FCC News Brief - March 29, 2019

Quote of the Day: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” - Rachel Carson

Read Florida State Parks Foundation calls for more funding from Legislature - “A handful of Florida state park volunteers and activists packed tightly into a small light blue room at the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee Wednesday to call upon the state legislature for more funding.  The Florida State Parks Foundation, led by Chief Executive Officer Julia Gill Woodward, addressed how the current proposed funding falls sharply below Gov. DeSantis’ proposed $54 million. Currently, DeSantis’ budget request includes $54 million for land management and $100 million for the Florida Forever fund, according to the Florida State Parks Foundation. The Senate’s proposed budget allocates $15 million for parks. The House has set aside $45 million. The Florida Forever program previously received about $300 million…” Max Chesnes reports for WUFT.

Read President Trump expected to tout Lake Okeechobee dike repairs in Friday visit - “President Donald Trump plans to visit Lake Okeechobee Friday, where he is expected to discuss his administration’s attempts to address long-festering issues of public safety and the environment. Among the lake’s problems are pollution, the deteriorated earthen dike that protects coastal towns, and the periodic discharges of lake water to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts that foul beaches with toxic algae. The White House said the president will visit the lake “to highlight the significant progress made to improve and expedite the infrastructure on and near the lake while helping to protect the water quality across the state.” Democrats plan to use the occasion to denounce the administration for failing to propose enough Everglades restoration money in its budget. Trump’s budget proposed $63 million for Everglades restoration, far short of the $200 million hoped for as the federal share of the joint state-federal Everglades restoration project… David Fleshler reports for the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Read Toll road projects get kick-start in House - “The Florida House started moving forward Thursday with a proposal that could lead to three major toll-road projects, a top priority of Senate President Bill Galvano. The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee voted 9-3 to support a bill (PCB TTA 19-02) that would set aside $45 million next fiscal year and establish separate task forces to study the economic and environmental impacts of each road project…The House proposal is identical to a measure (SB 7068) that awaits an appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The proposal would extend the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area north to the Georgia border, extend the Florida Turnpike west to hook up with the Suncoast Parkway and build a new transportation corridor from Polk County to Collier County. Galvano, R-Bradenton, has said the roads would help rural communities, address the state’s continued rapid growth, provide new hurricane-evacuation options, expand bicycle and pedestrian trails and lay the groundwork for new water and sewer lines and broadband…Critics, such as Sierra Club Florida, Friends of the Everglades and the Florida Conservation Voters maintain the potential impacts of growth on rural communities should be addressed before the roads are approved. “There is no congestion where these corridors are proposed,” said David Cullen, a lobbyist for the Sierra Club. “It is entirely possible that rather than improving the economies of the communities that this is ostensibly designed to take care of, it will further isolate them, because it will reroute traffic around these communities…” Jim Turner reports for the News Service of Florida.

Read Legislators must fully fund environmental restoration - “On Tuesday, the Florida Ocean Alliance will host ‘Oceans Day’ in the state Capitol. Held each legislative session, the event celebrates Florida’s magnificent coastal and ocean resources, while educating elected officials about the tremendous ecological and economic goods and services that these water resources can provide for us- if we take care of them. Given recent pollution-driven algal blooms that devastated our inland waters, coastal waters, and many local economies, this year’s Oceans Day theme, “Preventing Coastal Economic Losses: How to save Florida’s water resources,” is apropos to a legislative session focused on solutions. The Florida legislature currently is considering a variety of bills and funding levels for projects that are essential for cleaning up the state’s water pollution. Hot topics include major funding for authorized Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Projects, as well as funding and requirements to fix the state’s aging and already antiquated wastewater infrastructure...The most efficient way to prevent or shorten the duration of harmful algal blooms is to choke off the sources of nutrients that feed them. In most affected areas, removing human wastewater may dramatically reduce nutrient pollution in measurable ways…” Dr. Brandon D. Shuler writes Opinion for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read Pythons and toads and monkeys, oh my! Here are Florida’s most pesky invasive species - “It sounds like something out of science fiction novel. Poisonous toads infest suburban South Florida neighborhood, This Burmese python gobbled an entire deer in Florida, Florida man: ‘Nasty’ rhesus monkeys are swarming his property (w/video). But, it’s not. These are just some of the ways invasive and nonnative species have wreaked havoc on Florida’s ecosystem and wildlife. Florida is home to more than 500 nonnative species, and that’s not including plants. Florida’s warm, subtropical climate makes it a perfect place for nonnative species to take root. From lionfish with 18-venomous spines to 6-inch cane toads, here’s a list of Florida’s most pesky species...The FWC encourages the public to report any sightings of nonnative, invasive wildlife to the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681)...” Allison Graves reports for the Tampa Bay Times.

Read President Trump should increase Everglades funding, environmentalists say - “South Florida environmentalists hope President Donald Trump will bring good news about increased funding for Everglades restoration when he appears Friday near Lake Okeechobee. Specifically, they'd like to hear the president say he'll increase the $63 million for Everglades restoration in his proposed federal budget to the $200 million requested by members of the state's congressional delegation. "That's how much we need from the federal government to match the money the state has already invested and get these water projects implemented," said Mark Perry, executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart. "I'd ask him for it, if I could."...If Trump wants to hear from more environmentalists, there will be plenty nearby: The Everglades Coalition, an alliance of over 60 local, state and national organizations dedicated to restoring the entire Everglades ecosystem from Orlando to Florida Bay, is having its quarterly meeting Friday at Belle Glade, less than 15 miles from Canal Point. "Maybe we could take a break and go over to see what the president has to say," said Perry, co-chairman of the coalition…” Tyler Treadway reports for the Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Read Earthquakes shake up Northwest Florida - “Did somebody mention something about earthquakes? Five tremors centered around Jay and Century this month have rattled the area, but not residents. “They don’t bother me,” said Houston Kelly, who has spent his entire 41 years living in the rural town in northern Santa Rosa County. “It’s just the Earth changing.” No one in the area along the Florida-Alabama border reported feeling the earth move. The United States Geological Survey recorded the recent activity. However, the Richter scale levels between 2.2 and 3.1 in magnitude are too weak to cause any damage or injuries...Researchers theorize that the Jay oil field could be to blame, but they don’t know for sure. The rural town of Jay produces cotton, peanuts, soybeans and hay, and also 330 million barrels of oil since 1970. The Northwest Florida-South Alabama area has a history of earthquakes. The strongest one reached 4.8 in magnitude in 1997 near Flomaton, Alabama, just nine miles west of Jay…” Duwayne Escobedo reports for News and Information for the Emerald Coast.

Read Spring is an active time for wildlife- “Springtime is an active time for wildlife in Florida, with sea turtles beginning to nest on beaches, manatees leaving their warm-water winter refuges and gopher tortoises starting to stir outside their burrows. With warmer weather, a variety of species around the state are following their internal biological clocks that tell them to move, mate, feed and nest. These species include black bears and their cubs, nesting waterbirds and snakes. Because of heightened wildlife activity in springtime, people are more likely to see and encounter all kinds of animals, both adults and their young. Florida’s residents and visitors can help by being aware of how to avoid disturbing wildlife during the rites of spring. “Viewing wildlife is one of the pleasures of being outdoors during spring,” said Kipp Frohlich, who leads the Division of Habitat and Species Conservation at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “It helps if kids and adults know the importance of not disturbing wildlife. Keep your distance, so you don’t startle a sea turtle, gopher tortoise, manatee or nesting bird that you happen to see during your outdoor adventures…” FWC writes Special to the Star.


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:

Manatee Conservation Contractor - Defenders of Wildlife

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:

March 30 - 7:00 PM - Films for the Sea - (Pensacola) - Join Healthy Gulf for their Films for the Sea screenings related to the environment, surfing, and the health of our oceans. We’ll watch films that take us around the world to beautiful coastal places and the people who love them, from British Columbia and Hawaii to the Gulf of Mexico and Pensacola Beach. The work of local photographer and filmmaker Sean Mullins is included. Before and after the films there will be plenty of educational information on how citizens can take action to help to protect the Gulf of Mexico and local waterways. Beverages and food from Café Single Fin will be available. For much more information about Films for the sea please visit Healthy Gulf on Facebook or call 850-687-9968 or christian@healthygulf.org (Waterboyz, 380 N. Ninth Ave., Pensacola).

April 4 & 5 - International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society - (Miami Gardens) - At the second International Conference on Climate, Nature, and Society hosted by St. Thomas University and The Nature Conservancy, a diverse group of leaders from multiple faiths and sustainability focused organizations will gather in South Florida to discuss our changing climate, implications and solutions. The conference will explore how participants and communities of faith can take action to address climate challenges. Together, we can implement solutions that are respectful and supportive of the nature that sustains us and must sustain future generations, and preserve the environment that renews our spirits. Registration and agenda.  Moot Court, School of Law, St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054    View Map - Directions. Thursday, April 4 from 9am-5pm and Friday, April 5 from 9am-12pm.

April 8 & 9 - Everglades Action Day - (Tallahassee) - The Everglades Coalition is hosting an advocacy day at the Florida State Capitol (400 Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301). Join fellow advocates from all corners of the state and meet with legislators to discuss the importance of a healthy Everglades ecosystem for a clean water supply and for a strong economy. Your voice on Everglades Action Day ensures that the famed ecosystem remains a top priority for elected officials! New to advocacy? No problem. Training and materials will be provided. The Everglades Coalition will sponsor group transportation to make it easy for all to get to Tallahassee (we have an east coast and a west coast bus). Click here to register, see you in Tallahassee! 

April 8 - 6:00 PM - Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series - (Pensacola) - Join us on Monday, April 8th beginning at 6 p.m. at Ever’man Educational Center, 327 W. Garden   Street, Pensacola, FL 32502 for Earth Ethics April Environmental Education Series.  Earth Ethics in partnership with Earth Day Network is celebrating and supporting those who “protect our species”. This month we welcome Dorothy Kaufmann, Director at the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida. Ms. Kaufmann’s Giving Wildlife A Second Chance presentation will discuss the organizations care of injured or orphaned wildlife including medical care, fostering, rehabilitate and wildlife release. Stay up to date on the event on Facebook here. Or if your not on social media, let us know you’ll be joining us by getting your free tickets at Eventbrite here.

April 9 - Nationwide Youth Lobby Event - (Tallahassee) - Our Climate and NextGen Florida are participating in a Nationwide Youth Lobby Dayby organizing young people in Tallahassee on April 9. We'll head up the evening before to the Florida People's Advocacy Center (603 N Martin Luther King Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32301), then . We have opportunities to attend lobbying webinars with our team: Distributed Youth Lobby Day -- How to Lobby Your Elected Official Webinar, and information on how to plan a Distributed Youth Lobby Day near you. Register for the Tallahassee trip at bit.ly/flyld and share the opportunity with any young people in your life!

April 12-13 - 10th Annual Florida Wildflower Symposium - (Gainesville) - The Florida Wildflower Foundation’s signature annual event, focusing exclusively on the state’s native wildflowers and their ecosystems. The purpose of the event is to immerse participants in an educational experience that exposes them to the reality of Florida’s environmental challenges while giving them the tools to affect change. The symposium will offer field trips to local natural areas, hands-on workshops, and educational presentations by experts on planting and growing native wildflowers, creating habitat for pollinators, and much more. Straughn UF/IFAS Extension Professional Development Center 2142 Shealy Dr, Gainesville, FL 32608. For more information and registration, visit the website here.

April 13 - 11:00AM-3:00PM - Earth Day Celebration - (Fort Walton Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc. for an Earth Day Celebration at Liza Jackson Park, 338 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is  "to protect our species”. We will have vendors that will support the theme, but others will include recycling, hybrid vehicles, solar energy, water education, plastic pollution, and more! This year Earth Day FWB is partnering with Drive Electric Earth Day website. Interested in being a vendor? Click here. Interested in being a sponsor? Click here. Stay up to date on the event’s activities at the Facebook event site here,   and website here.

April 13 - 9:30 AM-4:00 PM - Recognizing the Rights of Nature in Florida Law - (Apopka) - Speak Up Wekiva has organized a workshop featuring the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to discuss a campaign to bring Rights of Nature to Florida’s charter counties. This particular meeting is for community organizers who have an understanding about the Rights of Nature movement and are ready to take action in Florida.  Space is limited-please email ChuckforFlorida@gmail.com to RSVP and ask for more information.

April 20 - 6:30 PM - Film screening of “Woman at War” - (Pensacola)- Join Earth Ethics, Inc, in partnership with Pensacola Cinema Art, for a viewing of “Woman at War”. This is a foreign Indie film based in Iceland that conveys a global message relatable to all Earth Warriors. “Woman at War is confronting some of the heaviest dilemmas of our time (e.g. how do we bring new life into a broken world).” Although fantastical, the climate change theme and how we deal with these issues is prominently displayed throughout the film.Join us at Studer Community Institute, 220 W. Garden Street (former Sun Trust building), Pensacola, FL. You must RSVP through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/woman-at-war-movie-viewing-tickets-58810076522 in order to reserve your seating. Seating is limited to 30 spots. Tickets, to paid at the door, are $7 and includes free popcorn, wine or water, and light refreshments. There is free off-street parking for attendees. Contact Mary at earthethicsaction@gmail.com for more information.

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.

Petitions

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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