Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
UN Summit On Climate Change In New York City
This coming September leaders from around the world will be coming to New York City (NYC) for the United Nations (UN) summit on the climate crisis. Representatives from dozens of countries will discuss goals, plans, and initiatives to dramatically reduce global warming pollutants.
"With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we'll take a stand to bend the course of history. We'll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities."-Eco-Voice
A march on climate change is set for Sunday September 21st in NYC
Image sourced from: GlobalChange
To register for the march on climate change click here
CHNEP offers Public Outreach Grants; Application Deadline Sept. 3rd
To further the partnership to protect and restore the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system and watershed, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program CHNEP) offers Public Outreach Grants to citizens, organizations, businesses, government agencies, schools, colleges and universities. The maximum grant request is $5,000 but most applications are funded in the $2,500 to $3,000 range. Public Outreach Grant-funded projects may begin no earlier than November 2014.
The CHNEP has supported many types of initiatives with Public Outreach Grants but all have furthered the Program's plan to protect the natural environment from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven. The descriptions of each project supported, the number of applications received each year and the applications funded each year are posted at www.CHNEP.org. The CHNEP also offers micro-grants (up to $250) year round.
Both application deadlines must be met for an application to be considered:
• Draft applications must be received by 5 P.M. on September 3, 2014.
• Final applications must be received by noon on September 15, 2014.
Grant application, including guidelines »
State of Florida considering water-quality credit trading program
Can A Version Of Cap-And-Trade Reduce Water Pollution? Florida Hopes So
By Jessica Palombo
Florida plans to go statewide with a water-quality program that lets polluters partially off the hook if they buy credits for extra cleanup others have already done. The credit-selling program has critics in Jacksonville, the city where it started.
A few years back, the polluted St. Johns River became the test case for the voluntary water-quality credit program. The theory, state regulators say, was to foster regional cooperation by adding an economic incentive for water cleanup.
Director of the State Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, Tom Frick, says credits are one tool to push polluters toward meeting their cleanup obligations.
“That allows water quality restoration to occur quicker. It also allows water quality restoration to occur more cheaply,” he says.
The city of Jacksonville was the credit buyer and private utility company JEA was the seller. Both were already required to clean the river a certain amount, but JEA had gone above and beyond its duty. Jacksonville, which can’t clean as cost-effectively, bought credits from JEA, paying for that extra work, rather than fulfill its entire obligation. Frick says the river still got the total required amount of cleaning—and it happened faster.
But Lisa Rinaman, head of the nonprofit St. Johns Riverkeeper, says the river isn’t benefiting long-term from the program.
Continued on news.WFSU.org »
Register by Sept. 2nd for Conservation Lands Workshop
The Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program's (CHNEP) third annual workshop is available for everyone interested
in conservation lands. Speakers and the topics are diverse, ranging
from the power of GIS using the CHNEP Special Places Map as an
example, prescribed fire outreach toolkit, “Ding” Darling’s phone
app, understanding the relationship between our environment,
economy and quality of life, carrying capacity, Southwest Florida
Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, Florida’s bonnetted
bat, environmental psychology, restoration in the Charlotte
Harbor watershed, and Mosaic’s compensatory mitigation and
Jim Wohlpart, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of
Environmental Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University, will give
the keynote presentation Remembering Sacred Reasons: Finding Our
Way in the 21st Century. Dr. Wohlpart’s research focuses on how
we are “placed” on Earth, and how we might be “replaced” in more
nourishing ways—physically, emotionally, spiritually.
This program is free thanks to the speakers, to CHNEP’s
financial partners and to the workshop sponsors that, as of June 12,
include Mosaic, Jelks Family Foundation, Estero Bay Buddies and
the Friends of Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Inc.
To learn more and register (by Sept. 2nd), visit eventbrite.com.
Workshop flyer with detailed agenda
Plastic a serious threat to our oceans, seas, and waterways
Plastics were invented in the 1800s but their mass production began in the 1950s and has since taken off around the globe. While it is possible to recycle most types of plastic, it is estimated that only about 25% of plastics are recycled worldwide. A great deal of the plastic ends up in our oceans, seas, and waterways. Research has shown severe impacts on our environment and our economy from this type of pollution. Marine life such as sea turtles, whales, seabirds and other marine life are eating the plastic and dying. Scientists are looking at long term impacts of pollutants consumed by fish and their potential effects on human health. It has become such an environmental concern that a little over a decade ago a science of marine debris began the study of garbage in our waters. A recent study showed the global magnitude of this problem.
The Malaspina expedition of 2010 was a nine-month research project to study the effects of global warming on the oceans and the biodiversity of the deep ocean ecosystem. Andres Cozar and his team were to study the small fauna living on the ocean surface. He was reassigned when plastic fragments kept turning up in water samples to assess the level of plastic pollution. Using that data and the data gathered by four other ships he and his team of researchers completed the first ever global map of ocean trash.
Continued at Start1.org... »
Webcast on Green Infrastructure and Smart Growth
Learn about communities that are successfully leveraging green infrastructure as part of broader planning and community development initiatives. Practitioners will discuss land-use strategies for clean water, including green streets, local code review, and stormwater banking. This webinar is part of the EPA Green Infrastructure Program's 2014 Webcast Series, and qualifies for 1.5 certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.
Caran Curry, Grants Manager, City of Little Rock, Arkansas
Melissa Kramer, Senior Policy Analyst, EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities
Heather Nix, Director, Clean Air & Water Program, Upstate Forever
For more information visit the EPA''s website here
Restoring Florida Bay: Sponges the foundation for thriving ecosystem
"Prior to the 1990s the Florida Keys sponge community was a lively underwater city for fish and invertebrates. Curious divers could hear the snap, crackle and pop of snapping shrimp. The noisy bottom was a sign of health for the organisms that provide nursery habitat to juvenile marine species.
Researchers at the University of Florida and Old Dominion University, along with more than 40 volunteers from around the world have joined together for an ecosystem intervention. John Stevely, a sponge researcher and Florida Sea Grant agent emeritus, said transplanting sponge cuttings is a way to speed up nature so the ecosystem doesn’t reach a point of no return.
Marine sponges are not only a valuable commercial asset to the state, they are also critical to Florida marine life. Researchers suspect that the biotic sounds caused by the inhabitants that occupy the sponges may help guide the larva of fish and invertebrates to safe habitat, similar to coral reef communities..."
(Article by: Becca Burton)
Full article on the FL Sea Grant website
Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Survey
"1000 Friends of Florida is identifying communities using planning strategies to lessen their contributions to climate change and/or build community resilience to address the effects of climate change, including sea level rise. If your community is taking steps to address sea level rise and/or climate change we hope you will take a few minutes to complete 1000 Friends' 10-question survey. Your responses are anonymous, unless you chose otherwise. Please note, this survey is not intended to be statistically significant but rather to gather information on current planning efforts in Florida. 1000 Friends is also compiling information on sea level rise and climate change plans and studies around the state."
Take the survey »
Registration open for “Water Words that Work” training
Florida's west coast National Estuary Programs invite you to a training led by Water Words That Work (www.WaterWordsThatWork.com) on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, at Sarasota County Extension. Everyone with an interest in environmental education in southwest Florida should attend in order to:
Environmental writing can be a frustrating challenge but the Water Words That Work message method makes it easier to succeed. It's designed to turn passive "environmental awareness" into pro-environmental behavior. Eric Eckl's methods will help you create and deliver messages to reach your target audience and inspire them to action. This training walks you through Water Words That Work's six-step Environmental Message Method to relearn the language that everyday citizens use. You will become more confident and successful as you set out to enlighten the uninformed and persuade the undecided to take a stand or take action on behalf of our rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans.
Please register by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 via EventBrite (link below). You may register after this date but please understand the food order will have already been placed. Registration will be limited to 80 people. There is a registration fee of $20 and an additional $20 fee if you would like refreshments and lunch provided. (We don't recommend you leave for lunch and a refrigerator won't be available if you bring your own.) This program is made possible because of the generosity of our sponsors but we ask those who are able to also make a donation. Any donation of $100 or more will be acknowledged as a sponsor.
Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension
6700 Clark Road
Twin Lakes Park
Sarasota, FL 34241
This program is made possible by support from the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program, Mosaic, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and the Friends of Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Inc.
Full agenda and registration form at eventbrite.com...
11th Annual Lakeland Cardboard Boat Challenge and Lakes Festival on Lake Hollingsworth
Lakes Education/Action Drive (LE/AD), in partnership with Lakeland Clean & Beautiful, the City of Lakeland and Lakeland Vision present Lakeland’s 11th Annual Cardboard Boat Challenge and Lakes Festival on Saturday, September 13, from 8:00 a.m. until noon at the Lake Hollingsworth boat ramp (race starts at 10 a.m.). This event is designed to help raise public awareness about our lakes and the precious resources we have in our area. Environmental exhibitors will provide fun activities for children and supply information on area lakes and water resources. Entertainment will be the Cardboard Boat Challenge!
The challenge will be to design, construct and race a boat made of cardboard around a marked course in Lake Hollingsworth. We know what you’re thinking, but a cardboard boat really can float if you construct it wisely! Teams must have a minimum of four and maximum of 10 people, but only two will set sail in the boat. Race teams will be in four divisions: community/corporate, elementary/middle school-age youth, high school-age youth and family. First, second and third-place awards will be given in each race division. The Cardboard Boat Challenge and Lake Festival is a great opportunity for youth groups, scouts, civic clubs, families and businesses to have fun together while enjoying our beautiful lake. For the fourth year now we will have the “Pre-Built” category. Teams construct their boats out of corrugated cardboard in advance and race around the designated course. Judging will be for “People’s Choice” and speed. Pre-Built will be limited to 8 teams.
Registration is $35 per team if received by August 31, 2014. After August 31, registration is $40 per team. Registration fee includes all tools and materials needed to construct boats (in on-site building only) and two commemorative t-shirts. Additional shirts will be available to purchase on the day of the event. To register or for more information, contact the City of Lakeland Lakes & Stormwater Division at (863) 834-8429 or LE/AD at (863) 221-5323. Register now because the race is limited to 35 teams! If space is available, registration will be available on race day on a first come/first served basis. Registration forms are available at the LE/AD website.
Event supporters include the Lakes Education/Action Drive, Lakeland Clean & Beautiful, the City of Lakeland, Lakeland Vision, AMEC, MaxPak, Lakeland Family YMCA, Crowder Brothers – Ace Hardware, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Rita’s Italian Ice, Ledger Media Group, and Southwest Florida Water Management District. Even if you don’t participate in the boat challenge, come watch the boat race and cheer on your favorite team!
DEP approves three first-magnitude spring systems to SWIM priority list
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officially approved adding three first-magnitude spring systems — Weeki Wachee River, Chassahowitzka River and Homosassa River — to the Surface Water Improvement Management (SWIM) Program priority list.
In January, The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board began the process of officially adding those systems to the existing SWIM Program priority list which includes two first magnitude spring systems: Rainbow River and Crystal River/Kings Bay. With the DEP’s approval, all five of the District’s first magnitude springs are now on the SWIM Program priority list.
District staff will now craft a SWIM management plan for each of the first magnitude springs systems with the newly formed Springs Coast Steering Committee to identify management actions, estimated costs, and responsibilities. Staff will then implement the strategies with our District partners.
Improving northern coastal spring systems is one of the District’s priorities. Adding these springs on the District’s SWIM list allows the District to better prioritize projects, programs, and funding to improve the water resources. These spring groups are important for their ecological value and their economic impact.
A first-magnitude spring or spring group discharges 64.6 million gallons of water per day or more. Together, all five of the District’s first-magnitude springs discharge more than one billion gallons of water per day.
Source: SWFWMD news release
Learn more about springs in west-central Florida...
Public workshops scheduled for estuary NNC and water quality credit trading
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has scheduled public workshops for two separate rulemaking efforts:
(1) estuary-specific numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for estuaries, and
(2) revisions to Chapter 62-306, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Water Quality Credit Trading.
Public workshops are scheduled as follows:
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Martinez Center, Room 609, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee**
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Panhandle and Big Bend estuaries from Upper Escambia Bay to Cedar Key, Fenholloway and Econfina River estuaries
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: The Captain’s House at Goode Park, 1300 Bianca Drive NE, Palm Bay, FL
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Southwest estuaries from Anclote Bayou to Moorings Bay, and the southeast Florida estuaries up to and including Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.
DATE AND TIME: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Northeast Florida Regional Council, Soforenko Board Room, 6850 Belfort Oaks Place, Jacksonville, FL
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Estuaries in northeast Florida from the Upper Halifax River to the St. Marys River, as well as additional coverage of the Fenholloway and Econfina River estuaries
The overall scope of this rule development will address estuary-specific numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a in the following estuaries: portions of the Big Bend from Alligator Harbor to the Suwannee Sound, Cedar Key, St. Marys River estuary, Southern Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon, several portions of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) connecting estuarine systems, a variety of small gaps between estuaries with adopted NNC, and parameters for estuaries not currently covered by their adopted nutrient Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), including Upper Escambia Bay, Lower St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie Estuary, and Caloosahatchee Estuary. Nutrient criteria for these estuaries were included in an August 1, 2013 report to the Governor and Legislature. Pursuant to Chapter 2013-71, Laws of Florida, the Legislature directed the Department to establish these estuary NNC by rule or final order by December 1, 2014.
Water Quality Credit Trading
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Martinez Center, Room 609, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee**
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: The Captain’s House at Goode Park, 1300 Bianca Drive NE, Palm Bay, Florida
Rule development will update the Water Quality Credit Trading Rule in Chapter 62-306, F.A.C. Pursuant to Section 403.067, Florida Statutes, Chapter 62-306 was adopted in 2010 to establish the requirements for a pilot water quality credit trading (WQCT) program among pollutant sources in the Lower St. Johns River Basin. Chapter 2013-146, Laws of Florida, revised Section 403.067 to, among other things, eliminate the requirement that WQCT be limited to the Lower St. Johns River Basin and authorize the Department to implement WQCT on an ongoing basis in adopted basin management action plans or other applicable pollution control programs. This rulemaking is intended to amend Chapter 62-306, F.A.C., consistent with the statutory changes, as well as update the rules to reflect knowledge gained during implementation of the pilot program.
** The Tallahassee meeting for both NNC Estuaries and Water Quality Credit Trading can also be accessed via GoToWebinar at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/585558034. Parties can register to attend that webinar via their personal computers and will be able to listen using their speakers connected to their computer. Webinar access will not be available for the other workshop locations.