Chrystian Tedjedor reports for Florida International University – “Mangroves running for their lives may have just hit the end of the road. Using a combination of aerial photographs from the 1930s, modern satellite imagery and ground sediment samples, Florida International University Sea Level Solutions Center researchers Randall W. Parkinson and John F. Meeder tracked the mangroves’ westward retreat from the coastal Everglades. Now, their backs are to the wall – literally. Having reached the L-31E levee in southeast Miami-Dade County, there’s nowhere left for mangroves in that part of the Everglades to flee. ‘You can see migration westward has stopped right where that levee is,’ Parkinson said. ‘In many cases there is no space for them to migrate into – there’s development or some feature that blocks their migration…’ Parkinson estimates that in 30 years, the land now occupied by mangroves could be open water. For people living nearby, it would mean the loss of one of the natural barriers to storm surge and saltwater intrusion… Scientists have seen mangroves make the same desperate moves elsewhere on the planet in response to climate change caused by people.” Read South Florida mangroves are on a death march, marking a new era for Earth
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “U.S. Rep. Brian Mast said… he’ll probably vote for legislation to reduce support for sugar farmers… Ninety members of Congress, both Republican and Democrats, have voiced support for the amendment. Mast, whose 18th Congressional District includes Martin, St. Lucie and northern Palm Beach counties, is the only member of Florida’s congressional delegation to support it. ‘I’ll probably be the only representative in the history of the district to vote against the sugar industry,’ Mast told a group of Treasure Coast environmentalists gathered at the Florida Oceanographic Society… Mark Perry, the society’s executive director, called the meeting to talk to Mast about pushing congressional approval of a reservoir to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges… The project and the sugar bill are linked, at least according to many environmentalists who think the proposed 10,100-acre reservoir and 6,500-acre man-made marsh to clean the water need to be bigger… [A]n alliance of 11 environmental groups asked U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, in a March 28 letter to vote for the amendment. The groups, including the Everglades Trust, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club and Bullsugar, called sugarcane production south of Lake O ‘a great impediment’ to environmental restoration. Nelson said… he hasn’t decided whether he’ll support the bill.” Read Brian Mast expected to cast historic vote to reduce sugar farmers’ support
Patricia Borns reports for News-Press – “The City of Fort Myers has filed a motion to dismiss all but one of Fort Myers residents’ claims in a lawsuit over the dumping of toxic sludge decades ago in a family neighborhood.” Read Fort Myers files motion to dismiss claims of toxic sludge neighbors
Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today – “Under local ordinances designed to protect sea turtle nesting, from May 1 to Oct. 31, all indoor and outdoor lights visible from the beach must be shielded, repositioned, replaced or turned off from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m… Those who violate Brevard’s marine turtle lighting ordinance face fines of up to $500 and six months in county jail. Most beachside cities have similar ordinances. Officials will work with residents on lighting problems. Along with the nonprofit Sea Turtle Conservancy, Brevard County periodically has grant money available to help homeowners fix beach-lighting issues… To read your local beachside sea turtle ordinance, visit here: myfwc.com. ” Read Sea turtle nesting season means lights out on the beach
Ryan Gillespie reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “Efforts are under way in Central Florida to restore the habitats of the monarch butterfly, crucial to helping plants grow, including many foods people eat. The iconic orange and black insect is one of nature’s key pollinators. Environmentalists say its decline, which they blame in part on climate change, threatens the ecological health of the region, and other crucial insects may be suffering as well… To help, Central Florida governments, schools and businesses are encouraging residents to plant milkweed – the pink, orange and yellow flowering shrub the insect thrives on – to boost habitats for the monarch and other pollinators… The monarch’s worldwide population has diminished by about 800 percent since 1996… ” Read Central Florida community works to bring back monarch butterflies
Anne Delaney reports for the Pensacola News Journal – “Motorists traveling on the Navarre Beach Causeway recently may have noticed the speed limit has dropped from 35 to 20 miles per hour along a one-mile stretch of the road. The reason for the change is to protect the nesting birds – Black Skimmers and Least Terns – that use the wide-open sandy spaces near the water on both sides of the road to settle down and breed after long trips back from South and Central America, where they spend the winters. The speed limit decrease – which starts in late April and extends into September or October – has taken effect for at least four years… [T]he 20 mph speed limit gives drivers enough time to change their reaction if a bird wanders into the road or if a group of birds soar into the path of a vehicle.” Read Navarre Beach Causeway speed limit drops to 20 mph to protect nesting birds
John W. Fitzpatrick and Nathan R. Senner write for The New York Times – “A worldwide catastrophe is underway among an extraordinary group of birds – the marathon migrants we know as shorebirds. Numbers of some species are falling so quickly that many biologists fear an imminent planet-wide wave of extinctions. These declines represent the No. 1 conservation crisis facing birds in the world today. Climate change, coastal development, the destruction of wetlands and hunting are all culprits. And because these birds depend for their survival, as we do, on the shorelines of oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes, lagoons and marshes, their declines point to a systemic crisis that demands our attention, for our own good.” Read Shorebirds, the World’s Greatest Travelers, Face Extinction
Lisa Friedman reports for The New York Times – “The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new regulation… [that] will require that the underlying data for all scientific studies used by the agency to formulate air and water regulations be publicly available. That would sharply limit the number of studies available for consideration because much research relies on confidential health data from study subjects… Supporters and critics alike say the policy will have far-reaching consequences that could limit the E.P.A’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, air pollution and pesticides. The new regulation means that some of the most important research of the past decades – for example, studies linking air pollution to premature deaths and measuring human exposures to pesticides – would not be available to policymakers if scientists were unwilling to break the confidentiality agreements they struck with study subjects in order to collect sensitive personal information. Enacting the policy as a regulation… will involve accepting comments from the public and going through a lengthy bureaucratic process… Public health and environmental groups have vowed to challenge the move in court. Richard J. Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard, said… [the rule] would be considered an arbitrary and capricious decision under the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs agency rule-making…” Read E.P.A. Announces a New Rule. One Likely Effect: Less Science in Policymaking.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
May 3 – 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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 11, 8:30 am – Attend the Save Our Water 2018 summit in Bonita Springs. For more information, click here.
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
May 19, 10:00 am – Participate in Hands Across the Sand at Pensacola Beach. Hands Across the Sand is an annual gathering of people who come together to express their opposition to dirty fossil fuels and to champion a new era of clean, renewable energy. There will be speeches, snacks, live music, and more. For more information, click here.
May 23, 5:30 pm – Attend Before the Flood at the Pensacola Public Library (239 N. Spring St.) in Pensacola. Before the Flood is a film that follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio to five continents and the Arctic to witness climate change firsthand. Following the film, 350 Pensacola and Northwest Florida Move to Amend will discuss how the influence of corporate money in politics is delaying action on climate change and how the public can take action to free the political system of that influence. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, email email@example.com.
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