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District to hold public workshop on priority list

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is soliciting stakeholder input on the annual update of the Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels. A workshop will be held at the District’s Tampa Service Office, 7601 Highway 301 North on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Minimum flows and levels are limits set by the District Governing Board for surface waters and groundwater that are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be caused by water withdrawals. Reservations set aside water from withdrawals for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety. The Priority List identifies water bodies for which the District plans to establish minimum flows and levels and reservations.

Written comments on the draft Priority List and Schedule are welcome and may be submitted to Doug Leeper, Chief Advisory Environmental Scientist with the District’s Water Resources Bureau via email at doug.leeper@watermaters.org or by U.S. Mail at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, Florida, 34604-6899 no later than October 15, 2014.

The current Priority List and Schedule is posted on the District’s Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports web page at: watermatters.org. The draft FY2015 Priority List and Schedule will be made available at the same web page on September 19, 2014.

This workshop can also be accessed remotely via conference call and on-line through Cisco WebEx Meetings. For instructions, please visit watermatters.org/calendar and click on the meeting agenda.


UN Summit On Climate Change In New York City

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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


FWC to meet Sept. 10-11 in Kissimmee

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will meet Sept. 10-11 in Kissimmee at the Embassy Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista South, 4955 Kyngs Heath Road. Sessions both days start at 8:30 a.m.

The public is invited and will be provided opportunities to speak.

Some highlights of the agenda include:

  • Sept. 10–
    • Hunting proposals.
    • A proposal for best management practices for wildlife in cooperation with agricultural stakeholders.
  • Sept. 11–
    • Marine fisheries councils reports.
    • Discussion of draft conservation measures for the American eel.

For the full agenda, go to MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings.” Can’t attend meeting in person? Follow live coverage on Twitter @MyFWC and join in the conversation by using tag #FWC2014. Also check The Florida Channel for possible live webcast times.


DEP solicits project submissions for water quality restoration grants

Grants encourage municipalities to improve stormwater systems for cleaner Florida waters

Three times a year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection awards funding for projects designed to improve urban stormwater systems and reduce polluted runoff to impaired waters. The department is now accepting applications for the November cycle. The deadline for applications is close of business (5 p.m. EST) Nov. 3, 2014.

“DEP wants to reward municipalities that are proactive about restoring their local waterbodies,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “This grant program is meant to encourage local governments to take responsibility for their impact on the environment and assist them in making substantial contributions to water restoration.”

The department administers the grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida legislature. To qualify for grant funding, the local government project must be at least 60 percent designed and fully permitted with construction to be completed within three years. The project must also include monitoring to determine the actual pollutant load reductions the project will accomplish. Applicants are also encouraged to include public education elements in their requests. That helps with informing the public on best management practices to keep pollutants out of the stormwater system, which is critical to success. Applications are accepted at any time and applicants may submit multiple projects.

The department ranks projects for funding based on the impaired status of the associated waterbody, the estimated pollutant load reductions the project is designed to achieve, the cost-effectiveness of the project and the percentage of local matching funds. Another important consideration is whether the applicant has a stormwater utility fee or other dedicated revenue source to continue effective stormwater management once the proposed project is complete.

One of the first states in the nation to implement a statewide stormwater program, Florida has long been a national leader in tackling the challenge of stormwater management. Florida is also one of the first states in the nation to directly address agricultural and urban stormwater management through its water quality restoration program.

For more information on the grant program and the application process, visit the link below.

Information on the wide range of DEP’s restoration programs is available here under “Water Quality Assessment and Restoration.”

TMDL Water Quality Restoration Grants – Application and Information »

Contact Information
Connie Becker, Environmental Specialist, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, connie.becker@dep.state.fl.us
phone: (850) 245-8505.

Panther track in Polk County viewed as good sign

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By Keith Morelli

TAMPA — For the first time in decades, a Florida panther has made its way to the Green Swamp.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this week confirmed as authentic a photograph taken of panther tracks in the eastern fringe of the expanse, north of Polk City.

The tawny cats were near extinction in the 1970s, with as few as a dozen living in the wild. So threatened was the species that it was one of the first to be placed on the U.S. Endangered Species List in 1973.

Now, biologists say, the population has grown to as many as 160 adults and yearlings in Florida, not including panther kittens.

They have made a strong comeback over the past 40 years, increasing their numbers little by little against the incursion of humans into their habitat. They are apex predators and only have to fear humans, who mostly kill them with their cars on rural highways. Fifteen panthers have been struck and killed by vehicles this year, mostly in Southwest Florida, matching the number killed by cars in all of 2013, state records show.

The only breeding populations in the state are to the south, along the western edge of the Florida Everglades and in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Some panthers, mostly males, have migrated north along the central spine of the state, and confirmed reports have had them as far north as Polk County.

Continued on TBO.com »

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