Friday, January 8, 2010

Florida environmental and wildlife news for the week ending 1-8-10


Manatee death rate hit record high in '09

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

Related editorial: Boats, cars take high toll on Florida's creatures

It was a landmark year, good and bad, for Florida manatees.

Florida's big chill stuns sea turtles, send manatees in search of balmy waters

By Tamara Lush

The Associated Press

More than 200 manatees are wintering in a balmy canal outside a power plant, the latest exotic Florida animals seeking refuge from the state's frigid temperatures.

Tragic year in Florida for panthers

By Bill Sargent

Florida Today

For the endangered Florida Panther, 2009 will be remembered as a tragic year for road kills that went down to the last day.

Wading bird population soars in 2009

By Erika Pesantes

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Wading bird populations, specifically the endangered wood stork, soared in 2009, according to a South Florida Water Management District report.

Navy faces lawsuit over submarine training range near Jacksonville

By Ludmilla Lelis

Orlando Sentinel

With the U.S. Navy intent on building a new anti-submarine training range off the Florida coast, a group of environmentalists announced it would file a lawsuit to halt the plans, saying the range poses a risk to the world's most endangered whale.

Court records reveal trouble at Turkey Point

By John Dorschner

Miami Herald

When Coleen Ware walked into Turkey Point, she was shocked to see that the indicators showing control rod positions looked like something out of an early '70s sci-fi movie.

Florida officials look at bag ban

By Jim Ash

Tallahassee Democrat

When he gets to the register, Drew Martin always has to explain.

Historic Everglades restoration project starts in Picayune Strand

By Eric Staats

Naples News

Bulldozers carved up 55,000 acres south of Interstate 75 in rural Collier County with roads and canals, slicing through wildlife habitat and cutting off water flows.

Everglades Coalition conference to discuss restoration

By Curtis Morgan

Miami Herald

Progress, or the lack of it, on Everglades restoration is the focus of a major environmental conference this weekend in Palm Beach Gardens.

New rules put fish off limits

By Jim Waymer

Florida Today

Starting this month, Florida fishermen no longer can keep red snapper or 11 species of shallow-water grouper from the Atlantic.

Wading birds like the endangered Wood Stork have been flourishing in Florida’s wetlands this year.


The Big Oil roundup: news and information about Big Oil’s push to rig Florida’s coastline for the week ending 1-8-10:

Oil drilling researchers face deadline

By Jeremy Wallace

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A group that stands to have considerable influence over the future of oil drilling off the Florida coast is unlikely to present its findings to the Legislature until the first week of March.

Promises of jobs, revenues from offshore drilling just don't add up

By Scott Maddox

TC Palm

I am strongly opposed to allowing near-shore drilling for oil off Florida’s coast. In coming to this conclusion, I considered several questions.

Oil lobby scaling back its presence in Tally

By John Kennedy

The News Service of Florida via Orlando Sentinel

Florida Energy Associates, the group spearheading the effort to open the state’s Gulf waters to offshore oil-drilling, is scaling back its once dominant presence at the state Capitol.

Southern Strategy, hit on offshore drilling by Welch, loses bid

By David DeCamp

St. Petersburg Times

Southern Strategy Group, the influential lobbying firm based in Tallahassee, has lost a bid to be Pinellas County's consultant for its latest charter review.

CEPD chairman receives ovation following speech

By Jane Brickley

Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Mike Mullins, chairman of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District received a standing ovation from the audience last Tuesday after he addressed the Lee County Legislative Delegation at Edison State College.

Drilling in the Gulf or Hands Across the Sand?: Debate spills into Destin Chamber of Commerce

By Fraser Sherman

Destin Log

If the beauty of the Emerald Coast doesn't convince you to oppose oil drilling, South Walton's David Rauschkolb says, think of the beauty of the Emerald Coast economy.

Top Dem offshore oil drilling advocate retiring

By Jeremy Wallace

Sarasota Herald-Tribune

One of the U.S. Senate’s most vocal pro-oil drilling Democrats has announced he’s retiring and won’t see re-election in 2010.

A day at the beach


Gainesville Sun

Would legislators take notice if tens of thousands of Floridians joined hands on Feb. 13 to protect Florida's beaches? We hope so, right now they only seem to be taking notice of Big Oil's money and influence.

Near-Shore Oil Drilling: Deep-Sea Tech Wrong for Florida


Lakeland Ledger

Floridians and their legislators have had many reasons to be skeptical since proposals surfaced rapidly to open near-shore waters to exploration and drilling for oil.


Write Your State Senator: Big Oil's Promises Are "Empty"

Big Oil and their hired hands in Tallahassee have sworn that drilling Florida’s coast would be “invisible” – that there would be no unsightly rigs just a few miles off our coast. We know different – and a recent eye opening story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has proven Big Oil’s promises completely “empty.” Click the picture above – keeping the pressure on by letting our State Senators know people like you are paying attention is how we’ll beat Big Oil.


Help Drill for Solutions Not for Oil, via Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Let us decide! Petition to Governor Charlie Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, and House Speaker Larry Cretul, via Civic Concern.

Contact Your Officials About New Drilling Off Florida's Coasts, via Civic Concern.

Ask your state legislators to keep the rigs out, via Save the Manatee Club.

Write a letter to the editor, via Audubon of Florida.

Write your state legislators, via Audubon of Florida.

Urge Senate President Jeff Atwater to oppose offshore oil drilling, via Progress Florida.

Tell Sen. Atwater Not To Allow Oil Drilling In Special Session, via Audubon of Florida.

Sign the petition against oil drilling, via Protect Florida’s Beaches.

Tell Salazar: No drilling off Florida's Coast, via Environment Florida.

Tell new Senator LeMieux to Repower America, via Environment Florida.

Related action: Don't go drill crazy in the Everglades, via Center for Biological Diversity.

Related action: Keep oil drilling out of climate change legislation, via Oceana.


Hands Across The Sand website; their Twitter page is here.

Protect Florida’s Beaches, recently launched coalition website.

Protect Florida’s Beaches on Facebook.

Think, Baby, Think blog via Protect Florida’s Beaches.

Don’t Drill Florida website.

Don’t Drill Florida Facebook page.

Save Our Shores Florida website; their Twitter page is here.

Save Our Shores Florida Facebook page.

Environment Florida offshore drilling page.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy offshore drilling page.

Skytruth blog, an excellent source of info.

Not the Answer blog, courtesy Surfrider Foundation.

Eye-opening map of oil and gas leases and infrastructure in Gulf of Mexico, via MMS., online hub of drilling proponents; their Twitter page is here.


Species return as Kissimmee River restoration makes progress

By Kevin Spear

Orlando Sentinel

Biologist Lawrence Glenn knows how to sell the concept of spending $1 billion to bring the Kissimmee River and its wetlands back from the dead.

Everglades advocates gathering to push for restoration progress

By Andy Reid

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Flying low over the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee, Everglades advocates look out the window and visualize the time before sugar cane fields and cities blocked the life-giving flow of lake water that once drifted slowly south.

Obama environment officials to visit Fla.

The Associated Press

Tampa Tribune

Officials from the Obama Administration plan a visit to Florida this week for events related to ongoing Everglades restoration.

Florida joins with Ala., Ga. in seeking closed water talks

By Bruce Ritchie

Alabama, Florida and Georgia have agreed to at least one issue in their dispute over water -- that their talks on a water agreement should remain confidential.

Talks in works to protect more corridor land

By Dinah Voyles Pulver

Daytona Beach News-Journal

When two local officials proposed preserving a wildlife corridor through the center of Volusia and Flagler counties in 1998, it seemed to some an impossible dream.

Despite cold, right whales still flocking to First Coast

By Marcia Lane

St. Augustine Record

A week of cold weather isn't discouraging the annual North Atlantic right whale migration to Florida; in fact, the mammals couldn't be happier.

93 "cold-stunned" sea turtles found floating

The Associated Press

Miami Herald

Ninety-three sea turtles found floating in the Mosquito Lagoon along Florida's Atlantic coast were rescued after the cold water shocked their tropically inclined systems.

Activists decry elephant suit dismissal

Staff Report

UPI News

Animal rights activists say they disagree with the dismissal of a lawsuit against a Florida-based circus by a federal judge this week.

FPL is accused of not sharing its tax break

By Mary Ellen Klas

Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times Tallahassee Bureau

The Florida Public Service Commission said Tuesday it is looking into anonymous allegations that Florida Power & Light's parent company took an estimated $1 billion in tax credits -- and didn't pass the savings on to customers.

New leader of PSC to take on FPL's requested $1.2B rate hike

By Dara Kam

Palm Beach Post

Public Service Commission Chairwoman Nancy Argenziano, who earned a reputation as a maverick lawmaker unwilling to cede to leaders' demands, took over as head of the regulatory panel today in advance of a decision on Florida Power & Light Co.'s requested $1.2 billion-a-year rate hike.

3 states in water wars ask for confidentiality

The Associated Press

Tampa Tribune

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have asked a judge to keep their negotiations in the long-running regional legal fight over water rights confidential.

Sea grass plan doesn't cut it


St. Petersburg Times

Boat propellers have sliced up underwater sea grass beds all around Florida, impairing the environment needed to nurture marine wildlife.

U.S. Sugar shareholder suit ends in $15.9M settlement

By Paul Quinlan

Palm Beach Post

If there was any doubt that U.S. Sugar Corp. was worth as much as its brass claimed, those doubts dissipated in June 2008 when Gov. Charlie Crist unveiled his extraordinary, $1.75 billion bid to buy the company and its land to restore the Everglades.

DEP says incineration, innovation can help reach 75-percent recycling goal

By Bruce Ritchie

Florida can increase its recycling rate to 75 percent within 10 years by requiring more recycling at construction-waste landfills, implementing innovative new programs to reduce waste disposal and by counting waste-burning as recycling, according to a state report issued today.

Florida report wants deposits on bottles, business recycling

By Steve Patterson

Florida Times-Union

Dime deposits on reusable bottles and extra fees on tires, light bulbs and landfill dumping should all be on the table to meet Florida lawmakers’ goal of recycling more trash, a state agency report released Monday says.

SRWMD purchases 6,350 acres for water conservation

By Karen Voyles

Gainesville Sun

The Suwannee River Water Management District spent $635,000 at the end of December to buy a 6,350 acre conservation easement in Suwannee and Columbia counties.

Tests find antibiotic, other contaminants in Tampa's drinking water

By Christian M. Wade

Tampa Tribune

The tap water that Tampa residents consume is contaminated with low levels of antibiotics, nicotine byproducts and a chemical used to produce firefighting foams.

Seize the sunshine, save the environment


Miami Herald

While the economic slump has had a negative effect on almost every aspect of life in South Florida, it has given our natural world a breather.

A Florida manatee sticks it's head out of the water at the Tampa Electric Company manatee viewing site Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 in Apollo Beach, Fla. An outflow of warm water from the power plant attracts the gentle sea creature as they seek refuge from the cold temperatures.

Wildwood Preservation Society is a non-profit 501(c)(4) project of the Advocacy Consortium for the Common Good. Click here to learn more.

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