Fossils and Photography (2016-02-04)
Photographer and Author Mark Renz presents images from his book, "Naturally Twisted – A Wild Look at the Wild" at 7:30pm at the Calusa Nature Center's planetarium. The museum will open at 6pm for guests to visit the fossil and other exhibits. Free to Sierra and CNCP Members. Non-member donation $10. [Details] [Flyer]
Bad News for Food (2016-02-03)
USDA economists are forecasting how US food production and irrigation water supplies will change over the next 60 years. As climate change begins to be felt and our population expands, food supplies will suffer. This has the makings of a crisis. (Note: Aillery did the EAA water storage analysis.) [USDA Analysis] [USDA Web Site]
Lake or Local Blob? (2016-02-03)
While it is easy to point the finger at Lake Okeechobee, recent Caloosahatchee estuary problems have been more due to local watershed runoff quantity and quality. The underlying causes and required solutions are largely the same and the necessary actions still remain to be acknowledged and achieved. [Lake vs Watershed Flow] [Data Source] [Blob Cartoon]
Waterkeeper Alliance Magazine (2016-02-02)
You can receive a printed version of the semi-annual Waterkeeper magazine sent to you by mail if you make a donation of $25 or more to Waterkeeper Alliance. PDF versions are available online free of charge. [Donate & Subscribe] [Back Issues]
February CRCA Newsletter (2016-02-01)
The February 2016 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [February Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
New Riverwatch Web Site (2016-02-01)
Check out the new Riverwatch web page redesigned and programmed by Nargis Abduvohidova. In addition to the new banner and photos, the web page is now mobile friendly. The address remains [New Web Page] [Renew Your Membership]
Salinity Flat-lines in January (2016-01-31)
For the entire month of January, estuary salinity has been below MFL 30-day limits. Rains and Lake O releases since the middle of the month have completely flat-lined salinity levels, highly unusual for January. [Conditions Report] [More SCCF Reports]
Billy Creek Clean Up Day (2016-01-31)
Join Riverwatch and FGCU, KLCB, and Wright Construction for a clean-up day on Billy's Creek in Ft. Myers. This Creek flows into the Caloosahatchee River near downtown Ft. Myers. Help us protect the Caloosahatchee by cleaning up Billy’s Creek on Friday, March 25. [Website] [Sign up]
CRCA Annual Meeting March 19 (2016-01-31)
Save the date! From 4-7pm on Sat, Mar 19 CRCA will hold its annual meeting to welcome members and kick off its 2016-17 programs. Hosting the meeting is VP Gene Gibson who has reserved the beautiful Gathering Room in High Point Place on the Ft. Myers riverfront. RSVP is required. [Gathering Room View] [High Point Location]
Ceitus Legal Action Update (2016-01-31)
A Ceitus case court date is set for April 2016. Before that the parties are required to undergo a non-binding mediation process that was held Jan 20. John Cassani represented Riverwatch. Another session is planned. [Facts] [Exhibit E] [Arbitration] [Hearing] [Mediation] [EPA Letter]
Agriculture & Wildlife Tour (2016-01-31)
County Extension Director Gene McAvoy guided a half-day tour of farms and ranches in Hendry County on Jan 26. Assisting were Ron Zimmerly and Master Naturalist Margaret England. Other CRCA members in the group of 17 included Ad Austin, Nargis Abduvohidova & Bill Comiskey. The next tour is in March. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Photo 5] [Photo 6]
Act of God (and El Nino) (2016-01-30)
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam issued the following statement: "South Florida farmers are reeling from biblical proportions of rainfall and flooding over the past few days, weeks and months as a result of El Nino. The long-term impacts to South Florida’s agriculture could be devastating." [Southeast Ag Net]
Pine Island Plan Revision (2016-01-29)
In response to our complaints about the lack of open space requirements in the new Pine Island regulations, the County Attorney's Office has changed the rules to require 50 foot front setback and 25 foot side setback on new developments. That means houses must be at least 50 feet apart. [Email by Phil Buchanan] [Pine Island Eagle] [Cartoon] [What you need to know]
Lots of Water Falling & Flowing (2016-01-29)
Ft Myers received 13 inches of rain in Jan 2016, exceeding any January since records began in 1902. Lake Okeechobee waster levels are now above 16ft. Despite a high Lake with a weak dike, SFWMD decided to backpump farm water into the lake. Flow to the estuary at S-79 exceeded 14,000 cfs on Jan 29. [News-Press] [S-79 Flow]
Dead Fish Removal Authorized (2016-01-29)
Owners and managers of private property along Sanibel beaches are authorized by the city's Natural Resources Department to remove dead fish impacted by "very moderate levels" of red tide on the island. Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using tools such as pitchforks or grabbers. [NBC-2]
SFWMD Flood Control Action (2016-01-29)
2016 has brought extraordinary amounts of rainfall to South Florida. In response, the South Florida Water Management District has taken extraordinary actions to fulfill its mission of providing flood protection for residents and businesses within the 16 counties the agency serves. [SFWMD Opinion 1] [SFWMD Opinion 2]
High Peaks Losing Glaciers (2016-01-29)
NSF research scientists have documented the melting of ice on Niwot Ridge and the adjacent Green Lakes Valley in the high mountains west of Boulder, Colorado. The glaciers will continue as the climate continues to warm. [National Science Foundation]
Not Retreating on River Hall (2016-01-29)
The News Press is covering citizen opposition to the River Hall development. Thornberry and his neighbors at River Hall scored their first legal victory in a battle with Lee County to preserve the rural dream they were sold. FGCU professor Paul Asfour doesn't think they are done fighting developers. [News-Press] [Photo] [Guest Opinion]
Amendment 1 Lawsuit (2016-01-29)
On Dec 3 Circuit Judge George Reynolds accepted a motion from the state to dismiss part of the Amendment 1 lawsuit that sought a court order requiring state CFO Jeff Atwater to transfer $237 million from the general-revenue fund to what is known as the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. [Tampa Bay Times] []
Wider Impact from BP Spill (2016-01-29)
More than five years after millions of gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, a clearer picture is developing about the long term impacts to wildlife and their habitats. The damage was much greater than previously understood. [Public News Service] [Listen to audio]
Challenge the Status Quo (2016-01-29)
Ray Judah wrote: "Mayor Ruane portrays to know the facts concerning restoration of the Caloosahatchee and our coastal estuaries. In fact, he represents the status quo of policy makers at the local and state level that have ignored or failed to understand the water budget in the Lake O watershed." [Cape Coral Daily Breeze]
2015 Crushed Global Records (2016-01-29)
NOAA and NASA have both confirmed what scientists have been predicting for months: 2015 was globally the hottest year ever recorded. Not only was 2015 the warmest year on record globally, it beat the previous record, set in 2014, by a wide margin. [Climate Reality Project] [Average annual temperature] [Land and ocean temperature] [Website]
Toilet to Tap? A Good Idea? (2016-01-29)
Clearwater has become the first city in Florida, and one of only a handful in the US, to launch a design phase for a groundwater replenishment facility that will not only purify wastewater but inject it back underground. Tetra Tech has begun designing the $28.6M plant which could be running by 2018. [Tampa Bay Times] [Our Santa Fe River] [Florida Clean Water Network]
Thanks Karen & RRRTR (2016-01-29)
Riverwatch received an $800 donation from the River Roots & Ruts Trail Run held on a rainy Jan 10 morning. Karen Bickford organized the 50+ volunteers to manage the 300+ runner event at Caloosahatchee Regional Park. Riverwatch provided 7 volunteers. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Water is the New Oil (2016-01-29)
Nearly 200 people met to discuss water quality and distribution challenges facing Southwest Florida now and in the future at a water conference at FGCU on Jan 15. "Water is the new oil," said George Yilmaz, a panelist with Collier County Utilities." "We need to change our approach to water". [News-Press]
An Opportunity to Imagine! (2016-01-29)
The leaders of the Imagine Solutions Conference have asked we share this exciting scholarship opportunity with non-profit leaders. The conference is fast approaching so now is the time to register and request your scholarships. The conference will be held on Feb 22nd in Naples. [Register] [Conference website]
Does Vue Benefit Ft Myers? (2016-01-29)
Bob and Kerry Holley of Fort Myers wrote to the News Press, "Many condominium developments are coming; please don't give away the best parts of our beautiful city without keeping our riverfront accessible and usable for all citizens." [News-Press]
C-43 Reservoir: Construction On (2016-01-29)
After years of remaining on hold, the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir off SR 80 just west of LaBelle, is finally seeing activity again. According to SFWMD, the project had been on hold due to lack of funding. The $584.6 million project cost is shared between the federal government and SFWMD. [Caloosa Belle] [Map]
Foul Water Heads for River (2016-01-29)
A state environmental agency gave a presentation in Fort Myers on Jan 28 on cleaning up the Caloosahatchee River while another state agency pumped polluted farm water into Lake O, which drains into the river. If water management in Florida seems confusing, that's because it is. [News-Press] [Sun Sentinel] [Palm Beach Post] [Interview with CRCA director Phil Schwartz]
Rain, Rain Go Away (2016-01-29)
The latest drenching ended Thursday night, Jan 28th, but for Southwest Florida businesses, pain from the rain — and a January that’s the wettest ever for Fort Myers — will last a lot longer. [News-Press]
NOAA Weather Data (2016-01-29)
Whenever you want to compare today's weather to historical data, NOAA provides you access to historical records in customized formats to match your needs. It's nice to see that the government makes it easy for everyone to benefit from their data archives. [NOAA weather website]
House OKs Fracking Regulation Bill (2016-01-29)
On Jan 27 the state House approved a bill that would create regulations for fracking despite strong opposition from Democrats who said the oil and gas drilling practice could contaminate groundwater, damage the environment, make people sick and hurt Florida’s tourism industry. The House voted 73-45. [News-Press] [Florida Politics]
Counting Fish to Catch (2016-01-29)
Fishermen want the Feds to increase the estimates of the numbers of fish in the Gulf so they can be permitted to catch more of them. Fishermen are challenging the scientific methods of the federal regulators. [News-Press]
Ignorant Irony or Hypocrisy? (2016-01-28)
The reality is the very people who bought the homes in the developments that helped create environmental damage just a few years ago are now our allies as we try to avert the next phase of environmental destruction. Will the downward spiral ever be reversed? [Naples News]
Looming Water Crisis (2016-01-28)
So far we have only seen deceptive commitments and weakening of resource protection from Tallahassee on growth and water issues and a sad retreat from the will of the people on Amendment 1. For the "commons," time is running out. [News-Press]
Tornadoes (2016-01-25)
Florida gets an average of three tornadoes in January. Our area experienced two, one on January 9 that hit Cape Coral and another on January 15 that hit the airport/Lehigh area. A third twister struck Manatee County on January 17, killing two people there. [News-Press]
New Group at Babcock (2016-01-25)
Paul Holmes and others are forming a Babcock Ranch Preserve chapter of the Friends of Florida State Forests. Who is involved in the group and the activities they will organize will be posted as information becomes available. [Details] [Plan] [Facebook]
Our Waters Need to be Protected (2016-01-24)
CRCA-Riverwatch's director Philip Schwartz encourages citizens and businesses of Southwest Florida to join Riverwatch and support its mission of protecting the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed. Riverwatch had four billboards up for December to gain the attention of the public. We need you now. [News-Press] [Join us] [Make a donation]
Watershed Kickbacks (2016-01-24)
The former director of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp., Linda Watkins-Brashear pleaded guilty on Dec 18 to soliciting nearly $1 million in bribes from businesses in return for inflated and no-work contracts. Ms. Watkins-Brashear admitted taking $1M in kickbacks. []
Florida State Parks (2016-01-24)
Gov. Scott’s DEP chief, Jon Steverson, sparked a firestorm in 2015 by discussing park management plans that could include expanding hunting, grazing and logging activities at 174 Florida state parks. But Steverson said he stands by the approach and he has a supporter in Rep. Matt Caldwell. [My Palm Beach Post]
El Nino (2016-01-24)
Southwest Florida is all wet, and the region isn't expected to dry out anytime soon. El Niño is at its peak and is expected to dump above-average rainfall on this area through spring. Heavy rainfall in the Caloosahatchee River watershed coupled with Lake O releases can cripple coastal marine life. [News-Press] [Lake O Stage]
River Rally 2016 (2016-01-24)
River Network is hosting its 2016 annual River Rally on May 20-23 in Mobile, Alabama. River Rally is a national conference that focuses on education, inspiration and celebration within the river and watershed community. Registration is open now. Register early to get a discount. [Brochure] [General registration] [Member registration] [Website]
Water is Top Long-term Risk (2016-01-24)
The World Economic Forum ranked water crises as the top global risk to industry and society over the next decade. Last year, water crises earned the top spot as the most damaging short-term risk. Water has become a serious social issue and an urgent political matter. [Circle of Blue] [Graphic]
Lee County Streamlines 20/20 (2016-01-24)
Lee County will no longer ask property owners who want to participate in the Conservation 20/20 land acquisition program to list an asking price on the application. On Jan 19, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to streamline the application process by removing the asking price. [News-Press]
Vue - an After-Christmas Fire Sale (2016-01-24)
CRCA VP Gene Gibson in his commentary mentions: Andres Duany, the urban planner who prepared the Downtown Ft Myers Plan, said “the City sells itself too cheaply.” If the city approves what the new Vue developer wants, this will amount to an after-Christmas fire sale that will prove Duany right. [Commentary by Gene Gibson] [Commentary by David Urich] [Vue and City Council] [Joint letter & memo]
Wind, Waves Whip Sanibel Sands (2016-01-24)
With winds whipping up waves, the beaches of Sanibel and Fort Myers are seeing some unwanted shifts."There's definitely movement of sand," said Judith Zimomra, Sanibel city manager. "Some areas have additional sand; there are some areas that have lost sand." Heavy rains also did some damage. [News-Press]
More Plastic than Fish (2016-01-24)
By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, the World Economic Forum warned on Jan 16. The study found that 32 percent of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and finds its way into natural ecosystems, including the oceans. We must reduce the use of plastic. [CNN] [Cartoon By Cathy Cochrane] [Infographic] [Washington Post] [Al Jazeera]
Save Our Downtown Boat Ramp! (2016-01-23)
CRCA-Riverwatch is opposing the possible closing of a popular boat ramp in downtown Fort Myers. We've sent postcards warning boaters and other taxpayers to keep a close eye on what the city does with the boat ramp on Edwards Drive. Help save our downtown boat ramp. [Fox 4] [Letter by Ron & Joan Pierce] [Interview with CRCA VP Gene Gibson]
UF Water Institute Symposium (2016-01-23)
We invite you to participate in the 5th biennial UF Water Institute Symposium, focused on understanding causes of trends, cycles and extreme events and their consequences for human, agricultural and natural systems. The symposium is being held on Feb 16-17 at J. Wayne Reitz Union on the UF campus. [Symposium website] [Register online]
Algae Makes You Stupid (2016-01-23)
Algae blooms may be slowly eating away at our memories. According to a new study, chronic exposure to a commonplace algae toxin in crabs, shellfish and other seafood increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in humans. [Florida Today]
Still Denying Global Warming (2016-01-23)
In 135 years of record keeping (by NOAA), the six hottest years for this planet have been 2015, 2014, 2010, 2005, 1998, and 2013. Yet many people still deny human-induced climate change. Unlike the era when the same types denied the earth rotating the sun, we cannot afford the time to be so stupid. [News-Press]
Franklin Lock & Dam Tours (2016-01-23)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will offer free tours of the W. P. Franklin Lock and Dam on the Okeechobee Waterway in Alva through March. The 45-minute tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and at 3pm. Group tours are also available by appointment. To sign up call 239-694-2582. [Details] [Volunteers Betty Ann and John Sutton]
Wettest January on Record (2016-01-23)
The recent Southwest Florida weather madness reached a high-water mark Friday, January 22 — literally. Friday’s downpours helped break the record for wettest January ever recorded in Fort Myers. Total rainfall so far this month is 8.41 inches. [News-Press]
Florida the Next Flint? (2016-01-23)
On Jan 21, 2016 Gov. Scott signed into law the new Water Policy Bill (SB 552), ignoring calls by environmental groups and former Gov. Bob Graham to veto the water measure. Graham called the 134-page bill a “purposeful effort to weaken protection” of state waters. Could Florida become the next Flint? [Huffington Post] [Orlando Sentinel] [Tampa Bay Times] [Miami Herald]
Win a Canoe at Swamp Cabbage (2016-01-19)
The Win-A-Canoe Contest is back again this year thanks to The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. You can buy tickets online, at Estero Outfitters, from CRCA directors, or at the Swamp Cabbage Festival's Riverwatch exhibit, Feb 27-28 in LaBelle. [Old Town 14.5-Ft Canoe] [Prizes] [Tickets by Email] [Tickets Online] [Canoe Description]
2016 Donations and Dues (2015-12-09)
On Nov 22 Riverwatch sent out its 2016 dues notice & donations invitation. Thank you to those who responded so generously in the first weeks. Our first year goal to support our new Waterkeeper program is to increase Riverwatch annual revenues from $10,000 to $30,000, so we need your help & support. [Letter] [Join] [Renew] [Donate]
Waterkeeper Affiliate Application (2015-11-05)
CRCA-Riverwatch has submitted its application to Waterkeeper Alliance seeking Affiliate status. Riverwatch has desired Waterkeeper status since 2007. But only in 2014 did Waterkeeper rules change to make this possible. To become a full Waterkeeper/Riverkeeper requires a formal staff position & boat. [Jurisdiction Map] [Waterkeeper Affiliate Proposal]
30% Solution Is Endorsed (2015-11-06)
Local mayors prioritized the C-43 reservoir project which will store 27.7 billion gallons. That comes to 200cfs over a 7-month dry season (Nov-May) or 30% of the 650cfs minimum flow needed to keep the estuary healthy. If truly delivered as "additional" water, it will be a help. [News Press]
Slow Down (2015-11-06)
Boaters will have to travel slower than 25mph after Nov 15. This is in preparation of the mass transit of manatees. These gentle animals need warmer water to survive because they have little body fat and their metabolic rate is slow compared to other animals and cant live below 68 degrees. [Sun Times]
Caloosahatchee Oct 27-Nov 2 (2015-11-05)
Dry conditions continued the past week raising salinities throughout the estuary making Lake O regulatory releases crucial in providing freshwater flow to the estuary for salinity management. Releases provided average flow of 852cfs which helped stabilize salinities at Fort Myers below 10 psu. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Salinity] [Lake O] [SCCF]
More Wastewater Capacity (2015-11-05)
Lee County BOCC approve a $28 million loan application to the state revolving fund to add 2 million gallons per day of treatment to the Three Oaks Wastewater Treatment Plant which has a capacity of 4 million gallons per day. The move is to cope up with the area's future growth and demand. [News Press]
Close Together (2015-11-05)
The common grass planting practice leaves space between new plants to prevent overcrowding & reduce competition for nutrients & sunlight. But a new study to restore degraded salt marshes proved this wrong. It found that clumping close together newly planted marsh grasses spurs positive interaction. [NSF]
Manatees Arrival (2015-11-04)
Weather is cooling down and manatees are here again to swam in warm waters. Nov is Manatee Awareness Month and wildlife officials want boaters to be aware of manatees move during migration period. 2015 study on manatee deaths identify Lee county on one that has many boat related deaths on manatees. [Cartoon] [WFSU]
New Vue Approved (2015-11-04)
Developer says the plan will offer more public benefits than the old plan. Environmentalists claimed that it consumes public green space and would create parking and traffic congestion. However, the planning board approved the plan on Nov 4 and final decision is now with Fort Myers City Council. [The News Press] [Wink News]
Oysters Need Volunteers (2015-11-03)
Do you know that oysters filter 10 to 50 gal water per day and make the water clear? Let us restore healthy productive oyster reef to San Carlos and Tarpon Bays. Volunteer with SCCF as Oyster Restoration Project starts Nov 4. Volunteers must register online and must be at least 18 years of age. [Details] [Sign Up]
Thank You (2015-11-03)
Thanks to all who supported CRCA on the Fundraising event of WGCU Public Media on Oct 19. CRCA earned 16 spots to air our plan, promotions and fund raising drives, too. Thank you to Ray Judah, John Paul and Emily Morauski for job well done. More spots in the future! [Photo]
Vue Tower Press Conference (2015-11-03)
CRCA BOD member & retired attorney Gene Gibson was interviewed by NBC and Fox News about the Vue tower project. CRCA studied the proposed residential building plan and it lacked outside parking for service vehicles and delivery trucks. Thus creating competition with the public park users. [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Oct 30 Red Tide Status (2015-11-03)
Blooms of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties in NW Florida and in, along, and offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in SW Fl. [Map] [FWC]
Florida Light and Power (2015-11-03)
Hold onto your wallets, because Florida Power and Light is about to rack up another giant bill for which customers will end up paying. David West opined in My View that FPL received state approval to charge customers for up to $500 million that the company is investing in fracking projects. [Tallahassee Democrat]
No Swimming (2015-10-31)
Test results at Sanibel Blind Pass Beach indicate beyond acceptable health level. DOH is warning people not to enter water. Due to high bacteria levels, no wading or swimming at Blind Pass Beach is recommended. Exposure to bacteria caused risk of disease to susceptible individuals. [News Press]
Warming Drives Cod Decline (2015-10-30)
For centuries, cod were the backbone of New England's fisheries and a key species in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Today, cod stocks are on the verge of collapse, hovering at 3-4% of sustainable levels. Even painful cuts to the fishery have failed to slow this rapid decline [National Science Foundation]
October CRCA Newsletter (2015-10-29)
The October 2015 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [October Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
STOP ROGG (2015-10-29)
Walk for Mother Earth circulated a petition to STOP ROGG River of Grass Greenway Project to help save the Everglades and the Big Cypress. Everglades is a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of Global Importance. Help save the Everglades from destruction. Sign the petition now. [Petition]
South Regional Conference (2015-10-29)
The Alligator Amblers Chapter will be hosting the Florida Trail Assoc South Regional Conference with theme, Water, on Nov 13-15. The conference will be held at the Riverside Retreat (the South Florida United Methodist Camp, 7305 County Road 78, LaBelle. Bring camping materials and water bottle. [Florida Trail Association]
Oct 28 Red Tide Status (2015-10-29)
Due to high concentrations of red time organism, Karenia brevis, in some Bay County areas, analyses were conducted twice a week. Oct 28 analysis detected background to high concentrations in and and alongshore of Bay County in NW FL and in Sarasota and Charlotte counties in SW FL. [Map] [FWC]
Oct 23 Red Tide (2015-10-28)
Oct 23 sampling results for red tide organism shows Karenia brevis are present in, along and offshore of eastern Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties in NW Fl and in, along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and northern Lee counties in SW FL. [Map] [Cartoon] [FWC]
SHORE on Indian River (2015-10-28)
Sharing our Research with Everyone on the Indian River Lagoon 2015 is presented by AWRA Florida, Daytona State College of Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies and the Marine and the Marine Discovery Center is on Nov 6 at Daytona Beach, Florida. Register now! [AWRA]
Waterfront Access (2015-10-26)
Bonita Springs City Council voted to develop access to Spring Creek a top priority among waterfront access. Fishing pier and parking area will be developed at Dog Beach, south of Lovers Key State Park. Development decisions in the past mean more work and money to create waterfront access now. [News Press]
BearPaws (2015-10-26)
Barrett Stejskal is the co-president of BearPaws Environmental Consulting conducting environmental evaluations, maps, wetlands, surveys for listed species, creates habitat management plan and helps clients with permitting at all governmental levels. Barrett is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast Univ. [News Press]
Presence Required (2015-10-26)
The Dept of Community Development will hold a Vue Informational Meeting on Mon, Oct 26, 5:15 pm at the Fort Myers City Hall. The Planning Board will meet to discuss the Vue on Wed, Nov 4, 1pm at the Fort Myers City Hall. Please attend to help save our downtown Centennial Park. [Letter] [Photo]
Politics and Water Quality (2015-10-23)
Governor Rick Scott’s July public relations event on Pine Island touting our “pristine waterways” was yet another feeble attempt to convince the public that he and his policies are making Florida a better place to live. John Cassani editorializes on how the state’s actions ignore state law. [The News Press]
Nuisance to Maelstrom (2015-10-23)
Parts of Miami can flood even on a perfectly sunny day! Street flooding in Florida cities is expected to increase from their current couple of days a year to as much as 250 days per year...that's 2 out of every 3 days by 2045, making these downtown areas completely unlivable. [The Washington Post]
What Now? (2015-10-23)
The SB 550 in 2010 or Spring Protection Bill banned land application on spreading septic tank waste on land. FDOH said that 100 million gallons of waste is pumped out of 2.5 million septic tanks in a year and some are spread to regulated sites including farms that use it as fertilizer. [Lobby Tools] [Cartoon] [WUFT] [Florida Current]
No Fracking (2015-10-23)
Nov 17 will be recognized as National Day of Action to raise public awareness about serious threats to public safety from toxic and radioactive waste produced by fracking operations in the US. Sign also the petition urging EPA to update regulation of fracking waste. [CHEJ]
Environmental Breakfast 2015 (2015-10-22)
CRCA directors and interns attended the Environmental Breakfast in Ft Myers on Oct 22. Wayne Daltry served as the event's master of ceremonies. Jason Lauritsen, Director of Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, was the guest speaker. He talked about Corkscrew and its conservation programs. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Red Tide Status (2015-10-22)
On Oct 21, red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of NW Fl, and along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and north Collier counties in SW Fl. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. [Map] [FWC]
Save Downtown Boat Ramp (2015-10-21)
The City/County agreement protecting the Centennial Park Boat Ramp expired in 2014 and the ramp is now vulnerable to removal by the City of Ft. Myers. Riverwatch is contacting all boat owners in the area to enlist their help in telling the City officials that the people want to keep the boat ramp. [Situation Summary] [Boat Ramp Location]
Oil and Gas Bill (2015-10-21)
Upcoming FL legislation includes SB 318 which seeks to regulate oil and gas resources and preempt the regulation of all matters relating to the exploration, development, production, processing, storage, and transportation of oil and gas. [Senate Bill]
Storm Surge Most Vulnerable (2015-10-21)
A study released the 2015 Most Vulnerable US cities to Storm Surge Flooding. Four of the top 8 cities are located in Florida. Tampa is the most vulnerable city, Miami come in 4th, Fort Myers 5th and Sarasota came in 7th. Other cities include New Orleans, New York, Texas and Charleston, S.C. [Insurance Journal] [AGI]
Here and There (2015-10-21)
Another study showed that human damage to seagrass meadows leads to the 72% decrease in the amount of organic carbon captured and stored carbon by the grass beds. The findings suggest protecting and restoring seagrass meadows can be important in mitigating climate change. [ABC Science] [Nature Climate Change]
Kids in the Park (2015-10-20)
Legislators and environment educators expressed concerns on the 2010 study that young people devote 53 hours a week on electronic media usage. To counter the trend, they launched a new initiative, "Every Kid in the Park", to respond and help the next generations scientists and land stewards. [News Press]
Everglades Workshop (2015-10-20)
FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society invites future advocates, scientists and public officials to the Everglades Service-to-Activism Workshop on Oct 24. Participants should have experience with Everglades and read "America, the Owner's Manual:Making Govt Work for You." [Flyer]
Iranian Vulture Culture History (2015-10-20)
Iran banned the export, import, production and veterinary use of diclofenac. It is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug used to treat livestock and caused the decline of vulture species around the world. Vultures feeding on animal carcass recently treated with diclofenac die from renal failures. [Bird Life International] [Vulture Culture History]
River Network Promotes Diversity (2015-10-20)
River Network is promoting inclusiveness & diversity in environmental organizations. Like most, Riverwatch lacks sufficient diversity in its leadership. While 36% are women, other are absent: 0% Hispanic, 0% African American, and 0% under 30 years of age (5% under 40). Renewed outreach is required. [River Network Magazine] [Diversity Statistics]
Springs Ever After (2015-10-20)
The threats to Florida's springs are numerous and complex. However, there are solutions to help protect springs, the aquifer and our drinking water. Some are long-term, requiring new thinking about land use. Other answers come in the form of simple steps we can take to reduce pollution. [Florida Spring Council]
Yucky Swim (2015-10-20)
New Yorker environmentalist Christopher Swain became the first person in history to swim the 1.8-mile length of Brooklyn’s frothy green Gowanus Canal. Swain hopes the swim will draw attention to the contaminated water and inspire city officials to undertake a large-scale clean up effort. [Photo] [Yahoo News]
Red Tide Status (2015-10-20)
As of Oct 16 red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of Bay and Gulf Counties in Northwest Florida, and along and offshore of Manatee and Sarasota counties counties in Southwest Florida. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported offshore Sarasota County. [Map] [FWC]
Spring Frenzy (2015-10-15)
Nearly $83M will be leveraged from over $41M investment of Gov. Rick Scott’s 2015-16 “Keep Florida Working” budget, bringing the state’s total investment to around $189M the last three years in springs projects. This will ensure Fl springs are protected for future generations to enjoy. [Florida Government] [Gainesville Spring Photo]
All Street and No City (2015-10-16)
Riverwatch directors attended Ft. Myers' Symposium on Walkable Urban Communities to discuss the future downtown. A common mistake is to widen roads in an attempt to alleviate congestion – that never works. Streets get wider until the blocks aren’t there. You end up with all streets and no city. [News Press] [Jeff Speck, Planner]
Experts Agree with Riverwatch (2015-10-16)
For years Riverwatch has been advocating (and suing) to ensure that downtown Ft Myers waterfront remains open and accessible. In a planning symposium hosted by Ft. Myers, professionals voiced the same fundamental truth, "There’s more success in that than in just having buildings on the waterfront. [News Press]
Like a Broken Record (2015-10-15)
NASA global data analysis shows that September of this year was the hottest ever measured on earth. Like a broken record, this "fill in the month" news story of another broken temperature record repeats over and over again. And yes, Sep 2015 is no exception in that it was exceptionally hot. [Climate Progress]
Seagrass Like It Near Sea (2015-10-14)
A study from 1996-2009 used hydro-acoustic technology to assess spatial and temporal fluctuations in seagrass coverage of the Caloosahatchee relative to annual rainfall. Results showed that seagrass percent coverage, percent volume infestation and plant height increased with distance downstream. [Study]
3rd Global Coral Bleaching (2015-10-15)
NOAA declares the 3rd Global Coral Bleaching event recorded. Ocean temperature cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii expanding to the Caribbean. The bleaching event began in North Pacific in summer 2014 and expanded to South Pacific and Indian Oceans in 2015. [NOAA] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video]
Where Do We Go From Here (2015-10-14)
Citrus Greening cause major drop in Florida orange, USDA forecasted. The orange forecast for the 2015-16 season is 5.77 million tons, down 10% from the 2014-15 final utilization. The Florida all orange forecast, at 80 million boxes, is down 17% from last season's final utilization. [Sunshine State News]
Developments in Lake O (2015-10-14)
Guy Harvey Outpost proposes to convert the Okee-Tantie recreation area into a destination resort on Lake Okeechobee. The project will be a full Guy Harvey Signature brand complete with lodges, an outfitters shop, guides and fishing services, a Tiki Bar and other amenities. [Okeechobee News] [Plan]
Water Rule Blocked Nationwide (2015-10-14)
A federal court ruled that Obama’s regulation to protect small waterways from pollution cannot be enforced nationwide. The court in Cincinnati delivered a defeat to Obama’s most ambitious effort to keep streams & wetlands clean. It said that the rule, dubbed Waters of the United States, is illegal. [The Hill]
Caloosahatchee Oct 6-12 (2015-10-14)
Due to drier weather, there is a decrease in freshwater input from the watershed. Runoff delivered average flow of 693 cfs to the estuary at S79, mostly coming from inland watershed. Salinity was below optimal range for oysters at Iona. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Graphic] [SCCF Website] [Lake O]
Freshwater Dumping (2015-10-14)
Photos of stormwater flowing into the ocean are sparking concerns on the Treasure Coast. It shows a large, dark plume of murky freshwater along Jupiter Island south of the St. Lucie Inlet. The freshwater is not from Lake Okeechobee, but rather stormwater runoff, according to the SFWMD. [WPBF] [Photo] [Blog]
Walkable Urbanism (2015-10-14)
SW Fl almost has it all. Weather, nature, beach, Everglades, airport, a major university and many colleges. Yet, the worst of mortgage collapse was here. Learn from Christopher B. Leinberger a professor at George Washington University on how to vitalized SW Fl walkable urbanism. [The News Press]
Florida Bay Seagrass Dead (2015-10-13)
A slimy toxic algae bloom in FL Bay might be around the corner. A SFWMD scientist says levels of chlorophyll are starting to rise in shallow water where seagrass meadows died over the summer. The seagrass died in 1987 then algae blooms erupted five years later, devastating the Bay for many years. [Problem Area Map] [Miami Herald] [Yellow Fog] [Photo]
Did You Say 2 BILLION? (2015-10-14)
Mosaic Fertilizer will pay about two billion dollars to settle an EPA lawsuit over improper hazardous waste management in FL & LA. That's a stack of money as high as some of Mosaic's radioactive phosphogypsum stacks that litter the Central Florida landscape. [Tampa Bay Times] [Photo]
Sewage Dump (2015-10-13)
A test of soil and water on the Eckerd College campus revealed high levels of a bacteria associated with feces after 15 million gallons overflowed from a city sewage plant. However, the report doesn't draw any conclusions about the origin of the fecal coliform, whether from human or from animals. [Tampa Bay Times 1] [Tampa Bay Times 2] [Political Animal]
Red Tide Status (2015-10-13)
As of Oct 9 blooms of Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present along and offshore of Bay and Gulf counties in northwest Florida, and along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota and northern Charlotte counties in Southwest Florida. Extensive fish kills have been reported at Mexico Beach. [Map] [FWC]
US EPA Webcasts (2015-10-09)
Join EPAs faster, cheaper and greener webcast series. It features New Water-Centric Strategies, Designs and Technologies to mitigate risk, reduce costs, improve environmental and public health and support development of a regenerative and resilient society. Contact EPA for details [Details] [Invitation]
Filtration Sense (2015-10-09)
Oysters are more important than just a half-shell delight. They improve water clarity by filtering out impurities. A single adult oyster can filter 10 to 50 gallons a day. Historically, oysters were mainly known for their food value. Now researchers are looking at their many ecosystem services. [The News Press]
Lest We Forget (2015-10-09)
The Tampa Tribune editorial calls for Floridians to not forget how lawmakers ignored 75% of voters last year who endorsed the Amendment 1 Ballot initiative requiring the state to spend more on land and water conservation. Lawmakers spent the money on salaries, insurance and other non-conservation. [The Tampa Tribune]
Climate Change and Wannabees (2015-10-09)
In a critique on the behavior of US presidential hopefuls on climate change, Thomas Friedman uses John Rockstrom's book Big World, Small Planet to drive home his point. A resilient planet that once absorbed the excesses at no cost suddenly tipped into a saturated planet will greet the new president. [The New York Times]
Damage Claims Settlement (2015-10-09)
The Justice Department and five states, including Fl, announced a $20B final settlement of environmental damage claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The deal would resolve claims against BP and end 5 years of legal battle over a 134 million-gal spill. [The Kansas City Star]
Swim No More (2015-10-09)
Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria, killed a Polk County man 3 days after he contracted it in Estero Bay. The man had a small cut on his leg where the bacteria had direct access. The State Dept of Health said the bacteria is always present in warm Florida waters and people should be cautious [NBC2 News]
Mangrove Mania (2015-10-08)
Around 200 volunteers planted red mangrove propagules in the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve in North Coral during Sep 19 "Mangrove Mania"event. Keep Lee Beautiful, Inc, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, sponsored the event. [WGCU News] [Cape Coral Daily Breeze]
Pro Fracking Editorial (2015-10-06)
Tom Jones, Senior Vice President Collier Resources Co., reacts to a recent commentary of Ray Judah in the Naples Daily News, headlined "Oil, gas drilling bills don't adequately protect groundwater," saying the article contains multiple inaccuracies and warrants a response. [Naples Daily News]
Caloosahatchee Sep 29-Oct 5 (2015-10-08)
Watershed runoff delivered an average flow of 1,619 cfs to the estuary from Sep 29 to Oct 5 mostly from inland watershed runoff. Salinity was below the optimal range at Iona. Light levels in the lower estuary were too low for seagrass below 1 meter. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Salinity] [Lake O] [SCCF Website]
How Do You Spell That? (2015-10-07)
For years Watershed Council & Riverwatch director John Cassani has been sounding the alarm bell regarding nitrogen levels in the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Despite this, state agencies are doing everything they can to avoid truly addressing the issue. Cape Coral too is sticking its head in the muck. [Florida Weekly]
Putnam on Water Issues (2015-10-06)
Putnam wants to create new water policies for the state in order to combat a projected “billion-gallon-a-day shortfall” within the next fifteen years. His solution is HB 7003, a water resources bill similar to those that failed in previous years. It skews to urban & ag water use, not environmental. [Sun Bay]
Still Honking for Clean Water (2015-10-05)
Sep 30 marked the half-way point for activist John Heim and his goal to conduct a daily awareness demo by flashing signs on top of Matanzas Pass Bridge on behalf of clean water quality and the impact from Lake Okeechobee's harmful and unnatural releases of toxic & contaminated water. [Fort Myers Beach Bulletin]
Cape Sable Gets Grant (2015-10-05)
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to Everglades Foundation for the construction of four dams designed to restore and protect Cape Sable’s coastal wetlands. The dams will prevent saltwater from Florida Bay to wash into freshwater areas of the Everglades National Park. [Florida Keys News]
No Permit No Pumping (2015-10-05)
County environmental officials issued Miami Beach a cease and desist order after the city used temporary storm water pumps without permits during higher-than-expected high tides week of 28 Sep. DERM instructed Lanzo Construction to stop pumping pooled storm water into Biscayne Bay without a permit. [Miami Herald] [Photo]
Shark Culling (2015-10-01)
Sharks play an important role in preventing climate change. The culling and fishing of sharks and other large fish leads to overabundance of prey such as turtles, stingrays and crabs. They overeat the blue carbon ecosystems that sequester carbon and cause release of ancient carbon as a consequence. [The World Today]
Red Tide Update (2015-10-01)
As of Sep 30, blooms of the red tide organism, K. brevis, are present along and offshore of Bay and Gulf counties and adjacent to Franklin County in NW FL, and along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties. Fish kills have been reported at Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties. [Map] [FWC]
Manatee Mortality (2015-10-01)
Since 1971, Florida biologists recorded manatee mortality. Records in FWC Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory shown 344 manatee deaths as of Sep 2015. Around 21% of these deaths was caused by watercraft. Lee County recorded 48 manatee deaths, 31% of which is caused by watercraft. [2015 Data] [FWC]
Harborside Construction Delayed (2015-09-30)
Construction of the long-awaited Fort Myers Harborside hotel is delayed due to change in management. Developer Chris Freeman took over the Sheraton Harborside Hotel and Convention Center and made minor changes to the original deal the city had with developer Steve Goodman. [The News Press]
Seagrass at Caloosahatchee (2015-09-30)
SCCF Marine Laboratory researchers assessed shoal grass density in a reddish brown, meter-deep Caloosahatchee River in Iona. The study will determine the impact of freshwater discharges on seagrass habitat. Seagrass data could help water managers make decisions about discharges from lake O. [The News Press]
Cyanobacteria Field Guide (2015-09-30)
A new Cyanobacteria guide, funded by U.S. Geological survey, has been published by the Office of Tribal Relations. It is titled Field and Laboratory Guide to Freshwater Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Blooms for Native American and Alaska Native Communities. Welcome to the world of blue-green algae! [Book] [USGS]
Environmental Ed Workshop (2015-09-30)
CHNEP is holding its 2015 Environmental Education Workshop on Oct 23 at Archbold Biological Center in Venus, south of Lake Placid. Please register by Oct. 6 if possible. [Announcement] [Registration]
Caloosahatchee Sep 22-28 (2015-09-30)
From Sep 21 to 28 flow at S-79 to the estuary averaged 2,600 cfs. This is down from 5000 cfs the previous week and pushed salinity out of the oyster mortality range. Still there's no discharges from Lake O with all the water coming from watershed runoff west of S-77. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Salinity] [Lake O] [SCCF Website]
Cold Front Blows Through SFWMD (2015-09-30)
An early cold front blew through SFWMD from the Tallahassee direction when Exective Director Blake Guillory and Chief of Staff Dan Delisi resigned. In July they advised the Governing Board to not cut taxes this year so as to preserve $21 million for environmental projects. [Palm Beach Post] [Delisi] [Sunshine State News]
Manatees Fate (2015-09-29)
Increasing manatee population is a product of Florida's success in conservation. However, Pacific Legal Foundation, representing Save Crystal River, sued US Fish and Wildlife Service demanding manatees be removed from endangered list and reclassify them as threatened. Will the state do it? [Miami New Times 1] [Cartoon] [Miami New Times 2]
All Hands On Deck! (2015-09-29)
The Ft Myers Planning Board meets on Wed, Oct 7 at 1pm to potentially allow grossly improper waterfront development next to Centennial Park on the former Vue property. Please plan to attend this meeting to express opposition. [Details]
Water Quality Issues Everywhere (2015-09-29)
The Florida Capital just like Lee County, faces many water quality issues that impact communities across the US. These are associated with nonpoint source pollution and changes in watershed hydrology, including excess nutrients and bacteria, which could lead to fish kills and public health concern. [Leon County] [Photo]
Global Warming Is It? (2015-09-29)
A Miami Beach road closed due to flooding induced by high astronomical tides brought about by lunar cycle and rain from thunderstorms, former Vice Pres Al Gore and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson pointed the coastal floods as an effect of climate change. Mayor called the world to learn from this flooding. [CBS Miami] [Miami Herald]
SFWMD 2016 Budget (2015-09-28)
The South Florida Water Management District has adopted a $749.6 M budget for FY 2016. The annual budget will fund core flood control and water supply missions and protection of the ecosystem as well. About 84% of this budget is dedicated to enhancing operations and maintaining lands. [SFWMD News]
First Fracking Summit (2015-09-28)
Florida’s first Fracking Summit is on 27-28 Oct in Fort Myers. Experts will address the potential risks to air, land, water, and human health and what can be done to unconventional oil drilling, including fracking that is being secretly allowed in Florida sans regulatory oversight. Space is limited, register now! [Program] [Photo] [Ray Judah Editorial]
Wetter Cooler Winter (2015-09-28)
SW FL is all wet, and conditions may not change soon as the El Nino is expected to bring a wetter, cooler winter. Areas prone to flooding, like North Fort Myers, has standing water on the landscape. El Nino occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures rise and stay high for an extended period. [The News Press] [Photo]
EPA webinars on Water Quality (2015-09-28)
EPA is announcing a series of free webinars on the Water Quality Standards Regulatory Revisions Final Rule. Each webinar will feature a one hour presentation to be followed two days later by a one hour question and answer session. Interested? Check EPA's website. [EPA]
USGS Pesticide Model (2015-09-28)
Citizens and water managers can create maps showing where pesticides are likely to occur in local streams and rivers and evaluate the likelihood of concentrations exceeding water-quality guidelines. It is a new USGS interactive mapping tool that provides predicted concentrations for 108 pesticides. [USGS]
Swamp Cabbage River Tours (2015-09-28)
Four boat tours of the Caloosahatchee River are scheduled on the Saturday of the 50th Anniversary of Swamp Cabbage Festival. Each eco-tour boat will accommodate 40 passengers per boat trip. Boat tour ticket is at $25 each. Paid members of the museum has 20% discount on advance purchase. [Announcement] [Flyer]
Reauthorize Conservation Fund (2015-09-28)
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings calls for the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire on September 30. Cost-free to the taxpayer, the Fund uses royalties from offshore oil and gas leases to protect national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas – preventing them from being lost to development. [The Hill]
Red Tide Status Sep 17-24 (2015-09-28)
Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was detected from background to low to very low concentrations alongshore of Sarasota County, offshore of Manatee County, offshore of Charlotte County in Southwest Florida and alongshore of Gulf County in Northwest Florida. [Map] [FWRI]
Hendry Tops Polk (2015-09-28)
Hendry County has dethroned Polk County as top producer of oranges. Data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service has it that for the 2014-15 growing season, Hendry ranked No. 1 in all-orange production, with 15,266,000 boxes. Polk produced 19,000 fewer boxes of oranges, consigning it to the No. 2 position. [The News Press]
River Conditions Worsen (2015-09-28)
This year's highest flows (4,985 cfs) were recorded last week, almost twice the harm threshold. Still there were no discharges from Lake O. The water was mostly from inland watershed runoff to the estuary at S79. Salinity was in lethal range for oysters and shoal grass at Iona. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Graphic] [SCCF Website]
River Orientation (2015-09-27)
Riverwatch Director Phil Schwartz gave a river & oxbows orientation tour to IREX Fellow Carilyn Martin and others on Sep 26. Carilyn is helping with the Riverwatch website. This was her first on-water experience with our river. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Caloosahatchee (Sep 8-14) (2015-09-17)
Watershed run-off delivered average 2,152 cfs to the estuary at S79. There is still no discharges from Lake O. Salinity is below optimal range for oysters at Iona and light levels were too low for seagrass. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition] [Graphic] [SCCF Website]
Watershed Council (2015-09-16)
Meeting will be on Oct 14 3pm at FGCU Cohen Center Room 162. Dr. Gregg Poulakis of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will speak about smalltooth sawfish research in Caloosahatchee Estuary and Greater Charlotte Harbor System. Catch the latest research on this endangered species [Photo] [SWFWC]
Honk for Clean Water (2015-09-16)
Each day, for one straight month, SWFL CLEAN WATER MOVEMENT members will stand on top of Fort Myers Bridge as citizens of the community to show an act of awareness demon against harmful and unnatural releases of toxic and contaminated water from Lake O. [Letter to the Editor] [Bridge Signs] [Beach Sign] [FOX 4 News] [Donations]
Manatees So Near Yet So Far (2015-09-15)
Stricter new rules to limit the number of people who can swim with manatees is put into effect by the uS Dept of Fish and Wildlife at Crystal River. Swim-with-the-Manatee program is not banned since it raises awareness to conserve but swimmers are not to initiate contact and should stay 6 ft away. [Public News Service] [Photo] [Photo] [Audio Report]
320 Bears for Hunt (2015-09-15)
October bear hunting season is scheduled to kill 320 black bears. Despite opposition from ecologists, the bear hunting is set to continue to control the growing population of black bears, mostly in central and north-central Florida and parts of the Panhandle. [Miami Herald] [Cartoon] [Photo]
Heat is the Culprit (2015-09-15)
A new study from university of South Florida confirmed that temperature, more than the habitat, determines reptilian invasion. Still, South Florida will remain the hottest spot for all things invasive. And if Florida wants to rid the slithery reptilian invaders, pray for cold weather and climate. [Miami Herald]
Ceitus Litigation Continues (2015-09-15)
Judge Alane Laboda is adjudicating the litigation involving Riverwatch, CLT, GPIC, RGMC, SCCF and SWF Watershed Council vs City of Cape Coral to restore Ceitus Barrier. Mediation with all parties was conducted Sep 10 but it did not result in an agreement amidst damages in the coastal ecosystems. [Phil Buchanan Update] [Court] [Judge Alane Laboda]
Panthers Whereabouts (2015-09-15)
Scientists are seeking public's help in keeping information of the panther's movement in Florida. Verified reports will supplement data obtained obtained from 34 cameras installed along wildlife corridor in Polk and 13 counties north of Caloosahatchee River. [The Ledger]
C-44 Assuage Lake O (2015-09-15)
The C-44 reservoir project will ease fertilizer laden Lake O & urban runoff into the St. Lucie Estuary. The Corps of Engineers awarded the construction project to a Montana company. C-44 aims to cut excess nitrogen & phosphorus and salt levels in the St. Lucie Estuary & southern Indian River. [Announcement] [Florida Daily] [Factsheet]
CRCA Secretary at Rotary (2015-09-11)
Dr. John Capece, CRCA Secretary, was invited by Riverwatch Director & Rotarian Mel Karau to speak at the Rotary Club of Labelle on Sep 8. John described CRCA activities in Labelle Nature Park and Intelligentsia International programs. [Presenting] [John Capece, Carilyn Martin, & Michael Jordan ]
Florida Water Use (2015-09-11)
USGS 2010 report showed that Florida relies on groundwater for almost 90% of public water supply. It withdrew 791 gallons per capita per day. Most of this groundwater is used for irrigation. Are we addressing Florida's strained water resources properly? [Publication] [USGS]
Know the Flow (2015-09-10)
SFWMD maintains a system of primary canals and natural waterways that connect to community drainage districts and smaller systems to manage floodwater during heavy rains. But heavy rainfall in a short period of time may result in flooding even with well engineered and maintained systems. [SFWMD Infographic]
Water Use and Reuse (2015-09-10)
Freshwater demand is increasing and depleting in other states as well. A new case study assess the water use and reuse status in the US. Study results that all of the water entering Wabash River in Indiana is withdrawn and returned to waterway. [Science Direct] [Science Daily]
Water Splitting Technology (2015-09-10)
Researches have made a long awaited break-through in fuel cell technology. They have developed new methods using gold nanoparticles to more cheaply produce hydrogen from water and the electricity generated by sunlight falling on solar panels. Maybe now fuel cells can become practical for all. [Science Daily] [] [ACS Publication]
Riverkillers (2015-09-10)
Authored by Martin Heuvelmans, it observes how the Army Corps of Engineers had not resolved America's natural disasters involving the country's lakes & rivers but had accomplished destruction of environment in the process. It showed the misrepresentations and arrogant deception of destructive goals. [Book]
Be Prepared (2015-09-09)
SFWMD recognizes national Preparedness Month and highlights the importance of families and communities to have a plan to communicate and stay safe in emergency. As Florida experience extreme weather, dramatic changes may result in emergency situations of which call for expert emergency readiness. [Details]
Apply Now (2015-09-09)
DEP's Florida Management Program is accepting application for Coastal Partnership Initiative (CPI) Grant program. CPI promotes the protection and effective management of Florida's coastal resources. [DEP]
Goodbye Wetlands (2015-09-09)
SWFWMD's approval to build 4 McMansions on Perico Island despite a judge's request to deny the permit manifests that science does not matter to the Board. It shows flawed process-the one who decides the fate of our most precious resources are the ones who have least appreciation for it. [The Bradenton Times]
Pro and Con (2015-09-09)
Heavy rain affect the Caloosahatchee river. Large volumes of freshwater runoff carry excess nutrients downstream, trigger algal bloom that smother seagrass, and cause fish kills. But freshwater is also good for tapegrass growth as food for manatee, birds, turtles and as habitat for fish. [News Press]
Labor Day (2015-09-09)
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is the creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of America. [US Department of Labor]
Zombie Boat End (2015-09-09)
Zombie boats in Cape Coral are gathering mold and grime. Zombie boats leak oil and sludge and becoming an eyesore to the residents. In cases where the landlords fail to respond to the ultimatum the government will either fine the owner or move the boat and fine the owners later. [NBC2 News] [Cartoon] [Video]
Phil Schwartz Joins Board (2015-09-08)
At the Sep 2 meeting in LaBelle, Alva resident and river enthusiast Phil Schwartz was elected to fill the one remaining vacancy on the CRCA Board of Directors. Phil brings more experience, ideas and energy to the board. Welcome, Phil!
FWC Wordplay (2015-09-04)
Florida Fish & Wildlife Consumption Commission has decided to focus on manufacturing conflict between humans and panthers south of the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida rather than establishing new panther population (habitat & conservation easements). [Naples Daily News] [Cartoon]
Florida Forever...after (2015-09-04)
Florida Forever is the state's land conservation program. After colluding with the FL Legislature in gutting the Florida Forever budget, Gov Scott says he's optimistic on the budget to support land acquisition & management. [Yeah, later...when Hialeah freezes over.] [WJCT Public Broadcasting]
Obama on Climate Change (2015-09-04)
Obama's visit to Alaska opened more eyes and hopes in combating climate change. As 75 gigatons of ice lose per year, the pace of melting is getting faster. The visit also delivers message to the countries to pledge greenhouse gas cuts in Paris conference in December. [The Washington Post]
Charlotte Flatwoods Map (2015-09-04)
SFWMD has produced a map of tidal creeks as part of the Charlotte Flatwoods project. It shows the entire system that feeds into the Cape Coral Spreader Canal system that was managed by the Chiquita Lock and the former Ceitus Boat Lift. [Map by Timothy Liebermann]
Ceitus Assessment Report (2015-09-03)
A 736-page Full Report on the NW Cape Coral/Lee County Watershed Initiative Phase 1 strongly supports restoration of Ceitus Barrier. The report was commissioned as a way of deciding the Ceitus issue and everybody promised to follow science. The report is already done, what's next? [Executive Summary] [Summary Report] [Lee County Southwest Florida]
Caloosahatchee (Aug 25-31) (2015-09-02)
Flows to the estuary at S79 averaged 2,902 cfs over the past week. For the past 14 days, 68% of total Lake O outflows were delivered to the L8 basin and 32% was directed to the Caloosahatchee at S77. Salinity at Iona lower estuary is in the harmful range of oysters. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition Report] [Map] [SCCF Website]
Impact of Climate Change (2015-09-02)
Climate change happens fast in Kivalina, Alaska, a town of 403 residents 83 miles above the Arctic Circle. Beaches are disappearing, ice is melting, temperatures are rising, and the barrier reef Kivalina calls home gets smaller and smaller with every storm. Most here agree that the town should be relocated; where, when and who will pay for it, no one knows. [Los Angeles Times]
Cascading Effects (2015-09-01)
Citrus Greening bacteria has dramatically impacted SW FL citrus. Now, desperate solutions have the potential to yield additional impacts. GMOs are being attempted as are greater use of irrigation water, fertilizers and pesticides. [New York Times]
Soon to Rise (2015-09-01)
Thomas Edison’s pavilion along the Caloosahatchee will soon be recreated into entertainment and recreation center. Edison & Ford Winter Estates President & CEO Chris Pendleton calls it “the most exciting thing we’ve done since the restoration of the Edison and Ford homes”. Groundbreaking is in Nov., to be ready in time for Edison’s Feb. 11 birthday. [The News Press]
ASR Science Incorrect (2015-09-01)
Sydney Bacchus in her new peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Geography and Geology exposed the incorrect assumptions on ASR for water management in Florida. According to the study, ASR sounds to good to be true. [Journal of Geography] [Eye on Miami]
Seismic Blasting Opposed (2015-09-01)
Florida counties are against seismic blasting, oil and gas exploration in general, because of negative environmental impacts. Gov. Rick Scott has asked President Barack Obama to delay approval of seismic testing off the coast. [Fort Myers Beach Bulletin] [Graphic]
Colonel Kirk in Charge (2015-09-01)
Colonel Jason A. Kirk is current Commander and District Engineer of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. He assumed command on July 17, 2015. Kirk joined the Jacksonville District after graduating with a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the US Army War College. [US Army Corps of Engineers]
Roger Clark, Cornerstone (2015-08-31)
Roger Clark's sudden passing fell heavily on the hearts of those in Riverwatch who had the privilege to know and work with him over the decades. Roger influenced the region’s conservation policies as well as young minds. [News Press Tribute] [Photo]
Cape Coral Plans Development (2015-08-31)
Cape Coral is planning for development of 7 islands of the Cape Coral North Spreader Canal System. What will be proposed use and will it be compatible next to Aquatic Preserve with FIVE state and federal designations of protection? [Islands Map] [Meeting Announcement] [Caution Presentation]
LaBelle Heritage Museum Speaker (2015-08-31)
LaBelle Heritage Museum Vice-President Keitha Daniels will open the museum's program year on Thursday, Sep 3 with a program on LaBelle's Downtown Historic District and some of the people who made it important over the years. [Details]
Cruising the Caloosahatchee (2015-08-30)
Joe Pledger has steered thousands of cruises since the Capt. J.P. riverboat first shoved off in 1987 onto the Caloosahatchee. Long before that, he was at the helm of the Jungle Cruise boat in the Orange River as a teenager. [News Press] [Capt. J.P. Picture] [Link to Cruises]
Doubling Down on Destruction (2015-08-30)
Even while they are being sued for removing the Ceitus Boat lift in 2007, Cape Coral is today moving ahead with plans to remove the Chiquita Boat Lock that controls the southern part of the Cape Coral spreader canal system designed to protect our water quality and wildlife habitat. [Cape Coral Breeze] [System Map] [Report by Roger Wood]
Telling It Like It Is (2015-08-30)
In a speech to the Tiger Bay Club and in a guest editorial in the Pine Island Eagle, Ray Judah talks about state environmental priorities and about more local green politics on the current Lee County Commission. [Tiger Bay Club] [Pine Island Eagle]
Deja VUE, All Over Again? (2015-08-30)
Who among you remembers our 2007-8 battle over "The Vue" high-rise development next to Centennial Park? Well, it’s back. This time Riverwatch VP (and retired attorney), Gene Gibson, is on the case for CRCA, expressing riverfront access & park impact concerns to City officials. [Update] [May Letter By Gibson] [2007 Action]
SWFWMD Approve Wetland Permit (2015-08-28)
Judge Bran Carter denied an environmental permit for the proposed Harbor Sound development. SWFWMD governing board approve the permit to allow Pat Neal's four-home subdivision's built in shoreline wetlands. Neal plans to buy credits from Tampa Mitigation Bank to offset damages. [Tampa Bay Times] [Bradenton Herald]
Guilty as Charged! (2015-08-28)
Former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern of West Virginia pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of environmental crimes for contaminating with a toxic chemical spill the drinking water of more than 300,000 people in West Virginia last year. He faces 3 years in prison and a $300,000 fine. [The New York Times]
Exxon Mobil Cleared? (2015-08-28)
Amidst criticisms, a judge approved on Tuesday a $225M settlement of a pollution lawsuit with Exxon Mobil in New Jersey. The ruling covers a longstanding legal battle in which NJ demanded $8.9B in compensation for natural resource damage to around 1,500 acres of wetlands, marshes and waters. [The New York Times]
Solar Desalination (2015-08-28)
Solar power turns the sun's energy into electricity. Desalination removes unwanted minerals from saltwater so it can be used for drinking and agriculture. HydroFx has found a way to merge the two technologies with the aim of providing long term relief to farmers suffering 4 year drought. [Climate Progress]
Obama Water Rule Blocked (2015-08-28)
Judge Ralph Erickson on Thursday upheld the lawsuit opposing a federal waters rule. The decision is a roadblock for the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers plan to enforce the waters of the US rule, expanding federal jurisdiction over small waterways, like streams and wetlands. It will be appealed. [Decision] [] [The Hill]
SWFWMD Board Resigns (2015-08-28)
SWFWMD Governing Board Member Carlos Beruff resigned from his position after approving a controversial four-home subdivision on Perico Island wetlands for Pat Neal. USEPA, National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Army Corps of Engineers recommended the permit be denied. [Bradenton Herald] [Resignation Letter] [You Tube]
Throwback (2015-08-28)
On 4th Nov 2014 ballot, voters approved the Amendment 1. It dedicates 33% of net revenue from the existing excise tax on documents to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, designed to manage and restore natural systems and enhance public access and recreational use of conservation lands. [Ballotpedia]
Expedition (2015-08-28)
Mark Renz had been operating Fossil Expedition for 20 years and with previous experience in Everglades Eco-Tours. Depending on your interest, he'll be glad to take you and enjoy Florida wildlife and adventures! [Paleo Press]
Red Tide Status (Aug 13-20) (2015-08-28)
Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was not detected in water samples in the entire coast of Florida. Regional water monitoring give advance warnings to the community for planning and dealing adverse health and environmental effects if K. brevis is detected. [Map] [FWRI]
Getting Ready (2015-08-28)
SFWMD mobilized staffs and secured equipment responsible for flood control in 16 county region. The district is responsible for more than 2000 miles of canals, 70 pump stations, 607 water control structures and 625 culverts. Army Corps of Engineers will close water control structures at Lake O. [Palm Beach Post]
Rising Sea Could Engulf Florida (2015-08-27)
As sea level rise is unavoidable in the next 100-200 years, it will have profound impact around the world. US low-lying US states such as Florida are at risk of disappearing as are some major cities in the world like Singapore and Tokyo. Coastlines will look very different to future generations. [Radio New Zealand News] [News ] [Phys.Org]
Lake O Water Level (2015-08-27)
Lake Okeechobee water level remains in beneficial Base Flow Sub-band (low). The Corps of Engineers reported that there was small contribution from the lake to the 4,000 cfs Caloosahatchee estuary flow last week. The dropped in salinity in the Cape coral is due to high watershed run off. [Lake Condition] [Lake O Low Stage] [SFWMD]
Estuarine Restoration Summit (2015-08-27)
Be part of the largest national gathering of coastal and estuarine restoration on Dec 10-15, 2016 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana. Caloosahatchee estuary management efforts are worth presenting, what you think? [Restore Estuaries]
Ugly Reality of India (2015-08-27)
Environmental problems in India are among the grimmest in the world. Waste, open defecation and raw sewage worsen childhood malnourishment and cause diseases like hepatitis, cholera and typhoid fever. Parents check the levels of airborne particulate matter before letting children go out to play. [The New York Times]
Mercury in the Mist (2015-08-27)
"Fog drips" deliver unsafe levels of monomethyl mercury to upland and near-shore ecosystems along the Pacific Coast. Average monomethyl mercury concentration in the fog water samples in 2011 was five-fold greater than the highest reported concentration in rainwater, researchers from UCSC reported. [National Science Foundation]
Response to MS4 and BMAP (2015-08-27)
Rep State Matt Caldwell organized multi-agency meeting in eastern Lee County this Aug to address water storage, water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for countywide projects. The meeting created regional benefit to improve the Lee County environment. [Lehigh Acres Citizen]
IREX Fellow Assists Riverwatch (2015-08-27)
Meet Carilyn Salanio-Martin, from the Philippines. She is a 2015 Community Solutions Program Fellow of US State Dept's Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs as implemented by IREX. For the next 4 months she will be in our area helping Riverwatch and learning about US environmental issues. [IREX] [ECPC] [Facebook]
Together We Stand (2015-08-27)
John Cassani, Chairman of Southwest Florida Watershed Council, comments on the Lee County compliance report for its MS4 permit raising the issue of TN loading protocol and the Caloosahatchee BMAP. Also signing the letter were many groups: SFWC, ICWN, CSF, CBD, CRCA and SCCF. [Letter] [Assessment]
Store or Release? (2015-08-26)
With a hurricane approaching south Florida, SFWMD and Corps of Engineers officials really earn their pay. It is they who must decide whether to release water from Lake O to create room for storm runoff. If they choose wrong they could dump all our dry season water to the Gulf.
Call to Action (2015-08-26)
A pulp mill owned by the Koch Brothers is planning a 60 million gallon/day (mgd) pollution pipeline from the mill to the mouth of Fenholloway River in Perry, Fl. Koch Brothers believe that the Gulf can absorb 40-60 mgd of dioxin contaminated water. Stop dumping toxic waste into the Gulf of Mexico! [Clean Water Network]
Oil Drill Block (2015-08-26)
Senator Bill Nelson vows to use all procedural options to block the repeal on the ban of Gulf Coast Oil drilling. Lifting of the ban will allow oil and gas rigs to operate 50 miles closer to Florida's Gulf Coast, clashing with state's Gulf Coast protection efforts for four decades. Kudos Senator! [Tampa Bay Times]
DEP Water Reuse Study (2015-08-26)
DEP conducted a comprehensive study on the expansion of the use of reclaimed water, stormwater and excess surface water in Florida. DEP reports 719 mgd being reused. Stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments on draft report until Sep 15, 2015. [Draft] [Presentation] [Reuse Pie Chart] [Details]
8th Most Populated (2015-08-26)
Lee County ranks 8th most dense populated counties in Florida for 2010. Pinellas and liberty Counties are most and least dense with 3,348 and 10 persons per square mile, respectively. This interrelates spatial distribution of population in Florida with environmental issues and resource use. [BEBR]
River Salinity (Aug 18-24) (2015-08-26)
Very high watershed runoff during August more than doubled Caloosahatchee flow to the estuary to an average of 4,022 cfs. The salinity at Iona lower estuary is in the harmful range for oysters. Majority of inflow originated from the central watershed basin west of S78. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition Report] [Graphic] [SCCF Website]
Try, Try Again (2015-08-26)
DEP will hold five meetings to receive input on Water Quality Assessment determination and restoration. Workshop schedules are as follows: Aug 26 in Stuart, Florida; Aug 27 in Fort Myers; Sep 2 in Temple Terrace; Sep 3 in Daytona Beach and Sep 10 in Tallahasee. [Details]
Riverkeeper Catches Bad Guys! (2015-08-26)
In Georgia, American Sealcoat Manufacturing Company has been fined $10 million for polluting the Chattahoochee River with toxic chemicals. Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit in 2014 as the company operated with no industrial stormwater permit & dumped toxic chemicals into the stream that flows to Florida. [WBS TV]
Snook Season Opens (2015-08-26)
Snook recreational harvest season will open on September 1. Snooks are premiere Florida fish and unique to the region. Season closures help protect the species during cold weather and spawning. Lake Okeechobee, snook season is closed December 15 through January 31 and June 1 through August 31. [Space Coast Daily] [Image]
Caloosahatchee (Aug 11-17) (2015-08-26)
Caloosahatchee flow to the estuary averaged 1,991 cfs, more than double than weeks flow. The salinity at Iona remains below the optimal range of oysters.There was no discharged from Lake Okeechobee during the period. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition Report] [Graphic] [SCCF Website]
Fastest Ever Calving Glacier (2015-08-25)
Largest ever observed chunk of ice broke away from glacier's face between August 14 to August 16. Estimated total area of ice lost was around 12.5 square kilometers. Experts data shows that the ice that broke off would be sufficient to cover Manhattan in nearly 1,000 feet of ice! [Animation] [The Washington Post] [Location Map] [Website]
Microorganisms Abate Methane (2015-08-25)
Some microorganisms eat methane and reduces atmospheric emissions from freshwater wetlands. Without this process, methane emissions from freshwater wetlands could be 30 to 50 percent greater, researchers from University of Georgia reported. [National Science Foundation]
Urban Communities Symposium (2015-08-25)
Do you want to learn how to create successful urban form and mixed use developments to meet market demands? Register and participate in Walkable Urban Communities Symposium on October 15, 2015 at Harborside Event Center, Downtown, Fort Myers. [Urban Planning Cartoon] [Details]
Another Beach Warning (2015-08-25)
August 20, 2015 water quality results showed that the North Shore Park did not meet the safety criteria for Enterococcus bacteria. No wading at North Shore Park 13001 N. Cleveland Ave. North Fort Myers is recommended until bacteria level are at or below acceptable level. [FDOH]
Florida 2014 WQA Report (2015-08-25)
DEP published the 2014 status and condition of Florida's surface and groundwater quality. EPA will use this information to provide Congress with national inventory of water quality conditions and develop priorities for future federal actions to protect and conserve aquatic resources. [FDEP] [News Press]
Gator Hunting (2015-08-25)
Lenny Schelin of Fort Pierce and his family hunted an 11-foot-4-incher from the Lake Okeechobee north quadrant over the weekend. [TCPalm]
Finally, C-43 project is on its way! (2015-08-24)
On August 13, 2015, SFWMD approved a $10.8 million contract to start construction of C-43 West Basin storage reservoir project. C-43 aims to hold 170, 000 acre-feet of water during dry period and store excess stormwater and regulatory releases from Lake Okeechobee during rainy season. [SFWMD]
July Hottest Ever (2015-08-24)
July 2015 is officially the hottest month ever recorded since global record-keeping began. While land temp was slightly higher, ocean surface temperature was a full 1.35F higher than the 20th century average and the highest sea temperature ever recorded. [Washington Post] [Ice Volume Tracker] [Website]
Florida Bear Hunts (2015-06-30)
In statements released June 25 the Sierra Club issued open letter regarding Florida Wildlife Commission proposals to modify rules on Florida's black bears. The letter stated that FWC at least delay the decision on opening bear hunting they present a full set of alternative options to the public. [Southwest Florida Online]
No Mention about Amendment 1 (2015-06-30)
Gov. Rick Scott recapped on February 9 his proposed budget's big-ticket fixes for everything from Everglades pollution to Wekiwa Springs flows. But not mentioned in his prepared address at the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland was Amendment 1. [Orlando Sentinel]
Easements on Private Land (2015-06-30)
A wildlife easement on the Black Boar Ranch means there would never be future development. An easement was recently created on the ranch to allow Florida Panthers to migrate north from near the Everglades in an effort to increase their numbers. [TBO]
Newspaper Ads by Sugar (2015-06-30)
Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e? Here's a closer look at one: The Treasure Coast newspaper group that spent more than a year dogging lobbyist Ken Pruitt like a bloodhound at a crime scene for taking a sugar company's money ... well, how can I put this? ... climbed into bed with a sugar company. [Sunshine State News]
Sawfish (2015-06-30)
Smalltooth sawfish are on the verge of extinction. But scientists have discovered that some of the fish — perhaps in an effort to survive — have resorted to "virgin births" in the wild. [The Washington Post]
Air Potato Meets Its Match (2015-06-30)
The USDA, FDACS & UF are working together to rear and release air potato beetles. Releases are made between May & Oct when air potato plants are actively growing. Instructions and forms for obtaining beetles are available. After a year or two their impact on the plants is dramatic! [Eaten Leaves] [Air Potato Nemesis] [Release Forms for Florida]
Sugar Land for Everglades (2015-06-30)
For months, environmental groups and concerned residents have advocated for the SFWMD to exercise a 46,800-acre land-purchase option with U.S. Sugar Corporation before an October deadline. SFWMD Governing Board voted unanimously not to exercise the option. [Miami Herald]
Poor Idiots (2015-06-30)
Too many Florida legislators think of voters as annoying intruders on their very conservative bubble. To them, the 75% of voters who favored Amendment 1 are like fictional town idiots. If Floridians continue to accept this state of affairs, then they truly will be the idiots. [Graph] [Watery Foundation]
ASR Study (2015-06-30)
As part of the CERP, it was estimated that up to 333 wells could store water underground for the Everglades and natural systems. These wells, known as Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) wells, are part of a system to take surplus fresh surface water, treat it as required for permit compliance. [Facts and Infromation] [Web Site]
Tape Grass Growth (2015-06-30)
SFWMD and Lee County are financing a three-year $130,000 project to restore tape grass, often known, as Val, in the Caloosahatchee River. Val from its scientific name Vallisneria americana, is a Valued Ecosystem Component that has virtually disappeared from the river. [News Press]
Lawsuit Filed Over Amendment 1 (2015-06-30)
On June 22 the Florida Wildlife Federation, St. Johns Riverkeeper and Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida filed suit over the budget for money accumulated under the new land-buying amendment to the Florida Constitution called Amendment 1. [Sun Sentinel] [SCCF] [Florida Today]
Big Sugar Summit Video (2015-06-30)
Full video of Sierra Club's Big Sugar Summit held on June 20th, 2015 at Embassy Suites in West Palm Beach, FL. Riverwatch and other groups sent many members and officers to this teach-in about the range of issues associated with sugar production in the EAA. [Part 1] [Part 2]
Ceitus Report (2015-06-30)
The results are available for the joint project called the Northwest Cape Coral/Lee County Watershed Initiative that deals with water flow, water quality, hydrodynamics and ecological indicators. The report documents are posted on a landing page at Lee County Natural Resources web site. [Executive Summary] [Summary Report] [Full Report] [Web Site]
Action Alert: Win for Water (2015-06-05)
On May 27th, the US EPA and USACE jointly finalized the Clean Water Rule. However, many polluting industries have joined forces to fight this rulemaking, gaining the support of numerous congressional representatives in their opposition. We need your help to fight legislative attacks on the rule! [Details] [Articles] [Web Site] [Take Action]
Big Sugar Summit (2015-06-04)
You are invited to attend The Big Sugar Summit on June 20 from 9am to 5pm in West Palm. You'll get the facts regarding the sugar industry's influence and impact on Florida and its citizens and much more. Advance registration is required. $10 fee includes lunch and coffee/tea service. See you there! [Agenda] [Details] [Registration] [Facebook]
Former Governor Shocked (2015-05-31)
Bob Graham published his opinion about the future of Everglades and Florida. The former Senator (1987-2005) and Florida's Governor (1979-1987) is shocked that despite scientific facts and Amendment 1 votes, the SFWMD tore up the land purchase contract with no alternate plan even in sight. [Miami Herald]
FLMS Symposium (2015-05-31)
The Florida Lake Management Society 26th Annual Technical Symposium will take place from June 8 to 11 at Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club in Naples. Registration is now open! Free Programs for Approved Volunteers and Community Association Managers! Email for more information. [Draft Agenda] [Web Site & Registration]
Soil Carbon and Climate Change (2015-05-31)
In April 650 people from 80 countries gathered in Germany for a week-long discussion about an increasingly important topic in climate change: soil. 2015 is shaping up to be a big year for soil - United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has declared it the International Year of Soil. [Think Progress]
Sea Level Rise Summit (2015-05-31)
On May 7 SWFL leaders gathered to discuss sea level rise response in Estero. “Sea level rise is real,” said Ray Judah, coordinator for the FCOC, which hosted the summit with the LWV of Lee County. "We can no longer ignore the sea level rise impacts to our environment and our economy." [Naples News] [David Trecker Opinion]
Riverwatch on The Vue Development (2015-05-31)
CRCA-Riverwatch Vice President Gene Gibson wrote a letter to Ft. Myers City Council Members concerning the proposed amendments to The Vue planned unit development (PUD) and its development agreement. CRCA continues to oppose development that would degrade the adjacent Centennial Park. [Letter] [News Press] [Photo]
Cowbone Marsh & Fisheating Creek Litigation (2015-05-31)
ECOSWF and Save Our Creeks legal action against FDEP and FWCC over Cowbone Marsh/Fisheating Creek continues with the filing of a revised petition. It challenges a proposed sovereignty lands environmental resource permit to fill in a portion of Fisheating Creek. [Petition]
Rubio Helping Invasives Reach Florida (2015-05-31)
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is the sponsor of a bill on behalf of the shipping industry that would remove ballast water discharges from the Clean Water Act and pre-empt all state regulation of ballast water. Ballast water taken on in one port and discharged in another brings invasives. [Florida Clean Water Network] [Comment Letter] [Ballast Water Invasive Species]
Riverwatch Donor Sails I-75 (2015-05-31)
Henry Mox, regular major donor to CRCA, weighed anchor and rode the winds of I-75 back to Michigan, but not before leaving another generous donation of $2500 to Riverwatch. Intelligentsia students helped Henry prepare his boat and enjoy a Caloosahatchee shake-down cruise before his departure. [Farewell Photo] [Shakedown Cruise]
Good Uses for Surplus Land (2015-05-31)
UF-IFAS & FWS have proposed uses for BOMA land being surplused by SFWMD. IFAS wants it for agricultural and agro-ecology research while FWS seeks a panther easement on parts. Glades County is inclined to let Lee County decide what to do with it since they paid $10,000,000 for the SFWMD purchase. [UF-IFAS Proposal] [Glades Feb BOCC Minutes] [Glades May BOCC Item] [Location]
CERP and Water Budgets (2015-05-31)
Wayne Daltry explains why failing to act on the EAA land acquisition and instead simply moving ahead with currently-planned projects will not lead to a solution to our water problems and is therefore the unwise path. [Why the Purchase?]
Land Acquisition Trust Fund (2015-05-30)
LWVF reminds Florida Legislators headed for a special budget session in June, that Acquisition of Florida’s special lands and resources is no longer a matter of political ideology, but a matter of Constitutional law. Both the House and Senate severely underfund the Florida Forever program. [Letter] [Web Site]
Another Year, Same Story (2015-05-30)
With the summer storm season officially beginning on June 1, the Army Corps is racing to lower the Lake O in time. However, dumping water west into the Caloosahatchee River and local runoff brings algal bloom and human health risks consequences. Another year, yet the same story. [Sun Sentinel]
SFWMD Governing Board Meeting (2015-05-30)
On May 14, 2015 the Governing Board meeting of the South Florida Water Management District took place. The public comments period got quite heated when the board received critiques of their Everglades and estuaries stewardship from the environmental advocates in the audience. [SFWMD Meeting] [Marion Gommenne] [Discussion Video (begins 47:20)] [Public Comment: 1:23:45]
Advice from Experienced Leaders (2015-05-30)
A formidable group of current and former regional water managers published their opinion about the U.S. Sugar land purchase, describing scientific and engineering justification, economic benefits as well as possible funding options for the land acquisition. What they see missing is the leadership. [Palm Beach Post]
Beach Swimming Suspended (2015-05-30)
The Corps of Engineers has temporarily suspended swimming and other water activities at the W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area located near Ft. Myers due to algae bloom. The beach itself will remain open to visitors who wish to sunbathe or play in the sand. They will be prohibited from swimming. [Southwest Florida Online] [NBC-2]
Caldwell Perspective on Amend 1 (2015-05-30)
Rep. Matt Caldwell blames Amendment 1 advocates for deceiving the public that it would bring new funds to land purchases. He seems to blame them for not anticipating that legislators like him would thwart Constitutional intent by allocating the land funds set-aside to unrelated budget items. [Email Correspondence] [Cartoon]
Nicodemus to C-19 to C-43 (2015-05-30)
For the first time, SFWMD has begun sending water it pays Lykes to store in Nicodemus Slough ($28 million total cost) to the Caloosahatchee. While bringing some benefits, the highly-controversial project carries with it some further risks of abuse. [SFWMD News Release] [Water Storage Strategies] [Dispersed Water Storage Audit] [Controversy History]
Florida Panther a Myth? (2015-05-30)
In trashing panther protection, Sunshine State News again shows its wrong-headedness when it described as "noise" the citizen assertion of the 75%-voter-approved constitutional amendment for land purchases in the EAA. [Sunshine State News]
Algal Bloom Advisory (2015-05-30)
Alas, our waters are again greener than our grass. So yet again, Lee County Dept of Health has issued an advisory recommending people not expose themselves, pets or livestock to Caloosahatchee River water after an algal bloom was detected. [News Press] [NBC-2 with James Evans] [NBC-2 Sky Cam] [Corps of Engineers Beach Closure]
Sea Level Rise Conclusions (2015-05-30)
Following up to the SLR symposium, David Trecker of Naples says a few local governments are beginning to think about the problems – effects on water supply, roadways, & beach erosion. But it’s not a high priority for them because it’s not imminent and thus ill-suited for our institutions to address. [News Press]
Dampening Property Values (2015-05-29)
Florida Realtors say that poor water quality limits property values and forces to sell them at a loss. These are quantified now, nearly $1 billion/year just in Lee and Martin Counties. While overall property values are rising in both counties, they’re being "severely dampened" by poor water quality. [News Press]
Fitzenhagen & Benacquisto Statements (2015-05-29)
The next legislative session starts in a week, so several rallies throughout the next month are being organized. This time the demonstrators showed up at Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto's office. Although Sen. Benacquisto does not support the purchase, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen does. [NBC2] [Fitzenhagen & Benacquisto Statements] [Aljazeera America] [Cartoon] [Tallahassee Meeting]
Progress at National Level (2015-05-28)
On May 27 the US EPA finalized their Clean Water Rule, closing some loopholes regarding which water bodies fall under Federal oversight. While representing real progress, efforts are underway in Congress to weaken, undermine, or stop the rule completely. [Details] [Earth Justice] [NRDC Analysis] [CBS News] [Counties Opposed] [EPA Rule Web Site]
Water Legislation (2015-04-30)
Language from a comprehensive House water bill was added on Apr23 to other environmental legislation in the House over objections from Democrats. Environmentalists say they’d prefer to see the bills die, effectively ending what some observers predicted would be the "year of water" in the Legislature [SPB]
Sen. Negron on Lake O Discharges (2015-04-30)
In his statement released on April 24, Senator Joe Negron said he spoke with Col. Dodd of the Army Corps of Engineers and he ordered the immediate suspension of discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Lagoon and Estuary until testing of the recent toxic blue-green algae bloom can be completed. [Statement] [Web Site]
What Would Skink Do? (2015-04-30)
Skink - Clinton Tyree, known as Skink throughout several novels by Carl Hiaasen was governor of Florida in the 1970s. Vehemently opposed to unregulated growth in his home state, he becomes so discouraged by bribery and corruption that he becomes a wild hermit and adopts the name Skink. [Cartoon by Cathy Cochrane]
Everglades Action Day (2015-04-30)
CRCA directors Rae Ann Wessel and Nargiza Abduvohidova along with 12 student members traveled to Tallahassee to join the Everglades Action Day on Apr 6-7. Our group met with decision-makers and joined the rally. Special thanks to Everglades Foundation, EvCo and David & Cheryl Copham for sponsorship. [w/Rep. Fitzenhagen] [w/Rep. Caldwell Asst.] [w/Rep. Passidomo] [Group] [Rally] [SCCF]
Saved By The Bell (2015-04-30)
Bad water policy and fracking bills failed due to a dispute among Republicans over Medicaid funding. The chambers will have to return to pass a budget before July. EAA land purchase funding progress might be possible at that time, but its unlikely. [Tampa Bay Times] [Orlando Sentinel] [Friends of Florida] [Florida Clean Water Network] [Bill Day Cartoons]
No Secret for Fracking Companies (2015-04-30)
On Apr 27 the House passed a law regulating the already legal fracking methods. On the next day, an amendment allowing companies to keep the chemicals they use for fracking secret was postponed because the two Chambers did not reach an agreement. A small victory for environmentalists. [Florida Clean Water] [The Tallahasse Democrat]
Thanks To Our Rally Sponsors (2015-04-30)
CRCA-Riverwatch extends its gratitude and appreciation for the generous donation provided by our members David and Cheryl Copham of Ft. Myers. Your support made it possible for 7 Riverwatch student members stand prominent at the Floridians for Clean Water & Amendment 1 Rally on Feb 18. [David & Cheryl Copham] [Rally Photo 1] [Rally Photo 2]
New Riverwatch Officers (2015-04-30)
The April CRCA Board of Directors meeting elected new officers: President-John Paul; VP-Gene Gibson, VP for Development-Mary Rawl, Treasurer-Ron Zimmerly; Corresponding Secretary-Linda Mattos and Recording Secretary-John Capece. They serve until April 2016. [New Officers]
Everglades Restoration Progress (2015-04-30)
David Urich, a life member and past president of the Responsible Growth Management Coalition Inc. criticizes SFWMD's “Everglades restoration progress” graphic on Wednesday's, Apr 22 News Press. David says he was SHOCKED when he saw the graphic. It did NOT show ANY plan to move water South! [David Urich Commentary to SFWMD] [News Press] [Cartoon]
Gov Scott Orders Water Tests (2015-04-29)
CRCA-Riverwatch Directors Ray Judah and John Cassani comment on recent Corps scheduled water releases from Lake Okeechobee, months earlier than normally required. Gov. Scott ordered a halt to the planned releases pending water quality tests for potential harm from nutrients and toxic algae. [Fox 4] [Video]
Everglades ASR Regional Study (2015-04-29)
The National Research Council has completed its Everglades Aquifer Storage and Recovery Regional Study. NAS will be hosting a webinar on May 13 at 11am to discuss report findings. Register in advance if you are interested in participating. [NAS ASR Report] [Webinar Registration]
Veto Threat on Water & Energy (2015-04-29)
Saying it “drastically underfunds critical investments” in clean energy and climate resilience, the White House on Apr 28 issued a veto threat against a funding bill. Another reason is that the bill includes provisions that would block EPA efforts to assert water quality standards on more waterways. [Energy Guardian] [US News] [The Hill] [Statement]
Obama & Luther Are Angry (2015-04-29)
In his annual comedic address to the White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama used humor to blast climate change deniers, saying "What kind of stupid, shortsighted, irresponsible bull-"... before Luther (his anger translator) had to interrupt. [Climate Progress] [Climate Change Comments] [Entire Luther Segment]
EPA & Gulf of Mexico (2015-04-29)
EPA avoids stricter water pollution standards for Gulf of Mexico by passing authority to the states. As a result, nitrogen & phosphorus from agricultural runoff and sewage continue to flow into the Gulf, creating a low-oxygen dead zone. [Circle of Blue]
Price of Water Rising (2015-04-29)
The price of water in the USA has risen 41% since 2010. The economics of water – particularly the cost of treatment, pumping, new infrastructure and retail price for consumers – has gained renewed prominence as states face historic drought & water managers seek to rein in water consumption. [Circle of Blue] [Infra Manage] [Water Pricing 2015 Map] [Water Pricing 2010-15 Graphs]
Ohio Regulates Pollution to Lake (2015-04-29)
To reduce algae blooms in Lake Erie, Ohio passed new regulations on wastewater discharges and other point-sources. However, like all other laws in the US, it relies on “voluntary” reductions in farm fertilizer runoff, the problem’s primary source. [Circle of Blue]
Lee Commission Supports Purchase (2015-04-29)
Lee County commissioners added an important voice to the chorus urging the governor and Legislature to acquire U.S. Sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee. Voting in favor were Commissioners Kiker, Manning, and Mann. Voting against were Commissioners Pendergrass and Hamman. [Naples Daily News] [Skink Cartoon]
Urgent: VOTE NO on SB 918 (2015-04-29)
This was supposed to be the year of water – it wasn’t. Senate bill 918 has adopted bad policy language from House bill 7003 which weakened a previously good springs protection bill. SB 918 will not protect our waters. Please call or email the Senate and ask them to VOTE NO ON SB 918. [Action Alert] [WCTV] [Cartoon] [ACT NOW]
FL National Earth Day Focus (2015-04-29)
President Obama spent Apr 22 in the Florida Everglades. The choice of highlighting Earth Day in Florida, where sea levels are rising rapidly & state officials aren’t allowed to discuss climate change, brings Obama to the front lines of the debate over how to address the changing environment. [The Washington Post] [Huffington Post] [Time] [USA Today] [USA Today] [Earth Day Cartoon]
U.S. Warned by Insurance Groups (2015-04-21)
More than 30 different Insurance groups teamed up to warn the U.S. government about Climate Change. They declared that it must be prepared; otherwise they will have to pay for the damages, which can have a disastrous impact on these groups’ economy. [Think Progress]
Obama in the Everglades (2015-04-21)
On Apr 22, President Obama will speak at Everglades National Park for Earth Day. His visit may be a chance for the Everglades to finally obtain what Amendment 1’s money was meant for: a sustainable restoration plan with a relevant storage land. [News Press]
Deepwater Horizon Disaster (2015-04-20)
The event of Deepwater Horizon is still vivid. After the cleanup, the research is still going. In the area, people’s health seems to be harmed as well as the ocean. This tragedy pushed politics into new regulation projects but is it enough? [Think Progress]
Is Earth Day Still Relevant? (2015-04-20)
Is Earth Day still an event as useful as it’s pictured to us? Yes answered Mary Guttierez, because it’s a privileged moment for people to learn about current environmental issues and be implied, at least a bit, like Mary. [Pensacola News Journal]
Lake O Treatment (2015-04-17)
Certainly a good news for Lake O water. Ecosphere Technologies just announced that they received U.S. patent for treating water with one of their product. This may allow the lake to recover by using bacteria sand to annihilate algae blooms. [Power Engineering]
TV Campaign for Amendment 1 (2015-04-17)
With the legislative session intensified, both sides of Amendment 1 topic are now fighting with TV. Several ads, from land purchase supporters and land grab accusers are broadcasting their voice in order to rally everyone. [CBS 12 News]
Restoration and Economy (2015-04-17)
Will red tide attract tourists? Do they want to see dead fish or swim in brown water? Not only the environment but also our economy is in distress; said David Ulrich. Contact our legislators, especially those involved in the budget process committees. [News Press]
Coastal Squeeze (2015-04-17)
Many coastal areas in the U.S. are heavily developed, leading to coastal squeeze as ocean swallow beaches, a barrier of oceanfront hotels, houses and businesses cuts off access to habitat beyond those beaches. Species are trapped in the middle. [Coastal Squeeze] [Eugene Weekly]
Beer Management Rules Update (2015-04-16)
FWC continues its work on new bear management rules. On Apr 15 meeting several rules were approved and one big topic was the infamous feeding violation. Public education is a key factor in this problem, even if hunting is approved. [FWC]
Will Scott Fix the Estuaries? (2015-04-16)
During 15 years, Florida suffered from massive discharges from Lake O. With Amendment 1, Gov. Scott has the upper hand to resolve excess water problem, restore the flow and eliminate the discharges which are a threat for the estuaries and the land. [Tampa Bay Times]
Do What I Say, Not What I Do (2015-04-16)
John Cassani points out the disconnect between Lee County Commissioners' positive statements of support for water quality restoration while at the same time they dismantle or generally thwart progressive land use and development planning. Actions consistent with the rhetoric are needed. [News Press]
The Clean Water Rule (2015-04-15)
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent the Clean Water Rule draft to the Office of Management & Budget for review. After they met stakeholders across the country, their Rule now matches public’s expectations about water issues. [EPA]
Volunteer Now for the Oysters (2015-04-15)
If you want to help SCCF restore the health and productivity of San Carlos Bay’s oyster reef, you can register online to help with oyster bed restoration. You need to be at least 18 yo. The campaign will continue through the summer. [Oyster Reef Restoration] [SCCF Contact] [Register Online]
Fracking Bills in the House (2015-04-14)
With the end of the legislative session near, some senate members are trying to push again several anti-environment bills. Special interests and corporations are once more behind this. So take to contact the legislators and stop this hideous process. [Linda Young] [Regulation Bill] [Well Stimulation Bill]
Corps Of Engineers Reducing Flow (2015-04-13)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers adjusted the flow from Lake O in order to average 1,800cfs for the Caloosahatchee Estuary and 0cfs for the St. Lucie Estuary. If the flows will be exceeded by runoff, they’ll be allowed to pass through the structure. [South West Florida Online]
Legacy Campaign Newsletter (2015-04-10)
There isn’t much time until the end of the legislative session and we need to make sure that our legislators will allocate funds to Florida Forever and land purchase than in existing projects. Continue to contact them, support Amendment 1 decisions! [Legacy Campaign Newsletter]
Coral Reef and Fish Biomass (2015-04-09)
A study published in Nature stated that coral reef health is linked to its fish population. So, reefs need to maintain a minimum of 220lbs of fish biomass per hectare. Better management in fishing methods may allow us to save our coral reefs. [Think Progress]
Regional Park Earth Day (2015-04-09)
Register now to attend Lee County’s Caloosahatchee Regional Park’s Earth Day! On Apr 18, you can participate in birdhouses painting and then find a spot for your piece of art! On Apr 21, park staff will guide you on a walk to a oak hammock. [News Press]
To Delay or Not? (2015-04-09)
Land purchases can cost more than planned, since expensive infrastructure will be needed to send the water south. This is a reason some lawmakers seek to delay any new purchases and focus on previous restoration projects. But later, the price won’t be cheaper. [Sun Sentinel]
Joe Negron Support (2015-04-09)
As he seeks his party’s selection as Senate president while also trying to maintain home voter support, Joe Negron gingerly endorsed the EAA land buy project. He says that he’s researching options for the $500 million land purchase. [Palm Beach Post] [TC Palm]
Business Owner Perspective (2015-04-09)
Everglades is a natural treasure, they allow us to have clean water and are the engine of our tourism business. Irene Gomes, a motel owner, share her experience and the loss she encountered, generated by environment deterioration. [Palm Beach Post]
Overpayed Storage (2015-04-09)
Currently, the state is overpaying big agricultural operators to store water on their property. A little help in order to filter the pollutants, but a waste of money when the US Sugar’s land option can bring larger and public storage for our water. [Tampa Bay Times]
Buffett Concluded the Action Day (2015-04-09)
For the Everglades Action Day, Jimmy Buffett delivered a pitch-perfect performance for both environmental activists and legislators in the Capitol. Carl Hiaasen introduced the show by reminding that we just need our leaders to respect Amendment 1. [FSU News] [Everglades Action Day]
Caloosahatchee Water Woes (2015-04-08)
A consortium of Southwest Florida interests put together a water quality priority list, that's expected to help secure funding for Everglades restoration and other projects aimed at improving conditions in the Caloosahatchee River and its estuary. The report is headed by the SFWMD. [News Press] [Final Report 17MB] [Web Site]
FGCU Environmental Survey (2015-04-08)
FGCU is conducting a survey to approach Floridian’s behavior, awareness and knowledge linked to environment. They centered it on communities and their culture in order to measure their impact on nature. Take some minutes of your time to help them! [FGCU Survey]
Next Legal Step for Ceitus (2015-04-08)
The City of Cape Coral has submitted to the court a motion for summary judgement on the action brought by Riverwatch and other groups. The action attempted to make Cape Coral and DEP replace the Ceitus Boat Lift structure they removed in 2008. [Boat Lift Motion]
State-approved Pollution Legal (2015-04-08)
A Federal court dismissed a lawsuit against Rayonier and its polluting discharges into Altamaha River near Jesup, GA. According to the judge, the company was in compliance with its state-issued water quality permit. A disappointment for the Riverkeeper which now seeks recourse [The Times Union]
SWFL Sustainability Summit (2015-04-08)
On Apr 30, the Southwest Florida Sustainability Summit will analyze the vision of our future, our way to grow and work together. This will allow community leaders and business owners to elaborate sustainable practices. Register now to participate. [Sustainability Summit Press Release]
Kayak Safety (2015-04-08)
Dana Kirk, a US Coast Guard auxiliarist made a presentation about kayak safety and use of VHF radio on Apr 15. A good lesson for large boat paddlers more than for kayakers. [Kayak Safety Invitation] [SWFL Adventure Group]
Senators Heard the Crowd (2015-04-08)
On Apr 1 FL State Senators acknowledged during a budget hearing that they received a huge number of calls from constituents. Thank you for your dedication, our voices are being heard! Sign the petition for EAA land purchase and thanks to our champions! [SCCF Senators Support] [Sign the Petition]
FGCU Asks Your Opinion (2015-04-05)
You can help a research project of FGCU biology, sociology and psychology professors by completing a 20-minute survey about community culture, behavior, and knowledge of our environmental impacts. [FGCU Request] [Survey Cartoon] [Take the Survey]
Pollution Decreases Home Values (2015-04-03)
Discharges from Lake O have an environmental effect but not only. New research led by realtors highlights the negative impact on home sales and prices (as well as tourism) in the area. Environment and economy are threatened in this situation. [Capital Soup]
CRCA Land Purchase Resolution (2015-04-03)
CRCA-Riverwatch implores South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Legislature to purchase the land south of the lake O prior to the end of 2015 legislative session to stop the excessive releases of polluted water to the estuaries. [CRCA Resolution]
Hired Actors as Protesters (2015-04-03)
A new scandal made Big Sugar’s reputation even dirtier than their runoff. A protest organized on Apr 2 against Land Purchase was nothing but a scam since most of the people were actors hired with Big Sugar's money. What will be the next low blow? [The Palm Beach Post] [New Times Broward-Palm Beach] [Martha Musgrove Comments]
[Eye On Miami Memorandum]
More Caloosahatchee Visioning (2015-04-02)
The Caloosahatchee Visioning by UF-IFAS was a success. After a workshop between stakeholders everybody can now see some of the goals as the basis for developing better regional projects and a list of priorities for our future SW Florida. [Visioning Final Report]
Totten Glacier is Melting (2015-04-02)
An international team of scientists discovered that warmer water may flow underneath Totten Glacier’s ice shelf in East Antarctica and accelerate its melting. This tremendous amount of ice melting implies a large increase in sea level rise. [The Washington Post]
Slowing Gulf Stream (2015-04-02)
A recent study highlighted the weakening in the North Atlantic’s Gulf Stream system. In an intense climate change period, this place is cooling. This possible side effect of global warming can lead to Florida east coast sea level rise. [Real Climate] [Gulf Stream Slowing]
The Fracking Crusade (2015-04-02)
Linda Young says the FL legislative bills on fracking will now be sent to different committees and that we must continue our fight by contacting more people and warn them about the treats posed by those bills. [What the Frack Florida] [Tallahassee Democrat]
FORCE March Newsletter (2015-04-02)
Friends of the Rivers Coalition's newsletter is out. River Kidz went to in-service training related to our environment and spoke during the Water Management meeting for a brighter future. Various meetings are also announced by the association. [Force March Newsletter]
FEMA Pressures Deniers (2015-03-31)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency took a step to avoid anymore denying on man-made climate change by refusing to give disaster preparedness funds to states whose governors ignore human activities responsibility in this environmental threat. [Inside Climate News]
Dangerous Bills in the Senate (2015-03-31)
Linda Young informed us that the Senate will hear two bills on fracking and one bill about septage this Mar 31. Once again, contact committee members to protect Florida from these abusive projects and their terrible impact on our environment. [Contact the Committee]
Sea Water Invasion (2015-03-27)
When it comes to sea level rise, Florida has to be concerned not only by the water on the shoreline, but also by the water which will flow through & within the lands. The Everglades & its balance between fresh and salt water will suffer. [Phys]
The End of Solar Monopoly (2015-03-26)
Floridians for Solar Choice’s petitions overcame a huge step with 72,000 signatures. A number which allows it to reach the state’s Supreme Court for a potential free market. The end of utilities’ monopoly on Floridian’s energy choice is near! [Think Progress] [Floridians for Solar Choice] [Facebook]
Black Bear Hunting Proposal (2015-03-26)
Black bear hunting proposal is on its way to FWC Commission on Apr. Bear population growth and people feeding them result in attacks & dangerous encounters. Doinmytoons asks (tongue in cheek) if manatees are next since their numbers are up too. [Wesh TV Bulletin] [Bear Hunting Draft Plan] [Bear Cartoon] [FWC About Black Bear] [Poll on Bear Hunting Permit]
Changes In Lock Schedules (2015-03-25)
The US Army Corps of Engineers will reduce operating hours for all 5 locks on the Okeechobee Waterway to 7am-5pm effective April 1.This will save the Corps money while only requiring only 5% of lock users to adjust their schedules. [Corps Of Engineers Email] [Okeechobee Waterway Locks Schedule] [Satisfaction Survey]
Surfrider In Tallahassee (2015-03-25)
The number of supporters for the Everglades Action Day continues to grow. The Surfrider Foundation joined the coalition and expressed their will of clean beach and ocean and to free them from their plastic shackles made of single-use bags. [Surfrider Foundation]
Fracking In Florida: The Movie (2015-03-25)
On Apr 12, the Calusa Nature Center will display Groundswell Rising, a film that pictures people involved in a campaign against fracking and its threats. After that, you’ll attend a Q&A with Craig Stevens whose community was devastated by fracking. [Announcement] [Movie Flyer]
Maze Of Legislative Session (2015-03-25)
The legislative session is a tortuous journey towards Everglades Restoration. A new bill arrived on the House table, removing water quality requirements for Lake O and ignoring water conservation plan. Urge the Senate to oppose HB 7003 for all of us! [Bill Explained] [HB 7003 Bill]
At Least 400 Years (2015-03-25)
On the verge of absolutely vanishing due to human activities and climate change, Florida’s coral needs dedication, money and time if we want it to grow again. If all plans of the recovery team go well, the total restoration will take 400 years. [Los Angeles Times]
Jimmy Buffett For The Everglades (2015-03-24)
Everglades Coalition announced that Jimmy Buffett will join the Everglades Action Day on Apr 7 in Tallahassee. Buffett is a long-time Florida environmental supporter. Buffett will do a brief acoustic performance in addition to speaking on the issues. [Jimmy Buffett Performance] [Announcement]
Caloosahatchee Basin Visioning (2015-03-24)
Don’t forget to RSVP for the Caloosahatchee Basin Visioning Workshop on Mar 31. It’s at the UF/IFAS Hendry County Extension Office, 1085 Pratt Boulevard, LaBelle from 1-4pm. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate. [Details] [Flyer]
Sugar Land Rally Speakers (2015-03-24)
If you couldn't manage to go to the rally to buy Sugar Lands on Mar 12, you still can watch all speakers on Riverwatch Director John Scott's Youtube playlist. Follow the link below and take a moment to get informed about the rally's impact. [Youtube Playlist]
Young On Legislative Session (2015-03-24)
Advocate Linda Young describes the current Legislative session. Her analysis includes water bills, fracking bills, EPA rule about wetlands, polluted waters clean-ups, a lawsuit linked to Florida resources, and the Clean Water event. [Linda Letter] [Florida Clean Water Network]
SFWMD Land Surplus (2015-03-24)
On Mar 26, SFWMD will hold a public meeting at its headquarters in order to present a proposal to make a land approved for the District’s water management mission. If so, this property will be recommended for exchange or surplus. [SFWMD Announcement]
Amendment 1 Flouted (2015-03-24)
The FL Senate's Mar 19 spending proposal was particularly disappointing since it was less than the House’s and Rick Scott’s. Only 2 million to fund land purchase so about 84% cut from the budget. Amendment 1 yearning seems forgotten by the Senate. [Miami Herald] [Tallahassee Democrat] [Miami Herald Cartoon]
Scientists Support Land Purchase (2015-03-24)
Scientists from across the country are joining environmental activists in their struggle for water storage by purchasing the land. Their petition had been sent to several officials in order to push them into the project & counter US Sugar assertions. [WGCU] [Petition Letter] [Scientist Petition Signatories]
Thanks Nature Center Team (2015-03-21)
Nature Center team members William Faris, Kayla Koszela, Seth Carvell, Genai Santos, Diana Santos, and Louise Miller helped make the CRCA trip to Rock Lake Resort and Billy's Creek a great day of food and fun. [Genie Santos] [Seth Carvell] [Louise Miller] [William Faris takes to the creek] [Diana Santos] [Kayla Koszela Karries Kanoe & Kayak Kit]
Pine Island Overcrowding (2015-03-16)
Pine Island Civic Assoc held a meeting on the effects of population density. Without actions from Lee County, inhabitants are concerned since further growth may threaten the environment and could endanger people in the event of a traffic jam. [Meeting Debriefing] [Pine Island Land Plan]
Jeb In The Wilderness (2015-03-16)
As Jeb Bush campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination, explores his environmental record as FL governor from 1999 to 2007. In spite of tremendous efforts on Everglades resurrection, the River of Grass is still in great danger. []
Time Is Running Out (2015-03-16)
This is a crucial moment for Florida waters. Soon our legislator will vote on a budget so contact your representatives, and make their decisions reflect the peoples's desires by dedicate the money required for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. [News Press]
Effects Of Nutrient Pollution (2015-03-13)
A recent study supported by NSF shows that nutrient pollution doesn't only leads to algal blooms but also to decomposition stimulation. Leaves and woods in the stream disappear quicker, eliminating a source of carbon essential to aquatic life. [National Science Foundation]
North Spreader Salinity Readings (2015-03-13)
The North Spreader is now in its dry season stage with moderate salinity. In June or July it will convert from saltwater to a fresh water habitat. This cycle occurs every year since the Cape destroyed the Ceitus Barrier. [Original Letter] [Salinity Readings Spreadsheet]
Control The Flow (2015-03-13)
Advocating state lands purchases, Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, says the key of Everglades restoration will be dealing with flow. Land purchases bring new storage possibilities and more flexibility in water management. [News Press]
The Purchase Choice (2015-03-12)
CRCA Director Ray Judah states the US Sugar land is the key to Everglades restoration. These 46,000 acres could control Lake O stage and manage harmful nutrients. The deadline is near; the approaching vote may decide the faith of the state. [Land Critical Situation] [Support Land Purchase]
Florida Banning Words? (2015-03-11)
Florida Times Union investigative reporting uncovered evidence in several state agencies that Gov Rick Scott is making climate change denial state policy by banning the use of these words for all state employees. Absolutely shocking! [Tristram Korten Article] [Times Union] [Huffington Post] [Video of Bart Bibler Case] [Scott Denial]
Roadblock to Land Purchase (2015-03-11)
In a Mar 12 meeting Jim Moran, SFWMD governing board member and Palm Beach attorney at Reed, Griffith & Moran, asserted counter-arguments against land purchases. He cites current incapacity for moving large volumes of water and other issues [Palm Beach Post]
Carl Hiaasen on Sugar Puppets (2015-03-08)
In a Miami Herald commentary, famed author/humorist Carl Hiaasen calls out Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli for becoming a puppet of big sugar by quashing the EAA land purchase needed for a southern flow way. [Miami Herald] [Carl Hiaasen Commentary] [DoinMyToons Puppets]
SFWMD Says Happier Days Ahead (2015-03-05)
The 2015 South Florida Environmental Report highlights progress in Everglades' Restoration such as improvements in water quality & water management practices. SFWMD says their strategies could bring a brighter future for the Florida environment. [SFWMD Press Release] [South Florida Environmental Report]
Rally To Buy Sugar Lands (2015-03-05)
On Mar 12 more than 100 protesters rallied outside the SFWMD governing board meeting room while others made their voices heard to the SFWMD decision makers in the meeting. Citizens continue to march in the face of state intransigence. [WPEC CBS12] [WBBH NBC2] [CBS Miami]
AWRA March Technical Meeting (2015-03-05)
A technical meeting, organized by AWRA, will be held Mar 27 at Archbold Biological Station. This session will focus on recent progress in preservation programs and technologies used for water treatment. You have until Mar 25 to register online. [Details] [Website]
Tribute To The Shark Lady (2015-03-03)
A life of discovering, adventure, and dedication to marine life just came to its end Feb 25. Eugenie Clark quickly became a model for marine biologists, her tenacity and great mind left a legacy for generations in the understatement of our ocean. [National Geographic Article]
Fracking Champion (2015-03-03)
On March 2, Ray Rodrigues of Estero sponsored 3 bills in the Florida House of Representatives to encourage and protect fracking methods of oil & gas exploration in Florida. These are House Bill 1205 & 1207 (clean up funds) plus 1209 (chemical secrets). [Petition Letter] [Fracking in Florida] [Fracking Bills] [Share The Petition]
Land Buy Press Conference (2015-03-03)
Sierra Club & other environmental groups will hold a press conference at 1pm on Wed, Mar 4 in Centennial Park in Ft. Myers to urge SFWMD to buy the U.S. Sugar Land for water storage and flow to the south. [News Alert] [Send It South]
UF Says Buy the Land! (2015-03-03)
The UF report concludes, "Given the limited opportunity and the uncertainty of any future similar opportunities to purchase large acreages of lands in the EAA, the state should consider this time-limited option." This is academic-speak for "DO IT!" [Full UF Report] [Key Excerpts]
Ships Over Coral Reef? (2015-03-02)
A dredging operation, conducted in the name of port, heavily damaged Miami’s Biscayne Bay Coral reef. The reef is now gray and dead due to sediments and will avoid destruction only if serious measures will be taken soon. [National Geographic Article]
Warn The Governing Board (2015-03-02)
SFWMD Governing Board meeting will be held on Mar 12. It’s time to contact Blake Guillory to ask him to add a discussion of the EAA land purchases to the Agenda. Send him an email by Mar 4 to make the voice of Everglades restoration heard. [Original Letter] [Governing Board Meeting Dates]
Debating Land Buy Merits (2015-02-27)
Environmental advocates made their case for the EAA lands purchase to SFWMD Governing Members at a Feb 12 meeting. The Board politely acknowledged their input but basically told them not to hold their breathes waiting for a vote of support. [SFWMD Meeting Video] [Photo]
SCCF River Restoration Project (2015-02-26)
SCCF has received a $500,000 grant to replace and restore damaged habitats to a pre-2013 level. SCCF will provide substrate to promote healthy oyster reef development and will also grow and replant submerged aquatic vegetation. [DEP News] [Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation]
Save Everglades With Images (2015-02-26)
Everglades supporters recently broke the fragile peace between them and the sugar industry. The everglades restoration seeks to obtain EAA lands and the industry doesn't seem to understand or care about the risks despite many years of discussion. [News Press]
TV Campaign for Land Purchase (2015-02-26)
Everglades advocates launched a six-figure TV, radio and online campaign to push state leaders to use Amendment 1 water and land conservation money to buy U.S. Sugar land south of Lake O so more water flows to the Everglades. [Tampa Bay] [TV Campaign] [Save Everglades With Images]
No Red Tide (2015-02-26)
According to the recent report, Karenia brevis, the FL red tide organism, was not detected in samples analyzed this week throughout Fla. Visit FL HAB's Facebook page to learn interesting facts concerning red tide & other harmful algae blooms in FL. [FL HABs Facebook]
Senate Public Suggestion (2015-02-26)
Let’s your voice be heard by participating by a suggestion on how you want the funding from the Amendment to be spent. By this kind of action and in all others we participate in each day, we’ll soon make a difference. [Senate Website]
State of Everglades Report (2015-02-26)
The State of the Everglades Report is published twice a year to provide updates on recent progress and new challenges. The publication is full of news and information and is a great way to catch up on all of Audubon's Everglades efforts. [State of Everglades Fall/Winter 2014] [Web Site]
2015 Legislative Platform (2015-02-26)
Sierra Club encourages members to promote a list of key policies in dialog with legislators (call 'em up and schedule a visit on a matter in which you are interested); support this platform in conversation with your neighbors, workmates and friends. [Sierra Club Florida News]
Legislature Tackles Water Woes (2015-02-26)
The five key aspects to be discussed during the legislative session that begins March 3 are: 1)water quantity; 2)water quality; 3)springs; 4)everglades; and 5)funding. Florida lawmakers plan to overhaul (some say keelhaul) the state’s water policy. [Herald Tribune]
Thanks To Our Rally Sponsors! (2015-02-26)
We would like to extend a special thanks to a group of members who each stepped forward to donate $50 each to sponsor student participation in the Floridian's for Clean Water & Amendment 1 Rally in Tallahassee on Feb 18. [List of Donors]
EAA Land Purchases (2015-02-26)
Florida State Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation) opposes the EAA Land Purchases which many advocacy groups support. She does not think it is a responsible way to spend the majority of Amendment 1 funds. [Palm Beach Post] [Rep. Edwards Web Site]
Sequel to Amendment 1 (2015-02-26)
The legislative session started Feb 3 and will last 60 days. During these 2 months voters will learn whether the politicians will honor the intent of Amendment 1, approved by 75% of Florida voters in November. [News Press]
Pollution Scandal of Scott & Koch (2015-02-26)
FCWN's attorney Steve Medina wrote an exclusive story about how Rick Scott ignored the Florida Constitution again when he gave the Koch brothers permission to dump tons of toxic waste into the St Johns River every single day from their GP papermill. [Linda Young's Comment] [Daily Kos] [HTML Version]
The Cost of Growth (2015-02-26)
Deeply concerned about the future of Lee Co. where the population is approaching 700,000, Roger Williams questions the County Commissioners. As the population grows so will the needs for good roads, parks, schools & EMTs. Who & how will pay for that? [Roger William Opinion] [About Roger in 2007] [Florida Weekly]
Caloosahatchee Basin Visioning (2015-02-26)
UF/IFAS invites interested stakeholders to participate in a 3-hour Caloosahatchee Basin Visioning workshop on Mar 31 at the UF/IFAS Hendry County Extension Office, 1085 Pratt Boulevard, LaBelle from 1-4pm. RSVP requested. [Details] [Flier]
Follow The Stream (2015-02-26)
You may be aware that South Florida Water Management District is moving water from Lake O. There is an interactive website where you can follow the activity and see the progress of this task with aerial views and photos. [Interactive Lake]
Student Poster Contest Winners (2015-02-26)
This year's SWFL Water Resources Conference was, for the first time, AWRA's statewide student research poster contest. Cash prizes were offered for the best research posters, with 1, 2, & 3-place awards to graduate and undergraduate students. [Winners!] [Amy & Poster] [Conference Web Site]
Water Reform Troubles (2015-02-26)
Despite the promises of the Amendment 1 and its 75% approval, politicians don’t seem to identify the roots of the Florida water issues. Instead, expansive projects are created, more to preserve special interests than to restore degraded waters. [Tallahassee Democrat Guest Opinion]
Fish Kill Hotline (2015-02-26)
Through the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission web site, concerned citizens can submit fish kill reports. The toll-free hotline offers information about how and where to report fish kills, fish with parasites, & other fish abnormalities. [Fish Kill Hotline Report] [Submit a Fish Kill Report]
Land Purchase Resolution (2015-02-26)
On Feb 9, 2015 the City of Stuart adopted a new resolution urging the SFWMD to purchase 46,000 acres of land south of Lake O from US Sugar for water storage to insure proper protection of the St. Lucie and Indian River Estuaries. [Resolution 08-2015]
Riverkeeper Action in Georgia (2015-02-26)
The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper in Georgia discovered that a local business discharged huge amount of pollutants near the river before it left town. Taxpayers may face the expense of the cleaning since the company hasn't been forced to yet. [TV Posting] [WSBTV Video]
Pine Island Plan in Trouble (2015-02-26)
On Feb 17, a local law firm provided commissioners with a presentation on Pine Island Plan claiming that community plans that restrict development cannot be defended in court. Comm. Frank Mann said the county should continue to enforce the Plan. [Letter to the Editor]
Glaring Omission in DEP Report (2015-02-26)
John Cassani wrote to DEP asking why critical information was omitted from the BMAP Progress Report, despite a prior request for its inclusion. DEP appears to be trying to paint a deceptive picture of progress on water quality in the Caloosahatchee. [Details] [Graph]
New DEP Special Counsel (2015-02-26)
Craig Varn is now a Special Counsel on Water Policy for Florida Department of Environmental Protection. With his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, he brings a helpful expertise for the DEP as well as his experience in stormwater management. [DEP Bulletin] [Craig Varn's Profile] [DEP Website]
March For Ocean Justice (2015-02-26)
The Obama administration has made available the Atlantic territory to petroleum companies for sonic mapping. This is a first step towards offshore drilling in Florida. On Mar 7, join Environmental Youth Council for a rally to reversal this decision. [Announcement] [Obama Cartoon 2] [Obama Cartoon 3] [Article] [Facebook Event] [Flyer]
Florida Treading Water - Nat. Geo. (2015-02-26)
The feature story in the February issue of National Geographic says Florida’s bill is coming due, as the costs of climate change add up around the globe. By 2100 it will cost Cape Coral $4.2 billion, affecting 10,000 homes - $420,000/home. [Feature Article] [Costs to Cities] [Florida in 2100] [National Geographic]
The Unseen Everglades (2015-02-25)
The Unseen Everglades takes a deeper look at the history of our cherished lands. This documentary aims to educate people and make them realize how much the Glades are important for us. The situation is critical and the restoration crucial. [News Press] [Just Peachy Productions Website]
Cyanotoxins In Our Glasses (2015-02-25)
According to the AWWA, algal blooms in our watersheds lead to cyanotoxins pollution, another disaster for our drinking water and ecosystem. In a message to the Congress, they recommend them to consider efficient ways to deal with nutrient pollution. [News Press] [Saturated River] [AWWA Website] [Algal Bloom] [Lake Erie Example]
The Everglades Case (2015-02-25)
The Everglades are a major part of our ecosystem and Amendment 1 can make a huge difference in its restoration, but only if our politicians handle the money properly. This short Univ of Miami animation summarizes perfectly the situation. [Animation]
Wetlands vs Sea Level Rise (2015-02-25)
Still wondering how Everglades and other wetlands affect salt water intrusion? This animation is made for you. Within 2 minutes you’ll be able to understand the purpose of Everglades and other wetlands restoration & their role against sea level rise. [Animation] [Sketch]
Septic Tanks Hazard (2015-02-24)
According to Linda Young’s new report, about 40% of Florida's septic tanks don’t function properly and less than 1% are inspected each year. It’s terrifying news, since these systems can be an environmental catastrophe if not maintained correctly. [Schematic] [Original Email] [Article]
In The Weeds (2015-02-24)
Officials are claiming that details of a southern flow way would cause it to not work and using them as justification for not buying the remaining U.S. Sugar land. This purchase was the real purpose of Amendment 1 that passed with 75% approval. [News Press] [In The Weeds]
Water Policy in Florida House (2015-02-24)
Despite a rally by voters advocating the Florida Legislature use Amendment 1 funds as voters intended (for land purchases), a bill sponsored by Matt Caldwell of Lehigh Acres might siphon away much of the money to agricultural BMP cost sharing. [News Press] [Water Bill]
Infinite Water (2015-02-24)
A University of Miami research project has created a system allowing urban buildings to operate off the water utility grid. Wastewater is treated adjacent buildings where it is generated then reused as potable water after removing all contaminants. [News Press] [Details] [Project website]
Rescued Manatee (2015-02-23)
Everything went well for Trinidad, a male manatee which was transferred to SeaWorld in Orlando last week. He is now closer to his final destination: Tampa Bay, and will stay at Orlando until the conditions appear optimal for his release. [News Press]
Buy The Land, Send It South! (2015-02-22)
Riverwatch director John Scott delivered a forceful, intelligent appeal on behalf of the Caloosahatchee River at the Feb 18 rally in Tallahassee. He stated the logic for the "Buy the Land, Send It South" solution to regional water quality problems. [John Scott speech at rally] [All Rally Speakers]
Pumping in Lake Okeechobee (2015-02-20)
After Mirror Lake last week, it’s Lake Okeechobee’s turn to participate in water releasing program. With those releases from the lake to estuaries, South Florida Water Management District aims to regulate our watershed and improve water quality. [News Press]
Endangered Coast (2015-02-19)
The results of a study about the effects of climate change on coastal areas just came out. It appears that the upwelling, a mechanism that brings nutrient-rich waters, could damage marine biodiversity and creates dead zones if it increases too much. [National Science Foundation]
History of the Caloosahatchee (2015-02-10)
In 1998, Carolyn A. Kimes and L.C. Crocker of FGCU produced a historical overview of the Caloosahatchee River. The 72-page report describes all the various projects that modified the river into its modern conditions. [Kimes & Crocker]
Land Buy Action Alert! (2015-02-02)
Urge the Florida legislature to purchase land in the EAA for a reservoir before the option expires this year. Purchase of the land for a reservoir will create the opportunity to flow water south out of Lake Okeechobee and relieve our estuary. [SCCF Call for Action]
Last Pinfish in Estero Bay (2015-02-02)
The News Press' Kevin Lollar documents the trials and tribulations of FGCU's Bob Wasno as he attempted to net the Pinfish bait species in Estero Bay for a captive breeding program. An entire day netted two of the elusive and dwindling fish. [News Press] [Great Video!]
Corps Starting to Listen (2015-02-01)
SCCF's Rae Ann Wessel points to the Corps of Engineers' recent limiting of S-79 discharges to the Caloosahatchee estuary as evidence that the Corps is listening to input from Lee County organizations & scientists. Things can improve over time. [Caloosahatchee Conditions]
Pumping into Nicodemus Slough (2015-01-31)
Storing water in places like Nicodemus Slough (located adjacent Fisheating Creek and Lake O) is one way SFWMD is limiting excess flows to the Caloosahatchee during this abnormally "wet" dry season for Lake O this year. [WPTV, Jan 30] [WPTV, Jan 14]
$1.6B, Down From $3.2 & $2.9 (2015-01-29)
In his 2015-16 budget, Gov Scott recommends $1.6 billion for Florida's natural and water resources. In its 2013-14 analysis, Florida Tax Watch shows $2.9 billion in funding for environmental purposes and $3.2 in 2014-15. [Scott Press Release] [Tax Watch 2013-14] [Tax Watch 2014-15] [Keep Florida Working]
Springs Eternal Presentations (2015-01-29)
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will host two presentations of Florida nature photographer John Moran's The Springs Eternal Project Exhibition "Florida's Fragile Fountains of Youth" on Feb 4 in Ft. Myers. [Press Release] [Web Site] [Springs Eternal Project]
Major Fruit Pest Hates Heights (2015-01-29)
In less than a decade, the Asian citrus psyllid has spread throughout Florida, destroying half the orange groves in the state, and spread to other states. Researchers have found a weakness in the pest that is decimating the Florida citrus industry. [Growing Florida]
State Blind to Pollution Problem (2015-01-29)
Before a BMAP meeting in which DEP spun the Caloosahatchee Basin water quality situation to the positive, John Cassani provided a reality check by documenting how total nitrogen concentration trend data show worsening conditions from 1990 to 2014. [News-Press] [Clean Water Network Report] [Nitrogen Trending Upward]
Cows at Center of State (2015-01-29)
Every state faces its own water quality battles. In Vermont the Conservation Law Foundation is asking that the court require farms to use best management practices to prevent manure from flowing into waterways. []
20/20 Dissection (2015-01-29)
For those who want to believe that Conservation 20/20 has achieved its goal, today Lee County lags far behind its neighboring counties and state averages in both acres and percentage of county land that are preserved & protected, says Bruce Bunch. [News-Press Editorial]
Save the Tarpon...Tournament (2015-01-29)
A lawyer working for Professional Tarpon Tournament Series is once again threatening to haul Save The Tarpon into court – this time in an apparent effort to cripple the group’s legal defense fundraising efforts to protect tarpon habitat. [Save The Tarpon] [Cartoon] [Web Site]
Amendment 1 ALERT (2015-01-29)
Take Action Today to help address devastating water releases to the estuary and assure Amendment 1 funding is used for appropriate projects. We need your support and ask that you take important actions now. This effort will protect our local economy. [Details]
10-yr, $750M Clean-up of Lake O (2015-01-28)
DEP adopted a 10-year, $750M plan to clean up Lake O. It includes work to restore the Kissimmee River, dispersed water storage and stormwater treatment areas. But as the state works to fill the hole, it must also require others to stop digging. [News-Press]
Major Solar Power Projects in FL (2015-01-28)
Florida utility company Gulf Power announced plans to work with the U.S. Navy and Air Force to build three major utility-scale solar power projects at Florida Panhandle bases, with a combined output of 120 MWt. That's enough power for 18,000 homes. [Orlando Sentinel, Jan 22] [Orlando Sentinel, Jan 26] []
Billions on Table for Everglades (2015-01-28)
Gov. Scott announced that the state will commit $5B over 20 years to fully fund the state's portion of Everglades projects like the Caloosahatchee River reservoir, a massive compound designed to store upwards of 55B gallons of stormwater run-off. [News-Press]
SWFRPC Adopts Water Resolution (2015-01-27)
Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council adopted a water plan with many good provisions. The resolution also calls managing Lake O at a slightly (6") higher water level than the desired 15.5 ft advocated by environmental groups. [SWFRPC Resolution ]
Florida Corruption (2015-01-27)
In recent study about political corruption conducted by researches at Harvard University Center for Ethics, Florida scored a 3 – on its perception of illegal corruption in the executive branch. Our Legislature was rated a 4. [News-Press]
Florida Makes Top 10 (2015-01-03)
Florida ranks in the top 10 of state corruption according to a survey of journalists by Harvard researchers. The survey looked at legal and illegal corruption in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. AZ was most corrupt and MA least. [Research Seminar] [Harvard Center for Ethics] [News-Press]
Pope on Destruction of Creation (2014-12-30)
Pope Francis will officially urge Catholics to push for action on climate change. He stated "Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.” [Ars Technica] [Opponents Quickly React] [The Atlantic] [The New Republic]
Air Potato Biological Control (2014-08-19)
USDA, FDACS and UF are working together to rear and release air potato beetles in Florida to combat air potato, a non-native invasive plant. Today public can obtain air potato leaf beetles by filling out and submitting an appropriate application. [Application Forms] [Program Web Site]
Seems Logical (2014-08-14)
While it may be logical to use mangrove forests as natural barriers to coastal effects of sea level rise, the question in SW FL is whether houses will get out of the way to make room for mangroves. [International Water Power and Dam Construction]
Off the Endangered Species List (2014-08-13)
On Jul 1st Federal officials announced, after a libertarian law group called the Pacific Legal Foundation sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Apr, that manatees have been taken off the endangered list. Manatees have been on the list since 1967. [Tampa Bay Times 1] [Tampa Bay Times 2]
CRCA Letter to EPA (2014-07-31)
CRCA calls upon EPA & Corps to take non-point sources of pollution into account in the permitting process. Exclusion of non-point sources has been treated as if they were insignificant. This willful tolerance of major pollution should not continue. [Riverwatch Letter]
Improve Your Gardening Skills (2014-06-25)
Interested in plants management and how to improve your skills with plants? Come to discover and learn more about the benefits the native plants can bring! The meeting is going to be July 5, at Garden Center. Complete Information below. [Gardening Improvements] [Invitation]
Treatment for Citrus Greening (2014-06-17)
The University of Florida's researches have successfully developing a treatment against a devastating disease in citrus trees in Florida. The treatment, which has been tested in laboratory only, is already to be tested in actual citrus groves. [Punta Gorda Herald]
Support Limits on Carbon (2014-06-16)
EPA has established a new standard for carbon emissions from power plants in the U.S. The Climate Reality Project encourages you to let the EPA know your opinion on their efforts to slow climate change. [The Climate Reality Project]
Economic Benefits of Springs (2014-06-10)
Recent studies by The University of Florida show the economic and environmental benefits that springs can bring to the community and State. The research was conducted in ecosystems of North-Central Florida, where so many have been terribly degraded. [Spring Benefits]
Why Citrus Greening Matters (2014-05-31)
Insecticide use skyrocketed as farmer try to fight Citrus Greening. FL citrus growers now spend about $240 million a year on insecticides - 30% more than 2004, even though they're farming about 30% less land and yielding half as much fruit. [Huffington Post]
Pieces of the Water Puzzle (2014-05-28)
Given divergent political and environmental tasks and interests, achieving water quality restoration requires economic, political, and public support. The News Press outlines current projects and the history of water quality efforts in our region. [News Press]
Septic Tanks Dominate (2014-05-07)
The nitrate polluting one central Florida spring travels 10 years from source to spring. Sources, past and present include: 40% - septic tanks, then cattle ranches, horse farms, drainage wells, and residential fertilizer. [Ocala News]
Change Requires Risk (2014-05-06)
All too common in the FL environmental saga is a retired DEP or WMD employee/leader telling the public how terrible their agency & the legislature was and is. Complaining while employed risks their job & promotions, so best to wait until retirement. [Rattler News]
Wanted Dead & Filleted (2014-04-24)
Since Lionfish were first reported off Lee County in 2011, they've become increasingly prevalent and more of a threat to local fish populations. Marine scientists have organized a Lionfish fest because the fish is very bad but taste good. [News Press] [Video] [Lionfish Fest]
Most Endangered Rivers (2014-04-18)
San Joaquin River in CA is one of the nation's most endangered river in 2014. Widespread diversions of water for agriculture and human consumption can put rivers at a breaking point. The Caloosahatchee was on the list in 2006. [USA Today] [American Rivers] [Caloosahatchee] [Map]
Service Learning Contact (2014-01-22)
If you want to pursue one of these service learning or internship projects, contact Dr. John Capece by emailing Riverwatch @ He will assist you or refer you to other Riverwatch officers managing specific projects. [Email Riverwatch]
Online Guide to Student Projects (2014-01-22)
The online version of Riverwatch's projects guide provides links to additional information & photographs describing Service Learning Projects available to FGCU students. Some of these projects can be expanded into internships for qualified students. []
Membership (2014-01-22)
Anyone interested in the conservation, educational & scientific pursuits of CRCA Riverwatch can join the organization. Student membership is $10. Become active in the issues affecting the Caloosahatchee River and its estuary.
History of the Organization (2014-01-22)
Created in 1995, CRCA-Riverwatch is dedicated to the protection of the River and its watershed, through education & promotion of the responsible use of the river for the enjoyment of all people. CRCA continues to grow & expands its mission & message.
Other River Projects (2014-01-22)
Students can become creative & develop their own ideas for Riverwatch projects to address important issues of our watershed & estuary and the problems of concern to you. Become the regional leader of tomorrow by being the student leader of today.
Nature Park Plant IDs (2014-01-22)
Students can help create a system of LaBelle Nature Park plant ID markers with QR codes, web site photos and information pages, revised brochures, and new kiosk posters. It’s a big job requiring a team of students. [Example Poster] [Current Brochure]
Ceitus Saga Continues (2014-01-14)
A lawsuit filed Dec 27 by Riverwatch and others against Cape Coral and Florida DEP seeks to enforce a 2008 agreement and consent order requiring the city to replace the Ceitus Barrier and include either a boat lift or lock. [News Press] [More]
Reality of Sea Level Rising (2014-01-13)
Sea level rise is a critical issue. The magnitude of its impacts on the state seem overwhelming, but with a proper understanding of the issue & the ability to proactively plan, there is a great deal we can do to mitigate worst-case scenarios. [Article] [Graphic]
Compliance Costs vs Profits (2014-01-13)
Metting Caloosahatchee pollution reductions goals will cost Lee County $60 million over the next 13 years. Despite this and other facts the Lee BOCC has reduced its impact fees by 80%, accepting industry falsehoods that development pays for itself. [More] [Review]
Oil Spill Fines (2014-01-13)
A federal judge in New Orleans will soon decide how much oil company BP has to pay in Clean Water Act fines for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. Florida's economy and environment are intimately connected. [Tampa Bay Times]
The Lost Summer (2014-01-10)
2013 is called 'Lost Summer' because of toxic algae blooms. Last July in Central Florida it meant an overflowing Lake O & the dumping of millions of gallons of polluted freshwater into the rivers. What happens in Lake doesn't stay in the Lake. [Article]
Water Pollution Limits (2014-01-09)
A federal judge is signing off on Florida’s water pollution rules, but environmentalists are blasting the decision. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle approved turning over responsibility for implementing water pollution rules to the State of Florida. []
Water Quality Outlook for 2014 (2014-01-09)
Coastal Florida is heavily dependent on tourism. You can't have a healthy coast without clean water. Water quality dominated headlines in 2013 as heavy rains, stormwater & agriculture run-off fed algal blooms, shut down swimming beaches… [News Press]
Arrested Enforcement (2014-01-09)
Enforcement of anti-pollution laws in Florida has plummeted to historic low levels during the second full year of Governor’s tenure. Unprecedented deep across-the-board declines occurred in all areas of enforcement activity in nearly every district. [More]
FDACS Water Initiative (2014-01-08)
Ever since he took the reins of Florida Department of Agriculture, Commissioner Adam Putnam has made speeches on the critical importance of water management and conservation. But in reality, he won't do anything that slows or costs the ag industry. [Highlands Today]
Wind Turbines & Birds (2014-01-08)
Hundreds of thousands of birds are killed by wind turbines. In late November, the Obama administration fined Duke Energy Renewables $1 million for illegally killing birds. The pressure is now on for wind energy companies to reduce bird mortality. [Grist]
Our Opinion Endangered (2014-01-07)
The Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act (SB1731) by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., would hand more control of endangered species decisions to the states. Translation: Economics would gain the upper hand over species protection. []
Reservoir Not Much Use (2014-01-07)
Radel considers WRDA's passage an indication of bipartisan support for the Caloosahatchee. In theory it could be but the reservoir will be used to hold water from nearby basins, not from what may come from the lake & not do much to improve conditions [News Press]
Lake O Disgusting (2014-01-07)
The color of Lake O is brown. This happens because of the last 40 years with big agriculture, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers... Who is really to blame? Like said a comic-strip philosopher named Pogo: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” [News Press] [Cartoon]
Waterway Distress (2014-01-07)
Distress over the condition of a waterway, Spring Creek. Decades ago the water was always clear, there was an abundance of fish. Currently the water is so shallow, they no longer see the abundance of wildlife & the water is now very murky. [News Press]
Growing Ceitus Insistence (2014-01-06)
CRCA has filed legal action against DEP & Cape Coral for their failure to replace the Ceitus Boat Lift. The two conspired to appear to meet their legal requirements while never intending to approve any permit or build any replacement structure. [Cartoon] [Lehigh Citizen] [Press Release] [News Press]
Caloosahatchee River Too Salty (2014-01-06)
Weeks after suffering damaging effects from too much water, the Caloosahatchee River is now running too salty. Salinity levels at the W.P Franklin Lock and Dam near Olga have jumped from zero to 18 parts per thousand in the last 10 weeks. [News Press]
Starfish Are Dying (2014-01-06)
Something is killing starfish up & down the West Coast and no one knows what. A mysterious illness that first appeared in June in Washington state has now spread from Sitka, Alaska, to San Diego. A healthy group of starfish can die in just 24 hours. [USA Today]
Warmest November (2013-12-18)
November, 2013 is the fourth-warmest year on record. Fueled primarily by phenomenal warmth in Russia, the Earth as a whole had its warmest November on record, according to data released Tuesday by scientists at the National Climatic Data Center. [USA Today] [Graphic]
Sea Level Rise (2013-12-18)
How high will they go? Scientists don't know exactly how much the seas will rise, but they see an accelerating climb that could range from 8 inches to more than 6 feet by century's end. [Graphic] [USA Today]
2013 Not The Best Year (2013-12-18)
Global warming or animals extinction, 2013 was not the best year in human history. Enough fossil fuels were burned so that carbon pollution levels hit the milestone of 400 parts per million. Scientists confirmed, again, that this is bad news. [Article]