WPTV: PBC tourism council to send letter to Gov. Scott about water quality concerns

WPTV: Written by Alanna Quillen. November 15, 2017.

PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you visit any of the beaches in Palm Beach County, you might be in for a surprise.

The beautiful, turquoise green waters have been replaced by brown, nasty-looking water.

It's raising so much concern that the local tourism council is sending a letter to Gov. Rick Scott saying this goes beyond water quality issues.

Tourist Agathe Corre is visiting Palm Beach from France.

"We're just disappointed by the look of the beach," she said.

She said she was expecting something a little different.

"We were expecting something a little more tropical," said Corre. "It looks a bit dark, especially given the weather and temperature, we're expecting bluer water that's for sure!”

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PALM BEACH POST: Icky brown waters off Palm Beach County concern tourism leaders

Palm Beach Post: Written by Kim Miller. November 14, 2017.

The topaz-blue waters off Palm Beach County have had more noticeably brown days this fall – an opaque sea of tea that is less inviting and even dangerous as high bacteria levels have forced a handful of temporary no-swimming orders.

Officials from the South Florida Water Management District and county agree the icky looking stew is the result of storm water runoff from record rainfall and canal discharges necessary to keep communities from flooding.

But beachgoers are dismayed and tourism leaders are concerned, so much so that the Palm Beach County’s Tourist Development Council agreed last week to send a letter to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders about the water.

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Florida Weekly: Written by Roger Williams. November 14, 2017.

WHEN A STRONG SUMMER SQUALL FLOODED Miami Beach one day in August, the incident was a harbinger of what’s to come, not an anomaly, said Dr. Harold Wanless, a University of Miami geologist and climate change expert.

The local flood will be repeated many times elsewhere in coming years, just one of many environmental challenges Floridians have never faced in such large degree, he predicts.

One of the biggest problems: the nearly half-million acres of sugar cane planted mostly south and west of Lake Okeechobee in land known as the Everglades Agricultural Area, a barrier roughly 20 miles deep that blocks the traditional flow of water southward into the Everglades.

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TC PALM: Everglades in 'worst' conditions in 70 years

TC Palm: Written by Chad Gillis. November 9, 2017.

The Everglades is drowning, and it has been since June.

Three large rain events brought the wettest wet season on record, and water in what's left of the historic Everglades is too high for the ecology.

"The Everglades is in the worst condition that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in that environment since I was about 3 years old," said Ron Bergeron, an east coast businessman and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner. "It’s very, very critical that everybody understand this situation."

Bergeron, 73, was speaking to the South Florida Water Management District on Thursday at a district meeting in Doral in Miami-Dade County.

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MIAMI HERALD: A pollution alarm for Everglades after Florida’s super wet year, but how bad is it?

Miami Herald: Written by Jenny Staletovich. November 10, 2017. 

Water flowing into Everglades National Park during the wettest rainy season on record, along with a powerful hurricane, exceeded court-ordered limits for marsh-killing phosphorus, the South Florida Water Management District revealed this week.

Scientists on an oversight committee may not determine for months whether a formal legal violation occurred, but the exceedance is an indication of just how deep, and complex, Florida’s water problems have become.

After record rain drenched the state in June, leaving water conservation areas full and Lake Okeechobee high, Hurricane Irma and a tropical storm followed. Florida Bay, which looked like it might be spared the worst after Irma, is now struggling with thick algae in the central bay and elevated amounts in the northeast part. And that’s got recreational boaters and anglers who make up one of the Keys’ biggest economic engines worried.

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MIAMI HERALD: Record rain is drowning the Everglades

Miami Herald: Written by Jenny Staletovich. November 4, 2017.

Record rain generated by a severe wet season, a hurricane and a tropical storm have left marshes and tree islands submerged for longer than they have been in decades.

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TC PALM: Time for Florida Chamber to get on board with Everglades reservoir

TC Palm: Written by Eve Samples. November 9, 2017.

An open letter to the Florida Chamber of Commerce:

Business leaders of Florida,

It's great that you're talking about water. You got together in Tallahassee on Wednesday to discuss the future water needs of 1,000 people a day who are moving to Florida.

It won't be easy to accommodate the 6 million new Floridians expected by 2030.

Our water is in distress right now. Consider:

State officials issued 13 avoid-water advisories for beaches and rivers earlier this month.
Algae is blooming in the waters of Florida Bay.
Billions of gallons of polluted freshwater from Lake Okeechobee are being dumped in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, where toxic algae made international headlines last year.
Sewage leaks recently fouled the northern Indian River Lagoon.

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Algal Blooms Spreading Over Florida Bay

WGCU: Written by Nancy Klingener. November 6, 2017.

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Initially, the news was good. The water was stirred up of course, but it started to clear up quickly. The seagrass beds were still there and the mangrove islands were intact. 

FENCE POST: Sugar ‘modernization’ bill introduced, but growers object

Fence Post: Written by Hagstrom Report. November 8, 2018.

Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Danny Davis, D-Ill., and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Pat Toomey R-Pa., introduced a bipartisan and bicameral Sugar Policy Modernization Act, legislation they said would phase market reforms into the U.S. sugar program.

Foxx said in a news release that the bill would:

» Lift restrictions on the domestic production and sale of refined sugar.

» Reduce taxpayer liability to loan forfeitures when sugar processors decide not to pay back their USDA loans.

» Ensure that the domestic demand for sugar is considered when the USDA administers the sugar program.

» Bring market forces into the U.S. sugar market and phase out supply-management policies.

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SUN SENTINEL: Florida should stand strong against more Everglades oil drilling

Sun Sentinel: Written by Editorial Board. November 3, 2017. 

he Everglades, already robbed of land and water for South Florida’s growth, should be off limits to oil drilling.

Yet a judge’s October ruling could open the door to exploratory oil drilling in a portion of the Everglades in western Broward County.

Despite the judge’s findings, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection should stand strong and reject the drilling proposal and, if necessary, send the fight to a higher court.

In the meantime, the Florida Legislature, which convenes in January, should ban oil drilling in new tracts of the Everglades, as it has banned oil drilling in state waters off Florida’s beaches.

Drilling in the Everglades not only risks polluting the habitat of nearly two dozen threatened or endangered species, it also threatens to contaminate South Florida’s drinking water supply.

Just because the state allowed oil drilling to creep into the Everglades near Collier County decades ago, doesn’t mean it should spread that mistake to western Broward.

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