Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
Brevard County latest to enact summer fertilizer ban
By Jim Waymer
VIERA – Fertilizing during the wet summer months will now be illegal in unincorporated Brevard County, under the theory that less fertilizer on our grass will grow back more seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon.
After three hours of public comments, Brevard County commissioners unanimously approved a rainy-season fertilizer ban Thursday night, culminating a yearslong debate over what kind of fertilizer people should put on their lawns, when and how.
“We just made history,” Commission Chairwoman Mary Bolin Lewis said.
The ban would affect unincorporated parts of the county and would run from June 1 to Sept. 30, though several cities have enacted similar rules.
Continued in Florida Today...
President's budget request again slashes federal water infrastructure funding
On Tuesday [March 4th], the Obama Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Budget request proposing deep cuts to water infrastructure investment programs. Specifically, the Administration’s budget includes $581 million in cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, requesting $1.018 billion and $757 million for each program respectively. This is the third consecutive budget request that has proposed steep cuts to these Funds.
Continued on NACWA.org...
Boards lack diversity as they decide who gets water
Women, blacks, Hispanics and environmentalists have little say in the state's largest water agencies that control the dwindling resource.
Appointed by the governor, members of state water boards not only don't resemble Florida's population, they are much less diverse than the heads of many local water authorities. That's wrong, said a woman who led the St. Johns River Water Management District in the 1980s.
"The benefit of a board is you can educate each other and you can make better decisions," said Fran Pignone, also a former Orange County commissioner. "You wouldn't want a board that's all men, or all like me or all like anyone."
Of Florida's five water-management districts, the three biggest take in the state's peninsula, nearly 17 million of the state's 20 million residents. Those agencies have 30 board seats combined and of those, three are held by women, two by Hispanics and none by blacks or people who describe themselves as environmentalists.
Continued in the Orlando Sentinel...
Environmental groups to challenge federal ruling allowing state water quality rules
By Bruce Ritchie
Environmental groups on Thursday filed a notice in federal court that they are appealing a federal judge's order in January siding with Florida and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on their agreement in 2013 allowing the state to set pollution standards in waterways.
The appeal may prevent the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from moving forward with state rules approved by the federal court and the federal EPA, DEP spokesman Patrick Gillespie said.
The Legislature in 2013 passed SB 1808 ratifying an agreement between DEP and the federal EPA calling for the state to move forward in implementing rules once federal water quality standards were withdrawn.
The appeal on Thursday was filed in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, St. John’s Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club.
Continued in The Florida Current...
New Tidal Stream Assessment Project Results
The Water Atlases for Florida’s three Gulf Coast National Estuary Programs have a new feature. Each Atlas has a new page that shows tidal stream assessments from sixteen tidal streams along the west coast of Florida, from the northern extent of Tampa Bay to the southern extent of Charlotte Harbor. The primary focus of the project was to help characterize nutrient regimes along the tidal portion of coastal creeks as they relate to the Numeric Nutrient Criteria (NNC) for impairment. The assessment methods used were bathymetric mapping, vegetation surveys, and habitat assessments. Vegetation surveys were collected in approximately 200-meter regions beginning at the downstream extent and continuing to the upstream extent.
The website features an interactive map that allows you to look at the data collected from the individual tidal stream assessments. The map gives information such as: when each creek was assessed, the surface area of the creek, bottom hardness, and the average depth.
Another great feature on the Tidal Stream Assessment website is the opportunity to view and download the individual assessments of each creek. In each assessment there is a description of the study area with an aerial map, habitat description, a vegetation analysis and a bathymetric map. Users may also view/download the entire project report, which includes assessments of all creeks.
This project was led by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) in collaboration with the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP), with funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Check out the new Tidal Stream Assessments page...
Florida's water woes are seen as urgent – except in the House
By Craig Pittman
A remarkable alignment of Florida political interests has occurred this year — perhaps because it's an election year, perhaps because the urgency of the problem has drawn a lot of attention.
Gov. Rick Scott, several powerful state senators, a coalition of environmental groups and a consortium of business and industry groups all say the Legislature needs to do something this year about fixing Florida's water.
The pollution is too pervasive, the flow too endangered, and the perils too great to the state's future to ignore it any longer, they all agreed.
"Water quality and quantity have the potential to limit residential and business growth, and we need to attack this problem head-on with forward-thinking solutions," Tom Feeney, president of the pro-business Associated Industries of Florida, said in February.
A rally for clean water drew 200 people to Tallahassee last month, all clamoring for quick action. One speaker, former Department of Community Affairs secretary Tom Pelham, told the crowd, "The time to act is now. Delay will only make the situation worse and the solutions more costly."
Continued in the Tampa Bay Times...
‘Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!’ weekend offers angling fun in Matlacha
Video of Manatee County news conference 2/14/2014
Women are invited to explore the finest of fishing at the next “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” seminar, March 8-9 at the Matlacha Community Center, 4577 Pine Island Road NW in Matlacha, which is near Fort Myers.
The event is held in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through the Sport Fish Restoration Program. “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” is a national organization dedicated to attracting more women to sport fishing and to promoting conservation and responsible angling.
During the two-day, hands-on event, FWC educators will demonstrate ethical angler habits, such as safe hook removal, release techniques, fish venting and more. Local fishing guides will provide instruction on fishing techniques and methods.
Can’t make this one? Two more Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing! events are scheduled for this spring, including one in Dania Beach, April 11-13, and one in Stuart, May 16-18.
To learn more, visit ladiesletsgofishing.com, call 954-475-9068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies, Let's Go Fishing Website
Ex-governor, scientist, attorney look at springs’ future
A former governor, a scientist and an attorney who represents big water users managed to agree on a few things about protection of Florida springs at an environmental law conference Friday — for one, they agreed that water will be a much more valuable commodity in the future.
Overall, the future of Florida water as presented by former Gov. Kenneth H. “Buddy” MacKay, Robert Knight of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and attorney Wayne Flowers is full of competing interests, water grabs and bleak choices.
“Our ability to deal with this issue would mark a turning point in Florida politics,” said MacKay. “Everybody sees the end in sight. There is a big run on consumptive-use permits. People are trying to get a vested right (to water). I think it’s an outrage.”
The discussion was titled “Thirsty Agriculture, Thirsty Springs: Who Gets to Drink from the CUP?” and was part of the 20th annual Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida College of Law Friday [Feb. 21st].
Continued online in The Gainesville Sun...
Event focuses on Warm Mineral Springs
The Friends of Warm Mineral Springs is hosting a special event the organization is calling "The Future of Warm Mineral Springs". It will feature speakers who will address both the scientific and spiritual importance of springs.
What: The Future of Warm Mineral Springs: Unique World-Class Treasure or Looming Environmental Disaster?
When: Saturday, March 8th, 10am-3pm
Where: Ramada Inn Venice, 425 U.S. 41, Venice, FL 34285
Directions: From North Port take US Highway 41 for two blocks past Venice Ave. Turn left on Substation Rd.
Admission: $10 donation suggested, which includes food and reception (Can be applied to Annual Membership for Discounts on future events)
- John Moran and Lesley Gamble, Ph.D.: Co-Creators of the "Springs Eternal" project, dedicated to inspiring Floridians to value, conserve and restore our precious waters
- Robert L. Knight, Ph.D.: Environmental Scientist with more that 30 years experience in FL; Founder and President of the Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute and adjunct professor in the University of Florida's Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, teaching graduate level courses on the ecology of springs. Dr. Knight is active on restoration efforts at many Florida springs.
- Mike Ange: Internationally recognized lecturer and photojournalist and author of numerous articles and over ten textbooks including Diver Down (McGraw-Hill, 2005). An experienced expedition diver holding over 100 advanced Instructor Trainer rating, Mike has participated in network television programs, scientific and media expeditions around the globe.
- Arrowhawk: Native American Spiritual Elder speaking to the ancient, sacred nature of Warm Mineral Springs, and founder of the Red Road to Wellness Center.
More information, registration form...
Florida lawmakers to talk water funding, not policy
By Jennifer Kay (AP)
LAKE OKEECHOBEE – In the marshes along the western edge of Florida's largest freshwater lake, the water is clear, wading birds burst into the sky ahead of an approaching airboat, and there's no sign of the turmoil that elevated water levels caused last summer.
The political waters in Tallahassee, though, are roiling over Lake Okeechobee and other hydrological woes, from Florida's Big Bend to the state's signature springs to a treasured estuary along the Atlantic.
Residents, lawmakers and environmental advocates want the state to do more to better manage its water resources. However, the speaker of the House has said no major change to Florida's water policies is likely to come out of the legislative session that begins March 4.
Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, told reporters earlier this month that any water issues that come up this year will deal with funding, while policy initiatives and long-term water management plans likely will be deferred until next year.
Continued in The News-Herald...
FDEP solicits new requests for water quality restoration grants
TMDL grants help locals implement stormwater best management practices
TALLAHASSEE – Three times each year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection solicits grant applications from local governments to fund urban stormwater best management practices. The solicitation for these “TMDL Grant” applications is being released today with requests due at 5 p.m. on March 1st.
The Department administers the grant program with annual appropriations from the Florida Legislature. Awards are targeted at projects designed to restore “impaired” springs, rivers, lakes, and estuaries—those waterbodies that do not meet Florida’s stringent water quality standards.
To qualify for TMDL grant funding, the local government project must be at least 60 percent designed and fully permitted. Construction is to be completed within three years and must include storm event monitoring to determine the actual pollutant load reductions the project will accomplish. Applicants are also encouraged to include public education elements in their requests, because spreading the word on keeping pollutants out of the stormwater system is a key to success.
The Department ranks projects for funding based on the level of pollution in the associated waterbody, the estimated pollutant load reductions the project is designed to achieve, the cost-effectiveness of the project, and the percentage of local matching funds. Another important consideration is whether the applicant has a stormwater utility fee or other dedicated revenue source to continue effective stormwater management in the future. Good urban stormwater practices keeps oil, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, pet waste, and other contaminants washed by rain from yards, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, roads, and fields from contaminating surface and ground waters.
For more information on the TMDL grant program and the application process, visit the link below. Information on the wide range of DEP’s restoration programs is available on its website under “Water Quality Assessment and Restoration.”
Teacher, Student grants available for Florida Lake Management Society conference
The Florida Lake Management Society has just posted its symposium travel grant application for college students and middle or high school science teachers. The 25th annual symposium will be held at the Hutchinson Island Marriott in Stuart from June 16 - 19, 2014.
Visit the Florida Lake Management website for full conference schedule.
Environmental professionals will also find many new job opportunities posted there.
The purpose of the Florida Lake Management Society is to promote understanding and comprehensive management of lake and watershed ecosystems.
Information about the grants
DEP to hold public meetings for input on water restoration work plans
On Feb. 25 in Live Oak, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will kick off a series of six meetings around Florida to take public input on the Department’s water quality assessment and restoration priorities over the next two years.
To restore and protect Florida’s surface waters, the Department collects water quality data through its own monitoring programs and with the help of other agencies. The data are then analyzed to determine which rivers, lakes, streams, springs, and estuaries do not meet Florida’s water quality standards and are thus “impaired.”
For each impaired waterbody or group of related waters, the Department develops and adopts a scientifically derived restoration target, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load. Based on the target, the Department, in conjunction with local stakeholders, develops and implements a restoration plan to return the waterbody to health.
At the public meetings, key Department staff will explain the assessment and restoration process and present the Department's proposed 2014 strategic monitoring plan. They will also present the preliminary two-year work plan for establishing TMDLs in local watersheds.
The Department will also share information on a new analytical tool, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and adopted by the state, which was used in developing the preliminary work plans. The tool accounts for multiple factors affecting restoration such as the natural characteristics of the watershed, the pollutant of concern and the severity of the pollution problem, and key social factors that may influence success. These factors were weighted and the results used to help identify what problems to tackle first. Public input on the results will be solicited at each meeting locale.
Workshops will be held:
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 10:30 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. (EST)
PLACE: Suwannee River Water Management District Headquarters, Governing Board Meeting Room, 9225 County Road (CR) 49, Live Oak, FL, 32060
WEST PALM BEACH
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 12:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. (EST)
PLACE: South Florida Water Management District Headquarters, B1 Auditorium, 3301 Gun Club Road, West Palm Beach, FL, 33406
DATE AND TIME: Thursday, March 6, 2014, 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. (EST)
PLACE: South Florida Water Management District Lower West Coast Service Center, Main Conference Room, 2301 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL, 33901
DATE AND TIME: Thursday, March 13, 2014, 12:30 P.M. (CST) to 3:30 P.M. (CST)
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection Northwest District Office, Conference Room 101, 1st Floor, 160 W. Government St. Pensacola, FL, 32502
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. (EST)
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection Central District Office, Conference Rooms A, B, and C, 3319 Maguire Boulevard, Suite 232, Orlando, FL, 32803
DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 8:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. (EST)
PLACE: Southwest Florida Water Management District Bartow Service Office, Bartow Board Room, 170 Century Boulevard, Bartow, FL, 33637
Source: Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
Development bill clears another committee stop despite counties' opposition
By Bruce Ritchie
A bill dealing exempting more counties from state review of larger developments passed its second committee stop Wednesday [Feb. 19] despite new opposition from the Florida Association of Counties.
SB 372 would increase from eight to 15 the number of counties exempt from review by state agencies for designated "developments of regional impact," or DRIs. Furthermore, those DRIs no longer would have to be proposed in urban areas within those counties to be exempted from review.
The Florida Association of Counties joined environmental groups on Wednesday in raising concerns that the effects of development on neighboring rural counties won't be reviewed or planned for.
Continued in The Florida Current...
FWC to host Gulf Offshore Recreational Fishing Permit Proposal Workshops
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is holding public workshops on a proposal for recreational reef fish data collection that would better define the population of offshore reef fish anglers for survey purposes using a mandatory permit or registry system. These improvements would enhance current recreational harvest data collection efforts for Florida’s reef fish species in the Gulf of Mexico, including red snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, black grouper, greater amberjack, lesser amberjack, banded rudderfish, vermilion snapper and gray triggerfish. Stakeholders are invited to bring input and any questions about this proposal to any of the following meetings. Meeting locations and times are listed below.
- Monday, March 3: Fort Myers (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST), Bass Pro Shop, 1004 Gulf Center Dr.
- Tuesday, March 4: St. Petersburg (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST), Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave. SE
- Wednesday, March 5: Perry (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST), Perry City Council, 224 S. Jefferson St.
- Thursday, March 6: Destin (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. CST), Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave.
- Tuesday, March 11: Phone Conference (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT), please RSVP to the Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554 to obtain instructions to join the meeting.
- Wednesday, March 12: Pensacola (6:00 – 8:00 p.m. CDT), Escambia County Extension Office Auditorium, 3740 Stefani Rd.
For questions or comments, please contact the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554 or Marine@MyFWC.com.
Former Sen. Bob Graham details opposition to latest Patronis permitting bill
By Bruce Ritchie
The Florida Conservation Coalition is opposing HB 703 and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has provided a section-by-section breakdown in a letter to Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City and bill sponsor.
HB 703 provides for water-use permits of up to 30 years for larger developments and up to 50 years for landowners who participate in water storage programs.
The bill also would extend "right to farm" provisions in state law to prohibit enforcement of local springs and wetlands regulations that also have been modified or readopted since 2003. And the bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to consider the cost of implementing any greenhouse gas reductions when developing a plan to meet federal regulations.
Continued in The Florida Current...
Water rally draws 200 while speakers promote issue as bipartisan
By Bruce Ritchie
A rally for clean water at the Capitol drew more than 200 people on Tuesday [Feb. 18th] while legislators speaking at the event described water as a bipartisan issue.
However, a House subcommittee chairman on Tuesday maintained that the Legislature has been dealing with water quality issues in recent years even as water is being described as a major issue for this legislative session, which starts March 4.
Some legislators expect an increased focus on water in the coming session. On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation holds a workshop on draft springs legislation.
Continued in The Florida Current...
Artists wanted for next Charlotte Harbor Estuary calendar
Southwest Florida's professional and amateur artists are invited to submit their photos, paintings or illustrations for consideration in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program's 2015 calendar.
The images must reflect the environment in the program's study area, which includes Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and Lee counties and parts of Highlands, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota counties.
The deadline is July 15. There is no entry fee. For guidelines, go to CHNEP.org/calendars.html.
Download the 2014 CHNEP Calendar
"Reclaimed" water study bill causes heartburn for Audubon Florida
By Bruce Ritchie
Sometimes a study bill is more than just a study bill, says Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida.
His group is raising concerns about SB 536, which would require state agencies to study and report on the expansion of the use of "reclaimed" water. The bill passed its first committee stop Monday before the Senate Committee on Agriculture.
Reclaimed water usually is an environmental feel-good story about taking sewage plant discharges that could pollute streams and rivers and using it instead to irrigate farms, golf courses and lawns, thereby saving groundwater.
But with cities and farms increasingly looking to lakes and rivers for future water supplies, environmentalists are concerned about water being taken and not returned to the environment because it's considered "reclaimed."
Continued in The Florida Current...
Southwest Florida Watershed Council to Meet Feb. 20th at FGCU
The next meeting of the Southwest Florida Watershed Council will be Thursday February 20 in Room 213 of Florida Gulf Coast University's Cohen Center, with presentations beginning at 12:30 pm. Plan to stop at the entry Kiosk for a parking permit and proceed to Parking Garage PG1. Campus map to PG1 and Cohen Center.
The meeting will feature two speakers.
The first speaker will be Mr. Tom Reese starting at 12:30.
Mr. Reese is an environmental attorney from St. Petersburg who has litigated some very prominent cases in Florida. He has practiced law since November 20, 1980, with primary experience in listed species protection, Clean Water Act, groundwater, and comprehensive land use planning. Mr. Reese is currently litigating with EPA regarding the assimilative capacity baselines that have never been developed which is the CWA Section 303(d) impaired waters issue and will present on this topic as it relates to Florida.
The second speaker will be Mr. Sean McCabe who is an attorney with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. Mr. McCabe will start his presentation at 1:00. His presentation title is: "The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012–Good Intentions and the Law of Unintended Consequences." Mr. McCabe's prior experience includes private, nonprofit, and public sector entities in Florida and Arizona, primarily in administrative, land use and environmental law. The discussion will focus on the realities of legislative policy work.
Q&A will follow at 1:30.
Southwest Florida Watershed Council website
SWFWMD schedules winter prescribed fires for Sarasota County
The Land Management Section of the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) will be conducting prescribed burns during the months of February and March on both the Deer Prairie Creek Preserve and neighboring Schewe Tract. Deer Prairie Creek Preserve, which is jointly owned and managed by the District and Sarasota County, is located between Interstate 75 and US Highway 41. The Schewe Tract, which is located north and south of Interstate 75 just north of Deer Prairie Creek, is solely owned and managed by the District. Both of these parcels are located west of North Port. Approximately 850 acres will be burned, in small, manageable units.
According to Will VanGelder, the District’s land management supervisor, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The objective is to avert uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area’s natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are only conducted when weather conditions are optimal to meet the desired objectives and to minimize impacts to the public.
Although every effort will be made to assure that smoke does not affect homes or highways, vehicle operators should exercise caution if smoke reduces visibility on the area’s roads or highways.
Legislation must provide schedules, funding for springs, scientist says
Environmental scientist Robert L. Knight says he agrees with utility and industry groups that contend Florida already has the regulatory tools it needs to protect its springs.
But unlike those groups that are concerned about draft springs legislation, Knight says the measure would help springs by providing mandates, schedules and funding for agencies to follow in dealing with over-pumping and water quality.
Knight, president of the nonprofit Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute, also says the $55 million requested by Gov. Rick Scott for springs needs a careful evaluation by a re-established Florida Springs Task Force.
"Throwing $55 million at the problem without a careful evaluation of the best way to spend that money is a waste of money in my opinion," Knight said. He also is president of the Wetlands Solutions Inc. environmental consulting firm in Gainesville.
Continued in The Florida Current...
Experience the historic Caloosahatchee with Oxbow & Riverlore Cruises
Join the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) on an Oxbow and Riverlore Cruise to experience the historic Caloosahatchee. These guided trips provide a relaxing opportunity to gain a personal perspective on the river—its history, folklore, issues and solutions—as we explore the meanders of the historic upriver Caloosahatchee. Passengers will follow the river back to a time when a waterfall served as the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee and settlers braved living amongst the wilderness.
The 2.5-hour adventure begins by locking through the W.P. Franklin Lock in Olga. Heading east toward Alva, you will enter the historic bends of the river and revisit the activities of the pioneers who traveled the same river to find paradise. Stories of the settlements and their adventures are blended with an understanding of the river’s oxbows, the wild creatures that call it home and the challenges the river faces.
Tours are guided by Rae Ann Wessel, a river researcher, long-time river advocate, historian and SCCF Natural Resources Policy Director. The vessel is the stable and spacious 43-passenger Manatee Rover pontoon boat. All seats have a great view for photographs and wildlife viewing.
Cruises depart at 1 pm and return by 3:30 pm from the south side W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam off SR 80 in Olga. Cruise dates are:
• Sunday, February 23
• Sunday, March 9
• Sunday, April 13
• Sunday, May 11 (Mothers Day)
Advance reservations & ticket purchase required $ 40.00 per person
Space is limited. To reserve your spot call (239) 472-2329
Learn more about the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
Newest crop of Sarasota Oral Histories now available on Water Atlas
SARASOTA COUNTY – The collaborative efforts of New College of Florida and Sarasota County are on view on the Oral History pages of the Sarasota County Water Atlas. The goal of these interview is to the memories of area residents, so that future generations will be able to understand and appreciate the county's colorful origins and how these stories contribute to this unique waterfront community, said Lorrie Muldowney, Sarasota County Historical Resources manager.
New College students, who are also county interns, interviewed four longtime area residents and combined those interviews with historical photographs to create video vignettes that bring Sarasota's County's history to life, while also emphasizing the importance of the area's natural environment, especially its water resources.
The featured residents are:
Sandra Sims Terry
She is a third-generation Florida native whose family moved to the Laurel area to work in turpentine production. Terry is an active community leader and recounts the waterfront from her childhood, one that was open and available to everyone.
He was active in real estate and development. He is also an advocate of a balanced approach of having a healthy natural environment amidst the developed landscape. Richardson leads birding tours at Myakka River State Park.
He was a former editor and columnist for the Sarasota Herald Tribune newspaper. Proffitt covered environmental stories and editorial positions for the paper, including groundbreaking work on the negative impacts of phosphate mining.
A Lemon Bay resident, she has a passion for the history of the Englewood area. She has restored her historic home, known as the Jessee "Pat" and Edith Lampp House, which is open to visitors interested in learning about local history.
This is the fifth year of this successful, collaborative project, said Muldowney.
All the oral histories that have been produced by current and former program participants may be viewed on the Sarasota Water Atlas at www.SarasotaOralHistory.org
View the Sarasota Oral History Collection
House Speaker Weatherford: No big water policy this year
By Aaron Deslatte
TALLAHASSEE – House Speaker Will Weatherford said Thursday [Feb. 6] there won't be any big water policies adopted this year, punting the potentially tough political confrontation with polluters until two Central Florida lawmakers are running the Legislature next year.
That means legislators will contemplate this spring spending dollars now on Indian River Lagoon, Everglades and Lake Okeechobee clean-up, but not the larger problems of pollution from farms, front-lawns, waste-water treatment plants and septic tanks fouling the state's rivers, springs and lakes.
"It's not that we're not going to deal with water this year. We absolutely will. A lot of the issues we'll deal with have to do with funding," Weatherford told reporters.
"I think we'll tee up some policy, but I think the really big, meaty, holistic policy intiatives when it comes to water ... and the long-term, 20-year plans will likely come in the next session."
A cadre of state senators is drafting sweeping legislation for this year. It is meant to tackle thorny, water-quality problems in Florida's rapidly declining lakes, natural springs and aquifer.
Continued in the Orlando Sentinel...
Volunteers needed for 2014 Great American Cleanup
SARASOTA COUNTY – Keep Sarasota County Beautiful is seeking volunteers to join forces with friends and neighbors for the 2014 Great American Cleanup, 8 a.m.-noon, Saturday, March 22, at sites throughout Sarasota County. In case of rain, the cleanup will be Saturday, March 29.
The nation's largest organized cleanup, beautification and community-improvement program is built on a foundation of individual responsibility and civic pride. Across the nation, millions of volunteers in more than15,000 communities participate in more than 30,000 community improvement events to clean local parks, waterways, trails, sidewalks and streets.
For more than 20 years the Great American Cleanup has made a positive impact on Sarasota County by creating a cleaner, safer and more beautiful environment. "Volunteers make a huge impact on the cleanliness of our community," said Wendi Crisp, program coordinator of Keep Sarasota County Beautiful. "We see neighbors, youth and adult civic associations, schools, churches and individuals taking pride in their community and coming together during the Great American Cleanup to help rid Sarasota County of unsightly litter."
Volunteers can choose to participate at more than 25 parks, beaches, natural areas and other sites across Sarasota County. T-shirts, complimentary trash bags and work gloves will be provided to the first 1,000 volunteers who register. The 2014 Great American Cleanup is made possible through the support of corporate sponsors, including the Dow Chemical Co., Gatorade, Glad Products Co., LG, Nestle Pure Life, PepsiCo, Solo Cup Co., Troy-Bilt, Waste Management Inc. and the William Wrigley Jr. Co.
To register for this year's cleanup, visit Keep Sarasota County Beautiful's website or contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for Keep Sarasota County Beautiful.
Keep Sarasota County Beautiful website
UF/IFAS PIE Center survey: Floridians value water, but not "all in" on conservation
GAINESVILLE – Floridians value water, almost as much as they value money and their health — just don’t ask them to time themselves in the shower.
An online survey of 516 Floridians found that interest in water ranked third in a list of public issues, just behind the economy and health care, but ahead of taxes and public education. Eighty-three percent of respondents considered water a highly or extremely important issue.
The survey respondents were selected to be a demographically representative sample of adult Floridians, said Alexa Lamm, the University of Florida assistant professor who led the survey for the Center for Public Issues Education, or PIE Center. Respondents completed the survey in December 2013.
Continued on University of Florida news...