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Environmental Roundup March 26, 2021

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conser/Chip Deutsch/Florida Fish and Wi
Manatee in the Indian River, Florida. FWC photo by Chip Deutsch

We are all connected by the environment we share. The Earth is our home. This is the space where we share the environmental stories that caught our attention this week, in Florida and beyond.

Manatees need your help: WGCU's Michelle Alvarez contributed a great piece on the shocking number of manatee deaths this week. News-Press Senior Writer Amy Bennett Williams has a story in the News-Press about how more than half of Florida's manatees have the herbicide glyphosate in their bodies.

Glyphosate is also an ingredient in popular weed-control products such as Round Up and Rodeo. Civil Eats reports there is an Alarming Amount of Microplastics in Farm Soil—and Our Food Supply.

Learn more about plastics, solutions, and regenerative agriculture.

Worried about the water around your home rising? NPR reports, California Has a New Idea for Homes At Risk From Rising Seas: Buy, Rent, Retreat.

Energy & Environment News reports More than 70% of U.S. waterways reviewed under a controversial Trump-era rule could be permanently damaged after they were not afforded federal protection, according to Army Corps of Engineers data.

Some good news: The mermaids have returned to Weeki Wachee Springs!

FWC Flickr / Creative Commons
In 1946, Newton Perry purchased Weeki Wachee. He hired and trained the `mermaids' to perform synchronized ballet moves underwater using hidden air hoses. The 18-seat theater opened in 1947. Weeki Wachee's heyday began in 1959, when the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) purchased the spring, built the current theater and developed themes for the shows. In the 1960s, girls came from as far away as Tokyo for tryouts to become a mermaid. They performed eight shows a day to sold-out crowds, entertaining nearly half a million people annually. Weeki Wachee Springs became a state park in November 2008.

Check out the latest news about Red Tide, as well as all of WGCU’s environmental coverage here.

Do & Learn

  • Spiny lobster season ends April 1.
  • Learn all about Lee County’s water system at https://www.leegov.com/water
  • The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s guided nature walks resume at Clam Pass. Those interested in participating in a guided tour should make a reservation at ClamPassTours@Conservancy.org or call or text 239-734-1132.
FWC photo by Carli Segelson
Lobster Battalion / Taken at Coral Cove Park

Want to influence your local environment? There’s probably a public meeting for that.

Collier County Planning Commission Meeting, April 1 at 9 a.m.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Thursday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m. Meeting on the Preliminary Project Operating Manual (PPOM) for the Indian River Lagoon – South (IRL-S) C-44 Project. Learn more, including how to join, at: www.saj.usace.army.mil//IRL-SPOM

Charlotte County has several committee vacancies to fill--and many have something to do with the environment. Learn more at https://www.charlottecountyfl.gov/news/charlotte-county-committee-vacancies.stml

The Lee Board of County Commissioners has meetings coming up later this month. Check out the calendar here.

South Florida Water Management Upcoming Meetings

The public is welcome to attend several upcoming public meetings, often virtually. See the SFWM Meeting Calendar for dates, times, and agendas.

The South Florida Water Management District is also seeking public input on the Final Draft 2021 Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) Science Plan. The final draft plan is available for public and peer review at SFWMD.gov/ASR. Public comments can be submitted via email to ASRwells@SFWMD.gov through March 22, 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board Spring Meetings will be held online:

  • Tuesday, April 20, Noon - 5:00 pm EST
  • Thursday, April 22, Noon - 5:00 pm EST
  • Wednesday, April 28, Noon - 5:00 pm EST
  • Thursday, April 29, Noon - 5:00 pm EST
  • Friday, April 30, Noon - 5:00 pm EST

The agenda, public comment registration links and other resources will be added to the NOSB Spring 2021 Meeting webpage. All speakers making public comments must sign-up in advance.

Got an environment story or tip to share? Email Valerie Vande Panne at Vvandepanne@wgcu.org.