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New Study Finds Steep Increase in East Coast High-Tide Floods

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Flooding events may triple in 15 years, increase ten-fold in 30 years for most towns analyzed, science group finds

WASHINGTON – Flooding during high tides—something that rarely occurred in the past—is now common in some places and is projected to grow to the point that sections of coastal cities may flood so often they would become unusable in the near future, according to a report the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) just released, "Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years.”

“Several decades ago, flooding at high tide was simply not a problem,” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, report co-author and climate scientist at UCS. “Today, when the tide is extra high, people find themselves splashing through downtown Miami, Norfolk and Annapolis on sunny days and dealing with flooded roads in Atlantic City, Savannah and the coast of New Hampshire. In parts of New York City and elsewhere, homeowners are dealing with flooded basements, salt-poisoned yards and falling property values, not only because of catastrophic storms, but because tides, aided by sea level rise, now cause flooding where they live.”

The UCS study is based on an analysis of 52 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tide gauges in communities stretching from Portland, Maine to Freeport, Texas, using moderate sea level rise projections. The analysis reveals that in the next 15 years, most of the towns analyzed could see a tripling in the number of high-tide floods each year and in 30 years a ten-fold increase compared to historic levels.

Researchers say the increases in flooding are so pervasive that Atlantic Coast communities not covered by the analysis may need to brace for similar changes.

The study found the problem will rapidly worsen as sea level rises...

News release continues on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website »


Get the latest news from Florida LAKEWATCH!

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The latest version of the Florida LAKEWATCH newsletter is now available. The LAKEWATCH newsletter is dedicated to sharing water management information and information about the University of Florida/IFAS Florida LAKEWATCH program at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.

In this issue:
  • Total Color and Total Alkalinity Analysis
  • Innovations in Citizen Monitoring of Aquatic Plants: Passive Mapping with Sonar and Automated Processing
  • LAKEWATCH Welcomes New UF Faculty in Restoration Aquaculture
  • FWC, Partners See Ultimate Coral Reef-building Success
  • Nonnative Fish Provide Exotic Fishing Alternatives; Most Have No Bag Limits!
  • Volume 66 of the Florida LAKEWATCH Newsletter »

    Contact Information
    Florida LAKEWATCH, fl-lakewatch@ufl.edu, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL. 32611
    phone: (352) 392-4817.

    Register now for free "Living at the Lakes" classes

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    Want to learn more about our local lakes?

    Living at the Lakes is a three-class, free program, offered to all Polk County residents to share information on common lake questions. Join us for three, two-hour classes to hear from our local experts and get your questions answered. Space is limited and registration is required. Sign up link is below.

    Session Dates: October 16, 23, and 30, 2014 from 6-8 PM

    Tentative Agenda:

    October 16:
    • Know the Flow! An Introduction to Water in Central Florida – MJ Carnevale, City of Winter Haven
    • Why is my Lake Green? An Introduction to Water Quality Issues – Curtis Porterfield, City of Lakeland

    October 23:
    • How can I Help Improve Local Water Quality? (Florida-Friendly Landscaping) – Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County
    • How Raingardens Help with Water Quality – Mike Britt, City of Winter Haven

    October 30:
    • The Importance of Lakefront Vegetation – Shannon Carnevale, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County
    • Wildlife Found In and Around Our Lakes • Reinier Munguia, Lake Region Audubon Society
    • Invasive Exotic Plants (tentative) – Charles Thompson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    Sign up using EventBrite.com »


    EPA extends comment period on contentious waterways rule

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending the comment period on a controversial water regulation in order to allow the public to weigh in on a soon-to-be-released scientific report, the agency said today.

    The comment period on the proposed rule to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act will now close Nov. 14, the agency said in a statement, three weeks later than the previous deadline of Oct. 20. This is the second extension the agency has granted on the proposed rule.

    Opponents of the proposed regulation, which would increase the number of streams and creeks that currently receive automatic protection under the 1972 law, have argued that the agency is rushing the process by proposing it before a peer review of the key scientific report was completed. Last week, EPA's Science Advisory Board sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy saying that the regulatory proposal is supported by science and in fact should be more expansive (Greenwire, Sept. 30). But the board is still completing its review of the scientific report that the agency said the proposed rule is based on. It is expected to be completed by the middle of this month.

    The main industry coalition opposing the rule has argued that too many new items have been added to the process during the comment period and has called for the proposal to be withdrawn. Meanwhile, a number of stakeholders have asked the agency to extend the time frame to allow them to digest and comment on the scientific report.

    "EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have always maintained that having the latest peer-reviewed science is an essential part of determining jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act," EPA said in a statement today. "The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will soon complete its peer review of the report on the connectivity of streams and wetlands. To provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the SAB review and in response to requests for additional time to comment on the proposal Waters of the U.S. rule, the agencies are extending the public comment period to Friday, November 14, 2014."

    The new deadline comes after the midterm elections, when both sides will have a better handle on whether Congress may intervene on the proposal. The House has already voted to block it. Democratic Senate leaders have so far staved off a vote on the issue, although more than half of the chamber is on record in opposition.


    Sunshine State Survey: Water is environmental issue of greatest concern to voters

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    USF's school of Public Affairs and Nielsen's latest results on their annual Sunshine State Survey were released on Sept. 30th, asking how Floridians feel about crime and environmental issues.

    USF Political Scientist Dr. Susan MacManus said Floridians believe Florida's biggest environmental issue is water.

    "What is the biggest environmental problem facing Florida, hands down it's water, water-related problems," she said. "Specifically, 32 percent - almost the third - mention either the quality or the shortage of water."

    The Sunshine State Survey shows Floridians are now more critical of the state's job protecting the environment since the 2012 survey. Only one-third of those polled believe the state is doing a good job.

    When asked to identify “What is the biggest environmental problem facing Florida today?” 39% of the respondents refer to a problem involving water; 19% cite a pollution problem; 8% mention a political problem; another 7% point to potential disasters stemming from humans or nature; food production-related problems are the top concern of 2%, while 6% cite a wide range of other problems. Almost one-fifth (18%) gave no response to the question, reflecting less general knowledge of environmental challenges than of those in some other policy areas.

    Read the Sunshine State Survey Data Release Summary No. 4 »


    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

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