The Herald Tribune Editorial Board writes – “[E]xpansion plans by the regional water authority serving Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties are being delayed by challenges. Petitions for administrative hearings filed by jurisdictions located near the upper Peace River are unfortunate, but not unexpected… The four-county authority has proposed increasing the maximum amount it can withdraw from the Peace River – during high-flow conditions… The application… is consistent with the minimum-flow level… for the lower Peace River… [S]ince water flows downstream, the argument from Polk County can be diluted. In fact, when the authority increased its rainy-season withdrawals and expanded its treatment and storage capacities years ago, most of the concerns were focused on the river downstream… Yet the authority’s current permit application has not been challenged by those focused downstream and on the harbor.” Read Keep the peace on water permit
Dale White reports for the Herald Tribune – “In a series of unanimous votes…, the Manatee County Commission amended plans for two of Mosaic Fertilizer’s phosphate mines in the Myakka-Duette area… Mosaic succeeded in getting an extension of the ‘termination date’ for mining and trucking phosphate ore from the Wingate Creek Mine by 14 years to 2037 and have environmental restoration of the land done by 2042… If Mosaic is granted extensions on its approvals, the county should impose newer and tougher standards for mining and reclamation (environmental restoration of mined land), Glenn Compton, chairman of ManaSota-88, wrote in a letter… Andy Mele of Suncoast Waterkeeper… showed aerial photos of lands in the region that were mined with draglines and now resemble ‘moonscapes.’ ‘You’re going to leave your landscape scarred essentially for another generation,’ Mele told commissioners.” Read Commission preserves ‘vested rights’ for Mosaic phosphate mines
Drew Martin writes for the Palm Beach Post – “I think it is important for people living here in South Florida to understand that there are no engineering solutions that will protect us completely from sea-level rise. We need instead to restore the Everglades, and protect and restore wetlands as well as natural shorelines… Because South Florida has an extremely porous land surface, berms and dikes such as work in the Netherlands will not work here. The ocean will push up under the dikes or around them. The expense of trying to build such a system would be a waste of money. We can also not build sea walls to stop storm surge. The ocean will push up underneath these structures… Natural shorelines with native plants such as mangroves that hold the soil provide a much better solution. Unfortunately, Florida continues to permit destruction of natural shorelines. Florida also continues to permit building on the seaward side of the Coastal Construction Line (CCL). This means buildings are being built today that could be in the ocean during storm surge and high tide.” Read Restore wetlands, natural shorelines to reduce threat
Kimberly Miller reports for the Palm Beach Post – “[T]he lake had been above 16 feet six times since 2013, and the repeated high water levels had taken their toll. By the fall of 2016, just 19,500 acres of vegetation remained of the 44,700 in 2012 – a 56 percent reduction. High water levels reduce the amount of light reaching submerged vegetation, such as eel grass. As the submerged vegetation dies back, it no longer buffers the inner marsh from polluted water from the middle of the lake. Once that nutrient-laden water reaches the interior of the marshes, thickets of cattails overrun the remaining plants and don’t support the same amount or variety of life that other vegetation did. Higher water also disperses fish, making it more difficult for wading birds to find food and almost impossible for short-legged wading birds to forage… Before man replumbed Florida to create dry land for homes and farms, Lake Okeechobee water would have flowed naturally south…” Read Our beloved Lake Okeechobee is sick: This is how it got that way
The Miami Herald Editorial Board writes – “A recently released study of the economic impacts of national parks demonstrates just how much Americans and tourists in our country enjoy visiting these precious natural resources. In each of the past four years, visitors to national parks in Florida spent more than $600 million on lodging, gas, transportation, dining and all of the other things necessary to make a vacation work. That supported about 9,000 jobs… These are places of breathtaking beauty and ecological or historical value in every state. They are places that define what it is to be an American… But Congress has not given the National Park Service enough money to keep up with repairs for years and it now faces a $2.5 billion repairs backlog nationwide… Congress should step up. America protects national parks for today and for future generations. Letting them fall apart isn’t an option.” Read South Florida’s national parks need some love and care. Congress should step up.
David Smiley, Alex Harris, and Joey Flechas write for the Miami Herald – “Philip Levine’s political prospects are intertwined with Miami Beach’s $500 million plan to survive rising seas… But as Levine crisscrosses the state promoting his radical sea-rise agenda on Miami Beach, his signature accomplishment is springing leaks back home… Levine also remains unapologetic about one of the most controversial confrontations in his four years as mayor. Two years ago, he used the word ‘defamatory’ to deride a Miami Herald story about a scientific study that found the city’s flood pumps were sending flood water tainted by human fecal bacteria back into the bay at levels up to 600 times the acceptable limits… Levine treated the study as an attack, labeled it ‘sloppy science,’ and had the commission vote to demand the Herald retract its story… [T]he city does not treat the water for bacteria, and subsequent testing conducted by the county’s environmental resources division confirmed [the study’s] results.” Read Philip Levine is basing his run for governor on his climate change record – which is complicated
Congressman Brian Mast shares – “The committee adopted several of my amendments for our community into [this year’s Water Resources and Development Act].” Read Big Wins for Local Water In Infrastructure Bill
Damian Carrington reports for The Guardian – “Achieving the toughest climate change target set in the global Paris agreement will save the world about $30tn in damages, far more than the costs of cutting carbon emissions, according to a new economic analysis. Most nations, representing 90% of global population, would benefit economically from keeping global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels… This includes almost all the world’s poorest countries, as well as the three biggest economies – the US, China and Japan…” Read Hitting toughest climate target will save world $30tn in damages, analysis shows
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 4 – 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.
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 7, 6:30 pm – Attend the Sierra Club Adventure Coast Meeting at the Harvey Martin Democratic Center (3432 Deltona Blvd) in Spring Hill. Susan Glickman of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is the guest speaker. Social begins at 6:30, followed by the program at 7:00 pm. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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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