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Environmental Roundup July 30, 2021

Monk_Parakeet_(Myiopsitta_monachus)_(28420470712) (1).jpg
By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50340187
/
Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)

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:

Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane is sounding the alarm about the Army Corps’ new proposed Lake Okeechobee plan, also known as “CC.” Ruane says the plan does not take the Caloosahatchee ecosystem into consideration, and that the Corps needs more time to consider adjustments to the plan. Right now, the deadline to finalize the plan is next week.

Millions of gallons of fracking waste has been dumped into the Gulf. The Center for Biological Diversity has documented more than 66.3 million gallons of fracking waste leaks into the Gulf since 2010.

ADAPT reports “Florida law now prohibits local governments from taking ‘any action that restricts or prohibits’ energy sources used by utilities. (It also voids any such existing local policies, except in cities that own their utilities, like Jacksonville, Orlando and Tallahassee.) And it prevents local officials from banning gas stations or requiring gas stations to install electric vehicle chargers.” In other words, the state has further stripped local power in the battle for cleaner, climate change-mitigation policies. Learn about municipal owned utilities at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

WMFE’s environmental reporter Amy Green reports the Kissimmee river restoration is now complete. The river was straightened when the Everglades were drained. Its restoration is meant to revive 40 miles of river and floodplains and nearly 25,000 acres of wetlands.

You can also listen to Amy Green interview with Fellowship of the Springs documentarian Oscar Corral, and watch the film’s trailer, below.

Southwest Florida continues to struggle with the impacts of red tide. Learn about local plans for dealing with the fish kills, and check out our website for the latest red tide health alerts.

BEYOND:

Detroit’s massive flooding has been devastating. In addition to climate change, another cause of the floods is that at least 20 of the city’s pumps stopped working, due to loss of power.

“Record-shattering” heat is becoming normal.

As California’s drought and heat dries up rivers, the state is looking to cut off water to thousands of farmers. As a result of this, among other climate factors, The Wall Street Journal reports you can expect food costs to continue to rise.

And the monk parakeet, a type of parrot often kept as a pet whose habitat is normally subtropical to temperate, Argentina to Florida, has been found nesting in increasing numbers, in Boston. The bird can be invasive to crops and other birds. They also build their nests in colonies to stay warm in cooler climates.

Bayer is removing glyphosate, aka Roundup, from U.S. lawn and garden consumer marketplace by January 2023. Bayer’s CEO Werner Baumann said, “Let me be very clear that (this decision) is exclusively geared at managing litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.” Glyphosate, known to cause serious health problems including cancer and death, has cost Bayer and pervious owner Monsanto, billions in litigation costs. It will still be available for use in agriculture. Learn more about the glyphosate issue by listening to WGCU’s environmental reporter Valerie Vande Panne’s interview with Cary Gillam, author of The Monsanto Papers.

Learn about all this and more, including regular updates on blue-green algae and red tide, on our website, WGCU.org.

The Fellowship of the Springs documentary (Official Trailer)

Do & Learn

  • The 29th annual “Ding” Darling Day Amateur Nature Photography Contest is happening now through Sept. 15, 2021. Cash award prizes are $300 for first place, $225 for second, and $175 for third. Learn more.
  • On Wednesday, August 4th, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's South District Office is hosting a webinar on estuaries and watersheds of Southwest Florida. Register here.
  • Want to convert your St. Augustine grass lawn to a native, low maintenance Florida landscape? Want to be on TV? Flip My Florida Yard might have you covered.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are seeking public feedback on a draft Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for Everglades National Park. The two agencies will host a virtual public meeting on the issue August 19th, 6:30-8 pm ET. The meeting will be livestreamed at https://youtu.be/YED_w6Bkztg. The public can also observe the virtual meetings via the livestream from the FAA’s social media platforms on the day of the event. Public feedback can be provided through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website from July 29 through Aug. 28. The NPS and FAA will consider comments to help inform the final ATMP for Everglades National Park. The project website is available at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/EvergladesATMP

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Meeting August 4th and 5th. Topics include bird sanctuaries, hunting restrictions, manatee deaths, and coral reefs, among other issues, and include the opportunity for public comment. The meetings begin at 8:30am each day and are held at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, 5001 Coconut Road, Bonita Springs, 34134. Learn more.

South Florida Water Management District Workshop for the C-8 and C-9 Basins Flood Protection Level of Service Adaptation and Mitigation Planning Projects Study August 3, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. Meeting Information and Materials

SFWMD Quarterly Meeting of the Everglades Technical Oversight Committee, August 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Meeting Information and Materials

SFWMD Governing Board Workshop August 11, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. sfwmd.gov/meetings

SFWMD Governing Board Meeting August 12, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. sfwmd.gov/meetings

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

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