Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
House Speaker says water bills closer, advisory council could be sticking point
By Bruce Ritchie
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Wednesday that the Senate is getting closer to the House on a comprehensive water bill but some differences remain.
SB 918 was rewritten in a committee on Wednesday in response to requests by business groups and environmentalists, both of whom had raised concerns. Both sides still have issues, with environmentalists still more critical of the Senate and House bills than business groups.
The Senate bill would establish springs protection zones, provide consistency in pollution regulations dealing with Lake Okechobee and incorporate Central Florida water supply planning in state law.
Continued on StPetersblog.com »
Lake Cleanup Saturday, April 11, at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes
The Kissimmee River Valley Sportsmens Association will be combing the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Saturday for trash during an annual cleanup.
They will be based at Coleman Land at Shady Oaks on Lake Kissimmee this year.
There will be a general countywide cleanup this summer during Lakes Appreciation Month in July, which is coordinated by the Lakes Education/Action Drive.
Any effort to keep trash out of our waterways or to remove it once it gets there is commendable.
Source: The Ledger
Multiple satellite eyes to track algal threat to U.S. freshwater
Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms.
The $3.6 million research project is a collaborative effort among NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USGS. Using methods and technology established to analyze ocean color satellite data, scientists from the four agencies will work to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and build an information distribution system to expedite public health advisories.
Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and noxious taste and odor in drinking water. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.
“Harmful algal blooms have emerged as a significant public health and economic issue that requires extensive scientific investigation,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. “USGS uses converging lines of evidence from ground to space to assess changes in water quantity and quality, ecosystems, natural hazards, and environmental health issues important to the nation.”
Ocean color satellite data are currently available to scientists, but are not routinely processed and produced in formats that help state and local environmental and water quality managers. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms developed by the partner agencies will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals.
US Geological Survey news release continues...
Save the date: National Monitoring Conference, May 2-6, 2016
Save the date! Join us in beautiful and vibrant Tampa, Florida for the 10th National Monitoring Conference - Working Together for Clean Water - on May 2 - 6, 2016.
Sponsored by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC), this national forum is for all water stakeholders, including federal, state, tribal and local water professionals, non-profits, academia, volunteer citizen scientists, and industry. Come to exchange information, network, develop partnerships and new skills, and see the latest technology related to the water resources we know and love -- rivers and streams; lakes; wetlands; coastal waters and estuaries; and groundwater. Conference themes attract papers and posters on topics that range from monitoring and assessment, to protection and restoration, to cutting-edge technologies and methods. Volunteer monitoring programs have always been well represented at this large national conference.
Please feel free to distribute this announcement to your friends and colleagues. Look for our Call for Abstracts later this spring.
For additional information about the NWQMC and updates on the conference, please visit: http://acwi.gov/monitoring/. We look forward to an exciting and informative conference!
From coastlines to the Everglades, researchers tackle sea level rise
Under the streets of Miami Beach, seeping up through the limestone, water creeps into storm drains and pours into the streets. It happens once a year when the sun and moon align in such a way that gravity pulls at Earth's water. The phenomenon is known as King Tide. It is the highest of high tides, and every year, it puts Miami Beach at risk of major flooding.
FIU researchers were on-site during the latest King Tide event to collect and assess data. The efforts are part of a university-wide initiative to study, better understand and develop solutions for sea level rise. Plans are under way to create an institute dedicated to the interdisciplinary work being done at FIU, which includes collaboration among researchers from Arts & Sciences, Architecture and the Arts, Business, Law, Public Health and Social Work, Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as Journalism and Mass Communication.
South Florida ranks as the world's most vulnerable urban region in terms of assets exposed to the effects of sea level rise. FIU's research is dedicated to developing and implementing solutions for the major environmental and economic challenges created by the rising seas.
Continue reading on Phys.org »
‘Low risk’ contamination sites to get fresh scrutiny under DEP plan
By William R. Levesque
TAMPA – For years in Tallahassee, the list of contaminated sites that are believed to pose a "low risk" to drinking water have numbered about 5,000. But no one is quite sure they are just low risk.
Now the state Department of Environmental Protection is adopting a new strategy aimed at completing a full assessment of each site in smaller counties over the next three to five years by hiring larger counties – including Hillsborough and Pinellas – to check them out.
Hillsborough will administer site assessment and cleanup in Manatee. Pinellas will do the same in Pasco and is expected also to undertake Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter counties.
Such properties, which made it on the list using mapping data and landowners' self-reporting, can contain surprises, said Hooshang Boostani, director of Hillsborough waste management.
Continued in the Tampa Bay Times »
CHNEP Subcommittee to Review Water Atlas Water Quality & Water Clarity Tools
Dear CHNEP TAC Members & Scientific Community,
There will be a CHNEP Subcommittee meeting to review the CHNEP Water Atlas Enhancements Project draft deliverables, including the Water Quality Variables Time Series Analysis (Task 2) & Water Clarity Reporting Tool (Task 3) on Monday March 30, 2015 in Punta Gorda from 9:00 am – 11:00 pm at Laishley Park. The meeting agenda is attached.
The review opportunity is provided before the final draft deliverables are presented to the TAC April 9 for consideration for approval by the Management Conference.
The meeting will be available remotely through Go-To-Meeting, but the details are currently being set up USF & as soon as we have the call-information, I will forward it to you via separate email.
We are looking forward to seeing these very useful tools & appreciate your participation in reviewing them.
We hope to see you March 30 in Punta Gorda.
Program Scientist, M.S., Licensed Captain
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program
Water Atlas Enhance Review Agenda 2015
Public input sought on FWC permit request for lake restoration
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District to conduct restoration activities on 23 lakes and water bodies in the FWC’s Southwest Region.
This permit is required pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The request is part of an overall initiative in which the FWC is working with the Corps to obtain permits for routine restoration work in 94 lakes and water bodies throughout Florida.
The following water bodies within the FWC's Southwest Region are included in the permit application:
- Kissimmee River (including Paradise Run) in Okeechobee, Glades, Highlands, Polk and Osceola counties;
- Lake Arbuckle, Lake Hancock, Lake Isabell, Lake Livingston, Lake Marion, Lake Pierce, Lake Weohyakapka, Mud Lake and Tiger Lake in Polk County;
- Lake Adelaide, Lake Istokpoga, Lake Josephine, Lake Sebring, Little Red Water Lake, Red Beach Lake and Wolf Lake in Highlands County;
- Lake Lindsey in Hernando County;
- Lake Manatee in Manatee County;
- Lake Seminole in Pinellas County;
- Middle Lake in Pasco County;
- Lower Myakka Lake and Upper Lake Myakka in Sarasota County.
The FWC is seeking a permit which would authorize all of its routine mechanical aquatic plant maintenance activities related to habitat restoration and navigation maintenance within these water bodies for a period of 15 years. The proposed maintenance techniques include mechanical harvesting and shredding of aquatic vegetation and use of earth-moving and tilling equipment on vegetated areas during dry conditions.
The proposed restoration activities on lakes and other water bodies would improve habitat for fish and wildlife and provide outdoor opportunities for boating, angling and wildlife viewing.
The Corps permitting process requires the opportunity for public comment. On March 9, the Corps published a Public Notice for the proposed work on its website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx
. To view the notice, click on the following file number to open the Public Notice: SAJ-2014-02266 (SP-JED). If you would like to provide comments or have any questions regarding the Corps permit process, please follow the directions included in the Public Notice. Note that the web address is case sensitive and should be entered as it appears above.
Learn more about mechanical control of aquatic plants
Public Invited to Series of Workshops on Surplus Lands
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will hold a series of public workshops to gather feedback for the biennial assessment of surplus lands. The meetings will take place at the following times and locations:
• March 19, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Bartow – Carver Recreation Center, 520 Idlewood Avenue S, Bartow, FL 33830
• March 24, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Sarasota Service Office, 6750 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34240
• April 1, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
Tampa Service Office, 7601 US 301, Tampa, FL 33637
• April 2, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.
District Headquarters, 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, FL 34604
The public may also submit comments on the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/SurplusLands.
At its Feb. 26 meeting, the District’s Governing Board adopted an updated policy that would direct staff to conduct a biennial review of District lands intended to identify parcels for potential surplus. The new policy also provides for the District to surplus lands while maintaining conservations easements.
The intent of this policy is to continue to protect properties that are providing substantive environmental benefits while surplusing properties that provide less environmental value. The surplus process will then generate revenue to buy lands with higher environmental benefits.
The potential surplus lands will also be discussed publicly at the District’s Environmental Advisory Committee meeting on April 14. Following review of public comments, District staff will finalize its Surplus Lands proposal and present it to the Governing Board at its May 19 meeting.
Listed of lands proposed for surplusing »
EPA Encourages Consumers to Save 1 Trillion Gallons of Wasted Water
WASHINGTON – Every year, more than one trillion gallons of water go down the drain because of household leaks. Leaks may increase a water bill by as much as 10 percent. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program encourages consumers to celebrate the seventh annual Fix a Leak Week, March 16-22, 2015, by finding and fixing water leaks in their homes. Annually, the average American family could be wasting more than 10,000 gallons of water — enough for 270 loads of laundry — due to easy-to-fix leaks. Since 2006 WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 757 billion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills.
Here’s how to reduce water waste:
Check: Look at your water meter, usually located outside your house, before and after a two-hour period of no water use. If the number changed, there is likely a leak, which could be as simple to fix as replacing a worn rubber flapper in the toilet tank.
Twist: Fix dripping pipes, fixtures or hoses by using a wrench to twist and tighten the connections. If needed, pipe tape can help seal shower fixtures or hose connections. Check washers and valves for persistent drips and repair or replace, if necessary. Remind everyone to turn faucets and showers off tightly.
Replace: For old or inefficient fixtures not easily repaired, look for WaterSense labeled models to replace them. WaterSense products are available in a variety of styles and price points at home improvement stores. These money-saving products are high performing and independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water. Look for the WaterSense label on product packaging or the website of your favorite plumbing brand. Many WaterSense partners also offer rebates for WaterSense labeled products.
WaterSense, an EPA partnership program, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services. The program helps consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance.
What They Said
“Fixing household leaks is not only an important way to conserve water, but it is a simple way that American families can reduce energy use and lower utility bills,” said Ken Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
For More Information Continue Reading on the EPA’s Website