City of Fort Lauderdale

Marine Science Faculty Position- Florida Keys Community College

Upcoming Environmental Events:

June 10. 6:00pm - June Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series- (Pensacola)- Join us at Ever'man Educational Center located at 327 W Garden Street. This month we welcome Mr. Vernon Compton. Mr. Compton works for The Longleaf Alliance as Director of the Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership.  The Gulf Coastal Plain Ecosystem Partnership is a voluntary public/private landowner partnership formed in 1996 that now sustains over 1.3 million acres of diverse habitat in northwest Florida and south Alabama.  The partnership allows the partners to combine their expertise and resources to more effectively manage their individual properties and to meet the challenges of restoring and sustaining the larger longleaf ecosystem.  Vernon has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management from LSU and prior to joining The Longleaf Alliance in 2010 worked for the Florida Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Florida Forest Service at Blackwater River State Forest.  Mr. Compton will discuss "The Importance of Trees." Check out the Eventbrite page here, and Facebook event here. For more information, email earthethicsaction@gmail.com

June 10-14, June 24-28- Camp Kids in the Woods at the Austin Cary Forest - (Gainesville) - Is your 6th-9th grade child looking for fun adventure this summer?  Consider Camp Kids in the Woods! Campers will conduct various field explorations led by local scientists from forestry, wildlife, and water resources. Highlights include: fishing, handling wildlife, exploring local ecosystems, a trip to a local spring, camping out one night at the Austin Cary Forest, building wildlife nesting boxes, and participating in games and scavenger hunts. After a week of fun in the forest, campers gain a better understanding and deeper appreciation of their natural world and what is required to be a good steward of the environment. Camp Kids in the Woods summer program is a collaborative effort between the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the USDA Forest Service. Session 1: June 10-14, 2019; Session 2: June 24-28, 2019. For more information and to register visit: www.campkidsinthewoods.org , or contact the Camp Director, Molly Disabb at kidsinthewoods@ifas.ufl.edu

June 12, 6:00pm - Know your GREEN - (Orange Park) - The St. Johns Riverkeeper is already getting several reports of algal blooms across the Lower Basin of the St. Johns River from Palatka to Jacksonville. Read WJCT’s recent news story covering the issue. Now’s the time to take action and help us raise awareness to get the GREEN out! Join St. Johns Riverkeeper staff for this evening presentation to learn what causes these blue-green algal blooms and why they’re harmful for you and our River. We’ll also teach you ways to help us reduce algal blooms by living a more River Friendly lifestyle. You’ll also learn: What happened on nutrient pollution bills in the 2019 Legislative Session, How to report algal blooms when you see them, and Upcoming algal bloom outreach events, summer volunteer opportunities, and more! Light snacks and drinks provided. RSVP here. Location: Orange Park Town Hall, 2042 Park Ave, Orange Park, FL 32073.

June 13, 6:00pm - Know your GREEN - (Palatka) - The St. Johns Riverkeeper is already getting several reports of algal blooms across the Lower Basin of the St. Johns River from Palatka to Jacksonville. Read WJCT’s recent news story covering the issue. Now’s the time to take action and help us raise awareness to get the GREEN out! Join St. Johns Riverkeeper staff for this evening presentation to learn what causes these blue-green algal blooms and why they’re harmful for you and our River. We’ll also teach you ways to help us reduce algal blooms by living a more River Friendly lifestyle. You’ll also learn: What happened on nutrient pollution bills in the 2019 Legislative Session, How to report algal blooms when you see them, and Upcoming algal bloom outreach events, summer volunteer opportunities, and more! Light snacks and drinks provided. RSVP here. Location: St. Johns River Center, 102 N 1st St, Palatka, FL 32177.

July 8, 6:00pm - July Earth Ethics Environmental Educational Series - (Pensacola) -Join us at Ever'man Educational Center located at 327 W Garden Street. We will be viewing A PLASTIC OCEAN.  A PLASTIC OCEAN begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary, Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect. We'll discuss what you can do to help reduce your use of plastics! One lucky winner will receive a giftset to jump start a plastic reduced life. Check out the Eventbrite page here, and Facebook Event here. For more information, email earthethicsaction@gmail.com

July 11, 7:00pm - Toxic Puzzle Screening & Environmental Panel - (Orange Park)- TOXIC PUZZLE is a medical and environmental detective story where documentary filmmaker Bo Landin follows ethnobotanist Dr Paul Alan Cox and his scientific team around the world in a hunt for the hidden killer. The pieces come together in a toxic puzzle where cyanobacteria in our waters become the culprit. Are these organisms, fed by human pollution and climate change, staging nature’s revenge by claiming human lives? Join the St. Johns Riverkeeper at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts in Clay County (283 College Dr, Orange Park FL 32065) for a live screening and panel discussion on the issue of toxic algae blooms and the serious short and long-term health effects it’s having on our communities, wildlife, and habitats of our River and what YOU can do to help.

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.

Petitions

Save Lake County-Say NO to the Round Lake Road Extension

Tell Florida Lawmakers: Stop Destructive Tollway Bills

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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