SW Fla. fishermen, shoreside residents echo water quality concerns

NBC2: June 21, 2016. Written by Andrea Hubbell

LEE COUNTY - The water quality is worse than ever, according to some Southwest Florida fishermen. Tour guides are saying in order to catch fish, they must drive up to 25 miles out from shore. It's not a new problem as it's been happening for decades. But the worse it gets, the more it will affect the economy now and in the future.

For Blake Matherly, it's a curse with a hidden blessing.

"This year it's far worse because of the extra rain we have been getting. But all that has done is let more people see that this problem has been going on for years," Matherly said.

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Guest commentary: Everglades protection must prevail against the sugar industry

NAPLES DAILY NEWS: June 16, 2016. Written by Kimberly Mitchell, Executive Director at the Everglades Trust. 

We all pay dearly for Florida's sugar industry. It needs to end.

A recent guest commentary in the Naples Daily News from the Florida Sugar Cane League claimed that Florida sugar production is the epitome of family farmers hard at work.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the most recent agricultural census reveals that there are only about 150 sugar "farms" in Florida, two of which account for some 300,000 acres of production — some family enterprise!

To be clear, the Florida Sugar Cane League is speaking for the mammoth Florida sugar barons — U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals. The guest commentary criticizes those working hard to restore America's Everglades by calling them "so-called defenders of the environment."

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Green-algae blooms spotted in multiple locations around Martin County waterways

WPTV: June 20, 2016. Written by Meghan McRoberts

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Green algae blooms continue to show up in Treasure Coast waterways, causing concern for residents, business owners and water lovers.

Monday, algae was spotted in multiple areas in Martin County, including Leighton Park, Shepard Park, Downtown Stuart near the Riverwalk, the St. Lucie Locks and Lighthouse Point in Palm City.

On the first day of summer, some residents worry about what is yet to come for the season. Lake Okeechobee releases continue to pour into the St. Lucie River, which scientists blame for the algae blooms.

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Will Florida Bay survive the summer?

MIAMI HERALD: June 17, 2016. Written by Jenny Staletovich

Record winter rain on the heels of a severe summer drought that withered acres of seagrass may not be enough to stem the fever ailing Florida Bay.

The seagrass die-off, which spread from about 25 square miles to more than 62 square miles through the winter, blanketed the central bay in a plume of yellow sulfide. While scientists say the die-off appears to have stopped for now, they worry that rising water temperatures over the summer could trigger a more lethal blow: algae blooms. Record highs have already been topped three times in the bay in recent months, they say.

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Don't take away our refuge

SUN SENTINEL: June 14, 2016. Written by Susan Davis, board member of Audubon Society of the Everglades

National wildlife refuges are sacred spots for the American people to enjoy our nation's remarkable wildlife. The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in western Palm Beach County is a perfect example of how important refuges can be in metropolitan areas like South Florida. Loxahatchee is the only remnant of the Everglades left in Palm Beach County.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does an admirable job managing the refuge — also known as Water Conservation Area 1 –— through a 50-year lease agreement with the landowner, the South Florida Water Management District.

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POINT OF VIEW: Environmentalist is not a four-letter word

PALM BEACH POST: June 14, 2016. Written by Kimberly Mitchell, Executive Director at the Everglades Trust

I am writing in response to Malcolm “Bubba” Wade Jr.’s June 10 Point of View in The Palm Beach Post, “Environmental critics muddying waters with misinformation” regarding the environmental devastation happening in three areas of South Florida: St Lucie River (Stuart area), Caloosahatchee River (Fort Myers area) and Florida Bay (the Florida Keys). I think we have all become accustomed to Big Sugar’s standard refrain of “It’s not our fault!”

Our work at the Everglades Trust is not centered on who’s at fault. Rather, it is singularly focused on the solution. There is only one solution to solving this horrific nightmare and it is a large water storage area, an Everglades reservoir, south of Lake Okeechobee. Scientists and biologists know it. The people know it. And Big Sugar knows it.

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BREAKING: Big win for the Everglades. Gov. Scott signs Legacy Florida into law.

Today, Governor Scott signed Legacy Florida into law, which includes up to $200 million annually for Everglades Restoration. This is a big win for the Everglades. But, our work is not done. The Trust will continue to push for the necessary land purchase south of Lake Okeechobee. 

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: Marco Rubio Alienates Florida GOP Voters

THE HUFFINGTON POST: March 7, 2016. Written by Alan Farago. 

On March 15, Marco Rubio will run out of Florida voters to fool. Today he is looking forward to a day he expects: “Marco Rubio is Florida Country.” In fact, as he looks inwards, he and Republican state officials will have to question a tenet of Florida’s GOP majority: that voters don’t care, don’t know about, or are indifferent to Big Sugar’s control by proxy of property values and taxes.

The secret handshakes between the state GOP and Big Sugar concern water policy. In 2014 the Tampa Bay Times documented secret hunting trips paid for by US Sugar Corporation to the King Ranch in Texas. Only Republican legislators were invited to partake by private jet, luxury accommodations, free wine and booze and what else. It wouldn’t be a big deal today, but for historic January rainfall that sent a tidal wave of water pollution across the thresholds of mainly GOP voters at the wrong time of year.

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Stop US Sugar Greenwashing

Add your name and be a citizen co-signer to our open letter to William White, the CEO of environmental non-profit, Charles Mott Foundation and the Chairman of the Board of US Sugar Corp -- a mega polluter of the Everglades.

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Chamber of Commerce Says: "Everglades Restoration Is Good For Business"

From the Miami Herald:  Fifteen years ago, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was adopted by the U.S. Congress. It was estimated that CERP would cost $8.2 billion and take approximately 30 years to complete. Since then we have seen some progress, but also too many delays.

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