FCC News Brief - August 6, 2018

From the Ocala Star Banner Editorials - “Marion County residents experience the impact of the Endangered Species Act all around them: The alligators that swim in our waterways and sunbathe on their shorelines. The manatees that charm visitors of Three Sisters Springs in the winter. The Florida sandhill crane that have become an increasingly common sight along local waterways and in wetlands. These species, and many others, were once considered potentially doomed. But decades of protection have turned things around. Alligators have come from the brink of extinction to an abundant statewide population. Florida’s manatee county have topped 6,000 for the last three years- once, the population was thought to number just a few hundred. The number of Florida sandhill cranes are abundant despite increasing pressure from development on their habitats…The Trump administration says it wants to revamp and streamline the Endangered Species Act, leading to cries of alarm from environmental groups who fear that ‘streamlining’ will be akin to swinging a wrecking ball at the ESA. That pushback is a good thing — conservation-minded groups should keep a close eye on the proceedings and call foul if endangered-species protections will be legitimately weakened...” Read Keep working to save species.

Karl Schneider reports for the Naples Daily News - “Southwest Florida recently has experienced two types of algal blooms, both in the Gulf of Mexico and in freshwater systems such as the Caloosahatchee River. The red tide, formally known as Karenia brevis, was already in Gulf waters at the beginning of this year. It is an often recurring bloom that typically starts 10 to 40 miles offshore. Red tide isn’t always red. It can range in color. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, is a more recent bloom affecting fresh waters in Southwest Florida. This ‘algae’ more closely conforms in color to its name. With both algae blooming in the area at the same time, it’s hard to know which is which. Here’s a basic breakdown of the differences from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission…” Read Florida algae crisis: What’s the difference between red tide and blue-green algae?

Valerie Mills reports for WTXL - “Scientists are doing a special study to better understand the connection between our water systems. They believe it could help us learn more about the pollution affecting Wakulla Springs. ‘Wherever we can get into the cave system below, we go in and lay a guideline and explore whatever tunnels we find. And try to connect them and understand where the water comes from,’ said Andreas Hagberg, a cave explorer, studying caverns in the area... This dye study is part of the Sean McGlynn's research [Chair of the Wakulla Springs Alliance] into the relationship between Wakulla Springs and surrounding bodies of water. They're looking for traces of dye at springs, lakes and sinks through the water basin, trying to show they're all connected. Through the dye trace study, McGlynn and his team proved Indian Springs water flows directly into Wakulla Springs, and is connected to lakes and streams even 30 miles away… ‘Anything poured on the land in the spring shed winds up here. Our lakes have a lot of algae. And Wakulla Springs is on the impaired waters list,’ said McGlynn. In other words, if harmful algae blooms and pollution are in our local waters, they flow through all these water systems, eventually pouring into Wakulla Springs…” Read Groups study how local waters, spread of algae blooms are connected.

Jim Waymer reports for Florida Today - “Government officials assured cancer survivors Sunday they will get to the bottom of whether there is a significant cancer cluster in several Brevard County communities and, if so, what to do about it. The meeting came days after two beachside cities and Brevard County found cancer-causing chemicals in groundwater. Tap water at nine schools also turned up with trace levels of a similar toxic compound...Two key chemicals of concern, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), were not found at Brevard County beachside schools. But the tests from samples drawn last month at 13 barrier island schools did find a chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) at nine schools on Melbourne's water system, located south of Pineda Causeway. PFBA is a breakdown product of chemicals used in paper food packaging, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets and in the manufacturing of photographic film…” Read Cancer survivors demand answers at packed meeting.

Staff report for the Bradenton Times - “In a landmark action, the Desoto County Commission recently stood up to Big Phosphate. The board dismissed county planning staff eager to facilitate an approval and said no to what was expected by many to be just another rubber-stamp vote in favor of the toxic industry. On July 25, the Desoto County BOCC voted 4-1 to deny billion-dollar phosphate mining giant Mosaic's application to rezone 18,000 acres in northwest Desoto County from agricultural to phosphate mining/industrial. On a sweltering day and in very hot and stuffy chambers, over 200 citizens showed up to oppose the application and condemn the destructive practices associated with phosphate mining. On July 24, more than 100 citizens, experts and activists gave 11 hours of testimony. In a marathon meeting that lasted until 7:00 p.m. the next day, the people finally prevailed, sending shock waves through the environmentalist community…” Read Environmentalists prevail over Big Phosphate in Desoto.

Greg C. Smith writes for the St. Augustine Record - “In following current discussions about future planning regarding the Fish Island Plantation property on the south side of State Road 312, information on the archaeologica/historic location, its contents, and its status as a site listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) has been lacking...In a letter dated Aug. 20, 2004, the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources (DHR No. 2004-4284), stated that: ‘It is the opinion of this office that the proposed development will have an adverse effect on the Fish Plantation National Register listed property. The integrity of setting and feeling of a ‘plantation’ site with its associated features and lands will be significantly altered by the proposed encroachment of development. ‘Therefore, we strongly suggest that a Historic Marker be erected on State Road 312 near the Fish Plantation site. If permanent preservation of the historic wharf and associated channel, coquina blockhouse and well is not addressed in future development plans and property deeds, further measures may be required.’" Read Fish Island and the National Register of Historic Places.

Chris Felker reports for the Immokalee Bulletin - “While two new litters of three Florida panther kittens each have been reported so far in 2018, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), mortality among the endangered species also grew, with three deaths during the past two months pushing the toll to 18 for the year. The latest casualties were discovered at the southern end of their range. A 4-year-old male found July 21 on Stewart Boulevard in Collier County, near the Picayune Strand State Forest, was the most recent; and a younger male’s carcass was discovered June 25 on State Road 29 a couple of miles south of County Road 858 in Collier. Both were struck fatally by vehicles. The other death was of a 9-month-old male panther struck on CR 833, just north of CR 832 in Hendry County, and found June 20…” Read Floridians advised to watch out for panthers.

Katrina Elsken reports for Okeechobee News - “Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) meetings on July 31 in Lehigh Acres and August 1 in Stuart attracted people more interested in complaining about the lake releases and algae in coastal waterways than discussing plans for water storage north of the lake. Those attending the August 2 meeting in Okeechobee zeroed in on the proposed project to build a shallow reservoir and wetlands project just north of State Road 78, adjacent to the Kissimmee River in Glades County. The Okeechobee gathering included public officials, anglers, business owners and residents from all around the big lake. Many of those who spoke at the meeting own property in or near the footprint of the proposed project. If the currently proposed project is built, some will lose their homes...Most in the crowd agreed there is a need to store water north of the lake. Many questioned why the storage is not planned farther north in the watershed, which starts at Orlando. They also urged the corps to use land the state already owns instead of taking more land off the tax rolls…” Read Property owners oppose siting of reservoir near SR 78.

From the Tampa Bay Times Editorials - “Farm bills are typically dry discussions about reauthorizing a vast array of programs every five years, ranging from farm subsidies to agricultural research to food programs for the poor. The legislation generally generates little controversy. But like everything else in Washington, there is nothing normal about these negotiations and normal assumptions in areas ranging from flood insurance to food stamps to the environment are at risk. Here are six reasons Floridians should pay attention as Senate and House negotiators work out a final farm bill before the end of September:... " Read 6 reasons Floridians should pay attention to farm bill negotiations.


From Our Readers

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Job Openings

Communications & Program Manager for Florida Wildlife Corridor

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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 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 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.

Petitions

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

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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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