Read Manatees in peril as toxic red tide tests Florida’s resources for rescued animals - “At the peak of Florida’s red tide crisis this summer, Jon Peterson had to dig deep into Sea World’s storage warehouses to find enough portable pools to accommodate the dozens of sick manatees arriving at a rate of two or three a week. The Orlando theme park’s manager for animal rescues even found himself forking out for air fares to send some of his younger manatee patients off to zoos in Ohio to free enough space in the rehabilitation centre for the newest victims of the toxic algae phenomenon that has killed thousands of fish and marine mammals. It was, Peterson says, “the roughest red tide we’ve had in a long while”, testing to the limit the capabilities of the Sea World facility and the many other essential components of a fragile network of foster care for Florida’s distressed sea life in times of emergency. Now, with red tide blooms still creeping along areas of the state’s west coast in high concentrations, according to the latest water samplings from the Florida fish and wildlife commission (FWC), there has been little let-up in the pressure on the marine parks, zoos and aquariums that continue to respond to the crisis a year after its outbreak. Pool space is scarce for newer arrivals of affected manatees, dolphins and sea turtles. Staff and volunteers who rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release animals are working long hours with limited resources to save as many as they can…A glance at FWC’s manatee mortality figures reveals the severity of this year’s red tide crisis. Preliminary figures for the first 10 months of 2018 show 191 fatalities to confirmed or suspected red tide, in which the animals are poisoned when they eat seagrass coated with toxic algae, compared with 67 for the whole of 2017, and only 15 the year before...” Richard Luscombe reports for The Guardian.
Read Clams released into Sarasota Bay to reduce red tide toxins - “On Saturday, Sarasota Bay Watch did its 5th release near New Pass. The clams came from Pine Island in Southwest Florida. They are now resting in Sarasota Bay where they will filter and clean the water. The southern hard clam lives up to 30 years and actually eats red tide, mitigating the harmful effects of the toxin. An adult can filter up to fifty gallons of water per day. In the filtering process, they absorb assorted viruses, toxins, and bacteria in the polluted water. Mote Marine scientist Jim Culter is documenting and monitoring the effort. Sarasota Bay Watch has released more than 200,000 clams in 2018. Another release is planned for 2019. Sarasota Bay Watch is a grass-roots, non-profit, citizen-based organization dedicated to preserving and restoring Sarasota Bay's ecosystem through education and citizen participation.” Julia Salomone reports for ABC Action News.
Read Water Management District responds to criticisms for extending land lease - “The South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board recently voted to extend a lease to allow farming to continue on about 16-thousand acres of state owned land that’s going to be used to build the EAA, or Everglades Agricultural Area, Reservoir. The decision came quickly, without advanced public input. Some environmental groups, like The Everglades Foundation, immediately decried the move, saying it will delay construction of the much-needed reservoir, and that the vote was taken without enough advanced public notice. We had The Everglades Foundation’s CEO, Eric Eikenberg, on the show last Wednesday. We did invite the water management district to join that show, but didn’t hear back until afterwards. So, today, we’re going to hear from the district to to get their side of this story. We’re joined by Brian Accardo, Chief Counsel, Jerry Eisenband, Director of Communications, and by John Mitnick, he’s Chief Engineer for the South Florida Water Management District.” Mike Kiniry and Julie lenn report for WGCU.
Read Floridians are counting on Rick Scott to keep his promise on offshore drilling- “Democrat Bill Nelson’s concession to Republican Governor Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race means sunshine state citizens are losing a longtime fighter for Florida’s environment and strong opponent of offshore drilling. Floridians made clear the importance of this issue in passing a ballot initiative to ban drilling in state waters, and drilling figured prominently in the midterm election campaign. Republican Governor-elect Ron DeSantis vowed to work with the Trump administration to “ensure that oil drilling never occurs off Florida’s coastlines,” and Rick Scott promised to oppose the inclusion of Florida in the Trump administration’s forthcoming 5-year leasing plan. The following is a statement from Ana Unruh Cohen, managing director for government affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Communities along the coast and across the country—Democrats and Republicans alike—have made their opposition to drilling clear. With Florida feeling the fallout from an environmental crisis along its coast, and with the U.S. experiencing ever more extreme weather events fueled by carbon pollution, the time is now for leadership in opposing offshore oil and gas drilling. Senator Nelson was always a champion for our coasts. We look forward to working with the Florida delegation to protect the state’s beaches and economy from crippling oil spills, and to safeguard the country from the harms of expanded drilling.” Press release from the Natural Resource Defense Council.
Read Environmental activist engage local youth in conservation efforts - “Florida continues to face an environmental crisis that is threatening wildlife and the state's natural resources. Environmental activists said they're alarmed at the rate wildlife species are dying off, from pollution, deforestation and other man-made factors. That's why the Duke Energy Foundation is funding 10 non-profits to preserve the state's wildlife. This grant is focusing on protecting Florida's natural resources for future generations to enjoy, but it's also about getting the youth educated and involved in conservation efforts. And Franklin's Promise Coalition is engaging the youth with hands on training and field work. "We've built living shorelines. We've planted sea oats. We've done wildland fire prep," Executive Director Joe Taylor. It's more than just conservation work, the grant also aims to help children and teens get training, certifications and employment. "Each of our young folks identify something that they see as important it could be anywhere from getting a drivers license, completing a high school diploma, or getting a particular certification. So they allow the resources to help us," said Taylor…” From WTXL.
Read Planners updating rules to address rising seas - “The threat of sea-level rise in the Florida Keys often lies just a few yards away. “Monroe County residents know this area is very low-lying. It’s a very different environment from the rest of the state,” Corey Aitken of the South Florida Regional Planning Council told a “Peril of Flood” meeting in Islamorada. Aitken, the council’s resiliency and economic coordinator, is assisting Islamorada and Marathon municipal planners in updating land rules to conform with the Peril of Flood law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2015. The law requires communities to identify “coastal high hazard areas” likely to flood during storms or exceptional high tides as a step toward limiting property damage and insurance losses, and consider additional steps. “We are seeing larger storms,” Aitken said. “There are areas that have changed over the course of years. Maybe we can look back and see if there is a solution hidden in the past.” While the planning council assists local governments to improve their flood mapping and building codes in coming decades, development and building regulations will be decided by counties and municipalities, Aitken said. “We offer assistance on updating the comprehensive plan … advice on what rules and regulations can allow,” Aitken said. “How development works, that’s going to be Islamorada’s decision.” Monroe County remains a designated Area of Critical State Concern, which gives state officials authority to review Florida Keys rules…” Kevin Wadlow reports for the Florida Keys News.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events:
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 email@example.com.
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/.
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