Read Deepwater Horizon money goes to 69 projects - “From the Bayou Chico contaminated-sediment remediation project in Escambia County to implementing a canal-management master plan in Monroe County, a multi-state council created after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster has approved numerous projects for areas of Florida’s Gulf Coast. The federally created Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which includes the governors of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, approved Florida’s expenditure plan, which covers 69 projects --- collectively worth more than $291 million --- that are spread across 23 counties. Gov. Rick Scott announced the approval of the plan on Monday. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, money for the projects comes from the settlement of criminal charges against BP and Transocean Deepwater, Inc. The plan was presented by the Gulf Consortium, which was created in 2012 and consists of one representative of each of Florida’s Gulf Coast counties and six non-voting gubernatorial appointees. ‘I am incredibly proud of the work that has been done and the goals that will be accomplished to make Florida better,’ Gulf Consortium Chairman Grover Robinson, an Escambia County commissioner, said in a statement released the governor’s office…” From the News Service of Florida.
Read Red tide bloom now touching all three of Florida’s coasts - “Reports over the weekend of beachgoers on Florida’s Atlantic Coast complaining of coughing and wheezing means Red Tide toxic algae has reached a rare peak. The bloom has now touched all three of the state’s coasts, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This appears to be only the second time that has happened since the state began officially tracking the blooms. The last time was nearly 20 years ago. This one began along the Southwest Florida coast last November, intensified over the summer, then reached both the Pinellas and Panhandle beaches last month. Now it has been carried by both currents through the Keys and swept up along the state’s east coast as well. ‘We’ve detected low to medium concentrations of naturally-occurring Red Tide in water samples taken Sunday...off the coast of Palm Beach County,’ wildlife commission spokeswoman Susan Neel said in a written statement late Monday...Although an unusual event, this is not the first time currents have pushed the algae — a regular resident of the Gulf of Mexico — over to the Atlantic side of the state. In 1996, for instance, a pod of dolphins died off the coast of North Carolina under mysterious circumstances, according to Barb Kirkpatrick, a harmful algae bloom expert who is executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association. ‘Nobody knew what it was, and then it turned out to be from Red Tide,’ she said. The dolphins had eaten fish that were poisoned by the Red Tide toxins, she said. Since 1957, Red Tide has turned up 12 times on Florida’s east coast. In 1997, for instance, it hit some of the same Palm Beach County beaches that were affected this past weekend. The first time scientists recorded a bloom touching all three Florida coasts was in 1999. The east coast was hit by Red Tide again in 2002 and 2007. That last one persisted for months, and was blamed for the deaths of more than 40 sea turtles. The current bloom has been labeled the worst to hit Florida in a decade. As of Sept. 29, Pinellas County work crews had hauled 767 tons of dead fish to the county’s waste-to-energy plant and landfill, Levy said...” Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times.
Read We need to save the Everglades quickly because it helps protect South Florida’s drinking water and can limit hurricane damage - “Saving the Everglades from sea-level rise means much more to South Florida than just protecting panthers, alligators and those pesky pythons. Without the Everglades as a buffer to hurricanes and as a source of drinking water, it’s the people living in South Florida who risk becoming the endangered species. The Everglades guards our western flank during hurricanes, absorbing storm surge and the drenching rains that can come from hurricanes blowing in from the Gulf. And long after storm season passes, we rely on Everglades water seeping into and replenishing underground supplies we tap for drinking water. But if the rising sea turns the Everglades into an inland sea, then climate change damage will get even closer to home for Southeast Florida. Without the Everglades to play hurricane defense for us, the storm-surge flooding we already worry about along the Atlantic Coast also becomes a greater risk from the west. And if rising seas turn more of the freshwater Everglades salty, then the water seeping into aquifers threatens to foul our inland drinking water wells. So just as South Florida communities are collaborating to get ready for flooding from a projected two-foot sea-level rise by 2060, we also must face the sea’s assault from the west. That’s why protecting what remains of the Everglades is more important than ever. To push back at the invading sea, we must hurry to get more freshwater flowing to the Everglades. That means Congress finally sending hundreds of billions of dollars to South Florida at the pace envisioned when the state and federal governments launched an Everglades restoration partnership in 2000. It means finishing construction of the reservoirs and other slow-moving restoration projects planned to get water flowing south. And it requires reworking Everglades restoration plans to accommodate faster sea-level rise provoked by the warming atmosphere. An independent panel of scientists that evaluates the restoration for Congress has warned that a bigger infusion of freshwater may be needed for the Everglades to overcome sea-level rise...The good news is, Everglades restoration could help hold back the seas — or at least lessen the effects of saltwater pushing farther inland. The bad news is, a state and federal collaboration to build reservoirs and treatment marshes is moving way too slowly, plagued by funding delays, construction problems, legal fights and political wrangling…” From the Miami Herald Editorial Board.
Read Congress loses sight of conservation with Farm Bill, LWCF expirations - ““Today's expiration of the Farm Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) puts the future of two of America’s best conservation tools in jeopardy. ‘The Farm Bill is the most important legislation for conserving private lands in the United States, providing farmers, foresters and ranchers with tools to protect their lands and their way of life. Meanwhile, LWCF has conserved public lands and waters for more than 50 years at no cost to the American taxpayer, expanding public access to lakes and streams, building local parks and trails, conserving working forests and protecting national park landscapes. Investing billions into these efforts, the Farm Bill and LWCF have had an indisputable and lasting positive impact on the American landscape. ‘Together, they represent a tremendous portion of our country’s commitment to conservation—a commitment that benefits us all through the long-term health of our vital lands and waters, communities and economy. By allowing them to expire, Congress has sent the wrong and risky message that conservation is not a top priority, even while pressures on our resources continue to grow. Without either, the funding to protect parks, farmlands, forests, waterways and other places becomes uncertain, stalling the long-term planning needed to prevent losing these places forever. ‘As lawmakers spend the next several weeks in their home states and districts, they have the opportunity to see first-hand the important role conservation plays in their communities. I hope that will help them recommit to supporting conservation when they return to Washington. In the meantime, the rest of us have the opportunity to use our voices and our power as constituents to let our representatives know we’re counting on them to renew LWCF and pass a new Farm Bill with strong conservation programs as quickly as possible.” Lynn Scarlett from The Nature Conservancy press release.
From Our Readers
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Upcoming Environmental Events
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 6-7, 13th - National Solar Tour-Florida Open Houses (Statewide): In an effort to make solar visible in our communities and educate people about solar energy, Solar United Neighbors has organized a series of over 600 solar open houses in 48 states and over 100 in FL alone. Interested in going solar? Sign up to visit a solar open house near you (October 6th and 7th, October 13th in Alachua County).
October 11, 12:45pm - 2:45pm - Villages Environmental Discussions Group kick-off event (The Villages): Our guest speakers will include Jaret Daniels, Ph.D., associate curator and program director at the Florida Museum of Natural History, who will discuss Florida native butterflies. Other guest speakers include Mike Archer and Jody Woodson-Swartzman, of Green Party Lake County, who will discuss their project to inspire others to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. They will even show how to revise an old t-shirt into a usable shopping bag. Please send an RSVP to email@example.com.
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 12-November 16 - Save our Springs & Rivers Academy (Volusia County)- Want to become a Blue Spring advocate and help spread the word about solutions to water pollution? Attend this FREE adult education courses that includes classroom and field trip experiences, guest speakers, hands-on, feet-wet learning to provide the ultimate citizen engagement experience. Those participating in the six-week course will gain valuable knowledge and will pledge to educate others on behalf of Volusia Blue Spring. For more information or to register, visit www.greenvolusia.org or call 386-736-5927. View course dates and locations here.
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.
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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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