The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board writes – “We’re already seeing things we’ve never seen before: sunny-day flooding, sea water bubbling up from stormwater drains, flood control gates that can’t open because water on the coastal side is higher than the inland side, saltwater intrusion in more drinking water wells, the Intracoastal Waterway spilling over seawalls, drainage canals lapping at sidewalks, gravity-driven stormwater systems hampered by the rising water table, and people unable to leave their homes during autumn’s king tides. And don’t forget the octopus that surfaced in a Miami Beach parking garage through a storm drain last year. Farm more dramatic change is coming in the next few decades. By 2060, South Florida’s building codes anticipate a two-foot rise in sea level, maybe more… [W]hat we’re not seeing is state and federal leadership to address the water headed our way… [W]e want to encourage you to make your voice heard on the need to address sea-level rise… Local officials who are paying attention don’t want to cause undue panic, but they need your calls, letters and emails to get sea-level rise on the agenda in Tallahassee and Washington… We also encourage the Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach legislative delegations to convene a summit on sea-level rise. Let them start by addressing this simple question: What level of sea rise is Florida planning for? From this, let them develop a shared legislative agenda… Most especially, we encourage corporate leaders to speak up about the peril facing South Florida.” Read Wake up, South Florida! Speak up on sea-level rise
Kristen Pope reports for Yale Climate Connections – “Coastal species are particularly affected, and some are losing habitat as rising water covers the beaches they rely on for important life functions, like nesting. Another chief concern is the intrusion of salty sea water into freshwater habitats and the impacts that has on some species. A recent University of California-Davis study predicts up to 90 percent of coastal freshwater turtle species will be at risk from sea-level rise… ‘Their bodies can’t process waters with high-salts compositions,’ Agha explains. ‘So, what they do is they refrain from eating or drinking when in these salty waters, and by doing so they essentially just continue to lose body mass over time.’ However, Agha notes some species have adapted to survive in more saline water… [S]ome species of the long-lived reptiles can take up to 20 years to produce a new generation, so… ‘The question is ‘Can they adapt fast enough to these changing aquatic environments?’’… A 2017 article… estimates the [Key Deer’s] population to be roughly 1,000. However, their low-lying habitat is in grave danger.” Read Rising sea levels putting wildlife at risk
Martin E. Comas reports for the Orlando Sentinel – “While politicians are accustomed to people complaining about taxes, residents of Seminole County’s Rolling Hills neighborhood left a county meeting pleased that elected leaders agreed to assess their homes more than $1,000 to clean up a contaminated old golf course… The county will use the money to eliminate contaminants including arsenic and dieldrin on various spots… before turning the land into a nature park where Seminole residents can hike on trails, enjoy picnics on the grass or simply toss balls… The creation of the special taxing district is one of the final steps before Seminole purchases the property for $3.95 million this summer.” Read Seminole residents say ‘raise my property taxes’ to fund cleanup of old golf course
John Chambliss reports for The Ledger – “A vote to approve a 50-year permit that would more than double the amount of water the Manasota regional water authority can withdraw has been delayed. Officials with the Southwest Florida Water Management District said the… vote… was suspended after the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven filed a petition challenging the permit… Swiftmud will review the petitions… to determine whether they are legally sufficient. Once that is determined, Swiftmud would refer the petition to the Division of Administrative Hearings. Gene Heath, a coordinator for the Polk Regional Water Cooperative, said it may not come to that. Manasota officials will either attempt to reach an agreement with Polk or the case will be heard by a hearing officer, who will make a final decision after hearing evidence from both sides, Heath said. That decision could he appealed, he said.” Read Water permit delayed after Polk files petition challenging it
Leon County shares – “Lean County furthered its commitment to clean energy and sustainability by signing the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy endorsement. Previously only available to cities, Leon County is the first county in the nation to sign this endorsement.” Read Leon County First County to Sign Sierra Club’s Clean Energy Initiative
Eve Samples reports for the TC Palm – “Stuller and his family persevere the way many small retailers do: by capitalizing on their expertise and stocking specialized products. There are hundreds of kayaks on their three-quarter acre parcel on Tamiami Trail – including models you can’t find at a chain store… Making the business sustainable for the next generation – including the baby [they] are expecting in August – is the goal. Their plan won’t work unless Florida’s natural environment is protected. ‘Our ecosystem is everything, especially here in Florida,’ he says. ‘That’s what people come here for.’ Stuller doesn’t just work in nature; he also spends his free time in it. He has a swamp buggy. He hunts. He’s a boat captain and a fisherman. He keeps a journal of wildlife sightings. Already, his son is adept at identifying species of birds and fish. Stuller is an advocate for not just conserving land, but also ensuring the public has access to it. Stuller also sees the problems: In particular, two recurring challenges have nagged Southwest Florida: red tide blooms and discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River. Most days are good. But one well-publicized bad day can hurt business.” Read Clean water is critical for small business
Ali Schmitz reports for the TC Palm – “The U.S. House… killed a Farm Bill amendment that would have drastically changed American sugar policy… The vote was 278-137, with U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, voting to eliminate sugar price supports… ‘After decades of brutal water issues, the status quo must change,’ Mast said… ‘That’s why today I voted in favor of securing the environmental future of our community.’” Read House kills sugar policy changes
Anthony Man reports for the Sun Sentinel – “Democratic governor candidate Gwen Graham said… she voted for a controversial oil pipeline (Keystone XL) despised by environmentalists because it was the best option for the environment and protecting Florida from rising sea levels… She explained… that she concluded that the oil was going to be drilled no matter what. At that point, the issue was what method of transporting it would be best for the environment. Moving the oil by truck, barge or rail created far more climate-damaging carbon emissions, Graham said, so she voted for the pipeline… ‘It wasn’t easy and I knew I would take a political backlash. But you know what? I think you have to have political courage to do what you think is right.’” Read Gwen Graham disputes ad attacking her, explains pipeline vote
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
May 17-20 – Attend The Florida Native Plant Society’s 38th Annual Conference in Miami. For more information, click here.
May 22 – 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 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.
June 2, 10:00 AM – Join the FCC for a Beach Clean Up & Celebration in Jacksonville Beach. The Celebration at 5:00 pm features BBQ, vendors, and a charity raffle benefiting the FCC. For more information, click here.
June 5, 12:00 PM – Attend Springs Academy Tuesdays, a lunchtime lecture series on Florida’s springs, in High Springs. June’s lecture is on “Water Chemistry – General, Nutrients, Trace Contaminants” with Chemist, Lisa Saupp. All lectures are free and open to the public. A recommended donation of $5 is appreciated. For more information click here or call (386) 454-9369.
June 8- June 10 – Attend Give Springs a Break in High Springs. Give Springs a Break is an educational retreat for students and young professionals. Along with creative skill workshops and fun activities, students will have the opportunity to learn from leading environmental scientists and advocates about freshwater and Florida’s springs. Admission to the event includes camping, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, tubing, spring-side yoga, meals, and a reusable event bag. For more information and to buy your tickets, click here.
June 16, 10:00 am – Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute on a paddle outing exploring the Weeki Wachee River and Springs. Kayak/canoe rental with shuttle is $35 and shuttle only is $20. A boat launch fee of $6 will also apply. For more information and to register, contact Adventure Outpost at (386) 454 – 0611.
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.
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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