TC PALM: SFWMD effort to end mandated Everglades pollution limits in consent decree subject of motions

TC Palm: Written by Tyler Treadway. January 17, 2019.

Several environmental groups are opposing the South Florida Water Management District's effort to end a federal court's oversight of Everglades restoration projects.

The district and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection "have yet to fulfill the promises they made" to clean water entering Everglades National Park, according to a motion filed late Wednesday by the Sierra Club, the Defenders of Wildlife, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Florida Audubon Society.

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GAINESVILLE SUN: Editorial: Environmental action elevated by DeSantis


Gainesville Sun: Written by the Daytona Beach News Journal. January 15, 2019.

On the campaign trail, Gov. Ron DeSantis said many of the right things about Florida’s environmental challenges — particularly the threats from toxic algae blooms and red tide creeping up Florida’s coastline. He promised water would be his top priority once he got into office.

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PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD: Southwest Florida red tide episode kills record number of sea turtles

Panama City News Herald: Written by Carlos Munoz. January 16, 2019.

SARASOTA — A Florida red tide outbreak close to 16 months old has killed more sea turtles than any previous single red tide event on record, and manatee deaths are not far behind.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission attributed 589 sea turtles and 213 manatee deaths to this episode of red tide, which began in late 2017. It had killed 127 bottlenose dolphins as of Dec. 20, leading the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to declare an unusual mortality event.

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BLOOMBERG: Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First

Bloomberg: Written by Christopher Flavelle. August 29, 2018. 

One morning in June, Douglas Yoder climbed into a white government SUV on the edge of Miami and headed northwest, away from the glittering coastline and into the maze of water infrastructure that makes this city possible. He drove past drainage canals that sever backyards and industrial lots, ancient water-treatment plants peeking out from behind run-down bungalows, and immense rectangular pools tracing the outlines of limestone quarries. Finally, he reached a locked gate at the edge of the Everglades. Once through, he pointed out the row of 15 wells that make up the Northwest Wellfield, Miami-Dade County’s clean water source of last resort.

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SUN SENTINEL: Two water district board members agree to governor's request to resign

Sun Sentinel: Written by David Fleshler. January 14, 2019.

Two members of the board that manages South Florida’s water resources have resigned, giving Gov. Ron DeSantis a quick victory in his campaign to prevent another summer of gooey algae on the region’s coasts.

The governor last Thursday asked for the resignations of the entire nine-member board of the South Florida Water Management District, as part of the most dramatic first week in power for any Florida governor in recent memory: he pardoned the Groveland Four, appointed the first Cuban-American woman to the Supreme Court and ousted Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

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TRCP: How Fishing Guides Accelerated Everglades Restoration Efforts

TRCP: Written by Alycia Downs. December 14th, 2018.

As fishing guides, charter captains, and other small business owners share their stories, decision-makers get inspired to make conservation happen in South Florida

From the top of a poling platform in the Florida Keys, a fishing guide scans the flats for a slender outline or a silver flash, whispering instructions to an angler at the bow. “There’s one at ten o’clock. Drop it right in front him. Strip… faster, now…” The more precise the directions, the greater the chance of hooking into the targeted fish. Patience and perseverance are critical, especially when almost every element is outside of your control.

In a moment of such pure concentration, politics should be the furthest thing from the mind of a guide. The unfortunate reality, however, is that our unique experiences on the water—not to mention the livelihoods of countless outdoor recreation business owners in south Florida—are directly affected by decisions made every day in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

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TAMPA BAY TIMES: Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

Tampa Bay Times: Written by Adam C. Smith. January 13th, 2019.

Winner of the week

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Can anyone remember a Florida governor starting off with a better, more consequential first week in office than this guy? Even Democrats were applauding the conservative new governor whose remarkably busy week included naming the first Cuban American woman to the Florida Supreme Court, visiting and shining a spotlight on the continuing struggles of hurricane-ravaged north Florida communities, pardoning the Groveland Four, issuing sweeping environmental reforms and suspending assorted local officials. Oh, and he had an emergency landing in St. Petersburg, too. Runner up: Sarasota Republicans. The new chairman of the Florida GOP is Sarasota's Joe Gruters. The new vice chairman of the GOP is Sarasota's Christian Ziegler.

Loser of the week

Sen. Rick Scott. Florida's new senator, in contrast, seemed to go out of his way to leave Tallahassee looking like a jerk.

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HERALD TRIBUNE: Red Tide: DeSantis wants ‘war footing’ in water fight

Herald Tribune: Written by John Kennedy. January 14, 2019.

But lawmakers may settle for skirmish

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis used his opening week in office to underscore a campaign pledge to tackle Florida’s deepening environmental problems, with the former Navy lawyer saying he wanted the state on a “war footing.”

But signs are emerging that fellow Republicans in the state Legislature may be considering a more narrow approach — one some critics dismiss as a mere skirmish against the enemies of red tide and toxic algae that fouled both coasts.

“The public wants us to take on the entire problem, and that’s what we should be doing,” said Rep. Thad Altman, R-Merritt Island, whose Brevard County district was plagued by “brown tide” last spring and summer, an algae bloom that caused massive fish kills.

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TC PALM: Nikki Fried, new Ag Commissioner, vows to get tougher on water quality | Thumb up

TC Palm: Written by Treasure Coast Newspapers Editorial Board. January 10th, 2019.

Complaining that "there has been no enforcement of best management practices," Florida’s new Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has vowed to take a leadership role on water quality issues, including enforcement of agricultural water quality regulations.

Fried — the only statewide elected Democrat and the first Democrat to serve on the elected Cabinet in eight years — told Politico her department has a "tremendous" impact on water quality. Her ascent to office comes on the heels of two huge water crises — the red tide that fouled much of the Gulf Coast for much of 2017-18; and the toxic algae blooms that once again choked the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries last summer.

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MIAMI HERALD: When it comes to saving Florida’s environment, DeSantis gets it — so far

Miami Herald: Written by Carl Hiassen. January 11, 2019.

Gov. Ron DeSantis got lots of attention when he focused on the environment for a handful of paragraphs during his inauguration speech last week.

The unusually optimistic reaction shows that Floridians who hope to preserve a few precious pieces of this remarkable place are starved for hope and desperate for leadership.

DeSantis began his green passage with an understatement: “Our economic potential will be jeopardized if we do not solve the problems afflicting our environment and water resources.”

In truth, Florida’s economy won’t merely be “jeopardized” if we don’t clean up our act; it will be strangled. Witness the crushing impact of the marathon red-tide outbreak and blue-green algae blooms upon businesses in coastal communities. That was a harrowing, nauseating, tourist-repelling glimpse of the future.

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