FCC News Brief - April 23, 2018

Lindsay Cross writes for the Tampa Bay Times – “The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed… A particularly adventurous GPS-collared male dubbed M34 traveled nearly 500 miles over two months. Starting near Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, he ventured north through the Everglades Headwaters toward Celebration. Despite numerous attempts, he was unable to safely cross Interstate 4, and ultimately returned south to protected lands and privately owned ranches along the Lake Wales Ridge… Expedition team members [experienced] M34’s same frustrations as they [traversed] the wild/urban edge of the corridor… After leaving Disney Wilderness Preserve… the team… encountered a difficult trek compounded by construction, roads, trash and persistent noise… ‘If you were a large animal, like a bear, sensitive to loud noise and people’s voices, you would tend towards nocturnal activities. Certainly on these roads, you feel a nervousness. That’s not a feeling we like, and the animals don’t either.’” Read The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “The Army Corps of Engineers wants to know what you think about the plans for the reservoir being designed to help cut Lake Okeechobee discharges. The Corps is preparing an environmental impact statement to evaluate and document possible effects of the reservoir design developed by the South Florida Water Management District and will accept comments on the plan through April 30.” Read Lake Okeechobee reservoir: Tell Army Corps of Engineers what you think

Martin E. Comas reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Four years ago, west Seminole County was known as “ground zero” for the hundreds of incidents – the most in the state – of residents coming face-to-face with Florida black bears. It was also where three women were viciously attacked by bears while walking their dogs in separate incidents in 2013 and 2014. Thanks to more homeowners using bear-resistant trash cans and a county ordinance requiring residents to secure their trash, the number of nuisance bear reports in Seminole have plummeted by more than half – from 1,015 in 2014 to 450 in 2017 – according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission… The county bought the trash cans with $189,000 it received from state grants last year and $150,000 from grants in 2016… Since 2014, the number of calls in Seminole reporting a hungry bear raising a trash can dropped from 188 in 2014 to 80 in 2017, according to the FWC. Bear-resistant cans also have been distributed in Orange and Lake, which received grants and have experienced similar results. Over the same period, human-bear encounters declined in Orange from 464 to 244 and Lake from 695 to 521… In 2014, 13 nuisance bears in Seminole County were killed by state officials. Last year, only one nuisance bear in the county was put down, according to state data.” Read Bear-proof trash cans credited with decline in nuisance reports

Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Dredging a 15-mile stretch of the Indian River Lagoon from Sebastian to Palm Bay is on the horizon.” Read Fla. Inland Navigation District seeking permit to dredge lagoon from Sebastian to Palm Bay

The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “[E]ight students filed suit… to force [Gov. Scott] and legislative leaders to take action on climate change. Good. The courts – including the court of public opinion – should hold climate-change-deniers, like Scott, accountable for failing to address the epic threat facing those of us at Ground Zero. South Floridians know the floodwaters that more frequently overtake our roads and threaten our homes are a bipartisan problem that cannot be ignored. Yet during his two terms in Tallahassee, Gov. Scott has done nothing to address the problem. Instead, he looked the other way as incentives to use alternative energies, like solar, were eliminated.” Read Gov. Rick Scott should listen to students on climate change

The Gainesville Sun Editorial Board writes – “It shouldn’t take children to force adults to get serious about climate change. Sadly that is the situation in Florida, where the governor and other state officials refuse to acknowledge climate change is a major problem – much less do something about it. Now eight Florida students… are taking matters into their own hands. With backing from a national environmental group, they filed a lawsuit this week against Gov. Rick Scott and other Florida officials for the damage being caused by their indifference to climate change… A spokesman for Gov. Scott dismissed the lawsuit as ‘political theater,’ but it is nothing compared with the acting job the governor is doing. After Scott spent much of his two terms as governor weakening environmental regulations and the state agencies charged with enforcing them, he is now pretending to be an environmentalist as he runs for the U.S. Senate.” Read Young people fighting for better future

Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times – “The latest probe brings the number of investigations into Mr. Pruitt’s use of taxpayer money and possible ethics violations to 10… Here is a guide to these… investigations… Representative Frank Pallone… requested [an] investigation after a report that Mr. Pruitt had encouraged the coal mining industry group to urge President Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement. Critics of the meeting said the discussion violated anti-lobbying laws for government officials… Meanwhile, the G.A.O. is investigating Mr. Pallone’s complaint about a National Cattleman’s Beef Association video in which Mr. Pruitt appears. In the video, produced by the lobbying organization last year, Mr. Pruitt describes his opposition to an Obama-era clean water rule. Mr. Pallone and others asked auditors to investigate whether the promotional video involved an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars.” Read Expenses, Emails and a Phone Booth: The Investigations Faced by Scott Pruitt

Jim Robbins reports for the New York Times – “The battle to save the so-called gray ghosts – the only herd of caribou in the lower 48 states – has been lost. A recent aerial survey shows that this international herd of southern mountain caribou, which spends part of its year in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington near the Canadian border, had dwindled to just three animals and should be considered functionally extinct,” experts say.” Read Gray Ghosts, the Last Caribou in the Lower 48 States, Are ‘Functionally Extinct’





From Our Readers

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Job Openings

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Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Tell Congress to Stop Attacking Protections for Dolphins and Whales

Save Endangered Sea Turtles from Drowning in Shrimp Trawls

Defend Attacks on the Marine Mammal Protection Act

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


Upcoming Environmental Events    


April 23, 4:00 pm – Attend a viewing of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power at the Mary Esther Public Library (100 W Hollywood Blvd) in Mary Esther. For more information, click here.

April 24 – June 23 – Solar United Neighbors is hosting several solar co-op information sessions around Florida throughout the next few months. Attendees will learn about solar equipment, financing, and the benefits of joining a solar co-op. For a complete list of sessions, click here.

April 25, 6:30 pm – Attend the Town Hall: Growth or Gridlock in Maitland. For more information, click here.

April 27-28 – Attend the Florida Wildflower Symposium in Orlando. For more information, click here.

May 1, 12:00 pm – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center in High Springs for Springs Academy Tuesdays; a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs. May’s lecture is on “Springs Hydrogeology: Floridan Aquifer, Groundwater Recharge, Spring Flows” with FSI Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. All lecture are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information, click here or call (386) 454 – 9369.

May 3, 6:30 pm – Watch Mac Stone’s TED talk on “the Amazing Everglades” at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Boulevard) in Spring Hill. After the TED Talk, Dr. Tom St. Clair will comment on Everglades ecology and restoration. For more information, email sierraadventurecoastcc@gmail.com or call (352) 277 – 3330.

May 9, 12:44 pm – Attend the Villages Environmental Discussion Group at the Belvedere Library Community Room (325 Belvedere Blvd.) in The Villages. Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Sierra Club Organizing Rep., will make a presentation entitled “Urban Fertilizers… Connections to Our Lawns, Landscape, and Florida’s Waters”. Shari Blissett-Clark, Pres. Of the FL Bat Conservancy, will make a presentation entitled “Bats in Florida’s Backyards.” For more information and to RSVP, email resourcewisdom@gmail.com.

May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.


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