United States Department of the Interior

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16 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 1 μήνα)

122 εμφανίσεις

Please let me know how I can better serve you!

Mary Plumb

Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Department of the Interior

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

(305) 348
-
1662


United States Department of the Interior

SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

TASK FORCE

OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


AM


HOT NEWS SUMMARY



22 June

2011

re:


EVERGLADES
RESTORATION
ISSUES (
8
)



1.

22 June Palm Beach Post


West Palm gets permit to tap reservoir for water,
providing it can reduce chlorides
[Water managers have
received permission to tap
a massive reservoir as an emergency water supply for West Palm Beach but that
water won't help the city unless it can be diluted enough to bring down unacceptable
chloride levels. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Se
cretary Herschel
Vinyard signed the emergency order Monday, allowing the South Florida Water
Management District to draw water from the L
-
8 Reservoir and send it to West Palm
Beach via 20 miles of canals. But by the time the reservoir water reaches the sou
th
end of Lake Mangonia, its chloride, or salt, level must not exceed 250 milligrams per
liter….]

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/west
-
palm
-
gets
-
pe
rmit
-
to
-
tap
-
reservoir
-
for
-
1553581.html


2.

22 June Palm Beach Post


Emergency funds okayed to save Glades drinking
water plant

[County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved an
emergency request for $6.9 million to fix a 3
-
year
-
old Glades region water

plant that
is sucking up well water so salty that without immediate action it could become
untreatable. The money would pay for four new wells and operational changes that
will allow the plant to treat saltier water. At least one of the new wells will ha
ve to be
drilled immediately to ensure the plant can continue operating, county officials said.
…]

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/emerge
ncy
-
funds
-
okayed
-
to
-
save
-
glades
-
drinking
-
water
-
1553615.html


3.

21 June
SFWMD
-

Water Shortage Watch Briefing
[The wet season so far has not
produced the significant rainfall that is needed to replenish severely depleted
groundwater, canal and lake levels th
roughout South Florida. The region is
experiencing its driest October to mid
-
June period since recordkeeping began 80
years ago. The region requires a substantial system
-
wide soaking to alleviate drought
conditions….]

www.sfwmd.gov/waterwatch
.


4.

21 June Palm Beach Post


Dry canals have firefighters seeking other water
sources in county's heart

[Canals have turned crusty along the dirt roads in Palm
Beach County's mid
-
section, parched for water that's in short supply and could be
needed to put out fires in a massive area that's low on fire hydrants. And the Florida
Division of Forestry is "very
concerned" that fires could break out in the largely rural
area rife with sun
-
baked pine and palmettos….]

http://www.palmbeach
post.com/weather
-
news/dry
-
canals
-
have
-
firefighters
-
seeking
-
other
-
water
-
sources
-
1551076.html


5.

21 June Sun
-
Sentinel


Blog by William Gibson
-

Is
Florida too regulated?

[Governor Rick Scott is blaming federal and state regulations for restraining Florida’s
attempt to spur business growth and create new jobs. Scott
--

who has angered
environmentalists, unions and health
-
care reformers in Florida


to
ok his anti
-
regulation theme on the road to Washington this week and found a sympathetic
audience among business leaders who chafe at new federal rules. …… Back home in
Florida, environmentalists were fuming about Scott’s deregulation pitch and his
asserti
on that environmental rules stifle job growth. “We’re not enforcing the
regulations we have right now for water quality. We have virtually no regulation on
agriculture chemicals, or fertilizers,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon
of Florida.
…]

http://weblogs.sun
-
sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/2011/06/is_florida_too_regulated_1.html


6.

20 June Palm Beach Post


Drought also affects We
st Palm Beach's water
quality

[The city's utilities director has asked the Palm Beach County Health
Department to relax West Palm Beach's water quality standards during the drought.
The exemption would apply not to dangerous chemicals or toxins but to seco
ndary
water quality standards, specifically chlorides, or salt content, and total dissolved
solids, which are tiny particles in the water. These more typically affect taste,
hardness and corrosiveness of water than they do public safety….]

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/weather
-
news/drought
-
also
-
affects
-
west
-
palm
-
beachs
-
water
-
quality
-
1551178.html


7.

20 June Palm Beach Post


Sugar cane, Pa
lm Beach County's top cash crop,
parched in drought

[June through August is the "grand growth season" for Florida's
sugar cane, grown primarily in western Palm Beach County. Doused with daily rains
and lots of sunshine, the tall tropical grass normally gro
ws an inch a day this time of
year. But scant rains and tight watering restrictions are creating a situation that's
anything but grand….]

http://w
ww.palmbeachpost.com/money/sugar
-
cane
-
palm
-
beach
-
countys
-
top
-
cash
-
crop
-
1551486.html


8.

17 June Ft Myers News Press


OpEd by Ray Judah: Water managers serve big
farmers, hurt Caloosahatchee system

[The presence of toxic blue
-
green algae
upstream of the Frank
lin Lock and Dam in the Caloosahatchee River is a vivid
reminder of the South Florida Water Management District's failure to properly
manage our precious water resources. Beholden to the powerful sugar industry, the
SFWMD permits wasteful discharge of mill
ions of gallons of fresh water from Lake
Okeechobee to tide during the wet season….]

http://www.news
-
press.com/article/20110618/OPINION/106180309/Ray
-
Judah
-
Water
-
managers
-
serve
-
big
-
farmers
-
hurt
-
Caloosahatchee
-
system

re:


WILDLIFE
;

INVASIVE SPECIES (
2
)



1.

22 June St Petersburg Times
-

Feds want permanent manatee refuge, more
restrictions in

Kings Bay
[All of Kings Bay, famed as the place in Florida where
humans can swim with and even touch the manatees, should be permanently
designated as a manatee refuge, federal officials announced Tuesday. Swimming with
the manatees would still be allowed
, but the new proposal would restrict boat speeds
year
-
round in the Citrus County waterway. That would end the controversial summer
water sport zone, which allowed fast
-
moving boats to zoom through the area where
manatees are increasingly found year
-
round
, not just in winter. "I know a lot of
people will be disappointed with that," said Diane Oestreich, co
-
owner of Bird's
Underwater, a popular ecotour operation in Crystal River. "But every time I'm out
there, I see manatees grazing where boats are going up

and down."

The agency's announcement, published in the Federal Register and open for public
comment, pointed out that of the 16 boat
-
related manatee deaths known to have
occurred in Kings Bay, 13 were in the last decade. Seven occurred between May 1
and
Aug. 30….]

http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/feds
-
want
-
to
-
designate
-
kings
-
bay
-
as
-
permanent
-
mana
tee
-
refuge
-
impose
-
more/1176468


2.

21 June Ft Myers News Press


Cape Coral can relocate Florida scrub jays to
build park, Lee says

[Cape Coral will be allowed to clear out the threatened Florida
scrub jay from land the city wants to use for a park. Lee Co
unty commissioners voted
4
-
1 in favor of allowing the city to use Conservation 20/20 lands, known as the Alva
Scrub Preserve, to satisfy the city’s environmental mitigation requirements….]

http://www.news
-
press.com/article/20110622/NEWS0101/110621056/Cape
-
Coral
-
can
-
relocate
-
Florida
-
scrub
-
jays
-
build
-
park
-
Lee
-
says

re:


NATIONAL PARK SERVICE (
2
)



1.

22 June NPS News Relea
se
-

06/22/2011 Oil Pad Complex Fire Update

[The fires have
burned a total of 10,524 acres of various Preserve habitats. Overall, the containment of the
fires is 85 percent….]

http://www.nps.gov/bicy/naturescience/oil
-
pad
-
fire
-
complex.htm


2.

21 June Sun
-
Sentinel


Blog
-

Cities fight FPL's proposed high
-
voltage power
lines

[Half a dozen South Florida cities oppose Florida Power & Light's $322 million
proposal to build roughly 40 miles of high
-
voltage power lines and four
-
foot
-
thick
poles towering up to 120 feet to hold them through parts of Miami
-
Dade Cou
nty. The
lines would connect FPL's proposed new reactors at its Turkey Point plant near
Miami to substations to the north, according to FPL……. The
Nati
onal Park Service
meeting

will be at 5:30 p.m. at Florida International University's Stadium Club,
11200 SW 8th St….]

http://w
eblogs.sun
-
sentinel.com/business/realestate/housekeys/blog/2011/06/cities_fight_fpls_proposed_
hig_1.html

re:


FLORIDA GOVERNMENT (
3
)



1.

21 June Florida Current
-

DEP says memo to water districts is part of a larger
strategy

[The Florida Department of Envir
onmental Protection says a memo sent last
week directing water management districts to cut regulatory staff and to stop buying
land is part of a larger strategy involving the department's oversight of the districts.
Florida is unique among states in having

five water management districts that oversee
water supply, flood control and water resource protection statewide. But some
conservatives and farm groups have criticized the districts' authority to levy property
taxes and issue regulations….]

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=23477345


2.

21 June Florida Current
-

Scott signs scores of bills into law

[Gov. Rick Scott on
Tuesday signed 46 bills into law including HB 7215, which includes compromise
language prohibiting local governments from adopting new fertilizer ordinances.
Controversial proposals to prohibit local governments from adopting fertilize
r
regulations failed to pass the Legislature in recent years. But a compromise measure
faced less opposition from environmental groups, cities and counties because it
allows local ordinances regulating the sale of fertilizer to remain if they were adopted
prior to July 1….]

http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=23478220


3.

20 June FloridaEnvironments by Bruce Ritchie


Nation's largest land
-
buying
program appears doomed by veto

[With the stroke of a pen last month, Gov. Rick
Scott turned Florida from a conservation land
-
buyer to a land seller. Florida had the
largest land
-
buying
program in the nation with more than 2 million acres purchased
since 1990. The Florida Forever program received $300 million a year until state
revenues started slipping in 2009, when the Legislature appropriated nothing for the
program for the first time
since 1990….]

http://www.bruceritchie.com/




Please let me know how I can better serve you!


Mary Plumb

Public Affairs Officer

U.S. Department of the Interior

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force

(305) 348
-
1662



http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/west
-
palm
-
gets
-
permit
-
to
-
tap
-
reservoir
-
for
-
1553581.html



West Palm gets permit to tap reservoir
f
or water, providing it can reduce
chlorides

By

CHRISTINE STAPLETON


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 12:12

a.m.

Wednesday,

June

22,

2011

Posted:
7:28

p.m.

Tuesday,

June

21,

2011

Water managers have received permission to tap a massive reservoir as an emergency
water supply for West Palm Beach but that water won't help the city unless it can be diluted
enough to bring down unacceptable chloride leve
ls.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard signed the
emergency order Monday, allowing the South Florida Water Management District to draw
water from the L
-
8 Reservoir and send it to West Palm Beach via 20 miles of canals
. But by
the time the reservoir water reaches the south end of Lake Mangonia, its chloride, or salt,
level must not exceed 250 milligrams per liter.

During a six
-
week pilot project in March that served as a dry run for the current proposal,
chloride levels

in the reservoir averaged about 354 milligrams/liter. To reduce that level,
water from the reservoir was diluted with water from Lake Okeechobee. By the time the
diluted reservoir water reached the south end of Lake Mangonia several days later, it was
wel
l below the 250 milligram level.

However, with the lake now nearing its record low, there is much less water available to
dilute the chlorides in the reservoir's water. In March water flowed from the lake to a mixing
zone near the reservoir at a rate of 57
6 gallons per second. Last week that flow had dropped
to 232 gallons per second, raising the question of whether there will be enough water to
sufficiently dilute the reservoir water.

"We would not have asked for the emergency permit if we did not think th
ere would be
enough water," said Peter Kwiatkowski, the district's incident commander for the drought.
"We think this will work."

The city lost its main supply of water, Lake Okeechobee, when water levels in the lake
dropped so low that gravity could no lo
nger pull water from lake. Unable to meet its own
water needs, the city began buying water from the county and pumping from its own wells.
As an additional source of water, the city asked the district for permission to draw water from
the L
-
8 Reservoir.

Th
e emergency permit also allows water from the reservoir to be used for firefighting in
Loxahatchee Groves and parts of Royal Palm Beach, where firefighters rely on water from
canals to fight blazes.

The city has not yet asked the district to begin drawing
water from the reservoir.

The city's utilities director, David Hanks, did not return a phone call Tuesday for comment.




http://www.palmbea
chpost.com/news/emergency
-
funds
-
okayed
-
to
-
save
-
glades
-
drinking
-
water
-
1553615.html



Emergency funds okayed to save Glades
drinking water plant

By

JENNIFER SORENTRUE


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 6:09

a.m.

Wednesday,

June

22,

2011

Posted: 7:36

p.m.

Tuesday,

June

2
1,

2011

County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved an emergency request for $6.9
million to fix a 3
-
year
-
old Glades region water plant that is sucking up well water so salty that
without immediate action it could become untreatable.

The money wo
uld pay for four new wells and operational changes that will allow the plant to
treat saltier water. At least one of the new wells will have to be drilled immediately to ensure
the plant can continue operating, county officials said.

The $58 million plant
, which opened in 2008, gave the impoverished area its first safe
drinking water in decades. Before then the Glades drew drinking water from Lake
Okeechobee. Palm Beach County helped build the plant after a chemical believed to cause
cancer, miscarriage an
d liver and kidney problems was found to be contaminating that water
periodically.

But already water quality in one of the new plant's seven wells is so bad it can no longer be
used, county officials said. The utility has been forced to reduce the amount of water pumped
up through the remaining wells, to prevent further decline. Without
the reduction, regional
water managers have warned that the plant may no longer be able to meet drinking water
standards, the county said.

"It looks like this well field is one of the least productive in all of South Florida," County
Utilities Director Be
vin Beaudet said.

The plant's drinking water is still safe, Beaudet said. But if the plant loses another well,
officials said, it will no longer have enough clean water to meet the area's needs.

"This problem actually threatens the ability to provide wat
er supply to the residents," Beaudet
told county commissioners.

Officials said they plan to investigate whether the crisis stems from design flaws. If so,
Commission Chairwoman Karen Marcus said, "I think we are going to have to go back to
whoever designe
d this to see if we can recover our costs."

The investigation is expected to take six months.

Meanwhile the plant's ability to surmount its problems has weakened, as the Glades Utility
Authority, which manages the area's public water systems, is in finan
cial crisis. The authority
could lose its largest customer, the Glades Correctional Institution, as the state is
considering closing and privatizing prisons in the region.

The utility has already seen revenues drop as a result of decreased business activi
ty in the
area, said Assistant County Administrator Shannon LaRocque, who also serves on board of
the Glades Utility Authority. Closing the jail would cost the utility another $1.1 million a year,
she added.

To make up the lost revenue, LaRocque said the
utility likely will add a $15 to $20 surcharge
to customers' monthly bills. Ultimately, the county may have to take over the fledgling utility,
she said.

"Everything and anything that could challenge us to make this thing worse has happened,"
LaRocque sai
d.








Report for June 21, 2011

To keep the public informed about dry conditions impacting much of Central and South
Florida, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is issuing the following
briefing.

District
-
wide Conditions

The wet
season so far has not produced the significant rainfall that is needed to
replenish severely depleted groundwater, canal and lake levels throughout South
Florida. The region is experiencing its driest October to mid
-
June period since
recordkeeping began 80

years ago. The region requires a substantial system
-
wide
soaking to alleviate drought conditions.

DRY SEASON RAINFALL

Oct. 2, 2010


June 21, 2011

14.81

inches

DRY SEASON RAINFALL DEFICIT

Oct. 2, 2010


June 21, 2011

12.44

inches below average

LAKE
OKEECHOBEE LEVEL

June 21, 2011

9.60

feet NGVD

3.62
feet below average

U.S. DROUGHT MONITOR

LATEST REPORT

(map)

USGS GROUNDWATER CONDITIONS

LATEST REPORT

(map)


Rainfall by Basin (Oct. 2, 2010


June 21, 2011)

BASIN

RAINFALL

DIFFERENCE

Upper Kissimmee

19.02

inches

7.73

inches below average

Lower Kissimmee

15.19

inches

9.02

inches below average

Lake Okeechobee

12.86

inches

10.71

inches below average

EAA East

13.63

inches

11.62

inches below average

EAA West

13.40

inches

13.30

inches below average

Water Conservation Areas 1 & 2

14.68

inches

13.38

inches below average

Water Conservation Area 3

13.19

inches

13.88

inches below average

Martin and St. Lucie Counties

12.82

inches

17.29

inches below average

Eastern Palm Beach County

13.08

inches

22.87
inches below average

Eastern Broward County

14.29

inches

18.53

inches below average

Eastern Miami
-
Dade County

16.61

inches

14.40

inches below average

East Caloosahatchee

15.56

inches

10.91

inches below average

Big Cypress Preserve

15.03

inches

12.11

inches below average

Southwest Coast

15.55

inches

11.60

inches below average

Click
here

for a map of basin locations.


Water Levels at Key Locations (as of June 21, 2011)

LOCATION

WATER LEVEL

KEY LEVELS OF CONCERN

Lake Istokpoga

37.72

feet

37.00

feet

Water Supply Cut
-
off

WCA
-
1

13.16

feet

14.00

feet

Regulation Zone C

WCA
-
2A

9.28

feet

10.50

feet

Regulation Zone C

WCA
-
3A

6.99
feet

7.50

feet

Regulation Zone E

C
-
23 Canal

15.83
feet

14.00

feet

Water Supply Cut
-
off

C
-
24 Canal

15.56

feet

14.00

feet

Water Supply Cut
-
off

C
-
25 Canal

14.81

feet

14.00

feet

Water Supply Cut
-
off


Water Shortage Orders and Conservation Measures

Water Shortage Orders


Landscape Irrigation



Modified Phase II restrictions
, effective

March 26, limit landscape irrigation to two
days per week throughout the District.



Modified Phase III

restrictions, effective June 10, limit landscape irrigation to one
day per week in the City of West Palm Beach’s utilit
y service area, including the
City of West Palm Beach and the towns of South Palm Beach and Palm Beach.



On June 13, the West Palm Beach City Commission implemented additional
emergency restrictions for its utility service area. The resolution can be viewed

here.



Landscape irrigation using reclaimed water is not restricted under the order.



Irrigation times vary by area:

o

For Broward, Glades, Hendry, Martin, Miami
-
Dade, Monroe
, Okeechobee
and St. Lucie counties. Also for portions of Osceola County within the
SFWMD boundaries, the Town of Windermere in Orange County, cities
within Lee County except Cape Coral and Palm Beach County except those
served by the West Palm Beach utili
ty



Just the Facts

o

Charlotte, Highlands and Polk counties


Just the Facts

o

Toho Water Authority Service Area (Osceola County)


Just the Facts

o

The City of Cape Coral


Just the Facts

o

Collier County


Just the Fac
ts

o

Orange County, except the Town of Windermere


Just the Facts

o

Unincorporated areas of Lee County


Just the Facts

Water Shortage Order


Golf Courses



Modified Phase I restrictions
, effective March 26, require a 15
-
percent cutback for
golf course irrigation in Broward, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami
-
Dade,
Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.

Water Shortage
Order


Lake Okeechobee Service Area (LOSA)



Modified Phase III restrictions
, effective May 19,

require a 45
-
percent reduction in
surface water
withdrawals for all agricultural, nursery and diversion and
impoundment users within LOSA.

o

LOSA includes portions of Okeechobee, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Palm
Beach and St. Lucie counties and the Everglades Agricultural Area.

Water Shortage Order


Agr
icultural and Nursery Water Users in South
Miami
-
Dade County



A
water shortage order
, effective

March 26, places Phase I restrictions on
agricu
ltural and nursery water users within the South Dade Water Use Basin.
Users shall limit the times and hours of irrigation operations.

Water Shortage Order


Southern Portion of the Indian Prairie Water Use
Basin



An
operational order
, effective

March 26, allows for District operation of certain
bypass structures in the southern portion of the Indian Prairie Water Use Basin.



A
water shortage order

requires a 15
-
percent reduction in surface water
withdrawals for all agricultural, nursery and diversion and impoundment users.

Wa
ter Shortage Order


Permitted Water Users in Broward and Palm Beach
Counties



A
water shortage order
, effective

March 26, places Phase I restrictions on
agricultural, nursery and diversion and impoundment permittees that use or
divert surface and ground water in these counties.

o

Withdrawals from surface waters by specified users are reduced 15
percent.

o

Agricultural
and nursery operations shall limit the hours of irrigation.

Other Actions

The District continues to closely monitor water levels. Links to more information
about water shortage orders and warnings, current weather and water conditions
and water
-
saving tips

can be found at
www.sfwmd.gov/waterwatch
.

Emergency Operations



The SFWMD’s Emergency Operations Center is currently at a Level 2 activation to
monitor and plan activities associated with the 2011 Water
Shortage.

Navigation



The S
-
65E navigation lock between the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee is
closed with no locktender on duty due to declining water levels.



These locks on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee remain closed:

o

S
-
135 at J&S Fish Camp in M
artin County

o

S
-
193 at Taylor Creek in Okeechobee County

o

G
-
36 at Henry Creek in Okeechobee County

o

S
-
127 at Buckhead Ridge in Glades County

o

S
-
131 at Lakeport in Glades County

Recreation



An emergency order on April 26 prohibits building fires on certain
District lands
open for recreation.

o

The order covers 13 of the District’s 16 counties. Polk, Osceola, and
Orange counties are exempt from the ban because of recent rainfall.

o

The ban, which only applies to land managed by the District, means no
fires in gri
lls, fireplaces or fire rings until further notice.

# # #

Water shortage questions from the public can be directed to:

(800) 662
-
8876 or (561) 682
-
6470


Media inquiries can be directed to:

Randy Smith

South Florida Water Management District

Office: (561)

682
-
2800 or Cellular: (561) 389
-
3386




http://www.palmbeachpost.com/weather
-
news/dry
-
canals
-
have
-
firefighters
-
seeking
-
other
-
water
-
sources
-
1551076.html



Dry canals have firefighters seeking
other water sources in county's heart


Gary Coronado


The dry bottom of a canal at Okeechobee Boulevard

and E Road in Loxahatchee Groves on Monday.


By

MITRA MALEK


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 10:45

a.m.

Tuesday,

June

21,

2011

Posted:
5:14

p.m.

Monday,

June

20,

2011

Canals have turned crusty along the dirt roads in Palm Beach County's mid
-
section, parched
for water that's in short supply and could be needed to put out fires in a massive area that's
low on fire hydrants.

And the Florida
Division of Forestry is "very concerned" that fires could break out in the
largely rural area rife with sun
-
baked pine and palmettos.

But Palm Beach County Fire Rescue isn't worried, noting it relies only partly on canals and
has other ways to put out flam
es.

Canal water is helpful for firefighters but not critical because crews can draw from ponds and
swimming pools, and tankers shuttle water, said fire rescue Deputy Chief Steven Delai.

"The bottom line is while the canals are handy, we have other means by

which to provide
water for firefighting," Delai said.

Loxahatchee Groves has access to only a few dozen hydrants along North Road and
Okeechobee and Southern boulevards. Firefighters often draw from canals to fight brush
fires.

"They used to be able to go

to the closest one and drop a hose in," Loxahatchee Groves
Mayor Dave Browning. "They can't do that now."

The town's water control district last week got a variance from the South Florida Water
Management District to draw 155 million gallons a month from
the C
-
51 canal "for fire
protection purposes." Still the town's canals are barely wet, and local officials are worried
there won't be much to pump soon because the C
-
51's feeder, Lake Okeechobee, is so low.

In its variance, water managers stressed that Lox
ahatchee Groves must come up with a plan
for more fire hydrants. Loxahatchee Groves typically can draw up to 330 million gallons a
month from the C
-
51.

It would cost about $2 million for a minimal number of fire hydrants that would tie into existing
water
lines, but "it's really unclear whether it would provide the level of protection we need,"
said Clete Saunier, administrator for the town's water control district.

The Acreage, which stretches over roughly 110 square miles, has fire hydrants only along
Sem
inole Pratt Whitney Road, 140th Avenue and parts of Hamlin, Northlake and Southern
boulevards.

Canals are drying up the there too, but Indian Trail Improvement District, which helps govern
The Acreage, hasn't needed a variance from South Florida water
managers.

"Everything is low," Indian Trail administrator Tanya Quickel said. "We're just watching and
waiting."

The state's forestry division is fighting about 9,000 acres of wildfire in the J.W. Corbett
Wildlife Management Area and another 560 acres at t
he Pratt & Whitney complex on Beeline
Highway.

Those fires aren't a threat to residential areas, said Scott Peterich, the division's wildfire
mitigation specialist.

But low water supplies and a dangerous mix of dry vegetation in the central
-
western
communi
ties has caused the department to be "very concerned" about the area.

"If a fire starts to move and the wind picks up, it's very dangerous," he said.








Gary Coronado


ENLARGE PHOTO


A discarded sandwich lies amid new grass at the bottom of a canal at Okeechobee Boulevard and E Road in
Loxahatchee Groves.



Gary Coronado


ENLARGE PHOTO


An empty snail shell lies on the bottom of a canal at the corner of Okeechobee Blvd. and E Road in
Loxahatchee Groves on Monday.



Cour
tesy of Paul Ballistic


ENLARGE PHOTO


Northlake and Sandtree Drive on June 20, 2011





http://weblogs.sun
-
sentinel.com/news/politics/dcblog/2011/06/is_florida_too_regulated_1.html

Florida Politics

Is Florida too regulated?


By William Gibson

June 21, 2011 11:39 AM

Governor Rick Scott is blaming federal and state regulations for restraining Florida’s attempt
to spur business growth and create new jobs.

Scott
--

who has angered environmentalists, unions and health
-
care reformers in Florida


to
ok his anti
-
regulation theme on the road to Washington this week and found a sympathetic
audience among business leaders who chafe at new federal rules.

He told business leaders and fellow governors that government regulations are choking
business expansi
on in Florida and depriving the state of new jobs. He pledged to examine
every one of Florida’s 11,000 state regulations with an eye toward eliminating those that
stifle growth.

“It is so hard with the regulations in this country


on the local, state or t
he federal level


just
to do anything to get (a business) started,” Scott said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce forum
on state attempts to create jobs. “We make it so difficult for people to go into business.”

Afterwards, Scott said he particularly opposed f
ederal rules to enforce clean water standards
in Florida.

Back home in Florida, environmentalists were fuming about Scott’s deregulation pitch and
his assertion that environmental rules stifle job growth.

“We’re not enforcing the regulations we have right

now for water quality. We have virtually no
regulation on agriculture chemicals, or fertilizers,” said Eric Draper, executive director of
Audubon of Florida.

“We grew like crazy for 30 years while our existing laws were in place,” Draper said. “When
Gove
rnor Scott says environmental laws are costing jobs, he’s lying. There is no evidence
that our environmental rules are the reason for Florida’s high unemployment rate.”

At the Washington forum, Scott and others lashed out at federal labor regulators who op
pose
Boeing Company’s relocation from Washington state to the less unionized state of South
Carolina. The National Labor Relations Board has filed suit against Boeing, accusing the
aeronautics giant of moving a jet assembly line to avoid union workers in W
ashington.

“One of the advantages we have in Florida is that we are a right
-
to
-
work state,” Scott said. “If
they won’t allow companies to move to a right
-
to
-
work state without worrying about the
individual’s right to not be a member of a union, it will hav
e a devastating effect on our
country. And all those jobs will go offshore.”

Union leaders say the rules are needed to protect workers’ rights.

“Corporations like this will pit one state against another to ensure that they have cheap labor
with no rights,
” said Rich Templin, legislative and political director of the Florida AFL
-
CIO.

“Florida has been pursuing low taxes and deregulation policies for 12 years,” he said. “And
all that did was create an artificially inflated economy based on housing. When tha
t bubble
burst, we saw the consequences.”



http://www.palmbeachpost.com/weather
-
news/drought
-
also
-
affects
-
west
-
palm
-
beachs
-
water
-
qu
ality
-
1551178.html

Drought also affects West Palm Beach's water
quality

By

CHRISTINE STAPLETON


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 6:39

p.m.

Monday,

June

20,

2011

Posted: 6:33

p.m.

Monday,

June

20,

2011

The city's utilities director has asked the Palm Beach County Health Department to relax
West Palm Beach's water quality standards during the drought.

The exemption would apply not to dangerous chemicals or toxins b
ut to secondary water
quality standards, specifically chlorides, or salt content, and total dissolved solids, which are
tiny particles in the water. These more typically affect taste, hardness and corrosiveness of
water than they do public safety.

West Pal
m Beach wants the exemption because "this historic drought has caused impacts to
the quality of the water available for treatment, city Utilities Director David Hanks said in a
letter Friday to the health department's environmental administrator, Darrel J.

Graziani.

"During the drought, our monitoring program has identified increasing levels of total
dissolved solids and chlorides in both the source water and drinking water," Hanks wrote.
"Because the levels are quickly approaching the secondary standards t
he city is requesting
an exemption."

The health department has not yet ruled on the city's request but Graziani said last week that
the health department suggested that the city seek the exemption to prevent costly fines
because the department anticipated
a drop in the city's water quality because of the drought.

The request is not necessary yet and is a pro
-
active, precautionary measure, city spokesman
Chase Scott said.

West Palm Beach, which also supplies water to Palm Beach and South Palm Beach, is
espec
ially vulnerable during droughts because the city relies on surface waters, such as
lakes, rather than an aquifer to supply its water. Conditions have become so severe that city
officials imposed once
-
a
-
week water restrictions last week.

Chloride levels in

the city's water supply have doubled since April. The maximum amount of
chlorides allowed under the secondary standards are 250 milligrams per liter. In April, the
city's water supply tested at 84 milligrams per liter. On June 7, that number had climbed t
o
164.

The secondary water quality standards for total dissolved solids is 500 milligrams per liter.
Readings on June 7 were 496 milligrams per liter.

The city's 117
-
year
-
old water treatment plant has been dogged with problems for years. In
2008 the city a
greed to pay more than $1 million in fines and investigative costs after a fecal
bacteria outbreak in 2007. The outbreak resulted in 23 violations, including too few
employees working at the plant, delayed reporting of poor test results and allowing
equipm
ent to fall into disrepair. Under a settlement with the health department and the
Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, the agencies agreed to allow the city to put most
of the money from the fines toward plant improvements and gave the city 10 years
to switch
to new drinking
-
water treatment methods.




http://www.palmbeachpost.com/money/sugar
-
cane
-
palm
-
beach
-
countys
-
top
-
cash
-
crop
-
1551486.html



Sugar cane, Palm Beach County's top
cash crop, parched in drought


ENLARGE PHOTO


Melvin Thomas inspects a dead brown strand on a sugar cane crop Friday
afternoon at Roth Farms in Belle
Glade. Thomas said that because of drought conditions and extremely limited water supplies, some sections
of the sugar cane fields have developed slower than others. (Brandon Kruse/The Palm Beach Post)

By

SUSAN SALISBURY


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 10:32

p.m.

Monday,

June

20,

2011

Posted: 10:24

p.m.

Monday,

June

20,

2011

June through August is the "grand growth s
eason" for Florida's sugar cane, grown primarily
in western Palm Beach County.

Doused with daily rains and lots of sunshine, the tall tropical grass normally grows an inch a
day this time of year.

But scant rains and tight watering restrictions are creatin
g a situation that's anything but
grand.

"Overall, the crop was looking pretty good. Now we are losing ground. We are going
backward," said Rick Roth, president of Roth Farms east of Belle Glade.

If the drought continues, crop losses in the Everglades Agri
cultural Area could reach $100
million to $200 million, growers said.

The agricultural area's economic output, including sugar cane, vegetables, rice and other
crops, is about $2 billion a year, Roth said.

It's the fourth extreme or exceptional drought Pal
m Beach County has endured in the past
decade, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska
-
Lincoln. The others were in 2001, 2007 and 2009.

Sugar cane, which grows year
-
round, is Palm Beach County's biggest crop. The c
ounty
produces 75 percent of the state's sugar cane, which is valued at $800 million a year,
including byproducts such as molasses. Sugar cane farmers here, as well as in Martin,
Glades and Hendry counties, depend on Lake Okeechobee for their fields' water

supply.

The cane needs about 2 inches of rainfall a week, but the South Florida Water Management
District is giving growers about 0.4 inches a week, Roth said.

In a report issued last week, the water management district said the wet season is off to its
d
riest start in more than 20 years, following below
-
normal rainfall levels that began in
October. Persistent rainfall is needed to replenish groundwater, canals and lakes.

Lake Okeechobee's level was 9.64 feet above sea level Friday, compared with 14.35 fee
t a
year ago.

The situation is dire, and the district's 45 percent cutback in water allocations for farms
amounts to more like 60 percent to 70 percent because the formula used for June assumes
rain occurred, growers said.

Of the 550,000 acres farmed in th
e Everglades Agricultural Area, only about 20,000 acres
are fallow, said Barbara Miedema, spokeswoman for the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative
of Florida.

"Virtually the entire EAA is planted in one crop or another and needs water," Miedema said.
"If we don'
t begin to get summer rains, then we will see the falloff in growth. Our bigger
concern is next year's crop. Looking at the current crop, we're beginning to see water stress
but are eking by."

The real concern is the way the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers an
d the water district are
managing Lake Okeechobee, said Charles Shinn, assistant director of government and
community affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation.

"We don't have drought problems so much as we have management problems. They are
really ti
ed directly to the management of the lake levels," Shinn said.

"The short
-
term problem right now is we are in the summer rainy season and it is not
raining."

Long
-
term, the Corps of Engineers needs to keep more water in the lake once hurricane
season has p
assed, instead of releasing it to sea, Shinn said. Although he recognizes the
corps' concerns about flooding, he said the agency has some discretion within the release
schedule.

After Hurricane Katrina's flooding of New Orleans, the water district issued a

2006 report
about the 80
-
year
-
old Herbert Hoover Dike. It found that the dike's condition poses a "grave
and imminent danger to the people and environment of South Florida."

Other than New Orleans, Lake Okeechobee is the U.S. mainland area most vulnerable

to
hurricanes, according to the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International
University in Miami.

The Corps of Engineers says it seeks to keep the lake between 12.5 and 15.5 feet because
lowering the water level is a slow process shoul
d a hurricane approach. Engineers worry the
aging, leaking dike around Lake Okeechobee will fail if water levels exceed 20 feet above
sea level. The overriding concern that leads to periodic releases of fresh water is the stability
of the dike at high lake

elevations and public safety.

For now, some growers whose land is far from the lake are receiving little or no water. It's
gone before it reaches them. Even if there is some water, pumps can't do their job if canals
are too low.

"We have some farms that
can get no water when the lake drops below 10 feet," said Judy
Sanchez, spokeswoman for Clewiston
-
based U.S. Sugar Corp.

Agricultural producers agree that a tropical storm or two is needed.

"We are in the midst of a drought that could turn into a crisis if

we don't get rain soon,"
Sanchez said

RECORD
-
BREAKING DROUGHT

»



Emergency funds okayed to save Glades drinking water plant




West Palm gets permit to tap reservoir for water, providing it can red
uce chlorides




State brush fires turn deadly, killing 2 workers; 14 fires now burning in Palm Beach County




Wildfire 'burnover' kills two firefighters in Hamilton County, first in Florida since 1985




Sugar cane, Palm Beach County's top cash crop, parched in drought




Small brush fire in suburban West Pal
m Beach may have been caused by lightning




South Florida water district's management staff to be cut by 61 percent




Drought also affects West Palm Beach's water quality




New soil watering system at PBAU expected to save water, money




Dry canals have firefighters seeking other wa
ter sources in county's heart




See the Florida drought index




Real time rainfall
gauge (SFWMD)




Water use caculator: Find out how much water you should be using at home




INTERACTIVE: Map of the area
’s million
-
gallon users



Drought and wildfire tips




http://www.news
-
press.com/article/20110618/OPINION/106180309/Ray
-
Judah
-
Water
-
managers
-
serve
-
big
-
farmers
-
hurt
-
Caloosahatchee
-
system


Ray Judah: Water managers serve big
farmers, hurt
Caloosahatchee system

9:15 PM, Jun. 17, 2011

|


4Comments


Written by

Ray Judah, special to news
-
press.com

The presence of toxic blue
-
green algae upstream of the Franklin Lock and Dam
in the Caloosahatchee River is a vivid reminder of the South Florida Water
Management District's failure to properly manage our precious wate
r resources.
Beholden to the powerful sugar industry, the SFWMD permits wasteful discharge
of millions of gallons of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee to tide during the wet
season.

This provides optimum growing conditions for sugar cane, but results in
exc
essive polluted water discharge to the Caloosahatchee and coastal estuaries.
Further harm occurs in the dry season when the SFWMD shuts down minimum
flow to the Caloosahatchee River needed to prevent harmful concentrations of
algae and hypersaline conditio
ns. The SFWMD, in fact, spends millions of
taxpayers' dollars to install and operate large pumps during drought conditions to
direct water from Lake Okeechobee to the sugar cane fields while suspending
any flow to the Caloosahatchee needed to protect habit
at critical to the life cycle
of our fisheries.

This cycle of destruction and degradation of our environment causes significant
harm to our local economy and quality of life. The Lee County Health Department
recently issued a health advisory precluding any

human or animal contact with
the Caloosahatchee due to the harmful blue
-
green algae blooms and the
presence of toxic cyanobacteria. The vast media coverage of the health issues
and the graphic images being aired throughout the world on conditions in the
C
aloosahatchee create a marked impact on our fragile tourism and real estate
industries.

The SFWMD and the sugar industry would argue that the guidance document
known as Adaptive Protocols, used to manage low water levels in Lake
Okeechobee, authorizes wate
r allocation exclusively to agriculture and utilities
while restricting environmental releases to the Caloosahatchee. In fact, the
Adaptive Protocols provide guidance to water managers for discretionary
releases to protect the ecosystem.

Furthermore, Chapt
er 373.042 and 373.0421 Florida Statutes require the
SFWMD to declare and institute Phase III water restrictions (45 percent
reductions) for all permitted users when our rivers and coastal estuaries
experience significant harm.

(Page 2 of 2)


It is not as
if the dry conditions were unforeseen. As early as the fall of 2010, the
SFWMD was forecasting drier than normal conditions and the real potential for
water shortages. Rather than implementing common sense cutbacks on
agricultural and urban users, the SFWM
D's only action was to recommend
cutting off environmental releases to the Caloosahatchee. No action was taken
until March 2011 when the SFWMD placed a modest 15 percent water reduction
on agriculture and utilities. SFWMD did not call for 45 percent reduct
ion to
agricultural users until this month, well after the Caloosahatchee had suffered
irrefutable harm and loss of all remaining freshwater grasses. It is unacceptable
for the SFWMD to unilaterally cut off the Caloosahatchee when other users are
not requi
red to institute meaningful water conservation measures.

The Caloosahatchee continues to suffer at the hands of policy decisions by the
SFWMD. The Caloosahatchee estuary is suffering at a shockingly regular and
continual rate. Providing minimum flow to the

Caloosahatchee during the dry
season would amount to about 5 inches from Lake Okeechobee.

In contrast, water supply users are provided more than 2 feet of lake water during
this time. The Caloosahatchee is in its fourth consecutive year of not receiving
m
inimum fresh water flow and level. The continual failure to meet the MFL for the
Caloosahatchee has resulted in significant harm to the health, productivity and
function of the Caloosahatchee and coastal estuaries.

Our hope for economic recovery is predica
ted on a healthy environment.

Gov. Scott and our congressional and state delegations need to be held
accountable in working with the SFWMD to protect the public interest and our
waterways.

Ray Judah is Lee County commissioner for District 3

Comments (4)


|




http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/wildlife/feds
-
want
-
to
-
designate
-
kings
-
bay
-
as
-
permanent
-
manatee
-
refuge
-
impose
-
more/1176468


Feds want permanent manatee refuge, more
restrictions in Kings Bay

By
Barbara Behrendt

and
Craig Pittman
, Times Staff Writers

In Print: Wednesday, June 22, 2011


All of Kings Bay, famed as the place in Florida where humans can swim with and even
touch the manatees, should be permanently designated as a manatee refuge, federal
officials announced Tuesday.

Swimming with the manatees would still be allowed, but the new proposal would restrict
boat speeds year
-
round in the Citrus County waterway.

That would end the controversial summer water sport zone, which allowed fast
-
moving
boats to zoom through the area

where manatees are increasingly found year
-
round, not
just in winter.

"I know a lot of people will be disappointed with that," said Diane Oestreich, co
-
owner of
Bird's Underwater, a popular ecotour operation in Crystal River. "But every time I'm out
ther
e, I see manatees grazing where boats are going up and down."

The agency's announcement, published in the Federal Register and open for public
comment, pointed out that of the 16 boat
-
related manatee deaths known to have occurred
in Kings Bay, 13 were in t
he last decade. Seven occurred between May 1 and Aug. 30.

Citrus County's tourist development director, Marla Chancey, said she didn't foresee
much of an economic impact from making the boaters slow down: "People can still run
their boats. They just can't
run them as fast."

Citrus County's economic future depends on maintaining a healthy manatee population
that draws tourists, she explained.

"If we protect them and keep them safe, we keep our tourism and marketing business safe
as well," she said.

A 2006 e
valuation documented 14,304 boats registered in Citrus County


13,283 power
boats and 1,021 non
-
power boats, including 903 kayaks and canoes. Their economic
impact was estimated to be $104 million, federal wildlife officials said, but the agency
could not

tell how much of that was tied to viewing manatees and how much involved
fishing, skiing and other recreational pursuits.

Tourists began flocking to Crystal River to see the manatees after a biologist named
Daniel "Woodie" Hartman, who had spent years stu
dying the Kings Bay manatees,
teamed up with Jacques Cousteau on a 1972 documentary called Forgotten Mermaids.

The documentary, presented as an episode of the critically acclaimed program The
Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, was seen by millions of vie
wers around the globe.

Now manatees are so central to the economy that manatees adorn the badges of the
Crystal River police force as well as the sign at the city limits. Every year they are
celebrated with a Manatee Festival.

Parts of Kings Bay were des
ignated as manatee sanctuaries in 1980. At the time, about
100 manatees were using the network of mangrove
-
fringed springs, and the number of
tourists viewing manatees was estimated at 30,000 to 40,000 per year.

Today, federal officials estimate that more

than 550 manatees use Kings Bay, and in the
winter more than 100,000 people show up in Crystal River to see them.

As the number of manatee
-
obsessed tourists has grown, so has the number of complaints
about tourists


and sometimes tour
-
boat operators


ha
rassing the manatees. One
manatee activist posted to YouTube footage of a tour operator grabbing a baby manatee
that had been trying to swim to its mother and then holding it up for his customers to take
pictures.

"The number of manatees using Kings Bay t
hroughout the year has simply outgrown the
capacity of existing protected areas, and human use of the bay has increased beyond the
impacts originally considered when the existing protections were created," said Dave
Hankla, who oversees the agency's endang
ered species office in Jacksonville.

If approved, the proposed refuge would make permanent a set of temporary rules posted
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last winter. The rules enabled the federal agency to
establish closed areas or other rules anyw
here in the bay, as situations arise.

For instance, federal officials can establish temporary no
-
entry areas lasting up to two
weeks if a cold front hits before the manatee season begins, or after the manatee season
has closed, to prevent manatees from be
ing harassed in Kings Bay.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has no data showing fewer manatees were hit or killed
after the emergency rules went into effect, said spokesman Chuck Underwood. But
agency officials did see an improvement in compliance with manate
e protection rules in
general, he said, "and a higher number of tour boat operators were doing a really good
job of self
-
policing."

The new permanent manatee refuge would include all of Kings Bay, its tributaries and
adjoining water bodies upstream of the
confluence of Kings Bay and Crystal River. It
includes new rules for the popular Three Sisters Springs area, forbidding scuba and
overnight entry during the same time of the year as sanctuaries are enacted.

The agency is accepting comments on the proposal

through Aug. 22. A public hearing is
scheduled for July 7 at the College of Central Florida's Citrus campus, 3800 S Lecanto
Highway, in Lecanto.

Craig Pittman can be reached at craig@sptimes.com.



[Last modified: Jun 21, 2011 11:03 PM]


Copyright 2011 St
. Petersburg Times





http://www.news
-
press.com/article/20110622/NEWS0101/110621056/Cape
-
Coral
-
can
-
relocate
-
Florida
-
scrub
-
jays
-
build
-
park
-
Lee
-
says


Cape Coral can relocate Florida scrub
jays to build park, Lee says

9:36 PM, Jun. 21, 2011

|



Written by

MARK S. KRZOS

Cape
Coral will be allowed to clear out the threatened Florida scrub jay from land
the city wants to use for a park.

Lee County commissioners voted 4
-
1 in favor of allowing the city to use
Conservation 20/20 lands, known as the Alva Scrub Preserve, to satisfy t
he city’s
environmental mitigation requirements.

Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 lands are available for mitigation of public
projects.

Cape Coral wants to develop Festival Park, where the threatened species
occupies 75 acres of the 215
-
acre park.

As part
of the required permitting, the city hired a consultant to prepare a
conservation plan for the birds. Lee County owns land in Alva Scrub Preserve
that can be enhanced for the birds.

County Commissioner Ray Judah said using the 20/20 land for this purpose s
ets
a bad precedent and voted against the proposal. Other commissioners, however,
said it was an unusual case and supported the plan.

Tuesday’s commission meeting was its last until Aug. 2.

Other commission business

• Approved an agreement with Bonita Spri
ngs for distribution of the 5
-
cent local
-
option gas tax. The five
-
year
agreement, which was previously approved by the Bonita council, will give the city 4.5 percent of the total
proceeds as distributed by the Florida Department of Revenue.

• Approved exte
nding the time needed for completion of land development regulations for the Alva
Community Plan. Additional time is needed because the community has been collaborating with the North
Olga planning panel on a common vision, goal, objectives and policies.

• Approved a grant for $40,000 for rehabilitation of 10 rental homes for low income farm workers living in the
Bonita Springs community of Pueblo Bonito. Money will be used for rehabilitation activities such as replacing
windows, doors and installation of
gutters.

• Agreed hiring Quality Cut Lawn Care to remove feral hogs from Lee County lands. The three
-
year contract
will pay the contractor $30 per hog. Barbara Manzo, the county’s Parks & Recreation director, said trappers
would capture the hogs on county
property only.

• Approved plans for a zip line within the Caloosahatcheee Regional Park. Final approval rests with the
state.




Big Cypress Press Release

06/22/2011 Oil Pad Complex Fire Update


The fires have burned a total of 10,524 acres of various
Preserve habitats.

Overall, the containment of the fires is 85 percent.


Yesterday, firefighters continued to keep the fires within the perimeters using low impact fire
suppression tactics to protect sensitive animals, such as the Florida Panther and threa
tened
Red
-
Cockaded Woodpeckers. In addition, crews were able to fully contain the Little Fire. The
total number of active fires is now six.


Unneeded personnel and equipment will begin to be released Wednesday in preparation for a
Type 3 organization. The
remaining resources will continue to ensure the fires stay within their
current perimeters and scout for new fires that may have started from today’s storms.


For more details go to
-

http://www.nps.gov/bicy/naturescience/oil
-
pad
-
fire
-
complex.htm


Bob DeGross

Big Cypress National Preserve

Chief of Interpretation and Public Affairs


33100 Tamiami Trail East

Ochopee, FL 34141

239
-
695
-
1107 office; 239
-
695
-
2259 fax


The National Park

Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may
experience our heritage.

Experience Your America!




http://weblogs.sun
-
sentinel.com/business/realestate/housekeys/blog/2011/06/cities_fight_fpls_proposed_hig
_1.html


Cities f
ight FPL's proposed high
-
voltage power
lines


By Julie Patel

June 21, 2011 12:25 PM

Half a dozen South Florida cities oppose Florida Power & Light's $322 million proposal to
build roughly 40 miles of high
-
voltage power lines and four
-
foot
-
thick poles
towering up to
120 feet to hold them through parts of Miami
-
Dade County.


The lines would connect FPL's proposed new reactors at its Turkey Point plant near Miami to
substations to the north, according to FPL.

The
National Park Service meeting

will be at 5:30
p.m. at Florida International University's Stadium Club, 11200 SW 8th St.


“We’re very opposed to their being able to pick the pockets of their cust
omers to allow for
this,” said Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner.

The cities


Pinecrest, Miami, South Miami, Palmetto Bay, Coral Gables and Doral


submitted comments to the state's Department of Environmental Protection last week.

Another part of FPL's
propo
sal will be debated at a National Park Service
a meeting Wednesday in Miami
. The
mee
ting is aimed to allow Floridians to provide input on FPL's proposal to swap a 330
-
acre
swath of land it owns for a 270
-
acre piece of land on the edge of the Everglades to build part
of the transmission lines on.

FPL Spokesman Mayco Villafana said the land

swap is a no
-
brainer because it moves the
land FPL owns from the heart of the Everglades to the eastern boundary of the park and
could help "efforts to restore the natural water flows to the park."

"Completion of the land exchange would add approximately
60 acres within the park at no
expense to...taxpayers," he wrote in an email. "For FPL, it provides the necessary land...to
expand its electrical facilities to meet its obligation to provide reliable electric service to its
customers in South Florida."

The

cities made several points in their comments and said FPL should:

Bury the new power lines

underground, in which case the cities would not oppose the
project. Villafana said FPL doesn't oppose the idea but it could cost up to $18.5 million more
per mile o
f power lines and under state regulations, the cities that want the lines buried
would have to pay the additional cost.

Meet some conditions aimed to protect

the cities and their residents if the lines are
ultimately approved. For instance, the utility sho
uld provide details on electromagnetic fields
generated by the lines.

Wait on the transmission lines

until it's closer to receiving approval for its new nuclear
plants. Lerner said the reactors "
may never be approved

for all we know with the reversal in
the economy and the growth of Florida...and after what we've seen happening in Japan."

Villafana said half of Miami
-
Dade County's electricity is
delivered from outside the county so
new transmission lines will be needed anyway, regardless of where FPL builds new power
generators. He said the Florida Cabinet would consider approving the transmission lines at
the same time as the proposed nuclear rea
ctors.

Build the transmission lines along an alternate
path proposed by Pinecrest and Coral
Gables that would trace the route of FPL's existing transmission lines instead of going
through new neighborhoods. (See diagram below.) The FPL presentation provide
d by
Pinecrest shows that the alternate proposal could be 26 percent cheaper.

Villafana said more than 70 percent of FPL's proposed path is already on land FPL has
rights to use and it picked its path after "months of assessment and dialogue with the
commu
nity" about environmental, safety, engineering and other issues.

The cities cited economic studies showing that property values drop
10 percent to 13 percent

on average, or by $403 million or more, within sight of transmission lines. South Miami,
which commissioned an economic study cited by the cities, wrote: "The drive for upscale
commer
cial development and housing is threatened by" FPL's proposal.

"Due to the significance of [Highway 1] as a gateway to the city and the Central Business
District within the city, as the economic engine of South Florida, several agencies have
invested heavi
ly in improving the appearance of this corridor," wrote city of Miami officials in
their comments. "The FPL [plan] calls for gigantic and out of place poles...[and it] counteracts
the investments" taxpayers have made.

Villafana said it's common for new dev
elopments to be next to power lines. "Electric
transmission and distribution infrastructure is a part of the modern urban landscape," he
said, adding that FPL hasn't yet reviewed the economic study.

DEP staff has until mid
-
September to complete its analysi
s of the lines and the agency is
expected to decide whether to approve them in May.

The
National Park Service meeting

will be at 5:30 p.m. at Florida In
ternational University's
Stadium Club, 11200 SW 8th St.

Map of proposed paths for FPL’s transmission lines provided by Pinecrest. Updated at 2:30
p.m.



http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=23477345


DEP says memo to water districts is part of a
larger strategy

Bruce Ritchie, 06/21/2011
-

04:09 PM

The
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

says a memo sent last
week directing water manag
ement districts to cut regulatory staff and to stop buying
land is part of a larger strategy involving the department's oversight of the districts.

Florida is unique among states in having five water management districts that
oversee water supply, flood co
ntrol and water resource protection statewide. But
some conservatives and farm groups have criticized the districts' authority to levy
property taxes and issue regulations.

SB 2142
, signed last month by
Gov. Rick Scott
, directs the districts to reduce
prop
erty taxes by $210 million, or 30 percent. Environmental groups opposed the
bill, saying it would hamstring the districts' ability to manage water during the
ongoing drought or be prepared for possible flooding during the upcoming hurricane
season.

On June

16 DEP sent out a
memo

by
Jon Steverson
, DEP's special counsel on
policy and legislative affairs, that

gives new marching orders to districts.

The memo led
Audubon of Florida
's
Eric Draper

to accuse DEP and Scott

of
exercising a "power grab" over the water districts. As a result, Draper said, various
decisions would be made in secret by DEP rather than in
public at district board
meetings.

In response, DEP spokeswoman
Dee Ann Miller
said the June 16 memo is part of a
larger strategy for providing oversight as outlined in an April 12
letter

from the
governor to
DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard
.


In his letter, the governor said he wants DEP to review the districts' rulemaking
activities and measurable proposals to streamline regulatory programs and to ha
ve
coordination on land acquisition and lobbying on policy and budgetary matters. On
April 16, Vinyard forwarded the governor's letter to the districts along with a
memo

saying DEP officials would be in touch regarding issues of statewide concern
including possibly improving "working relationships and permitting efficiencies."

On June 1, DEP halted a proposed purchase by the
South Florida Water
Management

District
of an 808
-
acre addition to the Starkey Wilderness Preserve
in Pasco County. DEP also denied three purchases by the

Suwannee River Water
Management District
after initially approving them in May, then gave approval a
second time on June 17, accord
ing to district officials.

The June 16 Steverson memo is part of the larger evaluation of DEP's relationship
with the districts in keeping with the governor's goals for having clear, coherent and
consistent statewide water policies, Miller said in an email
. Those policies, she said,
will preserve Florida's water resources and "promote the regulatory certainty
necessary to assure a vibrant economy."

"One key component of the effort is the department's statutory responsibility to lead
and supervise the action
s of the water management districts," Miller said. "This in no
way compromises the open and transparent nature of government or the ability of
the water management districts to perform their core missions."




http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=23478220


Scott signs scores of bills into law

Florida Tribune Staff, 06/21/2011
-

07:35 PM


Gov. Rick Scott

on Tuesday signed 46 bills into law including
HB 7215
, which
includes
compromise language prohibiting local governments from adopting new
fertilizer ordinances.


Controversial proposals to prohibit local governments from adopting fertilizer
regulations failed to pass the Legislature in recent years. But a compromise measure
faced less opposition from environmental groups, cities and counties because it
allows local ordinances regulating the sale of fertilizer to remain if they were adopted
prior to July 1.


Associated Industries of Florida

and the
Florida Retail Federation

sa
id
restrictions on local governments were needed to prevent a patchwork of fertilizer
ordinances across the state. A few local governments, including the city of Tampa,
moved to adopt regulations in advance of July 1.


The new law also renames the Florida
Division of Forestry as the Florida Forestry
Service as requested by
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
. His Office
of Water Coordination becomes the Office of Energy and Water as the department
takes on responsibilities of the former Governor's Energy O
ffice.


Scott also signed legislation dealing with affordable housing and a measure pushed
by
Sen. Chris Smith

and other black lawmakers that is intended to make it easier
for ex
-
felons to get state licenses.


SB 146
, also known as the "Jim King Keep Flori
da Working Act," would relax
standards so that ex
-
felons do not have get their full civil rights restored in order to
be eligible for a state professional license. The measure would allow state agencies to
reject license applications deemed critical for pu
blic safety.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

earlier this year came out in support of the bill
after she pushed to tighten up restrictions on who was eligible to have their civil
rights
-

and voting rights
-

restored. Bondi said she wanted to "decouple" rights
restoration from the ability of ex
-
felons to get a job.

When the bill passed, Bondi said it would "help felons reintegrate into society and
enhance public safety.”

One of the other bills signed by Scott has been a long
-
sought goal by
Florida
Realtors
.
HB 6
39

repeals a cap on how much money can go into trust funds
dedicated to affordable housing from a tax on real estate transactions. But that same
measure puts restrictions on spending by the
Florida Housing Finance Corp
.,
the state's pubic housing agency. T
he new law says that no money can be spent to
build new housing until July 2012. Instead the money in the state's affordable
housing trust fund can be used to help people buy homes that have already been
built.




http://www.bruceritchie.com/


FloridaEnvironments.com

Environmental News from Florida's capital by Bruce Ritchie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Nation's largest
land
-
buying program appears doomed by veto



With the stroke of a pen last month, Gov. Rick Scott turned Florida from a
conservation land
-
buyer to a land seller.


Florida had the largest land
-
buying program in the nation with more than 2 million
acres
purchased since 1990. The Florida Forever program received $300 million
a year until state revenues started slipping in 2009, when the Legislature
appropriated nothing for the program for the first time since 1990.


Last year the Legislature found $15 mill
ion for the program. But the outcome for
even that meager amount looked bleak this year until Sen. JD Alexander came
up with a novel proposal
--

that state could buy more land if it sold some of its
existing property.


Alexander, the powerful chairman of t
he Senate Budget Committee, proposed
allowing the state to spend up to $305 million for land if it could sell that much,
which was highly unlikely. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection
already had identified more than 20,000 acres that can be

sold and has put
several small parcels up for sale on the department's web site.


Environmental groups went along with the proposal, reminding legislators that
the state Constitution allows land to be sold only if the Cabinet determines it is no
longer ne
eded for conservation purposes.


But none of that seemed to matter to Scott when he raised his veto pen and
displayed it before a crowd at The Villages in Central Florida.


"The Florida Constitution gives me
the authority to hold special interests
accountable with the line item veto," Scott
said. "Today I'm exercising that authority to remove $615 million ... in special
interest spending projects from this budget."


That $615 million included $305 million for Florida Forever even though it was
unlik
ely that anywhere near that much land could be sold in one year. So Scott
killed the possibility of new funding for land acquisition while he directed that the
money he vetoed go towards education.


In his veto message, the governor said the state can't af
ford to buy and manage
more land
--

echoing critics such as Associated Industries of Florida and the
Florida Farm Bureau. However, supporters point to polls that show overwhelming
support for land purchases and studies that suggest parks, state forests and

other public lands contribute jobs and spending for the economy.


While Scott has said he likes visiting parks to hike, he has never said anything in
favor of new land purchases even while approving a few deals at Cabinet
meetings with the cash previously

appropriated by the Legislature.


Scott said any spending that is eliminated by his veto pen should go towards
education. But House Speaker Dean Cannon said the money instead would go
into state reserves.


That would seem to put the nation's largest land
-
buyer in the position of now
being a land
-
seller. But some environmentalists, such as Audubon of Florida's
Eric Draper, say that can't swallow that idea.


"Some land will get sold, some land will get surplussed, some parks will get
developed," Draper said
. "But I don't think the people of Florida are going to
completely go along with that. Rick Scott is not a king. Florida is still a
democracy. People still have a voice."


(Topsail Hill State Park photo copyrighted by James Valentine. Gov. Rick Scott
photo

from www.flgov.com.

Posted by Bruce Ritchie at
6/20/2011 02:09:00 PM

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