In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Boundaries.”
Protecting the dune.
House of Refuge
Martin County, Florida
Things we don’t see on the tv: Sneaky fracking guys. Politicians. City of Ember. Will we get the sunshine we deserve?
Most of the people I talked to this week were in a better mood that usual. Everyone except for the GOP seemed to love Papa Francisco including myself.
#hope #compassion #inspiring
It’s always when we’re trying to do something else when people take advantage.
Florida legislators file bills that would prevent communities from regulating fracking
Posted By Erin Sullivan on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 7:45 AM
“On Sept. 17, the League of Women Voters of Florida held a town hall on fracking. The event, which featured speakers from both pro- and anti-fracking factions, was well-attended by people concerned about the idea that utility companies are eyeing our state as fracking’s new frontier.
What better time, then, for two state legislators to quietly file pro-fracking bills, while so many activists were occupied?
On Sept. 17, Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, introduced SB 318 (aka, “Regulation of Oil and Gas Resources”). The bill summary is completely blunt about what it’s proposing: “Preempting the regulation of all matters relating to the exploration, development, production, processing, storage, and transportation of oil and gas.” Not only that, if a municipality has already decided that it does not wish to allow fracking within its jurisdiction, this bill would declare “existing ordinances and regulations relating thereto void.” The bill would provide an exception for certain zoning ordinances (it doesn’t say which zoning ordinances, but we like to think that it would at least respect your right to not have fracking companies set up shop in your residentially zoned backyard) but only if those ordinances were in place before Jan. 1, 2015. Interestingly, the bill doesn’t contain the word fracking anywhere in its text – nor does it contain the words “hydraulic fracturing.” Instead, it refers to fracking as the very innocuous-sounding practice of “high-pressure well stimulation.”
Read the complete text of that bill here.
Meanwhile, over in the House, Rep. Ray Wesley Rodriques, R-Fort Myers, filed a bill the same day that would do essentially the same thing as SB 318. Rodrigues’ bill, HB 191, declares that it’s the state’s job to regulate all things relating to the oil and gas industry, “to the exclusion of all existing and future ordinances or regulations relating thereto adopted by any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state. Any such existing ordinance or regulation is void. A county or municipality may, however, enforce an existing zoning ordinance adopted before January 1, 2015, if the ordinance is otherwise valid.”
You can read the text of that bill here.
Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, is one of the legislators leading the charge against fracking – he’s put forward a bill for the 2016 session that would ban fracking in the state completely: “We have a very unique geology here,” he says, pointing out that the fragile limestone bed beneath our soil would not be able to withstand the practice of shooting chemicals into it at high pressure. “Our geology does not allow for fracking to be done safely.”
Soto predicts that these pro-fracking bills will likely “sail through the House,” but that there will be a battle in the Senate. Soto says that if people do care about how fracking could impact the state, or about the state’s attempt to pre-empt home rule, they should contact their legislators. “We need all the help we can get from Floridians across the state,” he says. “We’d love support for the ban. Other states have done it. New York did it last year, so it’s not like it can’t happen here.”
If these bills pass, he says, “there would be no sanctuary against this in any county in the state. … it’s concerning, to say the least.”
Something similar happened recently in Texas. The small city of Denton, Texas banned fracking within its borders in late 2014. Less than six months later, the state of Texas signed a bill into law that banned any bans on fracking, nullifying Denton’s law. A story in the Dallas Morning News pointed out that “numerous studies” have tied fracking to earthquakes, and here has been a marked increase in seismic activity in the Dallas area recently. On Sept. 21, an earthquake that measured 2.6 M on the Richter scale shook the city. The San Antonio Current says it was the “more powerful than any of the other multiple earthquakes that hit the area this year.”
Although the U.S. Geological Survey has said that the cause of recent quakes in Dallas is not clear, a study released in May by Southern Methodist University concluded that stresses caused by “oil and gas activity” in the area are likely contributors.
Then I found this article.
“That was the message from a press conference held Monday afternoon in St. Petersburg, as state Representatives Dwight Dudley (D-St. Petersburg), Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami), and Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey) spoke out against a decision last week by the Florida Public Service Commission that would allow Florida Power & Light to collect up to $500 million per year from customers to further invest ratepayer money in natural-gas production. FP&L has roughly 4.6 million customers, but none in the Tampa Bay area (where Duke Energy and TECO are the main providers).
“Consumers are getting screwed again,” Dudley said in a phone call with Florida Politics late Monday afternoon. “A five-member panel of unelected people decide they’re going to allow this huge corporation get $500 million a year from ratepayers to subsidize and pay for fracking – drilling exploration and production of natural gas and oil,” he said with obvious disdain, adding, “It’s a staggering ripoff.”
More unelected people stealing thing from us.
Fracking is not happening right now in Florida. In late April, a proposal by Naples Republican state Senator Garrett Richter that would put “responsible regulations” in place for fracking failed to advance.
What’s it to him?
Our savings BTW will be 2 bucks a year. We can buy what two cucumbers with that. I can’t even buy the ingredients for my smoothie with that (cucumber, cantaloupe, almond milk, local honey and ice cubes). FPL wants 500 million dollars from you and can’t even buy you a smoothie.
Then I found this from last legislative session.
Drilling has come under increased scrutiny in the past year, partly because the Collier-Hogan well, south of Lake Trafford, was fracked at the end of 2013.
Richter’s bill (SB 1468) defines the process as a “well intervention performed by injecting more than 100,000 gallons of fluids into a rock formation at high pressure” to create fractures to increase production at an oil or gas well.
He said the bill was crafted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, with input from other stakeholders including Collier County and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Dee Ann Miller, a spokeswoman for the DEP, said the agency collaborated with Richter on the language of the bill but could not confirm if it would suggest changes or push for its passage.”
You can go on the link and read the rest. He said. She said.
But here is deal. We want no fracking. Just one more thing we do not need here.
My county Martin County said a big fat no to fracking.
My friend and tireless advocate for the water Merilee Malwitz-Jipson came to town. ( Where was I?)
The vote was unanimous and unequivocal, with Palm City, and Indiantown Commisioner John Haddox leading the way with the motion to sign a state-wide ban on fracking.
Why are they in such a hurry?
The worst oil price rout since 1986 is beginning to claim victims in the shale oil patch, and now its every man for himself.
Investors in $158.2 million of Goodrich Petroleum Corp.’s debt agreed to take 47 cents on the dollar in exchange for stock warrants for some note holders and a lien on Goodrich’s oil acreage, according to a company statement today…
“In the industry it’s called ‘getting primed,’” said Spencer Cutter, a credit analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s every man for himself. They’re trying to get in and get exchanged, and if you can’t you’re getting left out in the cold.”
Investors in shale oil frackers like Goodrich aren’t the only ones writing off huge losses.
Earlier this month, Halcon paid about 65 cents on the dollar to investors in $1.57 billion of the company’s debt, in exchange for being third in line to get paid if the company fails…
“The bubble is bursting,” Cutter said. “And if oil stays where it is, the worst is yet to come.”
With creditors of fracking companies taking huge losses on their investments, and with more losses coming, it isn’t surprising that frackers have been basically locked out of the bond market, and regulators are worried that banks are overexposed.
On one side are the bankers who have been grappling with the plunge in oil prices and the need to shore up billions of dollars in credit extended to the energy industry. On the other are regulators eager to prevent another financial crisis while not knowing what it might be. Caught in the middle are the small- and medium-size exploration and production companies that rely on credit lines that use their energy reserves as collateral.”
So it very interesting that a person who was prescient of bank is all for fracking.
So again as happened last year there are people in our legislature that say they are for local control. They tell that to you when they are running. “I’m for you!”
Here is a trailer for program that at UCF. It’s called Booktalk. My son was really involved with the project. It was a program that made trailers from books and then showed them to kids so they would get interested in reading. The two people in opening are my son Adam and Dr Kenny.
This project was first place btw https://showcase.ucf.edu/doc/winners2005.pdf at tt 2005 Showcase of Undergraduate Research
“The City of Ember is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Jeanne DuPrau that was published in 2003. Similar to Suzanne Martel‘s The City Under Ground published in 1963 and Helen Mary Hoover‘s This Time of Darkness published in 1980, the story is about Ember, an underground city threatened by aging infrastructure. The young protagonist, Lina Mayfleet, and her friend, Doon Harrow (the second protagonist), follow clues left behind by the original builders of the City of Ember, to safety in the outside world.”
Every time I thing about electricity I think about this trailer. I think about the darkness and I think about the light. Then I think about the sunshine that is completely devoid in the State of Florida.
At about 1:07 “I’m your man!” That’s what I hear when people who do not have our best interests at heart do bad things. Then he says “it’s alright!”
Will they save ember or will the city be lost in darkness forever?
Will we be in the darkness forever?
Harvard Law School’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics is out with a fascinating new report measuring legal and illegal corruption in American states, and Florida does not fare particularly well.
The deep dive is here, but here’s the short take:
- Illegal corruption is “moderately common” in Florida’s executive branch.
- Illegal corruption is “very common” in the state’s legislative branch.
- No state has a high ranking for illegal corruption in its judiciary.
When it comes to “legal” corruption, Florida falls into the “very common” category in both the executive and legislative branches.
Florida is also listed as one of America’s most corrupt states, along with Arizona, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Texas.
The Safra Center compiled its corruption rankings in part by surveying news reporters covering state politics across the country, in addition to the investigative reporters covering issues related to corruption during the first half of 2014.
A few weeks ago I put out a call for books that people thought would be good for our Florida Legislators to read. I got a great response. Thank you all so much. I put up my poll. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the 27 people who cared and took the time to vote.
I’ve done this before. Sent books that I thought was important. Not just to politicians but to friends. I think I have bought at least 50 copies of my favorite book “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”
I can tell you that people from both sides that have never read “The Swamp.” Many have not even heard “Paving Paradise.” Most can’t be bothered. They just don’t want to hear about it.
Our elected officials need to be bothered. They need to read.
If you don’t have time put it in your bathroom and read a little everyday.
Why? Because reading matters. It really does.
“New technology allows us to see the living brain at work. Reading can help unlock remarkable powers. Reading builds new connections in the brain which in turn helps to create stepping stones to understand other people’s worlds.
A good book literally has the power to change you.”
We should be asking the candidates what was the last five books they read. Take note question askers.
I forgot one book and I apologize to fellow WordPress blogger and future Martin County Commissioner Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. I totally forgot The RiverKids Workbook. Yikes. So I’m adding it in. Because like me you guys forgot also.
Here is each book :
Authors: Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite
“In an award-winning newspaper series, two investigative reporters from the St. Petersburg Times chronicled how federal rules meant to protect the nation’s wetlands were more illusion than law. Now, that series has been expanded into a book, delving into how we got to this point, starting with land speculators making waterfront property out of sand dredged from the bottom of the ocean. Now, read how the nation’s wetlands protections were formed in clashes between developers, bureaucrats, judges, activists and con artists over Florida swamps.”
This is an exhaustive, timely and devastating account of the destruction of Florida’s wetlands, and the disgraceful collusion of government at all levels. It’s an important book that should be read by every voter, every taxpayer, every parent, every Floridian who cares about saving what’s left of this precious place.” — Carl Hiaasen
I am amazed, horrified and delighted that you wrote Paving Paradise! You have uncovered the perfidy that we always knew existed … You have named the key figures that led to the loss of thousands of acres of Florida wetlands.” —Nathaniel Reed
“The Everglades: River of Grass is a non-fiction book written by Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1947. Published the same year as the formal opening of Everglades National Park, the book was a call to attention about the degrading quality of life in the Everglades and remains an influential book on nature conservation as well as a reference for information on South Florida.
Douglas was a freelance writer who submitted stories to magazines throughout the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Her friend Hervey Allen was an editor at Rinehart, responsible for the Rivers of America Series. Allen asked her to write a story about the Miami River, but Douglas did not find it very interesting, calling it only “an inch long”. She began learning more about the Miami River though, and in her research, she instead suggested to her editor to write a story about the Everglades. Douglas spent five years researching the Everglades, consulting with Garald Parker of the US Geological Survey, who was studying the Everglades hydrology systems, and eventually wrote nearly 40 papers on the ecosystems in the Everglades.
The Quarterly Review of Biology reviewed the book and commented on Douglas’ “convincing evidence” in her assertion that the Everglades are a river instead of a swamp, and declared that “it is hoped that this excellent account of the area and its history may provide the needed stimulus for the establishment of an intelligent conservation program for the entire Everglades.”
“The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it.
The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man’s abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America’s most beguiling but least understood patches of land.
The Everglades was America’s last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and “reclaim” it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.
Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline. ”
“Long before “going green” was mainstream, Dr. Seuss’s Lorax spoke for the trees and warned of the dangers of disrespecting the environment. In this cautionary rhyming tale, we learn of the Once-ler, who came across a valley of Truffula Trees and Brown Bar-ba-loots (“frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits”), and how his harvesting of the tufted trees changed the landscape forever. With the release of the blockbuster film version, the Lorax and his classic tale have educated a new generation of young readers not only about the importance of seeing the beauty in the world around us, but also about our responsibility to protect it.”
Between roughly 25 and 31 degrees north latitude, a combination of flat topography, poor soils, and limited surface water produce deserts nearly everywhere on earth. In Florida, however, these conditions support a lavish biota, more diverse than that of any other state east of the Mississippi.
In this first comprehensive guide to the state’s natural resources in sixty years, thirty top scholars describe the character, relationships, and importance of Florida’s ecosystems, the organisms that inhabit them, the forces that maintain them, and the agents that threaten them. From pine flatwoods to coral reef, Ecosystems of Florida provides a detailed, comprehensive, authoritative account of the peninsular state’s complex, fragile environments.
In this book a master scientist tells the story of how life on earth evolved. Edward O. Wilson eloquently describes how the species of the world became diverse and why that diversity is threatened today as never before. A great spasm of extinction — the disappearance of whole species — is occurring now, caused this time entirely by humans. Unlike the deterioration of the physical environment, which can be halted, the loss of biodiversity is a far more complex problem — and it is irreversible. Defining a new environmental ethic, Wilson explains why we must rescue whole ecosystems, not only individual species. He calls for an end to conservation versus development arguments, and he outlines the massive shift in priorities needed to address this challenge. No writer, no scientist, is more qualified than Edward O. Wilson to describe, as he does here, the grandeur of evolution and what is at stake. “Engaging and nontechnical prose. . . . Prodigious erudition. . . . Original and fascinating insights.” — John Terborgh, New York Review of Books, front page review “Eloquent. . . . A profound and enduring contribution.” — Alan Burdick, Audubon
My Florida by Ernie Lyons
Publications of books “My Florida” and “The Last Cracker Barrel,” compilations of Mr Lyons columns from the Stuart News, can be purchased at Stuart Heritage Museum, 161 SW Flagler Avenue, Stuart, FL.(http://www.stuartheritagemuseum.com)
Here is a blogpost about Ernie Lyons that could simply be emailed.
A Land Remembered focuses on the fictional story of the MacIveys, who migrated from Georgia into Florida in the mid-19th century. After settling, this family struggles to survive in the harsh environment. First they scratch a living from the land and then learn to round up wild cattle and drive them to Punta Rassa to ship to Cuba. Over three generations, they amass more holdings and money, and move further from their connection to the native, untamed land.
I love this book and I’m including it because it was geared towards a second grader. It simply is a marvelous accomplishment and enjoyable to read. I sent my niece’s in Colorado a copy each because I want them to know about what goes on here at Aunty Cyndi’s house.
When I call them on the phone they asked me “How is Barney?” then “How are the Dolphins?” then “How are you?”
“The first verse of the River Kidz’ Song, written by River Mom, Nicole Mader, and the River Kidz goes:
“The River Kidz are here; Our mission’s quite clear; We love our river and ALL its critters; Let’s hold it all dear…”
The rest of this wonderful song can be found on page 36 of the new workbook below.
After over a year of creative preparation, and community collaboration, the River Kidz’ 2nd Edition Workbook is here!”
This is from Jacqui’s blog:
The really cool thing about this workbook is that it was written “by kids for kids,” (Jensen Beach High School students for elementary students). The high school students named the main character of the book after Marty Baum, our Indian Riverkeeper. The students had met Mr Baum in their classroom (of Mrs Crystal Lucas) along with other presenters and field trip guides like the Army Corp of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, and politicians speaking on the subject…
The books will be going into all second grade public school classrooms and many private school classrooms beginning in February of 2015. Teacher training will be underway this February at the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen.
River Kidz will make the booklet available to everyone. Some will be given away, and some will be used to raise money at five dollars a booklet. To purchase the booklets, please contact Olivia Sala, administrative assistant for the Rivers Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org —-Numbers are limited.
In closing, enjoy the workbook and thank you to Martin County, Superintendent, Laurie J. Gaylord for encouraging the workbook and for her beautiful letter in the front of the booklet. Thank you to Martin County School Science Leader, Valerie Gaylord; teacher, Mrs Crystal Lucas; Mom, Mrs Nicole Mader; Sewall’s Point artist, Ms Julia Kelly; Southeastern Printing’s Bluewater Editions’ manager and River Dad, Jason Leonard; to River Kidz founders Evie Flaugh and Naia Mader, now 14/13; years old–they were 10 and 9 when this started,—- to the Knoph Foundation, and the Garden Club of Stuart, and to the hundreds of kids, parents, students, businesses, politicians, state and federal agencies, and especially to Southeastern Printing and the Mader Family who made this concept a reality through education, participation.”
So that’s it. I’m going for the top five. Also if you have read any of these books please feel free to write a review and I’ll post it.
Thanks in advance!
Good News Monday: Some Relief for Florida’s Bear Hunt
A judge agreed Friday morning to hear arguments Oct. 1 that could stop Florida’s bear hunt.
Speak Up Wekiva Inc. and Chuck O’Neal of Longwood, opponents of the state’s first bear hunt in more than two decades, want Circuit Judge George S. Reynolds III to impose a temporary injunction to prevent the hunt from taking place Oct. 24.
The lawsuit alleges the state Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has crafted rules that could unwittingly lead to the killing of more than 320 bears, the kill quota established by the wildlife agency.
More than 2,100 hunters have gotten a permit.
“The FWC is not above the law or common sense,” O’Neal said.
Next month’s black bear hunt is a quintessential Florida event, blending our state’s love of guns with its disdain for reason and science.
Shoot first, get the data later.
“You should have all your science in place before you hold your first hunt in 21 years, especially when you’re dealing with an icon animal,” a hunt opponent told me Friday.
That quote didn’t come from some Sierra Club tree-hugger or PETA paint-thrower, but a Broward businessman, hunter and outdoorsman who answers his phone by saying, “Alligator Ron.” That would be Ron Bergeron, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner who voted against the hunt.
Alligator Ron was on the losing end of a 3-2 vote earlier this month. That’s bad news for bears.
Not long ago, Florida’s black bears were considered a threatened species, numbering only a few hundred. They have rebounded to an estimated population of 3,100.
Starting Oct. 24, roughly 10 percent could get wiped out in a week.
It’s refreshing to read about a hunter who actually believes this bear hunt is wrong. I guess I will have to take back my “the only good hunter is a dead hunter” viewpoint. The problem is not too many bears; it’s too many humans moving to Florida. Too many lazy humans who…
The commission decided to allow an unlimited number of hunters off up to 320 bears, a curious decision because Bergeron said they haven’t even gotten updated bear information in all the hunting zones.
“The state is divided into seven bear regions, with four allowing hunting [next month],” Bergeron said. “Two of those four regions’ stock assessments have not been finalized. We’re making assumptions based on the 2002 assessments…We don’t have all the data.”
Bergeron still hunts one deer, one turkey and one hog a year, but he won’t be taking aim at any bears next month.
“Until all of the science and stock assessments are in and show that we have a sustainable bear population and we have a population greater than the balance of the food chain, this seems premature,” Bergeron told me.
State Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, has no qualms. He’s among the 2,100 (and counting) who’ve paid for bear-hunt permits.
“This is to sustain a population, not to eviscerate it,” Artiles said Friday.
Artiles said thinning some older aggressive male bears will allow younger bears to stay in their natural habitat.
Part of hunt supporters’ rationale: Bears have become a nuisance in some populated areas in central Florida, foraging through trash for food.
“One thing I hope this hunt will do is train bears to be afraid of humans again instead of there being no repercussions,” Artiles told my colleague Dan Sweeney last week.
Say what? How are we going to train bears since the ones who learn the lesson will be dead? And how does killing a bear in Collier County translate to reforming nuisance bears near Orlando? Will the bears who dodge bullets in the western Everglades go on Bear Facebook to alert their friends: “Those crazy humans are shooting at us! Stay away from trash cans and houses!”
“It’s not teaching like a circus animal, but I believe the hunting will pressure them,” Artiles, an avid hunter, told me. “It’s proven and documented that deer know to avoid humans during hunting season.”
“I don’t really believe this will change behavior,” Bergeron said. “Bears really want to avoid people. What brings them to town is garbage. It’s an easy meal.”
A better solution than a widespread hunt, Bergeron said, would be bringing bear-proof trash cans to the 14 counties where nuisance bears have been reported. And Bergeron led an effort to halt the harvesting of palmetto berries from state land, giving bears a better chance of finding meals in the wild. “We were taking away their natural food,” he said.
Next month, hunters will try to take away much more.
Come Oct. 24, I’ll be rooting for the bears.
Here is MY letter to the editor at our Stuart News.
Cyndi Lenz, Jensen Beach
Letter: Those opposed to the bear hunt are not ‘animal-rights extremists’
What is going on now in reaction to the Florida bear hunt is not a circus. It’s the reaction of most Floridians. Most of us are fine with hunting. We have many things in Florida you can hunt. In Florida, if it moves you can shoot it. Unless it is protected.
At last week’s hearing in Ft. Lauderdale I heard the hunters say they are for conservation and they know what they are doing. Well, they don’t. The hunters are being used to promote a bigger agenda, and that is deregulating everything so developers can develop and builders can build. Florida has the most protected species in the world — “developers.”
There will not be any land to hunt on because it going to be full of shopping centers and no-lot-line houses. There will be no hunting because there will be no place to hunt. When I spoke to a representative from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year the plan was education. The issue was humans feeding the bears. There was no doubt about this. People needed to be educated.
There was a bill approved by the Senate that made it a third-degree felony to feed the bears. So instead of educating people we’re going to charge them with something that is as serious as possession of cocaine. Makes sense only because we live in Florida. We don’t fix things in Florida like normal people. Logic has no home here. The downlisting came after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was petitioned by Pacific Legal Foundation, a private property advocacy group in Sacramento, California. So let’s all settle down and do what needs to be done for our black bears. Stop the hunt. Educate.
So all good!
If you can please take a moment and vote on our poll. We just have a few days left.
Many kudos to Shari Anchor who leads us in this fight to save this important piece of land.
The story of the Port St. Lucie Crosstown Parkway Bridge tells how we lose Florida’s natural beauty, resources and ecosystems, even if they exist in our preserve state parks. It’s the story of a battle that must be fought if we are to save any of them.
In 1990, the city surveyed federal, state and regional natural resource/regulatory agencies about building a bridge through the North Fork of the St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve using two potential routes. All agencies commented both routes crossed very environmentally sensitive lands and waters, impacting important wetlands, but of the two, they were firmly against what is now known as Route 1C.
Undeterred, the city manager stated that since there was unanimous disapproval, the next step was to go “political.”
Then-Sen. Ken Pruitt was enlisted to lobby for the cause. Engineering consultants were hired for millions of dollars to make the case that Route 1C was the “most beneficial.”
In 1996, the city began purchasing properties along the Route 1C corridor, even though the National Environmental Policy Act dictates an objective Alternatives Analysis and Environmental Impact Statement be completed prior to route selection. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection demanded, unsuccessfully, that an environmental-impact statement be performed for the entire proposed Crosstown Parkway from Interstate 95 to Hutchinson Island. Project segmentation does not accurately assess impacts.
By 2006, the bridge project was being reviewed by the Department of Transportation, which solicited input from reviewing agencies such as the DEP. Many agencies “red-flagged” the proposed bridge crossing because of impacts to parks, wetlands and wildlife. No matter, the environmental impact statement declared a road piercing the heart of important public lands was the very best possible route.
If the city chose any other route, the bridge would likely be built by now and for tens of millions of fewer dollars. What’s holding it up is that pesky irritant called the law, at least according to the Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County and the Indian Riverkeeper. We filed a federal lawsuit in 2014, arguing the Federal Highway Administration and the DOT violated Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act when they approved Route 1C.
Section 4(f) states there shall be no taking of parkland for incompatible uses such as road infrastructure if any other route exists which would have less or no impact to parklands. Route 1C would take the most parkland, from the aquatic preserve and from the Savannas Preserve State Park Buffer Preserve.
Taking no parkland, another route, known as Route 6A, would fully comply with this law.
Likewise, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act dictates every effort must be made to avoid the destruction of wetlands. Other less-impacting routes must be chosen. The Army Corps of Engineers states that Route 1C “is the most ecologically damaging” route, with the most impact to the most acreage of the highest functioning and quality wetlands, thereby likely not in compliance with the act.
The South Florida Water Management District has requested a “formal finding” as to whether a bridge through the aquatic preserve is compatible with state law. Of the 10 types of activities permitted in aquatic preserves, none of them involve bridge construction.
Another sleight of hand at work here is the strategy to mitigate for the “worst-case scenario,” suggesting that was what was intended from the get-go. A big, expensive mitigation package was supposed to make it OK to take highly ecologically valuable preserves. Nothing in the law absolves the parties from choosing the least impacting route.
The Overton Park decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 established that park land must receive priority status in law, otherwise the economic and social factors at play in highway construction would always prevail and no park lands could survive.
It’s up to us to make sure the laws designed to protect park lands count.
Shari Anker is president of the Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County.
Here is a link to the lawsuit.
Thank you so much Shari, Marty, the Conservation Alliance of St Lucie County and the Indian Riverkeeper.
This must be saved.
The thought of having a bridge crossing over to the Island and all the construction that will come after that just slays me. People will not be happy with a bridge. They will want giant apartment buildings, places to eat and that whole of the Island that is just beach will destroyed. People complain it’s hard to get there. It should be. It should be hard. No one’s asking anyone to hike in. Just drive in the comfort of their car for an extra 15 minutes.
Let’s get this part done first.
Here is a video I put together of the area last year. You don’t have to sign that petition any more but you should watch to see what we are talking about.
Oral arguments on Oct. 6th at the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building Courthouse in West Palm Beach. More info on time when we get it.
Yesterday, I drove over to Sarasota to see my family and go to a party. It was a pretty special day. Two birthdays and we would find out a baby gender. I decided to take Barney because there would be a fenced in back yard and it’s cool enough if you leave early in the morning for him to be in the car.
Even though there is so much to talk about, think about and write about we have to remember why we are here in the first place.
It’s a great ride.
We started off in Jensen Beach from our little house on the hill and this glorious sunrise.
Here is Barney my almost 18 year old golden. There’s nothing he loves more than a “Woad Twip.”
Here’s the fog out at fog at Alapattah Flats Management Area. I’m still in Martin County.
Here is our Martin Grade Scenic Hwy. It’s fabulous and worth the ride. The best ride would be coming from the west early in the morning because the light is amazing. Make sure you have a driver because there is no place to stop. I looked behind me as I drove and it was like the light was following me down the road.
The end of this road is the end of Martin County.
Through Okeechobee, Highland County and onto Desoto County which has a grand sign about tranquility and prosperity and something else I can’t remember.
I had to stop. The main reason was I really needed a bathroom and it’s very hard when you travel alone with a dog to find a place you can just run into and safely leave your dog in the car with the windows down. Barney barks not when you come towards him but when you leave. I’m sure if we were ever robbed he would bark as the robber’s were leaving abandoning him. “Come back. Don’t leave me!”
Just an interesting note. In Arcadia, FL the streets are names for the Florida Counties. I’ve stopped there a few times and I really need to go back and I think it would a fun place to meet the kids in the future.
Check it out.
“Arcadia is famous throughout Florida for its historic downtown antique district. Additionally, on the fourth Saturday of each month, vendors from surrounding locations take over our streets with even more wares and precious finds. Tucked between the shops, you’ll have the chance to enjoy cafés, home cooking, a tea room and even an old fashion ice cream parlor, complete with homemade delicious flavors, sundaes and shakes.”
The second reason was I wized past this place so many times I just wanted to see what it was and take Barney for a little walk and shoot some photos.
Across the road there were guns going off. Hundreds of cars and people shooting guns and a big no trespassing sign.
This is where we went.
DeSoto Veterans Memorial Park
2195 NW American Legion Dr Arcadia, FL 34266
“With boat ramp and picnic areas, this park is used frequently by groups and large gatherings such as Pioneer Days and Relay for Life. With the shade provided by the large oak trees, this is the perfect place to park and enjoy your lunch hour. This park also features restroom facilities.”
When traveling in Florida you always to leave a little early because there’s always someplace to stop with your dog and take a moment to breath and use the rest room.
Here is the Peace RIver.
The Peace River is a river in the southwestern part of the Florida peninsula, in the U.S.A. It originates at the juncture of Saddle Creek and Peace Creek northeast of Bartow in Polk County and flows south through Hardee County to Arcadia in DeSoto County
and then southwest into the Charlotte Harbor estuary at Port Charlotte in Charlotte County. It is 106 miles (171 km) long and has a drainage basin of 1,367 square miles (3,540 km2). U.S. Highway 17 runs near and somewhat parallel to the river for much of its course. The river was called Rio de la Paz (River of Peace) on 16th century Spanish charts. It appeared as Peas Creek or Pease Creek on later maps. The Creek (and later, Seminole) Indians call it Talakchopcohatchee, River of Long Peas. Other cities along the Peace River include Fort Meade, Wauchula and Zolfo Springs.
Fresh water from the Peace River is vital to maintain the delicate salinity of Charlotte Harbor that hosts several endangered species, as well as commercial and recreational harvests of shrimp, crabs, and fish. The river has always been a vital resource to the people in its watershed. Historically, the abundant fishery and wildlife of Charlotte Harbor supported large populations of people of the Caloosahatchee culture (in early historic times, the Calusa). Today, the Peace River supplies over six million gallons per day of drinking water to the people in the region. The river is also popular for canoeing.
There were many Pleistocene and Miocene fossils found throughout the Peace River area, eventually leading to the discovery of phosphate deposits. Most of the northern watershed of the Peace River comprises an area known as the Bone Valley.
The Peace River is a popular destination for fossil hunters who dig and sift the river gravel for fossilized shark teeth and prehistoric mammal bones. Several campgrounds and canoe rental operations cater to fossil hunters, with Wauchula, Zolfo Springs, and Arcadia being the main points of entry.
A number of major restoration activities are under way in the watershed, particularly in the Peace River region. The objectives of the SWFWMD’s Upper Peace River Watershed Restoration Initiative include the restoration of surface water storage and flows and aquifer recharge, as well as improvement to water quality and ecosystems that have been lost, degraded, or significantly altered. The initiative will provide a critical link to a major greenway that extends from Florida’s lower west coast up through the Peace River watershed and Green Swamp, and north to the Ocala National Forest. Projects undertaken through the initiative involve Lake Hancock, the upper Peace River, and the Peace Creek Canal.
Why can’t I just write a blog about the great things in Florida.
THREAT: PHOSPHATE MINING
HUGE PHOSPHATE MINES ARE DEVOURING THE PEACE RIVER WATERSHED, LEAVING BEHIND UNSTABLE CLAY POOLS THAT PREVENT WATER FROM REACHING THE RIVER — UNTIL THEY COLLAPSE.
Peace River Makes the 2004 Most Endangered Rivers List
Florida – America’s rivers and streams are becoming more polluted — and the White House and Congress are making a bad situation worse by cutting clean water law enforcement and spending on pollution prevention, charged American Rivers with the release of its 2004 Most Endangered Rivers report.
* On President Bush’s watch, EPA is issuing less than half as many “violation notices” to polluters who break the law, and is levying smaller fines, as well
* One-fourth of America’s largest industrial and sewage treatment plants are in “significant noncompliance” with water pollution standards at any one time
* The White House and Congress have declined to reauthorize the Superfund tax to ensure that polluters pay to cleanup toxic waste instead of the taxpayers
* On his first day in office, President Bush scrapped a proposal to require wastewater treatment plants to notify the public when the spill sewage into streams and rivers.
* In November 2003, the EPA proposed to sanction dumping fully and partially treated sewage into rivers when it rains.
* The federal government used to pay 20% of water infrastructure costs. Now it pays 5% and President Bush has asked the Congress to cut this by another third for 2005.
* Removed restrictions that protect streams from mountaintop removal coal mining
* Issued new nationwide permits for building shopping centers, tract housing, and corporate campuses on top of wetlands and flood-prone areas
* Discouraged federal field staff from protecting many wetlands and streams under the Clean Water Act.
* 51% of the mouths of America’s rivers were designated “impaired” in 2000, up from 37% in 1994
* EPA estimates that sanitary sewers overflow directly into streams, lakes, and estuaries 40,000 times and that as many as 3.5 million American get sick from swimming in water laced with sewage each year.
* Forty-three states have issued fish-consumption advisories along 500,000 miles of river
* The United States loses 60,000 acres of wetlands each year – increasing the frequency and severity of floods
Phosphate mining in the Peace River watershed has been the source of serious environmental problems for many years, and large new mines are planned. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) must take measures to safeguard the river and communities in the watershed from mining impacts, including protecting drinking water, and important tourism and commercial fishing industries.
I have to do more research. If any of you guys have any more info email me at email@example.com.
It’s never too early to start thinking about who we need for Governor and we need to start doing this right now. We simply will not survive any of Rick Scott’s cronies and I’m sure he’s got his own people up his nasty evil sleeves to pass on this murderous deregulation.
I’ve been told the end game is total deregulation so polluters can pollute and builders can build where ever they want. I see it going on here even in Martin County where this guy wants to build these really ugly places where you have your business downstairs and you live upstairs. The location is right near our beautiful greenway and Haney Creek.
This is not the Martin County I moved to. The one I moved too had a clean lagoon, lots and lots and lots of green. The old road near my house was upgraded to a pretty road with little circles just ripe for a developer to build what ever he wants and the sewage lines are not moved up near the lagoon where we could all hook up but close enough for developers to develop.
I read on twitter last week that the most protected animal in Florida was the developer.
But right now I want to talk about black bears.
We used to have black bears here on Hutchinson Island. My friend, fellow wordpress blogger and future Martin County Commissioner wrote a blog about it.
“According to historian Alice Luckhart, the black bear population on Hutchinson Island was completely wiped out by about 1930. (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/feb/03/historical-vignettes-when-bears-roamed-hutchinson-/)
Before modern man came and planted bean fields and produced honey, the bears ate turtle eggs, palmetto berries and the riches of the Indian River Lagoon and St Lucie River. But they they became a problem, so we “wiped them out.”
We wiped them out.
We must stop wiping things out.
We must live in the sunshine. We live in the sunshine state but do not have sunshine. Only evil darkness that lurks like the boogeymen under our beds. Koch roaches.
I spent the last few years documenting our water issues. We didn’t get what we needed and there is lots to do but I really believe in my heart that we were meant to go through what we did together to make us better, smarter, well educated advocates who have a really clear vision of what the big picture is. We literally saw people following the orders of rick scott. It’s our job to educate others. Asking for things will not work. The will of the people does not work. We are seeing this with amendment 1. The people of Florida voted for amendment one and the legislators stole it.
We need a Governor who will remember that he represents us and not his evil cronies.
You watch this trailer and then you tell me if you want to go out and kill a bear. For what? Bear doesn’t taste good. No one wears fur.
Who is the enemy of the bear? Humans.
This week there was a big meeting in Fort Lauderdale. This is what happened.
“The bear hunt, approved by the commission in June and set to start Oct. 24, will last from two to seven days. While the hunt is supposed to end in each region once the preset quotas are reached, hunters are guaranteed a minimum of two days of pursuing bears.
Stupid pills: Throwback Thurs Marco goes to Stuart.
“Where have you been for the past 13 months?” called out one protester.R
Another held a wanted poster with Rubio’s face on it, calling him “No Show Rubio” and accusing him of “murder of our rivers.”
After begging him for a year he finally showed up. The initial meeting was invited Republicans only. Some people we knew stuck their tongues out at us as they walked by into the meeting. Truly a dagger into the hearts of the “clean water” River Warriors which is non partisan.
In the end we were invited in if we promised to be quiet.
The speakers were all very respectful to Marco Rubio.
He was given a bottle of dirty river water. He was given an explanation by Mark Perry our expert on all things St Lucie River, Indian River Lagoon and Estuary.
What the issue? Not that we were decimated and destroyed by the discharges from Lake Okeechobee.
This is the issue.
To be far almost everyone takes sugar money. Florida’s own Debbi Wasserman Schultz is the worse. She’s a great buddy of Marco Rubio.
This week this happened.
Rubio: Our National Security Depends on Sugar Subsidies
“If we eliminate our sugar subsidies first, Rubio warned, “other countries will capture the market share, our agricultural capacity will be developed into real estate, you know, housing and so forth, and then we lose the capacity to produce our own food, at which point we’re at the mercy of a foreign country for food security.”
“With a little more space, Mr. Mann might have added some pungent details. How Rubio, for example, while leader from Miami in the Florida legislature, strongly supported Big Sugar’s right to pollute the Everglades at taxpayer expense. That was in the early 2000’s, when Rubio was Jeb Bush’s point man in weakening federal and state agreements to protect the dying River of Grass from Big Sugar’s fertilizer runoff.
A decade of litigation by Friends of the Everglades and the Miccosukee Tribe resulted in an $880 million dollar agreement in 2012 by the Gov. Rick Scott administration that is now shifting the entire burden, again, onto taxpayers and away from the sugar industry.
Instead of siding with taxpayers, Marco Rubio chose the team that controls the state: billionaire insiders like the Fanjuls of Coral Gables and Palm Beach who run the sugar industry and insure its prerogatives like a syndicate.
What Mann doesn’t quite explain is how Rubio’s logic in defense of Big Sugar works. Rubio’s defense of Big Sugar as “national security” is rote memory from the Big Sugar’s playbook: “if you don’t let us grow sugarcane and pollute, we will put suburban sprawl on the land we own.” That’s not a threat: it’s gospel that is blithely accepted by Democratic leadership as well as Republican, gliding past the awareness that strong growth management regulations in favor of the Everglades once attempted to guide sprawl away from what taxpayers have already spent billions to protect.
The Big Sugar nonsense goes on: “If you don’t heed our threat, instead of dealing with us (sensitive sugar billionaires you can negotiate with in good faith) you will have to deal with owners of zero lot line homes who want more Lowes and Home Depots and Friday’s in wetlands.” The only problem: Big Sugar has never negotiated in good faith with the public or, to be more accurate, only negotiates from a position where it defends its profits down to the very last penny.”
This morning my friend Bev from San Francisco put this on her Facebook Page.
“I`ve decided to have a most excellent week. ”
I saw that and thought “YA me too! I’m going to have an excellent week.” and I shared her post.
It really changed my usual very bummed out Monday morning mood.
When I go out on one of my adventure trips with my friend Jules I am amazed. She knows the names of all the birds and the plants. To my own defense I can name all the bones in the body and I can recite the cranial nerves.
On old Olympus towering tops a fin and german spied some hops.
I know and love vultures, pelicans. I get a lot of mourning birds in my yard and also these really pretty red woodpeckers. I know these are woodpeckers because they hang on the telephone pole and peck away.
Last year I was driving down my favorite back road and I saw this guy and I had no idea what it was but he looked so cool that I stopped and took a photo.
This gorgeous one was hanging out in Stuart, FL as of August 28, 2013. It is classified as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Stork aids in new beginnings as there is a spiritual and/or physical birthing taking place. He will aid in carrying the new birthing of ideas, thoughts and new ventures to where they need to be for Spirit’s plan. It is time for actions in areas in your life as Stork teaches to move in air (mind) and land (body) with a balance of relaxation. He instills a sense of calm and peace through the process. Stork helps in solidifying and strengthening the domestic fronts as well. Take notice of communication abilities and the attitudes and emotions that your words hold. Stork will show how to carry your new peace into all areas of your life.
The Wood Stork is one of Florida’s signature wading birds, a long-legged, awkward-looking bird on land that soars like a raptor in the air. Like many Florida birds associated with wetlands, the Wood Stork has suffered from the destruction and degradation of our state’s wetlands. Today, the Wood Stork is classed “Endangered” by the State of Florida and the federal government.
That’s another story for another day. Today we celebrate that he’s back and he’s safe.
They usually go back to the same place year after year. I usually drive down this road a few times a week. I’ve been looking for him.
I did get out of the car and welcome him back. He moved his beak and said said some in woodstorkeez.
He gave me hope that I really will have an excellent week.