FCC News Brief - August 1, 2018

James Call reports for the Tallahassee Democrat - “Cleanup plans for Wakulla and a dozen other Florida springs are on hold after critics- including environmentalists and builders- met a Friday deadline to challenge them in administrative court. The Florida Home Builders Association was joined by 10 building and environmental groups in asking for a delay in the implementation of the Basin Management Action Plans signed by Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein last month. Two individuals also filed petitions challenging the plans for the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers. Those opposed to the plans say they are narrow in scope, weak on enforcement, and their late release by DEP- just days before they were supposed to go into effect under a 2016 law- gave little time to review and decide whether to challenge them in court…” Read Wakulla Springs cleanup plan on hold, DEP swamped by BMAP protests.

Opinion piece for the Ocala Star Banner - “Three years ago state environmental regulators implemented plans to save Silver and Rainbow springs from continued degradation, largely from nitrate pollution. They held meetings and followed protocol in writing what is known as a Basin Management Plan (BMAP). It was supposed to set up guidelines for curbing nitrate pollution. Observers, however - some Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials among them- were skeptical from the get go about the plans...For now, DEP has put the BMAPs on hold, pending review to see if administrative hearings are warranted and to give homeuilders time to adapt to the new rules. But it will take more than a little tweaking, as some DEP officals have suggested…” Read Plans too weak to save the springs.

Opinion for the Daily Commercial - “Florida’s springs didn’t get in trouble overnight; it took decades of reckless disregard for the state’s hydrological health before they started showing any signs of distress. Fixing them can’t be a rush job. That doesn’t mean matters aren’t urgent. Springs are vitally important to this state’s environmental and economic well-being. They feed rivers and fill lakes. More importantly, they provide an ongoing health check to the Floridan aquifer and the state’s supply of affordable, high-quality drinking water. When spring flow drops or becomes contaminated, it’s a clear signal that the aquifers’ natural water-purification system is in trouble...The state should work with those objecting to the BMAPs, both to fix the points of contention, which could be a drawn-out process, and to identify actions that state and local leaders could put into place immediately. That includes identifying funding sources and figuring out the logistics of some of the major projects, like septic-tank conversion…” Read Keep moving on springs plans.

Tom Palmer writes for The Ledger - “When I began covering water issues 40 years ago, the conventional wisdom in Polk County was that someday Tampa would launch a ‘water raid’ on Polk County. It wasn’t irrational. Utilities in the Tampa Bay area had already done that in Pasco County and had dibs on water from springs farther north as they engaged in lengthy legal battles among themselves over water allocations...The reason state officials told the water management districts to set minimum flows for rivers and minimum levels for lakes is that natural systems need water, too. That concept sometimes gets lost in the discussion about the latest scheme to secure water for the next couple of hundred thousand residents and all the development that goes with it. There was discussion at the last Polk co-operative meeting about exploring the option of cutting corners to meet goals, such as using untreated stormwater to augment lake levels, as if the lakes needed more polluted inflow. The fact that such a discussion even occurs, whether it is implemented or not, should concern us and make us wonder what other environmental compromises loom on the horizon to satisfy local development aspirations. Everyone needs to watch everything happening with water in Polk very closely…” Read Keep an eye on local water issues.

Gaylene Vasaturo writes for the Naples Daily News - “Collier County government is currently reviewing the growth management plan for the Rural Lands Stewardships Area (RLSA), 195,000 acres in eastern Collier surrounding Immokalee. This plan, the RLSA Overlay, determines how much development, and thus population, can occur on lands important for water recharge, wildlife habitat and agriculture. Florida’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA), 1000 Friends of Florida, and planning experts have outlined shortcomings in the plan and shown how far implementation has strayed from the framers’ intent...Scattering 45,000 acres of development across the RLSA will be costly. Landowners are choosing locations for their development projects and estimate the need for 88 to 100 miles of new and/or expanded roads to support the development of 45,000 acres. This ‘does nothing to combat sprawl, induce compact/infill development, reduce infrastructure costs, or protect rural character and agriculture lands’ (2014 reassessment, 1000 Friends of Florida).” Read Let’s reassess Collier’s Rural Lands Growth plan

Frank Cerabino reports for Palm Beach Post - “Irony alert: This summer’s algae bloom shut down the Stuart office of Florida Sportsman magazine, a publication that celebrates fishing in the state’s waters. ‘The algae started coming in late June, and then it just grew in the water,’ said David Conway, the magazine’s managing editor. The magazine’s office is on one of the many canals off the St. Lucie River. The putrid guacamole-like algae is a dramatic result of the overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in state waters that feeds a poisonous bloom during the warm summer months and strangles the life out of waterways...Eight years ago, the federal Environmental Protection Agency called for specific numeric limits on pollutants from farmers, municipal wastewater and stormwater utilities operations, and other polluters of state waters. In a letter responding to the EPA, Gov. Scott, Attorney Gen. Pam Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the state’s legislative leaders wrote that Florida couldn’t afford the “onerous regulation” of reducing man-made pollution in its waterways. ‘We each ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and hear from numerous constituents about concerns of an overbearing federal government that’s placing burdensome regulations on Florida’s families and employers,’ the letter said.The state refused to enforce a law that called for mandatory inspections of leaky septic tanks, and two years ago, Scott signed a bill that eased the timelines for cleaning up tainted water in Lake Okeechobee, a bill that former Gov. Bob Graham called ‘a purposeful effort to weaken protection and management of Florida’s water resources.’ And so here we are again. Read Blue-green algae bloom creates a fishing hole in Stuart.

Jessica Salmond reports for Cape Coral Daily Breeze - "A conversation in the Capitol focused on Florida last week. The South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force is a 14-member committee established in 1996 with the Water Resources Development Act. It meets to connect four 'sovereign' entities, the Army Corps, the South Florida Water Management District, the tribal entities of Southwest Florida and the state and federal government to relay information about the many related projects in the Everglades restoration efforts....Read Area officials advocate for Southwest Florida in D.C.

From Our Readers

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Upcoming Environmental Events    

Tidal Town Hall: Attend a Tidal Town Hall near you. These events represent a partnership between ReThink Energy Florida and First Street Foundation in an effort to provide voters with the opportunity to have an open conversation with Primary Candidates on the topic of sea level rise. Attending candidates are from both sides of the aisle and this is your chance to ask them how they plan on protecting the Sunshine State from climate change driven sea level rise:

August 1, 5:30 - 8:30 pm - 1951 NW 7th Ave Suite 600, Miami, FL 33136. Facebook event here.

August 65:30-8:30 pm - 330 5th St. N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Facebook event here.

August 6, 5:30 - 8:00 pm - 12000 Alumni Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32224. Facebook event here.

August 7, 5:30- 8:30 pm - En Espanol - 1951 NW 7th Ave Suite 600, Miami, FL 33136. Facebook event here

August 85:30-8:30 pm- 3975 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota FL 34232. Facebook event here

August 9, 5:30- 8:30 pm- 1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. Facebook event here

August 14, 5:00-7:00 pm  - 6340 Napa Woods Way, Naples, FL 34116. Facebook event here.

August 14, 5:00 - 7:45 pm - 239 N Spring Street, Pensacola, FL. Facebook event here

August 15, 5:00 - 7:00 pm - 2000 North Recreation Park Way, North Fort Myers, FL. Facebook event here

August 1, 6:00 - 7:30 pm - Low-Impact Development Workshop. Join local experts in the discussion about how Low-Impact Development (LID) practices keep stormwater on site, can remove pollutants, prevent flooding, and benefit wildlife. Elected officials, residents, builders ,city planners, and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend. Lyonia Environmental Center - 2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, FL.  For more information visit www.greenvolusia.org or call 386-736-5927.

August 4, 11:00 am- 1:00 pm - St. Augustine March Against Fracking: This is a family-friendly event, sponsored by multiple environmental and political organizations in Northeast Florida. Guest speakers will include Jen Lomberk (Matanzas Riverkeeper), Dr. Gary Bowers (Physician), V Miller (Campaign Director at Rethink Energy FL), and more! Nancy Shaver (Mayor of St. Augustine) will also be making an appearance. Parking is available on Anastasia Island. We will be gathering at the park on the east side of the Bridge of Lions. Marching will begin promptly at 11:30AM. For more information email Nick at: nickfamu@icloud.com.

August 7th, 12:00 pm - Springs Academy: Class 5 Springs Stresses. This Springs Academy class will be taught by Dr. Bob Knight, Executive Director of the Florida Springs Institute. Dr. Knight will be presenting an in-depth overview of Springs Stresses including groundwater pumping, fertilizers, wastewater disposal, and recreation. Held at the North Florida Environmental Center in High Springs, Florida. For more information email info@floridaspringsinstitute.org or visit the website

August 9, 6:00 - 8:45 pm - Big Bend Environmental Forum for Candidates of Primary Election- Citizens will be able to suggest questions covering environmental, energy, sustainability, and growth management issues to candidates of the county and city commissions for the Big Bend area. An open house prior to the forum will include displays by candidates and BBEF member organizations. King Life Sciences Building Auditorium, Room 1024, 319 Stadium Dr, Tallahassee FL. Facebook event here

August 13-16 - Registration is now open for Florida Springs Institute Field School. The Springs Field School will take place in Silver Springs, Florida, and includes four days of lectures and field trips on springs biology, geology, chemistry, environmental laws and advocacy from leading experts. For info and registration, click

August 17, 4:30 pm- 6:30 pm (CST) - Apalachicola Riverkeeper Meet & Greet: Learn more about Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s current and upcoming projects, including this year’s RiverTrek launch. Enjoy Wine & Beer, Tea & Soda along with light snacks. There will be door prizes! Event will be at the W.T. Neal Civic Center in Blountstown.

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.


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