Claire Goforth reports for Folio Weekly – “In 2015, nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice wrote, ‘The Water and Land Conservation Amendment requires that, for the next 20 years, 33 percent of the proceeds from real estate documentary-stamp taxes go for land acquisition…’ In the unsurprising, if disheartening, tradition of Floridian lawmakers…, since the amendment passed overwhelmingly with 75 percent of the vote in 2014, the legislature has continued dipping into the money pot for other uses, such as staffing and overhead costs, which many viewed as contrary to the intent of voters. Consequently, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of environmental organizations – including the St. Johns Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club, the Florida Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida – to force the state to comply with their view of the terms of the amendment… [They won.]… It is likely the matter is headed to the appellate court.” Read Conservationists Score Major Win: Judge Rules that State Must Comply with Land Conservation Amendment Overwhelmingly Passed in 2014
Tyler Treadway reports for the TC Palm – “Fertilizing farms with partially treated human waste should be banned if there’s proof it’s damaging water quality, two Treasure Coast legislators said… The Florida Legislature in 2012 banned such biosolids, but only in the Lake Okeechobee, Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River watersheds. ‘The biosolids restrictions contained in (the limited ban law) should be extended to other areas of Florida where water contamination has been documented,’ Senate President Joe Negron… said… The biosolids ban in South Florida led to a spike in their use in other areas of the state, especially the St. Johns River watershed… St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman… suggested a statewide moratorium on biosolids ‘until the state can figure out what to do with its waste. The last thing I want to do is shift the problem to another waterway.’” Read Ban Class B biosolids wherever sewage sludge pollutes water, Joe Negron, Erin Grall say
Jeff Goodell writes for the Sun Sentinel – “When it comes to discussing sea-level rise in South Florida, the word “resilience” gets tossed around a lot by enlightened politicians and urban planners. It’s almost as if the word itself were a mantra that, with enough repetition, will stop the rising seas from swamping South Florida. But here’s a word that is almost never spoken in public discussions of South Florida’s future: “retreat.”… [T]he Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach megalopolis has been one of the 10 fastest growing regions in the country in recent years… But as the water rises, that may change. A recent study by Matthew Hauer, a demographer at the University of Georgia, estimates that 13 million people will be displaced in the U.S. by sea-level rise by 2100… In Hauer’s study, about 2.5 million people will flee South Florida… Rising seas are not just an engineering problem; they are an existential risk to life as we know it in South Florida… Even in the most modest scenarios, dealing with rising seas in the coming decades will be messy, complicated, and hugely expensive. Taxes will increase. Insurance rates will skyrocket… Salt water will corrode your car. Trees will die. New water-borne diseases will emerge. Biscayne Bay will go murky from the increased run-off and pollution. Racial and class tensions will arise over who gets protected from the flooding and who doesn’t. So if you live in South Florida, you might ask yourself: Why stick around? And if you own a house or condo, you might think: why not sell now, while there are plenty of buyers in the market and prices are high?” Read The dirty word in South Florida’s watery future: retreat
Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News – “At their June 14 meeting, members of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board expressed concern that the federal government might not provide the expected 50-50 match to build the EAA reservoir… ‘They did the study on the SB-10 reservoir, and to my surprise, to everybody’s surprise, we discovered in the fine print of their attached discussion they think they are prohibited from participating in the 50-50 cost share because of water quality and other issues with the water coming from Lake Okeechobee into the reservoir,’ said SFWMD board member James Moran.” Read Will feds pay their share for EAA reservoir?
Jenny Staletovich reports for the Miami Herald – “Nearly 30 years after they were proposed, two projects key to fixing the region’s plumbing problem are finally nearing completion. A third, another leg of a Tamiami Trail bridge rising above the swamp… will be done next year. By allowing more water to flow under a road that damned up the marshes and parts of Florida Bay for nine decades, the projects will unlock the bottom of the Everglades and begin to reconnect the increasingly unmanageable pieces of a vast system that stretches to Lake Okeechobee… Only one stumbling block remains: getting everyone – federal and state water managers, farmers, wildlife managers, residents and a national park – to agree on exactly how to run the system.” Read Could raising a 90-year-old road fix South Florida’s water problems?
Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News – “ ‘The district has not done a good job of talking about what I think is its primary job, and that is public safety,’ [Water Resources Analysis Coalition member Mark Generales] said. At the June 14 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District meeting, Chairman Federico Fernandez said June is Flood Awareness Month. ‘June represents an ideal time to remember the ability to live, work and raise families in South Florida depends on the work in many instances that we do here and water management systems across the board,’ he said. ‘I am proud the work the district staff does ensures the flood control system, built over 60 years ago for 2 million people performs to today’s standards of providing flood control service for more than 8.1 million South Floridians,’ he said.” Read Flood control systems protect South Floridians
Brad Rogers writes for the Ocala Star Banner – “Take a look around Ocala/Marion County these days… There’s building going on everywhere. Jobs are plentiful. Times are good. Yet, with all that comes some very real and not-so-new worries. The County Commission moves the Urban Service Boundary on a whim… It’s times like this that the voices of conservation, of trying to fend off those who would pave over our beautiful landscape are so desperately needed. It’s times like these we could use Susan Woods… Woods died on April 16… Now, sadly, there will be one less relentless defender of our land and animals.” Read The land loses a vital voice
Kate Furby reports for The Washington Post – “[I]n response to climate change, vital fishery stocks such as salmon and mackerel are migrating without paperwork. According to a new study being published… in Science magazine, coastal countries need to collaborate even more on international fishing regulations to prevent misuse of resources. Food, environmental and economic securities are at stake, it warns.” Read Climate change is moving fish around faster than laws can handle, study says
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