Read Save Our Water Summit explores causes/solutions to area water woes - “The sold-out summit drew a crowd of more than 600 stakeholders for a series of speeches and panel discussions exploring the region’s water woes, Everglades restoration and harmful algal blooms. Southwest Florida was plagued by severe toxic red tide and blue green algae blooms in the summer of 2018 that killed tons of fish and other marine life and hit area-businesses particularly hard… Another applause line came when DeSantis mentioned his successful efforts to get the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the remaining $60 million dollars needed to fully fund a project to raise Tamiami Trail to help restore the natural flow of water south through the Everglades into Florida Bay. DeSantis touted other efforts to address Florida’s water resources and harmful algal blooms such as the appointing Thomas Frazer as the state’s first Chief Science Officer, the appointment of Julia Nesheiwat as Florida’s Resiliency Officer, the creation of Florida’s blue-green algae task force and funding for a red tide mitigation partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. DeSantis closed his address by encouraging participants to lobby legislators to continue addressing water quality issues in the 2020 legislative session...During a panel discussion, U.S. Army Corps Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds said the biggest change she’s seen over the past year concerning water issues is movement away from partisan finger pointing and a shift toward stakeholders pooling their resources and working together. “If you’ve eaten food you didn’t grow yourself, you’re part of the problem. If you’ve used the bathroom in the last 24 hours, you’re part of the problem,” said Reynolds. “If you’ve driven on a road or lived anywhere there’s concrete or shopped in a store, you’re part of the problem. So we’re all part of the problem, but if you’ve voted, if you’ve paid your taxes, if you’ve gone to a public meeting, if you‘ve attended a water summit, you’re part of the solution…” John Davis reports for WGCU.
Read Ron DeSantis encourages water advocates to keep up the pressure - “Gov. Ron DeSantis says the best thing Florida residents can do to promote water quality is to keep talking about it. “Keep letting the Legislature know you appreciate the work last session but want to see the momentum continue,” he said Wednesday. DeSantis made the remarks at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point at the annual Save Our Water summit organized by The News-Press. That’s not far from the Florida Gulf Coast University research station where DeSantis made an early, agenda-defining announcement. On his second day in office, the Governor issued an executive order calling for $2.5 billion in water quality spending over four years...The Republican Governor conceded his government philosophy doesn’t naturally turn to mass spending to solve problems. But he said the broad cross-section of populations impacted by ecological disasters last year showed a need for action…” Jacob Ogles reports for Florida Politics.
Read Local officials to DEP: We need more regulation of sewage sludge - “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked for input on new sewage sludge rules, and local governments responded — and then some. Officials from all three Treasure Coast counties called on the DEP to enact new regulations to keep nutrients from both fully treated "Class AA" biosolids and partially treated "Class B" biosolids out of local waterways. The department's critics say the proposed new regulations may do more to protect the waste-producers’ ability to dump biosolids on Florida lands than the environment, and given the water quality crises we’ve faced, that simply cannot stand. Thankfully, there appears to be unanimity among our local elected leaders that biosolids are a metastasizing problem that cannot remain unchecked. Now, if they can only get that message through to the DEP.” From the Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board.
Read Scientists coax imperiled Florida coral to spawn in lab for the first time - “After two years and more than $4.5 million, scientists working with the Florida Aquarium have pulled off something no one else ever has: They coaxed imperiled Atlantic Ocean coral into spawning in a laboratory, aquarium officials announced Wednesday. The fact that this can be done in a lab, they said, is a hopeful sign for saving the Florida coral reef that stretches along the state’s Atlantic coast from Martin County south to the Keys. The corals there have been suffering from the effects of warming water and acidification due to climate change, as well as a disease that has left them in danger of extinction. Scientists hope to cultivate enough lab-spawned pillar coral to rebuild the reef...At some point when they mature, perhaps in two years, the scientists will explore replanting them in the Keys as part of an effort to rebuild the declining reef system, O’Neil said. Getting to this point has taken a lot of work, as well as funding from the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration…” Craig Pittman reports for the Tampa Bay Times.
Read Cities are stymied in banning plastics - and the state is doing nothing about it, they say - “Single-use plastic bans in Florida are being rolled back as quickly as they are rolled out. The town of Surfside voted to repeal its plastic ban — passed only six weeks ago — at its Aug. 13 commission meeting. The next day, the town of Palm Beach, which passed a ban in June, moved to rescind it. Gainesville followed suit on Thursday. And Alachua County moved to repeal their ban the week prior. The municipalities aren’t changing their minds on the need to reduce plastic waste; they’re walking back policy to avoid a legal battle. They have each received letters from the Florida Retail Federation, the lobbying group representing retail giants Walmart, Target and Publix, among others, alleging the bans violate state law and threatening to sue the local governments. The Retail Federation cites a 2008 law, or what’s known as state pre-emption, that prevents local governments from regulating recyclable materials, including “auxiliary containers, wrappings, or disposable plastic bags.” Instead, the Federation prefers “to have a comprehensive statewide discussion about this issue, instead of a patchwork of local regulations” that may be “confusing to consumers and difficult for retailers,” spokesman James Miller said. The Retail Federation sued Coral Gables — which banned Styrofoam products in 2016 and single-use plastic bags in 2017 — and won. The 3rd District Court of Appeals struck down both bans on Aug. 14, citing the 2008 law and a 2016 state law that preempts local action on polystyrene, or Styrofoam...Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a preemption on straws in May, reasoning in his veto letter that Florida “should simply allow local communities to address this issue through the political process.” “Citizens who oppose plastic straw ordinances can seek recourse by electing people who share their views,” he wrote…” Julia Ingram reports for the Miami Herald.
Read Python wars: the snake epidemic eating away at Florida - “...Three days a week, Beth Koehler runs Hair of the Dog with her partner of 31 years, Peggy van Gorder. The other four days the couple are usually out chasing pythons as members of Patric: the Python Action Team – Removing Invasive Constrictors, which is managed by the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission (FWC). Koehler and Van Gorder’s love affair with Burmese pythons began in 2016, when the FWC held its second python challenge. (The first was held in 2013; there have been none since.) A month-long public hunt held on a vast expanse of state forests and other government-owned land north of Everglades national park, the challenge was designed to cull numbers while also raising public awareness about a growing ecological problem. The couple registered and were issued a permit to hunt in designated areas of south Florida...Burmese pythons have no natural predators here. They do, however, have an uncanny ability to swallow things significantly larger than their own heads. Able to grow to more than 20ft in length, these stealthy invaders ambush their prey, squeeze until the prey stops breathing and then split their jaw apart to take the prey whole. It’s estimated that there are tens of thousands of pythons now living in the Florida wild. A 2012 study in the Everglades suggested that a disturbing number of mammals have been swallowed by the invasive species: a spike in python sightings since 2000 coincided with a more than 90% reduction in raccoons, opossums and rabbits. Damage done by the pythons to south Florida ecosystems has become so acute in recent years that the quest to stop has turned into a collective crusade. Wildlife biologists, government agencies, zoos and universities are deploying a full arsenal of responses, from telemetry tracking to early research into pheromone manipulation…” Lance Richardson reports for The Guardian.
Read Fires in Amazon rain forest have surged this year- “Fires are burning in the Amazon rain forest at one of the fastest paces in years, Brazil’s space research center said this week. The center, the National Institute for Space Research, which monitors fires using satellite images, reported on Wednesday that it had detected 39,194 fires this year in the world’s largest rain forest, a 77 percent increase from the same period in 2018. The fires, most of which have been set by farmers clearing their land, are raging in uninhabited areas of rain forest and intruding on populated areas in the country’s north, including the states of Rondônia and Acre...On Wednesday, Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, accused nongovernmental organizations of setting the fires in the rain forest after the government pulled their funding, although he presented no evidence. Researchers, environmentalists and former government officials have been alarmed by the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, which is one of the world’s most important natural resources and plays a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide as global warming advances. Deforestation of the Amazon has increased rapidly since Mr. Bolsonaro, who was elected in October, took office and his government cut back on efforts to confront illegal activity in the rain forest. Critics say Mr. Bolsonaro’s policies have emboldened loggers, farmers and miners who want to clear out land illegally…” Manuela Andreoni and Christine Hauser report for the New York Times.
From Our Readers
The information in this section is forwarded to you at the request of some of our readers. Inclusion in this section does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the FCC.
Upcoming Environmental Events:
August 27th - 8:00am-8:00pm - M-CORES Task Force public meeting - (Tampa) - Attend the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) first public meeting at the Tampa Convention Center Public, 333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. Public participation is vital to the M-CORES process, and there are many ways to share your comments or ideas. All three task forces will hold public meetings in their respective corridors. FDOT will also hold community open houses to share progress and gather input. Staff will be available at each open house to answer questions and receive comments. Check the Calendar of Events for upcoming meetings in your area. Sign up today to receive news, notices of upcoming M-CORES meetings and more. Agenda here.
August 27th-28th -Florida Panhandle Forests & Drinking Water Workshop - (Apalachicola) - Join the Florida Forest Service & Workshop Planning Team for a tour and workshop of the Apalachicola Estuary and Tate’s Hell State Forest to learn about the connection between healthy forests and clean water. The tours begin at 1pm on the 27th, starting at Tate’s Hell State Forest, and ending with a boat tour of the Apalachicola Estuary. The workshop begins Wednesday August 28th at 8:00am at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center in Eastpoint. The workshop agenda includes both presentations and group discussion sessions. The primary goal is for participants to leave the meeting with tangible “next steps” to accelerate community-based watershed stewardship and protection throughout the Florida Panhandle. Lunch will be included at the August 28th Workshop. For additional information and registration, visit the Eventbrite site here.
August 29th - 5:30pm-7:30pm - Okaloosa County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Shalimar) - Attend the Okaloosa County Delegation meeting at the Okaloosa County Commission Chambers, Suite 100 1250 N Eglin Parkway Shalimar, FL 32579. Stay tuned for contact information and speaker request forms.
August 29th - 6:00pm - Conservation Easement Workshop - (Lake City) - North Florida Land Trust has teamed up with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to host two free workshops on conservation easements. The workshops are open to landowners with forest or ranch lands in the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor, which includes parts of Columbia, Baker, Union, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake Counties (see map). Landowners in these counties could be eligible to apply for conservation easements with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Representatives of the partner organizations will explain the benefits and funding opportunities. The first workshop will take place at the UF/IFAS Columbia County Extension Office at 971 W. Duval St. in Lake City. For more information, contact Susan Carr, program manager for NFLT at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 295-2229 or contact Crenal Francis, easement program coordinator at USDA at email@example.com or (352) 338-9508.
August 30th - 9:00am-3:00pm - Blue-Green Algae Task Force meeting - (Gainesville) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force will hold its next public meting at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, Martin Levin Advocacy Room, 106, 309 Village Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611. This meeting will be live-streamed via the Florida Channel. Agenda forthcoming, visit DEP’s site here for additional information.
August 31st - 9:00am-12:00pm - Gulf Coast Ecosystems & Sea Level Rise Impacts field trip - (Yankeetown)- The Sierra Club Adventure Coast invites you to an outing led by Eugene Kelly. Meet at Bird Creek Beach on County Road 40/Follow That Dream Parkway, located near the mouth of the Withlacoochee River in Yankeetown, FL. Turn right into the park just before the road ends at the boat ramp (Latitude 29.002, Longitude -82.758). This 3-hour trip will familiarize participants with the coastal ecosystems of Florida’s unspoiled Big Bend coastline and ecological consequences of sea level rise and other climate related changes on them. We begin at Bird Creek Beach—truly a wild coast. Bring footwear you won’t mind getting wet and muddy to walk into the salt marsh. Bring other footwear for later. For more information visit the Adventure Coast Group’s Facebook page here , or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 5th - 9:00am - Sumter County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Wildwood) - Attend the Sumter County Delegation meeting at The Villages Sumter County Service Center, Room 102, 7375 Powell Road, Wildwood, FL 34785. To be placed on the agenda, or to submit information on local bill requirements, please call State Representative Brett T. Hage's office at (352)-315-4445. Please do so by Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 by 4:00pm. This is an open public meeting.
September 5th - 6:00pm - August 29th - 6:00pm - Conservation Easement Workshop - (Palatka) - North Florida Land Trust has teamed up with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to host two free workshops on conservation easements. The workshops are open to landowners with forest or ranch lands in the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor, which includes parts of Columbia, Baker, Union, Bradford, Clay, Putnam, Marion and Lake Counties (see map). Landowners in these counties could be eligible to apply for conservation easements with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Representatives of the partner organizations will explain the benefits and funding opportunities. The second workshop will take place at the Putnam County Extension Center at 111 Yelvington Rd., Suite 1 in East Palatka. For more information, contact Susan Carr, program manager for NFLT at email@example.com or (803) 295-2229 or contact Crenal Francis, easement program coordinator at USDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 338-9508.
September 9th - 9:00am - Sarasota County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Sarasota) - Attend the Sarasota County Delegation meeting at the Sarasota County Administration Building, First Floor/Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota FL 34236. Interested parties wishing to be placed on the agenda should contact GeeDee Kerr in Senator Gruters’ office at email@example.com as soon as possible but no later than 5:00pm on September 3, 2019 2019. Written presentations will be limited to 3 pages (can be 2-sided) per organization. All materials must be submitted electronically and in Word format.
September 9th – 9:30am – Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meeting – (Riverview) – Attend the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meeting at the Regent, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview, FL 33578. For further information and to be placed on the agenda, complete the speaker request form here by September 4th and/or email Jason Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 10th - 1:00pm-5:00pm - Marion County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Ocala) - Attend the Marion County Legislative Delegation meeting at the College of Central Florida, Klein Conference Center3001 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474. For additional information or to be placed on the printed agenda to address the Marion County Legislative Delegation, please contact Suzanne McGuire in Senator Perry’s office by Friday, August 29, 2019 by phone at 352-732-1249 or email email@example.com. All materials or handouts for this meeting must be sent to Suzanne McGuire in Senator Perry’s office no later than Friday, August 30, 2019. Please find appearance request form here.
September 12th - 10:00am- Martin County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Stuart) - Attend the Martin County Delegation meeting at the Indian River State College Chastain Campus, Wolf Technology Center, 2400 SE Salerno Road, Stuart, FL 34997. To participate in the delegation meeting, email Joey Planz at Joey.Planz@MyFloridaHouse.gov for an appearance form. Participation form can also be accessed here. Anyone wishing to speak before the Delegation must fill out a participation form and return it to the office no later than noon on September 2, 2019.
September 12th – 9:00am-12:00pm – Pinellas County Legislative Delegation meeting – (Clearwater) – Attend the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation meeting at the St. Petersburg College – Clearwater Campus, Auditorium, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater, FL 33765. To participate in the delegation meeting, contact Anna.Stearns@myfloridahouse.gov and submit the participant request form before September 5th. Agenda and meeting notice will be released at a later date.
September 15th - 2:00pm-4:30pm - Sustainable Banking/Investing 101 - (St. Petersburg) - Most large banks and many investment funds profit off of fossil fuel expansion. But it doesn't have to be that way! Come learn how to green up your finances with the Suncoast Sierra Club. 2pm-3pm: Sustainable Banking/Q&A 3pm-4pm+: Sustainable Investing/Q&A*Snacks provided*. Visit the Facebook event page here for more information.
September 23rd - 2:00pm-3:30pm - Union County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Lake Butler) - Attend the Union County Delegation meeting at the Lake Butler City Commission Chamber, 200 SW 1st St., Lake Butler, FL 32054. To participate in the delegation meeting, email Rep. Payne’s office at Tammy.Still@myfloridahouse.gov before 3:00pm September 19.
September 23 - 4:30pm-6:30pm - Bradford County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Starke) - Attend the Bradford County Delegation meeting at the Bradford County Commission Chamber, County Courthouse, 945 N Temple Ave, Starke, FL 32091. To participate in the delegation meeting, email contact Rep. Payne’s office at Tammy.Still@myfloridahouse.gov before 3:00pm September 19th.
September 23 - 2:00pm-4:00pm - Citrus County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Inverness) - Attend the Citrus County Delegation meeting at the Citrus Board of County Commissioners’ Chamber Room, Citrus County Court House, 110 N. Apopka Avenue, Inverness, FL. To participate in the delegation meeting, email Adele Hembree at Adele.Hembree@myfloridahouse.gov before September 2nd to request an appearance form.
September 23 - 1:30pm - Desoto County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Arcadia) - Attend the Desoto County Delegation meeting at the DeSoto County Commission Board Room, 201 East Oak Street, Arcadia, FL 34266. Email Anne Bell for additional information Anne.Bell@myfloridahouse.gov.
September 25 - 2:00pm-6:00pm - Brevard County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Cape Canaveral) - Attend the Brevard County Delegation meeting at the Canaveral Port Authority Commission Room, 445 Challenger Road, Cape Canaveral FL 32920. To participate in the delegation meeting, email complete the Appearance Request Form here before 5:00pm September 10th. For more information, email Lindsey Swindle at Swindle.Lindsey@flsenate.gov.
September 25 - 2:00pm-4:00pm - Putnam County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Palatka) - Attend the Putnam County Delegation meeting at the Board of County Commissioners Board Room, 2509 Crill Ave, Suite 200, Palatka FL 32177. Stay tuned for contact information and speaker request forms.
September 30th - October 2nd- Public Land Acquisition & Management (PLAM) Partnership 2019 Conference - (St. Augustine) - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is proud to announce the Public Land Acquisition and Management (PLAM) Partnership Conference. This statewide conference focuses on public land acquisition and management issues in Florida. PLAM has typically been hosted on a rotating basis by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the five water management districts. The conference will be held at the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort (500 S Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, FL 32092). WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Local, regional, state, federal, non-profit and private land managers; Land acquisition specialists and agents; Water managers; Engineers, planners, attorneys, surveyors, appraisers, architects; Public officials; Non-profit groups; Consultants; Others interested in conservation land planning. Registration coming soon. For more information, click here.
October 1st – 3:00pm-6:30pm – Pasco County Legislative Delegation meeting – (New Port Richey) – Attend the Pasco County Legislative Delegation meeting at the River Ridge High School Performing Arts Center, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey, FL 34654. If you would like to be placed on the agenda, please contact Alexander.Alt@myfloridahouse.gov.
October 2nd – 9:00am – Manatee County Legislative Delegation meeting – (Bradenton) – Attend the Manatee County Legislative Delegation meeting at the Manatee County Commission Chambers, 1112 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, FL. To be placed on the agenda, please contact Meagan Hebel at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon on Wednesday September 25th.
October 3rd - 9:00am-12:00pm - Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation meeting - (West Palm Beach) - Attend the Palm Beach County Delegation meeting at the Norton Museum of Art, 1450 Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach FL 33401. To be placed on the official agenda of a Delegation hearing, presenters must have completed a Participation Request Form and have submitted all printed materials to the delegation office by Noon, seven (7) business days prior to the scheduled hearing. Fifteen (15) copies of printed material should be submitted to be included in the Members’ hearing folders. Anyone interested in addressing the Legislative Delegation at a Public Hearing should call the Delegation Office at 561-355-3452 or email email@example.com. The deadline for submission of local bills to the Delegation Office is September 20, noon. Click here for the Hearing Information Sheet for the 2020 session for instructions on how to be placed on the official agenda and/or the presenter request form.
October 8th – 8:00am-11:00am – Charlotte County Legislative Delegation meeting – (Punta Gorda) – Attend the Charlotte County Legislative Delegation meeting at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950. To be placed on the agenda, email Cynthia.firstname.lastname@example.org before 4:00pm on October 1st, 2019. For more information, see meeting notice here.
October 9th - 1:30pm - Lake County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Leesburg) -Attend the Lake County Delegation meeting at the Paul P. Williams Fine Arts Auditorium, Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg, FL 34788. To participate in the delegation meeting, complete the public speaker request form here before September 18th. Email Rachel Barnes for additional information: BARNES.RACHEL@flsenate.gov.
October 9th - 4:00pm- Nassau County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Yulee) - Attend the Nassau County Delegation meeting at the Nassau County Commission Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida 32097. Stay tuned for contact information and speaker request forms.
October 10th - 6:30pm-8:30pm - Follow the Ichetucknee - (Lake City) - Mark your calendars now for an informal celebration of the Ichetucknee at Halpatter Brewing Company, 264 NE Hernando Avenue, Lake City, Florida 32055. Admission is free! You'll enjoy: Viewing new and newly scored videos about the Ichetucknee by collaborators Eric Flagg and Michael Amish; Meeting directors and members of the Ichetucknee Alliance; Socializing with people who love the Ichetucknee; Tasting craft beer and munching on pizza; Exploring our interconnections with the aquifer, the Ichetucknee, and each other; Finding out what you can do to help restore, protect and preserve the Ichetucknee. We are thrilled that the generous proprietors of Halpatter have offered their venue for this event. Please share this information with anyone you know who might be interested. There's also information about this event on our Facebook page here.
October 10th - 2:30pm - Clay County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Green Cove Springs) -Attend the Clay County Delegation meeting at the Clay County Commission Chambers, 477 Houston St. Green Cove Springs, FL 32043. To participate in the delegation meeting, complete the public speaker request form here before 3:00pm October 8th. Email Tammy Still for additional information: Tammy.Still@myfloridahouse.gov.
October 30th - 9:00AM - Collier County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Naples) -Attend the Collier County Delegation meeting at the North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livinston Rd. Naples, FL 34109. The agenda will be released to the news media on Thursday, October 17, 2019, to allow the citizens of Collier County ample time to prepare comments if they so desire. If you would like to be placed on the agenda as a presenter of a local bill or local budget request, or to speak to another issue, please contact the office at (239) 417-6200 or Priscilla.Grannis@myfloridahouse.gov by Friday, October 11, 2019. For more information, review announcement here.
November 18 – 1:00pm-4:00pm – Hernando County Legislative Delegation meeting – (Brooksville) – Attend the Hernando County Legislative Delegation meeting at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 N Main Street, Courtroom A, 2nd Floor, Brooksville, FL 34601. Additional information will be forthcoming.
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