FCC News Brief - November 9, 2018

Read What can we expect from Gov. Ron DeSantis? - “Ron DeSantis is taking his Trump-style conservatism to Florida’s governor mansion, vowing to build on the momentum set by his Republican predecessor...Expect more of the same under DeSantis’ watch. He has vowed to work closely with President Donald Trump and follow his predecessor Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s philosophy on the economy. Here’s how DeSantis might govern on some of the key issues affecting South Florida: With the caveat that he is not a “left-wing tree hugger,” DeSantis touted his support for the environment at campaign events, saying he would work to reduce toxic algae discharges, prevent offshore oil drilling and restore the Everglades. Asked at an event if he would implement any new environmental regulations, DeSantis dodged the question. Instead, he focused on how he would appoint qualified people to oversee the state’s water management district. DeSantis said he’ll work to combat sea-level rise, but he has declined to say definitively that climate change is real and humans contribute to it. Democrats tried to brand DeSantis an “election-year environmentalist.” The League of Conservation Voters gave DeSantis a mere 2 out of 100 rating for his environmental voting record when he was in Congress…” Skyler Swisher reports for the Sun-Sentinel.

Read Paddlefest dead in the water - “Paige Bakhaus, organizer of the fourth annual Paddlefest at Englewood Beach, announced Wednesday that the event is canceled for this weekend. The culprit: Persistent red tide in the Gulf of Mexico off Englewood Beach and Stump Pass, where stand-up paddleboarders and kayakers would be competing and enjoying their sports this Saturday and Sunday. “There is too much uncertainty regarding the overall condition of the water where Paddlefest athletes would be racing to ensure their enjoyment and well-being,” Bakhaus announced in a press release Wednesday. As the organizer of the event, she decided to be on the side of caution. “The health and safety of the participants are paramount, and the potential that direct, prolonged contact with the water could be less than optimal cannot be chanced,” Bakhaus said in the release....So far this year, the presence of red tide has killed the Pioneer Days fishing tournament for kids, the Lemon Bay Touchdown Club’s annual In-Shore Off-Shore fundraising fishing tournament, and other tournaments and boating regattas. While it’s an independent event, Paddlefest served to kick-off the Englewood Beach Waterfest, including the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championship racing, scheduled Nov. 17-18 off Englewood Beach on Manasota Key…” Steve Reilly writes for the Charlotte Sun.

Read Marine task force pushes for fertilizer ban - “Fertilizers should be banned year-round, according to the Marine Resources Task Force. The board is currently putting together a proposal to extend the current four-month ban during the wet season to the entire year. MRTF Chair Bill Veach said the first reason for this proposal is the algae blooms: "Whatever is being done now is not enough, it's not working, and as an island that's on the receiving end of all this nasty water, we should be setting an example of how to minimize fertilizer use." Fertilizer fuels the growth of algae, he said. "Green lawns lead to green water. That's not good for anybody." The current ordinance states that fertilizers containing nitrogen and/or phosphorus cannot be used from June 1 through Sept. 30. When it is allowed the rest of the year, it cannot be applied within three feet of any waterbody. "Most of the water that falls on the lawns goes into these swales, and runs right down into pipes and right out to the bay," Veach said, noting that storm water systems can filter solids and oils, but not nutrients. "Any chemical solution is just going to go right through."... The MRTF hopes a year-round fertilizer ban could have a domino effect like the island's straw ban in November of last year, which led Marco Island to follow suit this March, and Sanibel in September.” Jesse Meadows reports for the Fort Myers Beach Observer

Read How the environment fared in the midterm elections - “This week’s midterm elections didn’t quite deliver the expected “blue wave,” but they did bring some welcome news for the environment — and the planet. The most notable progress occurred on the state and local level, where several new progressive candidates will now take office and successful ballot initiatives will help preserve habitats and support clean energy. With the Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, President Trump has at least one major barrier to accomplishing his pro-business, anti-environmental agenda. Congress won’t have the ability to block many of his attempts at deregulation, which don’t require congressional approval, but they could help hold the line on harmful legislation such as the barrage of attacks against the Endangered Species Act that the Republican-led Congress has pushed over the past two years...Florida did not reelect Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a leader on the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which has never accomplished much but did at least embrace Republicans who took moderate stands on climate change. All told the caucus lost about a third of its 45 Republican members…” John R. Platt and Tara Lohan report for the Revelator.

Read Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. And make it permanent - “For more than 50 years, fees on offshore oil and gas drilling have provided billions of dollars for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect redwood forests, Joshua trees, beaches, mountains, parks, trails and other natural treasures in California — and similar assets around the nation. But the fund’s authorization expired at the end of September, and Congress left for its autumn recess without renewing it. When it reconvenes in a lame duck session after Veterans Day, Congress should permanently reauthorize the fund and ensure that the fees are used for their intended purposes: to acquire and protect natural areas and to make grants to states for outdoor access and recreation... Just over three years ago, [lawmakers] tabled their philosophical arguments and reached a short-term deal to keep the fund in business. That deal expired on Sept. 30. The House Committee on Natural Resources approved a reauthorization bill on Sept. 13. Shortly after the current authorization expired, a Senate committee advanced its own version of the proposal. But lawmakers disagreed over details and never got a bill to the floor of either chamber. The danger now is that a final deal on the fund will fall through the cracks as lawmakers argue over funding for the border wall and other controversial topics. That would be a shame. It ought to be easy to reach final agreement on a bill for which there is bipartisan support. It is low-hanging fruit, and Congress ought to pluck it as soon as it reconvenes.” From the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board.

Read Florida study finds monarch butterflies declined 80 percent since 2005 - “Every year thousands of monarch butterflies dance through the air over North Florida, traveling between their winter refuge in Mexico and their regular homes along the U.S. Atlantic coastline. The colorful pageant attracts flocks of tourists who are eager to bear witness to this sprightly migration. Every year, though, there have been fewer and fewer of the princely insects to see. A new University of Florida study — at nearly four decades, the longest of its kind — has found that the number of caterpillars and butterflies in North Florida has been declining since 1985. Since 2005, the numbers have dropped by 80 percent. The scientists involved in the study say the causes of the decline are not entirely clear, but they believe there are two major factors at work. One is the destruction — by development or agriculture — of areas that had been planted with native milkweed, the favorite food of young monarchs. The other is the widespread use of a herbicide called glyphosate, often applied to farmers’ fields to kill weeds. One of the weeds it kills is milkweed…” Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times.


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 13th - 5:30 pm - Recycling, recycling and more recycling (Fort Walton Beach)–. Join Earth Ethics, Inc as Jim Reece, Recycling Coordinator for Okaloosa County, talks to us about what can and can't be recycled, how to reduce, refuse, and reuse. Megan Betancourt Founder and Director of Coastal Community Clean up will discuss how they got started, what they do, and how you can get involved. Where: Enlightened Studios – 142 Miracle Strip Parkway – Fort Walton Beach – 32548. Let us know if you plan to join us. Get your ticket by visiting the link here, or check it out on Facebook here.

November 14 - 5:30pm-7:30pm - Walton Solar Co-Op Information Sessions (Santa Rosa Beach) - Join Earth Ethics, Inc to learn more about how you can go solar! Meeting at the Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Learn more here , or contact Mary Gutierrez at earthethicsaction@gmail.com

November 14 - 12:45pm-2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group (The Villages) - Villages Environmental Discussions Group will hold its next meeting Wednesday, Nov. 14. at the Belvedere Library, 325 Belvedere Blvd., The Villages, FL. Two fabulous guest speakers will be visiting us: Melissa Hill of Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT) will describe the work of this organization who recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary! Melissa will also describe the work she performs as project coordinator of Nesting Sea Turtle Conservancy. Our next speaker will travel to The Villages from St. Augustine, FL. Maia McGuire, Ph.D., UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension Agent, will give an update on the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project. This program is FREE and open to the public.  Bring along a friend. Please send an r.s.v.p. to  resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

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 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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