FCC News Brief - September 19, 2018

Read North Florida Land Trust marks largest conservation acquisitions to date- “ North Florida Land Trust has acquired two conservation easements in Clay County marking the nonprofit organization’s largest conservation easement acquisitions to date. The two properties totaling approximately 2,551 acres will now be protected from high intensity development and will serve as a buffer for the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. NFLT works closely with Camp Blanding to identify lands that are both prime for conservation and important to protect the military base from the threat of encroaching development. Funding for the purchases was provided by the Army National Guard. ‘These conservation easement acquisitions mean we have been able to keep thousands of acres free from high intensity development in perpetuity,’ said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. ‘These are the largest conservation easement acquisitions North Florida Land Trust has been able to accomplish at one time in all of our 19-year history. This is about national security, economic development, community relations and conservation all working together for the greater good.’ The largest piece of property, at approximately 2,057 acres, secures a 14-mile wildlife corridor from State Road 16 in Penney Farms to Georges Lake near Florahome. The second piece of property is about 494 acres of land that sits along the eastern boundary of Camp Blanding. It provides a natural connection between the 2,057-acre property and the military base. Both properties are home to a variety of habitats, including mixed hardwood forest, pine flatwoods, floodplain swamp and the blackwater stream, Ates Creek. The conservation easement agreement allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land, but permanently limits how the land can be used to protect its conservation values. The properties are within the Ocala to Osceola (O2O) wildlife corridor; a critical wildlife corridor that stretches from the Ocala National Forest to the Osceola National Forest. The O2O corridor provides an important habitat for the Florida Black Bear and endangered species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, indigo snakes and gopher tortoises. There are numerous imperiled species, and rare habitats within the O2O…” North Florida Land Trust press release.

Read Judge hears cases for and against Fort Myers Beach Boardwalk - “A court hearing over a proposed boardwalk at the south end of Fort Myers Beach drew more than a dozen wildlife and town advocates Tuesday in a case some say is pitting private interests against public assets.  The boardwalk is being proposed by two corporations and would traverse a lagoon at the south end of the beach. skirting wildlife habitat that's considered critical to threatened and endangered species. Texas Hold 'Em LLC and Squeeze Me Inn LLC own the two homes, which sit at the south end of the island near Big Carlos Pass and adjacent to the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area. Attorney Martha Collins, who represents Audubon of Florida and the town of Fort Myers Beach, both of which oppose the boardwalk, said the boardwalk would violate the spirit of zoning laws aimed at making sure coastal development is safe in the face of heavy tropical storms and hurricanes. ‘This is the very epitome of why we have the (coastal zoning rules) in place, to make sure things aren't totally blown off the map’ during a storm,’ Collins said. Collins said the area is also very dynamic and that the coastal features there change over the course of decades. Audubon blocked the original Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit in 2016, just before the state agency was going to issue the go-ahead for the boardwalk.  DEP is siding with the corporations. Julie Wraithmell, president of the Florida Audubon Society, said environmentalists and bird lovers worry that a boardwalk would disrupt the wildlife and natural features. Beaches like the one at the south end of Fort Myers Beach are very rare, Wraithmell and others said, because so much of Florida's dry dunes have been developed.  ‘It is a renown destination for bird watching and an important site for threatened and endangered species,’ Wraithmell said. ‘Dozens of species use the habitat, and because of it’s location there are many migratory birds that use the site as well." Wraithmell said the boardwalk would cause irreparable harm to endangered and threatened wildlife and the surrounding habitat. Town of Fort Myers Beach Manager Roger Hernstadt said the town is concerned that the boardwalk would impact protected birds like least terns and black skimmers, which use this part of the island for breeding, feeding and nesting…” Chad Gillis reports for the Fort Myers News-Press

Read What fishermen knew about red tide- “The recent red tide outbreak created a firestorm of reactions not seen on Florida’s southwest coast since 2004, the last time an intense, long-lived red tide impacted the area. But what’s most important about these two milestones is what happened between the two events...My earliest memories of red tide date back to my childhood, when I would hear firsthand accounts of red tide coming ashore from the commercial fishermen docking their boats at the Vamo and Osprey fish houses. In the late 1960s commercial fishing was still a thriving business in this area, and the industry’s connection to our local waterways was direct and meaningful. The commercial fishermen seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to understanding the relationship between land, water, weather and fish. While there was no shortage of “inspired” language used at the fishhouses, I never heard a commercial fisherman use terms such as “stormwater pollution” or “nutrient loading.” Yet these third- and fourth-generation fishermen were remarkably accurate in describing their intuitive beliefs that the loss of mangroves and “piney woods” to suburban development was responsible for the reduced catches they were experiencing. By the early 1980s, Sarasota’s bays were unrecognizable from their condition just one generation past. Tourism, home sites, waterfront dining, and water-related recreation soon replaced commercial fishing as the top money-producing waterfront uses. But just like commercial fishing, these new industries depend on healthy beaches, bays and estuaries to thrive, and now represent essential revenue sources to our local economy and tax base, as well as critical jobs that support thousands of local families…The time to act on activities that could potentially ease the impacts of these extended red tide events and bacteria-induced beach closures should not be limited to when we are in the throes of a crisis. It should be part of our everyday activities and policy-making decisions when the waters appear clean and blue.” Jon Thaxton writes for the Herald-Tribune.

Read Environmentalists press to keep National Conservation Fund - “A national conservation fund that has been around for more than 50 years may not be around much longer. Environmental advocates from around the country - including Florida - are pressuring Congress to renew the program. The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses royalties from offshore oil and gas leases to preserve tens of thousands of parks, wilderness areas and public lands. In Florida, it's raised an estimated $1 billion. But it's scheduled to sunset at the end of September. Preston Robertson is with the Florida Wildlife Federation. ‘Then they take that money and they spread it around the United States - including Florida, of course - and they put it to work for conservation projects,’ he said. ‘And there are little projects all over Florida that have benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.’ He says one barrier to making the program permanent is the environment has become another tug of war between Republicans and Democrats. ‘It's unfortunate to me that we don't see that we need to take environmental integrity and sustainability,’ he said. ‘We need to take that off the battlefield. We should all support that - not only for ourselves, but for our economy and our children.’ Robertson says members of Congress are being lobbied to set aside their differences and to reauthorize the fund permanently. Steve Newborn reports for WUSF News.

Read A green beer that looks like algae? It’s all for clean water - “ There are spicy beers and even peanut butter beers, made to stand out on crowded shelves. Then there's a murky, green brew that looks a lot like algae. It's making a statement on the one ingredient brewers can't do without — clean water. The ghastly-looking ‘Alegae Bloom’ beer made by Maumee Bay Brewing Co., which relies on Lake Erie for its water, is a good conversation starter that reminds customers about the toxic algae that show up each year in the shallowest of the Great Lakes, said brewery manager Craig Kerr. Workers came up with the idea last summer when a thick coat of algae settled into a creek alongside its brew house. ‘We're going to keep doing this until the algae bloom isn't there anymore,’ Kerr said. ‘The goal is to never make this beer again.’ Craft brewers nationwide are pushing for strong environmental regulations while also working to preserve rivers and streams, all in the name of water. A growing number are getting involved at a time when the Trump administration is seeking to do away with a rule that a group of brewers say protects water sources from pollution. Some brewers, like Maumee Bay, are serving up seasonal batches to draw attention to pollutants that threaten Florida's aquifers and Colorado's mountain streams… Craft brewers say it's their duty to protect the water they use. Beer is about 90 percent water, after all. Atlanta's SweetWater Brewing Co. and Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, Florida, trace their involvement in clean water campaigns to founders who saw protecting the environment as part of their business model. But getting involved in clean-water politics can create sticky situations… New Belgium, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, said it has given $16 million to nonprofit groups, with a large chunk going toward water protection projects. It also has been one of the loudest voices calling for stronger environmental policies. That means occasionally hearing from people telling them ‘stick to making beer.’ ‘We didn't ask politics to get involved in beer,’ Wallace said. ‘But they did when our No. 1 ingredient is being threatened…” John Seewer reports for the Associated Press.

Read What the world needs now to fight climate change: more swamps - “Drain the swamp’ has long meant getting rid of something distasteful. Actually the world needs more swamps- and bogs, fens, marshes, and other types of wetlands. These are some of the most diverse and productive ecosystems on Earth. They are also underrated but irreplaceable tools for slowing the pace of climate change and protecting our communities from storms and flooding...For centuries human societies have viewed wetlands as wastelands to be “reclaimed” for higher uses. China began large-scale alteration of rivers and wetlands in 486 B.C. when it started constructing the Grand Canal, still the longest canal in the world. The Dutch drained wetlands on a large scale beginning about 1,000 years ago, but more recently have restored many of them. As a surveyor and land developer, George Washington led failed efforts to drain the Great Dismal Swamp on the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Today many modern cities around the world are built on filled wetlands. Large-scale drainage continues, particularly in parts of Asia. Based on available data, total cumulative loss of natural wetlands is estimated to be 54 to 57 percent – an astounding transformation of our natural endowment….Although global climate agreements have been slow to protect wetland carbon, promising steps are starting to occur at lower levels. Ontario, Canada has passed legislation that is among the most protective of undeveloped lands by any government. Some of the province’s most northern peatlands, which contain minerals and potential hydroelectric resources, are underlain by permafrost that could release greenhouse gases if disturbed. The Ontario Far North Act specifically states that more than 50 percent of the land north of 51 degrees latitude is to be protected from development, and the remainder can only be developed if the cultural, ecological (diversity and carbon sequestration) and social values are not degraded…” William Moomaw, Gillian Davies, ad Max Finlayson write for The Conversation.

Read Red tide appears along Florida panhandle - “It was a rough weekend for Florida's beaches, with a resurgence of red tide on the Gulf Coast and a new outbreak reported along the Panhandle. Due to an outbreak of red tide along Bay County, beachgoers in Panama City Beach were greeted by a grizzly sight this weekend: thousands of dead fish spanning the coastline.  While red tides that far north are less common than in the south, Dr. Jeff Chanton, an oceanography professor at Florida State University, said it’s nothing new. ‘The red tide organism was first observed here in the 1500s by the Spanish explorers,’ Chanton said. The blooms are caused by high nutrient levels in the water.  While they can occur naturally, scientists believe the length and severity of the outbreaks have increased due to human use of fertilizers. Southwest Florida has been experiencing red tide since last October. ‘The fish of the Gulf of Mexico suffer terribly because of this. Seabirds suffer because of this,’ Chanton said. ‘It's a very disturbing thing.’ The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it's investigating whether the red tide in Southwest Florida spread north, or if the outbreak in the Panhandle is a separate, unrelated incident…” Jake Stofan reports for the News Service of Florida.

Read City of Altamonte Springs wins top honors from International Water Association - “The City of Altamonte Springs' innovative water treatment project, pureALTA, was named among the best in the world after fierce competition featuring 160 entries from 45 countries. pureALTA was recognized for its forward-thinking applications and solutions to advance clean and safe water goals, taking home a top award in the Market-changing Water Technology and Infrastructure category. The City was honored as the only project from the U.S...The award-winning pureALTA project takes reclaimed water and treats it to meet or exceed all drinking water quality standards without using expensive, energy-consuming reverse osmosis. The City's unique process features four advanced treatments: ozonation and biological activated carbon filtration (O3/BAF), ultrafiltration (UF), granular activated carbon filtration (GAC) and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation process (UV AOP). Currently, the purified water is returned to the reclaimed water system, where it is used for irrigation. Thus far, the system has produced reliable results. The City treats approximately 28,000 gallons of water daily but could build a full-scale system with the potential to treat up to 500,000 gallons of water per day — about 5 percent of the City's future daily water demand without drawing from the aquifer. The St. Johns River Water Management District provided grant funding to jumpstart the pilot and Carollo Engineers have been a key component of its success. The City of Altamonte Springs' pureALTA project won a top award at the International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Awards in Tokyo, Japan on September 17, 2018. ‘The City of Altamonte Springs is a pioneer in water reuse and we are proud to be the City's funding partner as its leaders explore this innovative approach to sustainable water supply,’ said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. ‘I'm confident the City's work will help guide future generations who share our commitment to ensuring sustainable use of Florida's water.’...” WaterWorld press release.  


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Upcoming Environmental Events

September 19, 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m. – FREE Trouble in Paradise Webinar:  This project was spearheaded by the late Nathaniel Pryor Reed to educate candidates for office and citizens on key environmental issues facing our state and strategies to address them.  Attend this free webinar to learn more and gain insights on how to advocate for change.  Trouble in Paradise was produced by 1000 Friends of Florida, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Defenders of the Environment, Florida Springs Council, Florida Springs Institute, Florida Wildlife Corridor, Florida Wildlife Federation and League of Women Voters of Florida. The webinar has been approved for professional certification credits for planners, Florida attorneys, and certified environmental health professionals.  The full report and registration information are available at http://www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar/

September 24, 7:00-9:00 pm - Water Voices Program: Clear Choices for Clean Water (High Springs): The Ichetucknee Alliance resumes its popular Water Voices speaker series this fall with a program designed to inspire people to take action to solve the problems that plague the Ichetucknee River and its associated springs. This free event will feature a talk by Dr. Robert L. Knight, Executive Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI), and the premiere of three new videos, Ichetucknee:  Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow, edited by award-winning documentary filmmaker Eric Flagg. Knight will also describe FSI’s newest project, a Blue Water Audit, as well as his idea for an Aquifer Protection Fee. See this press release for more information. High Springs New Century Woman’s Club, 23674 U.S. Highway 27, High Springs, FL 32643.

September 25, 6:00 PM - Free showing of the Sierra Club film 'Reinventing Power' (Destin) - Sierra Club Emerald Coast, League of Women Voters of Okaloosa & Walton County, and Earth Ethics, Inc. present Reinventing Power: America’s Renewal Energy Boom. The movie takes us across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. These stories are proof that America does not need to choose between keeping our lights on and protecting our communities. Critically, Reinventing Power underscores the notion that we don’t have to sacrifice jobs for a clean environment. Over the film’s 50 minutes, you’ll meet people in eight states whose lives were changed by the renewable energy industry while exploring various aspects of the clean energy industry from innovation to installation. Register with EventBrite here

September 26, 6:00-8:00 pm – Environmental Center Night: Owls of North Florida (High Springs):  Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation for a fun evening learning about “Owls of North Florida” at the North Florida Springs Environmental Center. Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation (SWR) will introduce three owl species individually enlightening visitors with a bit of natural history on each owl. Then, SWR wildlife ambassadors and their handlers will spread out-to stations in the various area of North Florida Springs Environmental Center garden to display each owl and allow up close/safe viewing. Learn more here: https://floridaspringsinstitute.org/event/owlsofnf/. Address North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643.

October 2, 6:30-8:30 pm - Water Voices Program: Clear Choices for Clean Water (Lake City): The Ichetucknee Alliance resumes its popular Water Voices speaker series this fall with a program designed to inspire people to take action to solve the problems that plague the Ichetucknee River and its associated springs. This free event will feature a talk by Dr. Robert L. Knight, Executive Director of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute (FSI), and the premiere of three new videos, Ichetucknee:  Yesterday – Today – Tomorrow, edited by award-winning documentary filmmaker Eric Flagg. Knight will also describe FSI’s newest project, a Blue Water Audit, as well as his idea for an Aquifer Protection Fee. See this press release for more information.  Columbia County Public Library – Main, 308 NW Columbia Ave., Lake City, FL  32055

October 2, 12:00 pm - Free showing of the Sierra Club film 'Reinventing Power' (Pensacola) - Sierra Club Emerald Coast, League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area, and Earth Ethics, Inc. present Reinventing Power: America’s Renewal Energy Boom. The movie takes us across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. These individuals are working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. These stories are proof that America does not need to choose between keeping our lights on and protecting our communities. Critically, Reinventing Power underscores the notion that we don’t have to sacrifice jobs for a clean environment. Over the film’s 50 minutes, you’ll meet people in eight states whose lives were changed by the renewable energy industry while exploring various aspects of the clean energy industry from innovation to installation. Register with EventBrite here

October 2, 12:00-1:00 pm – Springs Academy Tuesday: Springs Overview (High Springs):  Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute for an hour-long presentation with Florida Springs Institute Executive Director, Dr. Robert Knight. During this class, Dr. Knight will be presenting an in-depth overview of springs and how they support our land and our daily lives! After each class, students get a chance to sit down for lunch with Dr. Knight and Florida Springs Institute staff to ask questions and find out more about how they can get involved in protecting these important natural resources. Registration for each class is not required; however, there is a $5 suggested donation for each class. Address: North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643.

October 5, 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m. - Palm Beach County 2070 Workshop:   What does the future hold for Palm Beach County?  Can the county accommodate the more than 750,000 new residents anticipated by 2070 and still maintain its quality of life and natural lands?  Join 1000 Friends of Florida in exploring how Palm Beach County should grow with experts on conservation, planning, urban development, economic development and citizen engagement.  What can we do today to plan for a better tomorrow in Palm Beach County?   This day-long workshop is being hosted by 1000 Friends of Florida at the Vista Center in West Palm Beach.  The cost is $20 per attendee and professional certification credits have been approved for planners (7 AICP CM #221015), Certified Foodplain Managers, and Florida Environmental Health Professionals and are being sought for Florida attorneys and others.  Find out more and register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/pbco2070.

October 12, 9 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. – Martin County 2070 Workshop:  Martin County is expected to grow by about 30% by 2070. How can the County accommodate new residents and still maintain its quality of life and natural areas?  A team of conservationists, planners, developers and others will explore how to lay the foundation now for a more sustainable future for Martin County.  This day-long workshop is being hosted by 1000 Friends of Florida and The Guardians of Martin County and is being held in Stuart.  Registration is $20 per attendee and includes lunch.  Professional certification credits have been approved for planners (5.75 AICP CM) and are being sought for Florida attorneys and others.   We hope you’ll join us!  Find out more and register at /www.1000friendsofflorida.org/martin-county-2070/

October 13, 9:00am-3:00pm - Fall Wildflower Festival & Native Plant Sale (Parrish): The Serenoa Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program present the Fall Wildflower Festival and Native Plant Sale at Sweetbay Nursery, 10824 Erie Road, Parrish. Get all the latest information from conservation groups such as Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Audubon Society, Tampa Bay Watch, and more. Ray’s Vegan Soul food available for purchase. For more information, call 941-776-0501.

October 20-21 – Into the Springs Music Festival (Alachua):  Join the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute for its second annual Into the Springs Music Festival at Deep Spring Farm. Enjoy a weekend full of live music, camping, organic farming workshops, yoga, and community in support of Florida springs! To learn more and purchase tickets, visit https://floridaspringsinstitute.org/event/intothesprings/. Funding for this event was provided in part by Visit Gainesville/Alachua County. Address: Deep Springs Farm,  16419 W County Rd 1491, Alachua, FL 32615.

October 26, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Water Symposium: The State of our Water (DeLand): The Volusia Water Alliance hosts a series of short presentations on the water problems we face and possible solutions by leaders and experts, focused on Volusia County and applicable statewide. This free event features keynote speaker Dr. Jason Evans, Faculty Director of the Institute for Water & Environmental Resilience, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson University, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Environmental Management. His topic is "Reclaiming the Future: Science, Engagement, and Hope in Our State of Watery Peril.” Seating is limited; please register online at VolusiaWater.org. Optional catered lunch from DeLand Natural Market (wrap, chips, water, and a brownie) is available for $12 with registration. Visit VolusiaWater.org for more information. Sponsorships are available. Wayne G. Sanborn Activity Center - 815 S. Alabama Ave., DeLand, FL 32724

November 1, 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. -- FREE Sustainable Landscaping Principles and Practices Webinar:  This free webinar will explore best practices, trends and market opportunities for sustainable landscaping in the State of Florida. Sustainable Landscaping is a set of landscaping principles and practices which minimize environmental degradation and make more efficient use of energy, water and other natural resources. This course will review the latest research and present current best practices for designing, building and maintaining sustainable landscapes. Project case studies will be used to discuss a framework for how to promote sustainable landscaping on large scale commercial projects working with multiple stakeholders through conceptual planning through implementation and long-term maintenance. The instructors are Pierce Jones, Ph.D., the University of Florida Extension Program Leader for Energy Programs, and Timothee Sallin, president of Cherrylake, an integrated landscape company.  This event has been approved for credits for planners, Certified Floodplain Manger and Florida Environmental Health Professionals and are being sought for Florida attorneys and others.  Register at www.1000friendsofflorida.org/webinar.

November 1-4 - The Florida Springs Restoration Summit (Ocala) - Join the Florida Springs Council in Ocala to learn from state leaders and experts on how we can make meaningful springs restoration a reality. The Florida Springs Restoration Summit brings together scientists, academics, advocates, reporters, policy makers, and other citizens to discuss the status of springs health and steps needed for meaningful springs restoration and long-term protection. The cost to attend the Springs Summit is kept low to encourage participation by members of the public and nonprofit organizations. To learn more about the 2018 Springs Restoration Summit and register, see the Summit website.

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.

Petitions

Stop the spraying of glyphosate herbicide in Florida waters

Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

Thinking of going electric? Nextcar Pledge

Rezoning 5-acres in Palm Harbor

Another Gulf is Possible

Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco – Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension

Florida Solar Bill of Rights

Protect Florida’s Gulf Coast from Offshore Drilling

Protect Weeki Wachee Springs; Stop the 7 Diamonds Mine in Pasco County

Tell Congress to Stop Sabal Trail

Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining in Florida

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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