The House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee heard presentations this week regarding the history of the Everglades and Everglades Restoration from Representative Matt Caldwell and the federal role in Everglades Restoration from Congressman Francis Rooney. The presentations did not cover SB 10 by Senator Bradley related to Water Resources or any specific House proposal, but represented the beginning of a dialogue on the issue. Although the Legislature recently passed the Legacy Florida Act dedicating Land Acquisition Trust Fund dollars to Everglades Restoration, recent discharges from Lake Okeechobee have caused significant environmental and economic harm, which has kept the issue in the forefront of environmental policy and funding discussions.
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.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a fourth rule development workshop for Chapter 62-345 Florida Administrative Code, the Uniform Mitigation Assessment Method (UMAM) for Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
The workshop is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The workshop will be broadcast as a webinar. Limited seating will also be available at the Bob Martinez Center (Room 609) located at 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399.
- The tentative agenda for the workshop can be found under the “Supportive Links” heading on the UMAM Schedule page.
- UMAM’s Rule Development web page provides results from the UMAM survey, recordings from past workshops, and additional information.
- A Notice of Workshop is published in the Florida Administrative Register.
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
Over the past several days South Florida Water Management District completed a rare “back pumping” flood control operation to protect thousands of families, businesses and property in the Glades communities, where 6 inches of rain fell in 24 hours.
There’s more than one way to get involved in conservation! Regestration is open now to join in the 2016 Python Challange and help remove an envasive species from the Florida Everglades. See the Python Challange webpage for more information.
“The Florida Everglades is an extraordinary ecosystem, unlike any other in the world! It is home to a variety of rare and unique wildlife including native birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.
However, some reptiles do not belong there and pose a threat to native wildlife. To address this, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is teaming up with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to bring back the Python Challenge™ in January 2016. This exciting conservation effort will help protect the rare Everglades ecosystem and the animals that live there from these invasive, nonnative snakes.
In the early winter of 2013, nearly 1,600 participants in the first Python Challenge™ trekked through more than a million acres of swamps and sawgrass in search of the well-camouflaged Burmese python. Dedicated competitors removed 68 snakes from the Everglades ecosystem — the most ever removed for a similar time period. As important as the removal of these snakes was, the Python Challenge™ also brought international awareness to the challenges Florida is facing with Burmese pythons and other invasive species. The Python Challenge™ also proved to be an unprecedented opportunity to gather data about these snakes and their impacts on the ecosystem.” -from http://pythonchallenge.org/
This FREE event is the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s annual open house event in Saint Petersburg, FL. Come out on October 17 from 10:00am to 4:00pm, there will be a kid zone, alligators, fish, sharks and rays, and touch tanks. Various local environmental and science organizations will be represented at the event, including the EPC. See the FWC MarineQuest 2015 webpage for address and details.
“The Florida Association of Benthologists (FAB) will hold its 29th Annual Meeting on November 4-6, 2015. We welcome all research involving marine, freshwater or estuarine taxonomy and ecology. If you would like to give an oral or poster presentation, abstract submission has been extended to October 16th. This year’s meeting features: Scientific Presentations, Taxonomy Fair, Silent Auction fund raiser, and two Evening Socials, one of which will hopefully be a sunset cruise and dolphin watch.”
For more details and to register, submit your paper, or become a meeting sponser please visit the Florida Association of Benthologists 2015 Annual Meeting page.