Bills from 2011 and 2013 created Triumph Gulf Coast to manage money received as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill. The House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast, which is made up entirely of Northwest Florida Legislators, met this week to consider two committee bills that would change the oversight and control of this money. The initial House proposal would have required all projects to be approved by the Governor and the Legislative Budget Commission, a joint committee made up of Representatives and Senators. Former Speaker Allen Bense, who will chair Triumph Gulf Coast once it is funded, expressed concern that the bills remove any reference to economic development projects. A strike-all amendment was released that removed the LBC requirement. However, the bills were temporarily postponed.
HB 419 by Representative Altman authorizes DEP to issue a permit for mangrove alteration or trimming to the owner of a residential property 5 acres or less if the mangroves were originally planted voluntarily by the owner, the alteration or trimming does not reduce the mangrove coverage by more than 70 percent along the shoreline, and the owner demonstrates that new mangrove habitats are being created along the shoreline. Please submit any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this legislation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ERC Approves Changes to Everglades Rule
The Environmental Regulation Commission approved a Department of Environmental Protection request this week to revise the phosphorus rule for the Everglades. The new rule clarifies that stormwater treatment areas must meet the same discharge limits imposed under federal law. The revisions were supported by environmental and agricultural stakeholders.
Negron Everglades Proposal Passes First Committee
SB 10 by Senator Bradley represents Senate President Negron’s proposal to reduce the negative impacts of harmful discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee and expedite Everglades Restoration. This bill passed the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee this week after much discussion, testimony and debate. Environmental Committees in the Senate have devoted several hours to study and discussion of this issue.
During the committee meeting, Senator Simmons proposed a state loan to the federal government in order to expedite repairs on the dike so that Lake Okeechobee can hold more water. This issue will likely continue to be a constant source of discussion and debate in the Senate. It is not clear when or how the House will address this issue.
House Triumph Committee Unveils Draft Legislation
The House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast released draft legislation this week that deletes the authority of Triumph Gulf Coast to administer the Recovery Fund for payments to the State of Florida in relation to the BP oil spill settlement. Instead, the bill creates a process for the Legislature to disperse the funds for several enumerated purposes. The money would be housed in the newly created Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund within the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The bill and analysis can be viewed in this week’s committee packet here.
Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he will use his executive authority under Executive Orders 16-230 and 17-16 to allocate nearly $15.8 million in state funds for emergency beach restoration projects in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia and Brevard Counties. Funding will be used to immediately address critically eroded beaches where there is an imminent threat to beachfront structures, such as roadways, homes and businesses.
Governor Scott said, “Hurricane Matthew was the most destructive storm our state has experienced in over a decade, and while communities have worked hard to rebuild, many of our beautiful beaches remain significantly damaged. Since this storm first crossed our state, we have been fully committed to using every available resource to help our families and communities recover, and we will continue to do so. Today, I am allocating $15 million in state funding to help expedite emergency restoration projects in order to repair our beaches and ensure beachfront roadways and buildings are prepared for any potential future storms.
“Florida’s beaches are not only an economic driver for coastal communities, but also provide critical storm protection and habitat for wildlife. With sea turtle nesting season beginning in May and hurricane season beginning in June, it is crucial that these projects are completed as soon as possible.”
Projects will include replacing sand along beaches and repairing and constructing sand dunes. The Governor’s proposed budget for 2017-2018, which will be announced later this month, will also include the remaining $61.2 million to fulfill the state’s share of needed restoration, for a total of $77 million, based on the latest hurricane damage assessment from both Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine.
Florida Senate 2017 – SB 10
SENATOR BRADLEY FILES PLAN TO PROTECT COASTAL COUNTIES FROM POLLUTED DISCHARGES
In the wake of Lake Okeechobee discharges that caused a severe algae bloom on the Treasure Coast, Senate President Joe Negron (R – Stuart) has made funding for storage south of Lake Okeechobee a top priority for the 2017 Legislative Session. This week, Senator Bradley (R – Orange Park), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, filed SB 10. This legislation authorizes the issuance of bonds to raise over a billion dollars to acquire 60,000 acres of land and build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries.
“Despite the sincere efforts of our state and federal government to plan and fund long-term solutions to address rising water levels and pollution in Lake Okeechobee, year after year as the Lake levels rise, the solution is to flood my community and many others across our state with billions of gallons of polluted water that destroys our estuaries and harms our local economies,” said President Negron.
“These algal blooms have occurred before and will occur again unless high volume discharges from Lake Okeechobee are stopped and pollution in the Lake Okeechobee basin is abated,” said Senator Bradley. “Algal blooms are not simply an unsightly nuisance for residents and tourists, they bring real health risks to humans and wildlife and result in severe economic damage to local businesses.”
House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R – Lutz) responded by saying that the House is not prepared to issue bonds for land buying. “The fact you are bonding is saying government needs more money for X,” he said. “I think that the House has been very vocal about the fact that we do not need more money, that we have a spending problem.”
However, he indicated that the reservoir proposal will be discussed in the House. “Is land south of the lake part of the discussion?” Corcoran said. “Sure, let’s have that as part of the discussion. Is that the best way to achieve their goal of ending blue green algae? Maybe it’s fixing the dike.”
Review the text of SB 10 here: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/0010/BillText/Filed/PDF.
Read Senator Bradley’s press release here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2621.
The National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) will be having their 10th Annual National Monitoring Conference in Tampa next month (May 2-6). Many of the FLERA members will be attending and presenting (4 presentations from the Tampa Bay folks including a Panel Discussion on the successes of the Southwest Florida Regional Ambient Monitoring Program (RAMP) over the last 20+ years). Come and join us!
Here’s the link to the conference: http://www.cvent.com/events/10th-national-monitoring-conference/event-summary-1d1a64bf5230414d9732c2dc2d9ca425.aspx
Dear Sustainability Stewards,
A very important set of resources are now available to help you build community resilience and climate preparedness into your planning efforts.
Just released! Guidebook, Video and Podcasts from a grant we completed with our local and state partners on Adaptation Action Areas
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, received funding to facilitate a pilot project in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County that implemented the state’s first Adaptation Action Area. The goal of this Initiative is to provide technical assistance to coastal communities interested in pursuing innovative planning and development strategies that ensure their long-term vitality while addressing current and future coastal flooding risks. The Community Resiliency Initiative follows the lead of local governments on working to develop sensible best practices and to encourage sound investments that support economic development, community safety, and natural resource management.
Products of the Initiative
Adaptation Action Areas Guidebook: A Planning Guidebook for Florida’s Local Governments, 2015
Adaptation Action Areas: Policy Options for Adaptive Planning For Rising Sea Levels, 2013
Adaptation Action Area Short Film, 2014
Adaptation Action Area Podcast Shorts, 2014 (DEOFL YouTube Channel):
o Broward County Emergency Management Director, Miguel Ascarrunz
o City of Fort Lauderdale Budget Manager, Emilie Smith
o City of Fort Lauderdale City Manager, Lee R. Feldman
o City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor, John P. “Jack” Seiler
o City of Fort Lauderdale Public Works Director, Hardeep Anand
Please share with your colleagues and let us know if you need help in utilizing the AAA tool.
We are happy to discuss and explore this option with you.
JILL HORWITZ, NATURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST II, MURP, LEED Green Associate
Environmental Protection and Growth Management Department
ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND COMMUNITY RESILIENCE DIVISION
115 S Andrews Ave, Room 329-H | Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
Broward.org/NaturalResources | Facebook | Twitter | NatureScape | 4-STAR
Broward County is a certified 4-STAR Community
Recognized for National Excellence in Sustainability
Under Florida law, most e-mail messages to or from Broward County employees or officials are public records, available to any person upon request, absent an exemption. Therefore, any e-mail message to or from the County, inclusive of e-mail addresses contained therein, may be subject to public disclosure.
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program has been working to restore and protect Tampa Bay since it was formed in 1991. The efforts are paying off, as earlier this year it was announced that seagrass restoration goals set in 1995 have not only been met, but were exceeded. Volunteers from the community have been vital in accomplishing these milestones and will continue to be vital for the continued recovery of the bay. You can be a part of the amazing work TBEP does by volunteering for an up-coming Give a Day for the Bay event, and it’s the perfect time to do so with Saturday volunteer events happening each month from November to January. To top off the reward of helping the environment, they will also feed you lunch!
To read more about the TBEP and to register as a volunteer for upcoming Give a Day for the Bay events visit their webpage at tbep.org.