FCC News Brief - August 3, 2018

Ryan Benk reports for WJCT - “Florida’s 14 nonprofit waterkeepers are asking environmental regulators to conduct an audit of the state’s vulnerability to storms and sea level rise. The water watch-dogs say florida is not planning well enough for the effects of climate change. Last year, Hurricane Irma caused flooding levels in Jacksonville’s urban core not seen in more than 150 years. And statewide, insurance claims nears $10 billion. Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk said the state Department of Environmental Protection needs to do a comprehensive audit of infrastructure….The group is also asking the FDEP to restart what’s called the Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force. The task force, a group of more than 20 scientists under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in charge of making recommendations and researching bloom causes, has gone unfunded since 2001…” Read Algae and audits: Florida Waterkeepers call on state to be more proactive planners.

Brittany Carloni reports for Naples Daily News - “Billy Norris was eager to get back to his fishing charter business in Bonita Springs and to the crystal-clear Gulf of Mexico waters in April, when he returned home from his latest tour with the U.S. Marines. ‘Summer is normally our playtime,’ Norris said. The water ‘is beautiful. It looks like the (Florida) Keys and the Bahamas.’ As his fellow fishing captains welcomed him back home, they warned him of the harmful red tide blooms that have now lingered off the Southwest Florida coast for months...Norris said he didn’t believe it at first-that the red tide was as bad as his friends said-then he saw it for himself. ‘It’s apocalypse level stuff,’ Norris said. ‘People don’t want to fish. We’re crossing a threshold we can’t recover from.’..." Read As red tide lingers in the Gulf, Southwest Florida fishing captains try to save their livelihoods.

Jim Turner for the News Service of Florida- “As they address environmental issues on the campaign trail, Florida’s gubernatorial candidates are all for doing what is necessary to eliminate toxic algae outbreaks and for preserving natural springs and rivers. But the candidates’ solutions are mostly general and vary on how to keep up with the state’s growing population and businesses while keeping springs and rivers clean from the Panhandle to the Everglades...The gubernatorial campaign is playing out amid high-profile problems with toxic algae in waterways in Southeast and Southwest Florida. The problems stem from polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee...” Read Candidates for Florida governor targets toxic algae outbreaks, water problems.

Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today- “Tests for cancer-causing chemicals already found at high concentrations underground at Patrick Air Force Base turned up-but at lower levels- in all three wells the city recently sampled after residents had raised cancer concerns, city officials said Wednesday. The presence of the compounds at three random wells is a matter of concern for officials and residents alike, and has the city discussing what comes next and where else to look. ‘It’s unfortunate that it’s there,’ City Manager Courtney Barker said of the chemicals associated with fire extinguishing foams, Teflon and other consumer products. The chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are unregulated. But science is finding that even at low exposures, these compounds are implicated in some types of cancer, thyroid defects, immune suppression and pregnancy complications, according to several scientific studies in recent years…” Read Satellite Beach finds cancer-causing chemicals in groundwater.

Jessica Salmond reports for Cape Coral Daily Breeze - “Restoring the Everglades is a multifaceted, multi-project undertaking. Even though the Everglades is south of Lake Okeechobee, part of the restoration effort is occurring north of the lake, too. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking public comment on a project north of Lake Okeechobee: the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project...The Lake Okeechobee project hones in on the water coming into the lake from the Kissimmee River. Estimated at $1.4 billion, it will establish a wetland attenuation feature, two restored and managed wetland areas, and 80 aquifer storage and recovery wells...The Corps will be able to divert the Kissimmee River through the two planned wetland restoration areas, which will help clean the water and slow its arrival into Lake Okeechobee. Lisa Aley, the Corps Planning Lead, gave a history lesson on why this storage north is needed. In 1947, a series of bad floods prompted the government to start managing the state's rivers and lakes to prevent homes and businesses from being flooded out year after year - draining southwest Florida, she said It caused the environmental issues the state faces today, but also allowed more development on dry land which was historically wet. The Kissimmee River also used to have a more winding, meandering path, which slowed the water's arrival to the lake. ‘We've lost a lot of natural storage north of the lake,’ she said…” Read Army Corps reviews storage project for north of Lake Okeechobee.

Katie Pohlman reports for the Ocala Star Banner - “Work began this week on a 55-acre swath of land just east of the Pine Oaks Golf Course that will turn the current disc golf course, which is shaded by large oak trees draped in Spanish moss, into a three-pond groundwater recharge park with walking trails...Ocala’s City Council unanimously approved plans for the $6 million Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park, located in the 22000 block of Northwest 21st Street, at a May meeting...The Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park will consist of three ponds with varying depths, equipped with plants that will help further filter the treated water before it returns to the upper Floridan aquifer. About 2.5 miles of trails will encircle the park and cross over the ponds at certain points, according to a conceptual drawing of the site...Recharge water currently entering the upper Floridan aquifer, which feeds Silver Springs, goes through a multi-step cleaning process that involves bacteria breaking down solids, separating solids from the water, chlorinating the water and then pushing it out to different locations. Plants will help filter out more nutrients, such as nitrogen, which can lead to algae blooms, and phosphorous…” Read Crews begin work on groundwater recharge park.

From The Nature Conservancy press - “Congressional leaders should be commended for working together to leave dangerous rollbacks of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act on the cutting room floor,’ said Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief of External Affairs at The Nature Conservancy. ‘With passage of a NDAA bill without these proposals, the important collaborative work on the ground to find long-term solutions for conserving imperiled species, like the greater sage grouse and lesser prairie chicken, can continue. While we are pleased with this development, the future of the Endangered Species Act is far from secure. Repeated proposals by the administration and members of Congress to undercut or weaken the act jeopardize the long-term survival of at-risk species. While there is room for exploring ways to update and improve the implementation of the Endangered Species Act, these species-specific attacks undercut that work and make it nearly impossible to have serious discussions about ways to improve the act and its implementation. However, any changes to the act or implementing regulations must be focused on enhancing outcomes for species. The Nature Conservancy will not support changes that diminish or weaken the core protections of the Act.” Read Congress forgoes undercutting foundational environmental laws: Defense authorization bill free of riders curtailing ESA and NEPA.

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 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 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.


Stop Development on Fish Island along the Matanzas River

Protect Red Wolves

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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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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