FCC News Brief - November 16, 2018

Read Tiger Bay forum: Florida must better protect water quality - “Protecting this state’s water quality requires diligence on the part of not just lawmakers and regulators but farmers, homeowners and other citizens, several speakers at a Manatee Tiger Bay forum said Thursday. “We are putting paradise at risk,” warned Ed Chiles, a founding member of START (Solutions to Avoid Red Tide) and an owner of restaurants that specialize in seafood. ”... We’ve got to marshal our forces.” Chiles said water policy in Florida has been “going backward” for the past eight to 12 years, as evidenced by outbreaks of red tide. START uses oyster shells from restaurants to create oyster and clam beds, protective homes for mollusks that consume red tide and filter water. But that approach needs to be combined with strengthened efforts to “control nutrient loading,” Chiles said. Chiles expressed concerns that Florida may be reaching “a tipping point” and future generations may not enjoy the water-based lifestyle past and current residents have known. Alan Jones, a Parrish potato farmer, agreed that the “Florida lifestyle” of catching fish and heading to the beach for sunsets is endangered if water quality is not protected. As a farmer, he has learned irrigation techniques to conserve water and “do more with less.” He wants to see more incentives for all Floridians to employ “best management practices” in regard to their water use and stormwater runoff… Dale White reports for the Herald-Tribune.

Read ‘They’re all dead.’ That may be why red tide has quit dumping fish on local beaches, official says - “Dead fish are no longer lining Manatee shores because of red tide. According to one county official, the answer is simple. “I often wonder that even though we’re still seeing high levels of red tide along our shorelines, we’re not seeing the number of dead fish that we used to, and I’m afraid it’s because the fish aren’t there,” said Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County’s director of parks and natural resources, during Thursday’s meeting of the Tiger Bay Club. “Some of our offshore reefs at the moment look like deserts. They used to be resplendent with plants and sea fans waving in the reef. That’s all gone. They’re all dead. The topic of Thursday’s gathering of local leaders focused on the issues with Florida’s water quality and what can be done to fix it. Each of the four guest speakers shared their personal experiences with Manatee’s water, ranging from the verge of bankruptcy to a cancer diagnosis… Ryan Callihan reports for the Bradenton Herald.

Read Water managers showcase Everglades reservoir work amid criticism - “The South Florida Water Management District on Wednesday showed off work on a proposed new Everglades reservoir while environmentalists continued criticizing the agency for approving just last week a sugar farming lease extension. Congress in October authorized the reservoir that environmentalists say will help divert harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and are blamed for toxic algae blooms in coastal communities. State agency officials took reporters to the proposed reservoir site on Wednesday to show that work has begun despite extending a lease to Florida Crystals Corp. on most of the 16,000 acres. Shannon Estenoz, a former agency board member and chief operating officer of the Everglades Foundation, said in response Wednesday that "moving rocks around on a tiny portion of land is not building a reservoir." "Today's stunt was damage control because last week they got caught locking up 97 percent of the land we need for the reservoir and we can't get it back for years to come," Estenoz said in a statement. The Wednesday visit escalated the dispute over the possible timetable for building a reservoir, which has been contentious for years as both lawmakers and environmentalists seek to address the discharges from the lake. But Eva Velez, the water district's director for Everglades policy and coordination, responded during an interview with POLITICO, "We're not in the business of doing stunts — that's other people's business." "We're in the business of getting to work," Velez said. "And we are doing exactly what needs to be done in order to get the new reservoir and the new stormwater treatment area in the ground as expeditiously as possible...The 78.2-billion gallon reservoir, along with other Everglades restoration projects, will substantially reduce discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, district officials say. Some environmentalists blame those discharges for green slime in waterways and toxic red tides along the coasts…” Bruce Ritchie reports for POLITICO.

Read Army Corps: Deepening Blount Island berths won’t impact environment - “An Army Corps of Engineers study of plans to deepen the area around JaxPort's Blount Island terminal finds the project would have no significant impact on the St. Johns River or nearby habitat. But the St. Johns Riverkeeper calls the Corps' study incomplete, saying the project will have a substantial effect on wildlife and the environment. Dredging is underway to deepen 13 miles of the river between the Atlantic Ocean and Blount Island in order to accommodate larger cargo ships. Engineers said they'll remove the equivalent of more than 1.6 million dump truck loads of dirt to deepen the shipping channel from 40 to 47 feet. Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman said she's not buying the Army Corps' findings, saying it has a long history of underestimating environmental impacts. "It is simply premature and irresponsible to think that there will be no significant impacts with so many loose ends," Rinaman said. The loose ends Rinaman refers to are two separate studies that she says are not complete. She says the endangered species study and one by the National Marine Fisheries Service haven't been finalized yet.  "Not only are the environmental assessment(s) not complete for wildlife, they also focus on protecting habitats, the grasslands and the wetlands. So to make this determination without critical studies complete is irresponsible," Rinaman said. Rinaman added that shoreline erosion as the result of unusually high wakes created by the bigger ships is just one of several unforeseen effects of the deeper river and berths, but according to the Army Corps' report, these factors were taken into consideration before concluding there will be no environmental impact….” Tarik Minor reports for News4Jax.

Read Temperatures in Florida are rising. For vulnerable patients, the heat can be life-threatening - “...Florida has always been hot, but thanks to greenhouse gases trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and driving up temperatures worldwide, the state has gotten hotter. In the past five decades, Miami and Tallahassee have been on pace to see 25 or more additional days per summer with temperatures above 90 degrees, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) compiled by the research center Climate Central, a nonprofit that receives funding from the U.S. government and private foundations. Other Florida cities, including West Palm Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, Tampa and Sarasota, are also seeing increases in the number of above-90 degree days per year. In fact, of the cities analyzed, only Gainesville showed the possibility of a downward trend, and a very slight one at that. As heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise worldwide, temperatures will keep rising too. That worries Charlene Jones’ doctor, Cheryl Holder, an internal medicine specialist at Florida International University and president of the Florida State Medical Association. “She’s doing her best,” Holder said of Jones. “I do tell her to try and avoid the exposure, but hearing that her windows are all blocked and dark, that’s not really what we want.” But pulling the shades may be the only option for a patient like Jones. She’s already spending a lot of money on air conditioning, electricity for fans and medications to control her asthma, bronchitis and COPD. Right now, she’s also saving for a new car so she can drive to appointments instead of having to walk to the bus stop…” Kate Stein reports for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

Read New push for offshore drilling as Florida awaits recount results - “As Florida waits to find out the eventual results of its recounts, the Florida Petroleum Council urges renewed consideration of offshore drilling. The timing is interesting, as presumed Gov.-elect Ron DeSantisis opposed to the practice...The [oil and petroleum] industry study suggests offshore exploration “could generate additional non-bonus and royalty revenue such as personal and corporate income tax, property tax, and sales taxes. The combined associated state and local tax revenues are projected to reach nearly $155 million annually by the end of the forecast periods, according to the report.”The timing of this study is interesting, after voters approved a Frankenstein-monster amendment to the Florida Constitution that banned offshore drilling and workplace vaping. Florida officials, including Gov. Rick Scott, have opposed plans by President Donald Trump’s administration to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters beyond the nation’s outer continental shelf — a jurisdictional term describing submerged lands 10.36 statutory miles off Florida’s West Coast and three nautical miles off the East Coast. DeSantis, in his environmental plan, said he would “utilize his unique relationship with President Trump and his administration to ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines...” Florida Politics staff report.


From Our Readers

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Job Openings:

Executive Director - Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Retail Manager- Friends of Gumbo Limbo

Organizing Representative for Sierra Club Florida’s Clean Energy for All Campaign

Upcoming Environmental Events:

November 17 - 9:00am-4:00pm - Highlands County Master Gardeners Festival (Sebring) - Join the Highlands County Master Gardeners for the inaugural Garden Festival. Kicked off at 9:00am by Shannon Reed singing the National Anthem, there will be live music, vendors, food, a kids zone, and plant classes. Where: Bert J Harris Agricultural Civic Center in Sebring: 4509 George Blvd.

November 17, 9:00am-11:00am - National Take a Hike Day (Naples) - Join Conservation Collier to celebrate National Take a Hike Day at either Gordon River Greenway (1596 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples FL) or the Nancy Payton Preserve (1540 Blue Sage Drive, Naples FL). Meet at the Parking Area/Trailhead. Pre-registration required. Call 239-252-2961 or email at conservationcollier@colliercountyfl.gov .

November 27 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP -- Palm Beach County 2070:  What’s Next?  (Palm Beach Gardens) - Join 1000 Friends of Florida and the North County Neighborhood Coalition on Tuesday, November 27 to identify the steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Palm Beach County. We want to hear from you about what you think the biggest obstacles are to sustainability and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.   The workshop is at Nova’s Palm Beach Campus, 11501 North Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit  www.1000friendsofflorida.org/pbco2070plan to find out more.

November 28 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – FREE WORKSHOP – Martin County 2070:  What’s Next? (Stuart) - Join 1000 Friends and The Guardians of Martin County on Wednesday, November 28 to share your thoughts on steps needed now to promote a more sustainable future for Martin County. We want to hear from you about what you think are the biggest obstacles to sustainability in Martin County and what needs to be done, both short- and long-term, to overcome them.  The workshop is at the Susan H. Johnson Auditorium, Wolf High-Technology Center, 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart.  This event is free, no registration is required, and light refreshments will be served.  Visit www.1000friendsofflorida.org/mco2070plan to find out more.

December 1, 9:00am-4:00pm - 2018 Florida Solar Congress (Miami) - The 2018 Florida Solar Congress is a free public conference. It brings together solar supporters from across the state to learn and discuss the current solar landscape and future for solar energy in Florida. The day will include a series of presentations about solar technology and policy, as well as ways to get involved with helping to grow solar in Florida. Topics will include: solar 101, solar + battery storage for homes, grassroots solar advocacy, electric vehicles, ways to get involved, and much more! The event will conclude with a participatory open forum discussion for all attendees to discuss priorities and opportunities that solar supporters in Florida should focus on in the coming year. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all attendees! RSVP here. Interested in volunteering at this event? Email Heaven Campbell at heaven@flsun.org.

December 1, 12:00pm-4:00pm - NFLT J.J. Grey Concert- (Jacksonville) - The North Florida Land Trust presents Jacksonville-hailing J.J. Grey, singer and songwriter described by his fans as ‘the North Florida sage and soul-bent swamp rocker’ who has gained worldwide acclaim with his band, JJ Grey and Mofro. This December’s concert brings Grey back home to his beloved roots and will feature JJ Grey in a solo performance. Grey shares a commitment to the land of his north Florida home that fits perfectly with North Florida Land Trust’s mission to protect special places in the region. Grey often sings about the changing landscape in northern Florida and his soulfulness and deep beliefs come through in his music. The concert will be held at Congaree and Penn Farm & Mills: 11830 Old Kings Road, Jacksonville, FL 32219. For more information and tickets, visit the NFLT site 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/.

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/.

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.

Petitions

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

Stop the spraying of glyphosate herbicide in Florida waters

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

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

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

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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