Scott Powers reports for Florida Politics – “Julie Wraithmell becomes the new executive director of Audubon Florida and the newest vice president at the National Audubon Society… ‘Julie is what’s best about Audubon. She uses science to guide decisions; she is highly collaborative and is driven every day to make a conservation difference. This is also why she is widely recognized all over the Sunshine State as a top conservation expert…,’ David O’Neill, National Audubon Society’s chief conservation officer, stated… Prior to Audubon, Wraithmell served eight years as a biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.” Read Julie Wraithmell tapped to lead Audubon Florida
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “According to a new study from Florida State University researchers, tiny, sesame seed-sized microplastics in sand could be heating up beaches and changing the balance of male and female sea turtles. Researchers sampling sand at loggerhead nesting sites along the Gulf Coast found the beads at every location they tested, with the concentration higher in dunes where turtles nest. Plastic can absorb and retain more heat, leading researchers to worry that the beads could crank up sand temperature, which determines turtle sex as eggs incubate… A study of more than a thousand North Carolina sea birds found more than half had plastic in their guts. Scientists worry that microplastics may be settling onto the sea floor, and fear more impacts are going undetected across the vast oceans.” Read Florida sea turtles face a new threat from microplastics: hotter sand
Kurt Repanshek reports for National Parks Traveler – “An oil company looking for energy reserves beneath Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida left miles of deeply rutted and damaged wetlands despite requirements calling for immediate mitigation. The company is back in the field now, and environmentalists fear more damage is being done. Recent photos taken of the routes Burnett Oil Co.’s vibroseis trucks, which can weigh up to 30 tons, took a year ago depict deep wheel ruts ground into the sunbaked soil, trees both run over and cut down, and no sign of attempted mitigation. ;I think (the National Park Service) should have taken more time to study it and do an (environmental impact statement( since this is the first of four phases,’ Alison Kelly, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said… Big Cypress Swamp… contains… rare woodpeckers that live in family groups, with youngsters helping to raise their siblings. There’s a subspecies of panther (listed as an endangered species nearly five decades ago) that has tenaciously survived despite the steady urbanization of Florida. More than 30 species of orchids grow in Big Cypress, perhaps most notable among them the Ghost orchid…” Read Oil Survey Leaves Rutted and Damaged Wetlands at Big Cypress National Preserve
Kyra Gurney and Alex Harris report for the Miami Herald – “As [Miami Beach] moves ahead with plans to designate the Tatum Waterway a historic district, some property owners worry that could make it harder for them to prepare for the impacts of climate change. It’s an issue that is bound to come up again and again as Miami Beach grapples with how to engineer itself up and away from the rising seas while keeping the historical character of the island intact.” Read Can a Miami Beach neighborhood preserve its history and protect itself from sea rise?
Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board writes – “It turns out the Constitution Revision Commission is only slightly more democratic thank the old Soviet Politburo… Here are five prescriptions to cure this ailing government body: 1. Subject commission members to Florida’s Sunshine law… 2. Limit proposals on the ballot to single issues… 3. Limit the number of amendments on the ballot… 4. Meet more often than every 20 years… 5. Diversify the commission… Either fix it or kill it.” Read Either Fix Constitution Revision Commission or Kill it
The St. Augustine Record Editorial Board writes – “Offshore drilling is regulated by the 2016 Well Control Rule. The Interior Department has announced a plan to alter 44 provisions in the rules and delete 15 others… It’s reckless to ease regulation and oversight of offshore drilling, nor or anytime in the foreseeable future.” Read Ease offshore drilling rules? No!
Kate Stein reports for WUSF – “One way (to adapt to hotter weather) is by planting trees to shade sidewalks and bus stops, and in neighborhoods where people might not be able to afford much air conditioning… Leahy was in unincorporated South Dade… to help with a tree planting at a new park. It’s part of Miami-Dade’s effort to plant a million trees countywide by 2020… ‘High heat can cause severe health impacts and even death…,’ said Jane Gilbert, chief resilience officer for the city of Miami… While trees aren’t substitutes for air conditioning, they can help lower outdoor temperatures by a few degrees. Gilbert says studies of Miami have shown that areas with fewer trees – which are mostly low-income – can be two or three degrees hotter than other places. ‘It’s really critical that we reduce what we call the “heat island effect” in our most urban areas,’ she said. Miami-Dade’s Tree Week… includes tree planting efforts with volunteers from Barcardi, Coca-Cola and Bank of America.” Read How Trees Can Make South Florida More Resilient Against Rising Temperatures
The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board writes – “Our main protection is a flood-control system built 50 to 70 years ago, long before climate change was even imagined. IT’s clear that this aging system will need serious, and expensive, upgrades. Congress has yet to provide the money for a much-needed study of how to do that. It’s galling that lawmakers gave the Northeast $20 million for a flood-control system after just one storm, Superstorm Sandy. Yet for a ll the hurricanes and tropical storms we’ve endured, Congress has yet to fund a flood-control study for our region that it authorized in 2016.” Read Aging flood-control systems can’t protect South Florida
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
May 8 – 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 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 email@example.com.
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 19, 11:00 am – Participate in Hands Across the Sand at Fort Walton 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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