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Environmental Roundup July 2, 2021

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Courtesy Audubon Florida / Jean Hall
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A least tern feeds its chicks. Least terns are a threatened species. Beachside fireworks can cause the terns to abandon their nests and young, leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators.

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.

FLORIDA:

As Independence Day celebrations often include fireworks, wildlife advocates warn that fireworks can be deadly for already threatened species of bird and turtle.

Red tide is also impacting threatened birds: They can seem drunk, wobbly, unafraid of humans or appear unable to hold their heads up. If you see a bird displaying such behavior, contact a local rescue group such as CROW (Center for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) on Sanibel.

Researchers have found that urea, found in fertilizer runoff and animal urine, could be a nutrient source for local toxic blue green algae blooms.

A 39-year-old man was airlifted to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Monday after being bit by an alligator, in a large pond in North Venice. State wildlife biologists say alligator attacks on people are rare in Florida, but this marks the second such attack in recent weeks. In late May, a Tampa man was bitten on the head by an alligator as he was diving for megalodon teeth in the Myakka River. People with concerns about an alligator can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 1-866-FWC-GATOR.

Researchers are warning that rising sea levels and high tides will rapidly lead to more flooding.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo denied a request for federal relief funding from NOAA Fisheries for fishing guides and seafood workers for losses stemming from devastating toxic red tide conditions in the Gulf of Mexico along the Southwest Florida coast in 2018. The relief funding request came in a 2019 letter from politicians including U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, (R-Sarasota), U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, (R-Miami), U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, (R-Sarasota) and U.S. Senator and former Florida Governor Rick Scott, (R-Fla). NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Kate Goggins tells the News-Press the fisheries disaster request did not meet needed requirements to be declared a disaster. Southwest Florida's 2018 red tide disaster resulted in some 2,000 tons of dead marine life and $8 million in damages to local fisheries. The conditions also prompted then-governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency for the region.

Lawmakers have approved of the landmark state Wildlife Corridor, while Governor Ron DeSantis has hasigned a bill repealing three massive proposed toll-roads projects know at M-CORES. DeSantis had supported the projects two years ago.

The Guardian reports on the dire situation the Florida Keys are facing, threatened by rising water.

If you’ve always wanted to purchase a state park pass, camping gear, fishing gear, or even a kayak or water skis, this might be your week. The "Freedom Week" Tax Holiday runs July 1-7.

BEYOND:

For those concerned about pesticides, The Department of Yes is a must-read article from The Intercept.

ICYMI, the Pacific Northwest is cooking under a so-called “once-in-a-millennium heat dome.”

Tropical flesh-eating bacteria are migrating North, from the tropics to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond, with rising temperatures due to climate change.

Common Dreams reports beekeepers lost nearly half of their colonies between April 2020 and April 2021.

Learn about all this and more, including regular updates on blue-green algae and red tide, on our website, WGCU.org, and be sure to sign up for our monthly environmental newsletter, Green Flash.

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Courtesy Naples Botanical Garden
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Bismarkian Sway, Suan Nardine Pratt, at Artists in Bloom, Naples Botanical Garden

Do & Learn

  • Learn all about Falconry with Lee County Libraries virtually on July 27. Resources for the virtual session can be picked up at library branches. Learn more.
  • Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's ghost orchid is in bloom. Learn more on their website.
  • The Florida Python Challenge starts July 9. If you’ve ever wanted to protect the Everglades and the animals that live there from invasive pythons, this is your chance. The challenge runs through July 18 and includes cash prizes. Learn more and register.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is encouraging people to hunt wild hogs this summer. Learn more at MyFWC.com/hunting/wild-hog.
  • Naples Botanical Garden invites essential workers and their families to visit the Garden on a complimentary basis through September 30, 2021. Be sure to check out their exhibition, Artists in Bloom.
  • And a new exhibit at the Collier Museum, Swamp Angels: A History of Mosquitoes and Mosquito Control, might be a must-see. Running now through August 28 at 3331 Tamiami Trail E., Naples, Florida, in the county government complex.
  • Watch Troubled Waters, a short documentary from the Calusa Waterkeeper.

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

Check out Collier County’s full public calendar here.

Charlotte County still 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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announces an Ecological Restoration Science Workshop for the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration (BBSEER) Project Study. The public is welcome to attend on Thursday, July 8, 2021. https://usace1.webex.com/meet/april.n.patterson Call In: 844-800-2712 Access Code: 199 320 6340# #

For additional information regarding the project, please visit the project webpage www.saj.usace.army.mil/BBSEER View the Biscayne Bay and Southeastern Everglades Ecosystem Restoration Project (BBSEER) Fact Sheet at https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/utils/getfile/collection/p16021coll11/id/4899

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