Read Florida’s new resilience officer doesn’t shy away from saying ‘climate change’ - “For the first time ever, Florida has a chief resilience officer to oversee the state’s efforts to cope with climate change — and in her first extended interview, she wasn’t shy about using the term “climate change.” Consider that a major advance in Florida. During Rick Scott’s tenure as governor from 2011 through 2018, stories circulated among state employees that uttering “climate change” would be met with a swift rebuke, although Scott himself denied it. In an interview Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recently named resilience officer, Julia Nesheiwat, had no hesitancy about using the term. “Not at all,” she said, in response to a question about whether she believes in the existence of climate change. “It’s here. It’s real.” But she didn’t want to discuss the past politics that made the subject so verboten in the previous administration: “I want to stay away from the politics and get things done for the state of Florida.” She also said new limits will likely be necessary on building homes, businesses and infrastructure in flood-prone areas. “There will need to be restrictions, absolutely,” Nesheiwat said. But deciding what changes are necessary will involve state officials collaborating with local governments, homeowners and businesses affected by the decisions, she said. She also said she wanted to work closely with the Florida Department of Transportation on the placement of new roads and bridges. She wouldn’t endorse ending new development along the state’s vulnerable coastline, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstine contended that the state already has good regulations on wetlands destruction and stormwater runoff… The challenges facing Florida will require something more than “a quick Band-aid fix,” she said. As a first step, she wants to pull together an assessment of all the current efforts by local governments and other agencies to cope with climate change, then decide what new might be needed…” Zachary T. Sampson and Craig Pittman report for the Tampa Bay Times.
Read Florida’s python patrol gets big boost. DeSantis vows to double funding, expand access - “Florida’s python patrol, which has notched nearly 3,000 captures of the exotic invader in two years, is about to get bigger. Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged Wednesday to double funds for python removal this year and said the state will work with the federal government to expand access to Big Cypress National Preserve so that hunters can catch more snakes. ``We have been advancing python management policies for several years and there’s been some success but we need to do more,’’ DeSantis said today at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale. He didn’t disclose the new budget for the snake elimination efforts. Burmese pythons pose a huge threat to the Everglades ecosystem as they permeate the marshes, devouring wading bird eggs, small mammals and even alligators. For nearly two decades Pythons have been successful at reproducing in the wetlands because they have no predators. Females can lay up to 100 eggs a year. Pythons first appeared in the Everglades in 1979 but the population only started to grow in the early 2000s. Some speculate that pythons that were kept as pets were released by frustrated owners and started breeding in the wild. Others say the infestation began after Hurricane Andrew smashed into a breeding facility in 1992. Whatever the origin of Florida’s python problem, the slithery invaders’ numbers have grown exponentially ever since, to as many as an estimated 300,000. They are now considered the top predator at the Everglades, capable of devouring adult deer and blamed for nearly wiping out the population of small mammals in Everglades National Park. For years, wildlife managers struggled to contain the snakes with traps and poisoned prey. In recent years, state officials have offered incentives for snake hunters, paying people for their catch…” Adriana Brasileiro reports for the Miami Herald.
Read How did Florida turn into ‘Jurassic Park’ for invasive species? - “The Lieberman family in Davie had a surprise visitor last year. A 6-foot-long, 100-pound, meat-eating lizard showed up on their back porch. “It looked like a dinosaur,” Maria Lieberman told WSVN 7News. “My kids were screaming. We just watched ‘Jurassic Park,’ so it was insane.” Her children, ages 2 and 4, were too terrified to go outside. It turned out the Asian water monitor belonged to a neighborhood kid. “Bamboo,” was its name, and it had escaped from its pen. That raises a couple of questions: How did a mini-dinosaur from Southeast Asia end up in Southeast Florida? And why was a 14-year-old Florida boy allowed to acquire Bamboo and keep him as a pet? It’s a combination of perplexing regulations, foot dragging and lobbying power. The situation is magnified by a balmy Florida climate that makes it a 65,755-square-mile welcome mat for all sorts of things Mother Nature did not intend to be here. “It’s about as bad in Florida as it gets anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife biologist at the University of Florida. The invasion actually began when Spanish explorers came ashore with feral hogs. Those original Spanish hogs have been joined by more than 500 other nonnative plants, reptiles and mammals, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Not all nonnative species disrupt the environment. “Invasive” ones spread beyond small areas and reproduce. State agencies have identified 194 invasive plants and 126 invasive animals. With no native predators or herbivores to keep them in check, nonnative species are like tourists who move into your house, ransack your kitchen and refuse to leave.Is it hyperbolic blather to say the invasion is turning Florida into Jurassic Park? Ask a rabbit or bobcat or fox in the Everglades — if you can find one.Burmese pythons have gobbled just about all of them up. Their tale is a microcosm of how a problem has become a crisis…” From the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board.
Read Demand full funding for Florida Forever - “In 1999 the citizens of Florida voted overwhelmingly to adopt Florida Forever and ensure funding for the purchase of public lands, with revenue from the sale of real estate doc stamps as the source of funding. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection was tasked with distributing the funds collected to state agencies and programs to purchase parks, trails, forests, wildlife management areas and more. All of these lands are held in trust for the residents of Florida. Under Florida Forever and Preservation 2000, its predecessor, the state has purchased 2.5 million acres of environmentally sensitive land, including uplands, floodplains and fragile coastlines, protecting them forever from development. Unfortunately, Florida Forever, first approved in 1999 with the anticipation of raising $300 million a year for land acquisition, hasn’t been fully funded since the 2008 legislative session. In 2009, after the recession devastated the real estate market, legislators did not deposit any money into the fund. Since 2008, the program has seen a 97-percent drop in funding. Funding Florida Forever at the $300 million amount should be a no-brainer. Land is a finite resource. Once it is developed it is forever lost to generations of future Floridians, with one less park to play in, or one less scrub habitat protecting endangered plants. Last year we lost millions of acres of trees to a natural disaster. We don’t need to lose any more of our wild spaces to deliberate, manmade destruction. In May the Florida legislature allocated $33 million for Florida Forever, woefully short of the $300 million originally promised when Amendment 1 passed with a 75% majority. It’s better than nothing, but now is the time to contact our state legislators to demand that the $33 million be spent on land acquisition next year, and lobby for full funding in 2021…” Lynda White writes Opinion for the Houma Courier.
Read Will our Florida beaches lose their national rankings because of sargassum seaweed? - “A seaweed scourge on Florida’s southeast coast could mean a downgrade in national rankings released each year by Dr. Beach with one popular park already taking a hit. Dr. Beach, whose real name is Stephen Leatherman, director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, grades America’s beaches on a 50-point scale that includes whether the shore is awash in stinky, buggy, scratchy sargassum. This summer is the second consecutive year mats of seaweed have menaced South Florida from the Keys to the Treasure Coast. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park near Miami suffered the consequences in 2019′s Top 10 rankings, which are released near Memorial Day. “I took off Cape Florida this year because of sargassum build up,” Leatherman said. “A small amount of sargassum is fine but the kind of quantity we are seeing is like a sewer breaking open.” When sargassum decays it releases hydrogen sulfide gas and ammonia that can smell like rotten eggs and even cause respiratory distress in people with breathing problems…” Kimberly Miller reports for the Daily Commercial.
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 10th - 8:00am-11:00am - Brevard County Clean Up for Manatees - (Cocoa Beach)- In collaboration with Keep Brevard Beautiful, Save the Manatee is organizing a Beach CleanUp this summer! Trash in our environment is a big problem for manatees and other wildlife. Manatees can ingest trash or get entangled in it, which can lead to injuries or even death. Any piece of trash on land can easily blow into the water and become a hazard for manatees. During the summer months, manatees can be found in shallow coastal areas and can sometimes even be observed from the beach, so we want to help them and clean up!
We'll meet on Saturday, August 10th, 2019 at 8 a.m. at Lori Wilson Park (1500 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931). Parking is available and supplies (buckets, gloves, trash pickers) will be provided. This is a family-friendly event and everyone is welcome! Visit the Facebook page for more information, and register here.
August 12th - 6:00pm-7:30pm - Escambia-Santa Rosa Solar & Storage Co-op - (Pensacola) - Join us for our August Earth Ethics Environmental Education Series as we welcome Julia Herbst with Florida Solar United Neighbors who will discuss and answer any questions with regards to the Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties Solar & Storage Co-op. Learn more about the co-op by visiting https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/co-ops/florida/escambia-santa-rosa-county-solar-co-op-2019/. Follow the Facebook event here.
August 13th - 6:00pm-7:30pm - Escambia-Santa Rosa Solar & Storage Info Session - (Gulf Breeze) - Live in Escambia or Santa Rosa County and want to go solar? Now's your chance! Neighbors across the area have formed the Escambia-Santa Rosa Solar + Storage Co-op with the help of Solar United Neighbors to make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels and storage solutions, while building a community of local solar supporters. Join for a free information session to learn about solar energy, battery back-up, as well as how the co-op simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power. More information and registration here. Address: Tiger Point Park, 1370 Tiger Park Ln, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563.
August 19th - 2:00pm-6:00pm - Orange County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Orlando) - Attend the Orange County Delegation meeting at the Orange County Administration Center, Commission Chambers, 201 South Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! To participate in the delegation meeting, email LD@ocfl.net for an appearance form. Appearance 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 5:00pm on August 9, 2019. Speakers will also be able to sign up at the Delegation meeting.
August 19th - 7:30pm-8:30pm - Agriculture & Conservation Easements workshop - (Callahan) - Conservation easements can be a profitable way of preserving farms and forestlands, while keeping them in production and in the family. However, there are dozens of easement programs out there, with difficult enrollment procedures and confusing rules for property owners. The UF/IFAS Nassau County Extension office has partnered with the North Florida Land Trust (NFLT) to offer a workshop on understanding how conservation easements work. NFLT's Land Protection Director, Marc Hudson will present their pros and cons, how they preserve agriculture and natural resources and how your property might qualify for one. We'll also give an overview of the various financial incentive programs available. For further questions, please call the Nassau County Extension office at 904-530-6353 or email email@example.com. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. To register (free) click here. UF/IFAS Nassau County Extension, 543350 US Highway 1, Callahan, FL 32011.
August 20th - 5:30pm-7:30pm - Santa Rosa County Legislative Delegation meeting - (Milton) - Attend the Santa Rosa County Delegation meeting at the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commission Chambers, 6495 Caroline St, Milton, FL. To be placed on the agenda for the Santa Rosa County Legislative Delegation meeting please contact Delegation Chairman Jayer Williamson’s Legislative Aide, Sydney Fowler at Sydney.Fowler@myfloridahouse.gov or (850) 995-3698 no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 16.
August 27th - 9:00am-5:00pm - 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.
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 29 - 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! Stay tuned for contact information and speaker request forms.
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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! Interested parties wishing to be placed on the agenda should contact GeeDee Kerr in Senator Gruters’ office at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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 23 - 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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. You are encouraged to speak on behalf of Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources! 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.
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