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Earth


Keeping It Green

(There's No Planet B)

Phosphate Risk
Florida's Phosphate Risk

Southwest Florida
Environmental Action



Gulf Dead Zone
What You May Not Want to
Know About the Gulf Dead Zone

June 13, 2016 -The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual forecast for the size of the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone"—an area of coastal water where low oxygen is lethal to marine life. The dead zone averages about 6,000 sq. miles or the size of the state of Connecticut.


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Page Updated:
Sept. 29, 2020


The Sink or
Swim Newsletter

  • S.W. Fl. News    • Important Florida Links
  • Solar in the Sunshine State   • Sarasota Solar Co-op
  • Here's the Sarasota Weather and Climate Analaysis Report 3rd Q 2020
    Meadows Rainfall/
    Temperature Analysis
    (Tracking Climate Change)Rain/Temp

    This quarterly report tracks rainfall and temperature data for the Sarasota Meadows and Airport districts.


    Click now for the free download.
  • Experiencing Climate Change in Southwest Florida
  • Watching Out For the Environment
  • Or Are We?

  • Protect the Florida Panther   
    (PowerPoint is Required to See Information)


    The Issues

    • Hey, Sunshine State. Isn’t It Time You Acted Like It!
      Florida’s Utilities Keep Homeowners
      From Making the Most of Solar Power

      July 7, 2019 NY Times - ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

      Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities.

      The utilities have hindered potential rivals seeking to offer residential solar power. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, ad campaigns and political contributions. And when homeowners purchase solar equipment, the utilities have delayed connecting the systems for months.

      Upset? Click now to read more.

    • Would You Like a Little Radon With That Home?
      Radon Gas and Florida's Development

      Aug. 11, 2019 (The Bradenton Times) -Radon is found in one out of every four Florida homes. Every citizen, whether they are aware of the problem or not, is affected. All exposure to radon is potentially harmful. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive, gaseous element that results from the breaking down of radium.

      Numerous studies support the clear and simple fact that radon exposure is a serious public health hazard. Indeed, more is known about the adverse health effects of radon exposure than any other environmental pollutant. Indoor radon air pollution is the number one environmental pollutant in Florida.

      Click now to read more.

    • What To Do About Plastic's Affect on Martine Life?
      How Plastic is Harming
      Florida’s Marine Life, and
      What We Can Do About It

      By Joe Land (Greenpeace)- My passion for environmental conservation began when I was inspired by my 3rd-grade teacher to focus on my own interactions with the world around me, and to learn about the impact humans have on the Earth. I started the first Kids for Saving the Earth club in my hometown of New Albany, Indiana, where I became involved in sharing my enthusiasm for the natural beauty of the planet and in talking to people about the importance of protecting our only home. We worked on a recycling program and on stopping the use of Styrofoam in the school cafeteria.

      When I was 12, I took my first trip to Florida where I fell in love with the ocean and knew that’s where I belonged. When I first moved to Florida in the summer of 2007, I watched the release of sea turtle hatchlings, and I decided that I wanted to focus on their protection and coastal ecology. I became certified as an Advanced Florida Master Naturalist and Land Steward through the University of Florida; that program gave me the tools to understand and share the impact we have on Florida’s diverse marine and natural resources. Today I’m pursuing a degree in Marine and Environmental Science.

      Click for the story and a slideshow.

    • Can We Speak Up for Florida's Wetlands?
      Speak Up for Florida's Wetlands

      Aug. 1, 2019 (Center for Biodiversity)) -Florida's wetlands are the state's greatest natural resource. They clean and capture water, help protect against storm surges, and provide essential habitat for protected wildlife species.

      But our wetlands are threatened by state shenanigans — and we need you to speak up.

      Currently only the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the power to authorize the destruction of U.S. waters, including wetlands. But when Rick Scott was Florida's governor, he began the process — still underway — of assuming that power at the state level. And while the Army Corps is far from perfect when it comes to water protection, at least its decisions are made under close federal scrutiny and in compliance with important federal environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act.

      Click now to read more about this issue.

    • Legislative Environmental Considerations
      Florida Conservation Coalition Legislative Priority:
      Funding for Conservation Land Acquisition:

      Mar. 4, 2019  Florida Conservation Coalition


      • SB 944 Land Acquisition Trust Fund

      • SB 1256 Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern


      • SB 92 C-51 Reservoir Project

      To read all of the bills on this list, click now.
    • The Legislature: Onsite Sewage Treatment
      Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems

      Florida House of Representatives,-Directs DOH to identify certain information for onsite sewage treatment & disposal systems, update database of such systems, & submit report to Governor & Legislature

      Requires periodic inspection of such systems

      Directs DOH to administer onsite sewage treatment & disposal system inspection program & adopt rules; provides inspection requirements

      Provides exceptions; requires owners to pay costs of inspections & pump-outs; requires that inspections & pump-outs be performed by certain registered contractors

      Provides notice requirements; requires system disclosure summary for certain properties & acknowledgement of such disclosures by purchaser before or at execution of contract for sale.

    • Public Notice: Florida Has Got Its Pollution
      Public Notice of Pollution

      -Protecting Florida's pristine environment is the Department of Environmental Protection's top priority. Pursuant to Section 403.077, F.S., the Department is establishing a method for regulated entities to submit Public Notices of Pollution for reportable releases. Additionally, the Department is making available to the public all Notices received to date as well as offering an e-mail subscription service for interested parties to be informed of Notices submitted for their area of interest.

      Reporting entities should be aware that, while submission of a Notice through this website complies with the requirements of Section 403.077, F.S., it does not relieve them of any obligation to report to the State Watch Office.

      Click for more from The Florida
      Dept of Environmental Protection
      .

    • 6 Key Issues Facing Florida Environment
      Florida’s Environmental Challenges

      With leadership from the late Nathaniel Pryor Reed, Trouble in Paradise is the work product of deeply concerned members of the Florida environmental community who wish to help elected officials and candidates for office better understand six major statewide environmental issues impacting Florida’s natural resources and our residents’ quality of life. Reflecting that ‘one size does not fit all’ this report also identifies four of Florida’s many resource areas meriting specialized treatment.

      Click now to read more
      from troubleinparadise.org.

    • Sarasota To Go 100% Renewable
      Sarasota, Florida Commits
      to Transition to
      100% Renewable Energy

      June 19, 2017 - The Sarasota City Commission today adopted a goal of powering all of Sarasota with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2045. Sarasota joins St. Petersburg as the only two cities in the state of Florida to commit to transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy.

      Click now to read the Sierra Club article.

    • Florida Schools Ignoring Lead in Their Water
      Most Florida School Districts
      Don't Test For Lead On Campus

      ABC Action News, Nov. 5,2018 -When you're a busy mom of four, unexpected things happen.

      But Daisy Brittain never anticipated what she recently learned about the water where two of her sons go to school.

      “I didn’t have to worry about lead poisoning when I was a child. Now I’m having to worry about it for my children? It just doesn’t seem right,” she told us recently from her Tampa home.

      Click to read the rest of the story, if you can stomach it.

    • FPL: Solar Use Illegal During Outages
      Florida Power & Light
      Lobbyists Made It Illegal to
      Use Solar During Outages

      Sept. 18, 2017 - One thing has changed since 2005: solar. Many of the FPL customers who are living through dangerous heat without power now have solar panels on their roofs that could keep them going while FPL repairs its infrastructure. Except doing so is illegal, thanks to FPL's lobbyists, who literally ghost-wrote much of Florida's dreadful solar rules.

      Click now to shed some sunlight.

    • Avoid Hurricane Surge Flooding: KNOW YOUR ZONE!
      Know Your Flood Zone

      FloridaDisaster.org, - The greatest killer of people during hurricanes is storm surge – the dome of water pushed ashore by powerful hurricane winds. Entire buildings can be moved, and can cause more damage than the winds of a hurricane itself. Florida is extremely vulnerable to surge flooding because of its coastal and low-lying geography.

      To stay safe from surge flooding, if you live in a zone that has been ordered to evacuate, get out. The best way to be prepared for a hurricane storm surge is to know your evacuation zone and plan your destination and travel routes ahead of time.

      Flood Zone maps are available if you click now.

    • Hey Florida Schools: Get the Lead Out
      Is There Any Excuse
      For Failing to Test
      For Lead in Our Schools?

      July 25, 2019 (mwfDailynews.com)-According to a statewide investigation conducted by WFTS-Tampa Bay late last year, 68% of Florida’s school districts do not test for lead in drinking water, or only partially test. Further, according to this same investigation, Gulf County’s public schools do not test for lead in the water, but, rather, rely on public utilities to perform such testing. However, as the recent public water debacle in Flint, Michigan has shown, and as reputable and independent experts have been warning for more than a decade, public utility testing for lead cannot be relied upon to protect our children’s health.

      Earlier this year, Florida Senator Janet Cruz sponsored a bill, SB 66, that would’ve added water filters in all of Florida’s older schools (including ours in Gulf County) to filter out lead particles from corroded pipes. As Ms. De La Vega’s recent Letter to the Editor pointed out, however, SB 66 failed in Florida’s 2019 legislative session. Admirably, in response to this temporary legislative setback, Senator Cruz has started a $250,000 fundraising effort to add water filters to Hillsborough County’s 136 schools.

      Click now for this wretched story.

    • 1,000 Friends of Florida Webinars
      Upcoming Dr. John
      M. DeGrove Webinars

      June 21, 2017 -Former Senator Bob Graham will be joining the webinar as a presenter

      In 2014 an overwhelming 75% of Florida voters supported the passage of Amendment 1 which allocated a third of the tax on real estate documents to be used for purchasing and restoring conservation lands through programs like Florida Forever. Despite this clarion call from concerned citizens, Florida’s legislators have consistently refused to fund this program in the intended manner, instead siphoning off funds to pay for existing environmental programs previously paid for out of general revenue, and falling far short of the intended allocation for the purchase of conservation lands.

    • NEST - Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team
      The Benefits of NEST

      (Sarasota County wateratlas) —The Sarasota County Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship Team, or NEST, promotes neighborhood involvement in environmentally-friendly projects to protect and restore our shared water resources. The NEST program operates at the neighborhood level to improve the community and our watershed resources.

      NEST projects focus on both education and hands-on activities like, watershed-friendly landscaping, pond, lake, and bay shoreline restoration, bioswales, rain gardens, pervious pavement and invasive plant removal.

      Click now to learn the benefits of participating.

    • Phosphate Mining in Florida Threatens Water & Wildlife
      Significant Threats to
      Water and Wildlife

      Center for Biodiversity -Processed phosphates — little-discussed but widely spread throughout the food chain — pose a serious threat to our environment. Phosphate rock mining, along with the inorganic fertilizers and animal feed supplements for which phosphate is mined, pollute our air, contaminate our water and destroy invaluable wildlife habitat. -Especially in Florida.

      Because in fact, the state of Florida is home to the majority of phosphate-mining operations in the United States — and the United States is the world's third-leading producer of phosphate rock. Thus it's not all that surprising that Florida hosts the world's largest phosphate strip mine —100,000 acres wide.

      Click now for more.

    • Florida Environmental Issues
      Florida Environmental Issues

      Click now for a free PDF download addressing three of the key environmental issues that South Florida is challenged with today.

    • Florida Offshore Drilling is a No-No
      10 Reasons Not to Drill for Oil Offshore of Florida

      - This reminder from Manasota-88 warns of the ten reasons not to drill for off-shore oil.

      Click now for more from the  Manasota-88.

    • Radioactive Waste Water Contamination
      Thnk Radioactive Waste Threatening
      Drinking Water is a Bad Idea?

      Mar. 1, 2017 -The drinking water we depend on should be protected from Nuclear contamination. If Florida Power and Light (FPL) has its way, they will be storing radioactive carcinogens below Florida’s Biscayne Aquifer. The Biscayne Aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for millions of people in South Florida. We must stop this dangerous project before it begins.

      Click for a petition to Fl. legislators.

    • About Manatee County Flood Zones
      Manatee County Flood
      Zone Information Tool

      My Manatee County - Based on recent studies of the area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed updates to the County's flood zones. Depending on whether your flood zone has changed, your flood insurance may be affected. Search your address to find information regarding potential changes in flood zone for a property. Some information may take a moment to load.

      FEMA also has a viewer for map changes, you can find the tool and instructions for its use on FEMA's Community Flood Hazard page.

    • What's It All About - Algae?
      More Chemicals Allowed in
      Fl. Waterways, Toxic Algae Blooms
      Continue to Spread Across State

      July 28, 2016 - The Environmental Regulation Commission just voted 3-2 to approve a proposal by state regulators that would set new standards on 39 chemicals not currently regulated by the Sunshine State and revise regulations on 43 toxins, most of which are carcinogenic. State regulators claim the new plan will protect more Floridians than current standards, the Miami Herald reported.

    • The Sunshine State?- Not Quite
      Solar Power Lags in Florida

      July 5, 2016 - Only one tenth of one percent of all Florida utility customers owned a renewable generating system in 2015, according to new data released by the Florida Public Service Commission.

    • Florida Slime Tracker
      Track That Slime Crime

      Florida's waterways are plagued by slime caused by fertilizer, sewage and animal manure. Click now for an interactive map allowing you to view photographs of the muck, in the areas shown on the map.

    • Watershed Excursion
      Take the Excursion

      View a slideshow of the Springs Coast waterways, brought to you by Southwest Florida Water Management District

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    SW Florida News Stories (in the past year)

    • The Kind of Water Longboat Key Was Not Expecting
      26 million Gallons of Sewage May Have Spilled Into Sarasota Bay

      July 2, 2020,(ABC Action News) -Up to 26 million gallons of sewage may have spilled into Sarasota Bay from a ruptured pipeline and it went unnoticed for more than a week.

      Longboat Key town staff and Manatee County Utilities say they discovered a breach in the town’s sole 20-inch subaqueous wastewater force main that extends under Sarasota Bay and ultimately connects to the Manatee County Wastewater Treatment Plant on the mainland.

      Click now to read or listen to the story.

    • More EV Charging Stations Coming to Florida.
      A New Bi-Partisan Law Has Been Introduced

      June 18, 2020,(POWERGRID-International) -One of Florida’s newest laws lays the groundwork for building a vast network of electric vehicle charging stations along highways, part of a broader effort to improve the appeal of such environmentally cleaner cars and trucks.

      Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed the Essential State Infrastructure bill, supported by Republicans and Democrats in Tallahassee. It represents a nod by the DeSantis administration to the threat of climate change from vehicles’ carbon dioxide emissions, after Florida’s previous Republican governor, Rick Scott, generally avoided acknowledging causes of climate change.

    • Florida’s Flooded Future
      Retreat While There’s Still Time

      June 8, 2020,(The Nation) -With sea levels rising, Miami will be underwater by the end of the century. Florida’s time of climate change denial is over. You can buy mugs in Miami Beach souvenir shops that show a map of the world. Pour in a hot liquid, and Florida disappears. “Climate change is real” appears on the sides of Miami’s buses, and the issue is well covered in the local press; The Miami Herald appointed a special climate change reporter in 2017. Florida’s Republican governor, former climate skeptic Ron DeSantis, last year recruited scientists and “resilience consultants” to prepare the state for climate impacts.

      The sea level here has risen by 2.8 inches since 1992, but the rate of increase has accelerated in the past 15 years and it could rise another 2.8 feet by 2060. And, for once, millionaires in their beachfront homes in Miami Beach or nearby Fisher Island, Star Island, and Indian Creek are not exempt from loss. Even President Donald Trump’s property is likely to feel the effects: By 2050, Mar-a-Lago, his private Palm Beach club north of Miami, is predicted to be under a foot of water for 210 days a year.

    • Red Tide’s Impact on Humans
      Roskamp Institute Awarded
      Federal Grant to Study Red
      Tide’s Impact on Humans

      May 8, 2020 (floridadaily.com) - This week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., praised the Roskamp Institute in Sarasota for winning a federal grant to study the possible connection between exposure to red tide and neurological disorders in humans.

      “Roskamp is one of the leading scientific research institutes in the nation and I’m thrilled they were able to secure funding to conduct this important review,” said Buchanan on Wednesday. “People need to know if exposure causes long-term damage. This grant of more than $400,000 will allow Roskamp to determine if human exposure to the red tide neurotoxin called brevetoxin causes brain impairment or other problems.”

      In particular, the institute will study why some people have mild reactions to red tide while others react more severely.

    • Good Air in Florida? - Don't Count on It.
      Florida's Air Quality
      Shows Mixed Rankings for
      Ozone, Particle Pollution

      April 21, 2020 (FloridaTrend.com)-The American Lung Association’s 2020 “State of the Air” report found several cities earned mixed rankings for the nation’s most widespread air pollutants—ozone and particle pollution—both of which can be deadly. Gainesville, Lake City, Palm Bay, Melbourne, and Titusville were named on the cleanest cities list for short-term and year-round particle pollution after experiencing zero unhealthy air days.

      The Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metro tied 14th in the nation for the cleanest city in the nation in year-round particle pollution ahead of the Gainesville-Lake City metro area which tied 23rd.

      However, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, St. Lucie, Orlando, Lakeland, Deltona, Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater all experienced more unhealthy air days of ozone in this year’s report.

    • Fl.Complex Emitting Greenhouse Gas Nearly 300x as Potent as CO2
      Florida Plant Emits Vast Quant-
      ities of a Greenhouse Gas Nearly
      300x More Potent Than CO2

      Mar. 24, 2020 (Inside Climate News) - Ten miles north of Pensacola, Florida, on the west bank of the Escambia River, an aging chemical plant, its tanks, smokestacks and stainless steel pipes sprawling across hundreds of acres, is a climate killer hiding in plain sight.

      The plant, owned by Houston-based Ascend Performance Materials, makes adipic acid, one of two main ingredients for nylon 6,6, a strong, durable plastic used in everything from stockings to carpeting, seat belts and air bags. The plant also emits vast quantities of an unwanted byproduct, nitrous oxide, more colloquially known as "laughing gas."

    • The Road to Nowhere - Florida's Toll Roads
      The Road to Nowhere is Paved
      Through Florida’s Treasured Wilderness

      March 6, 2020 (National Wildlife Federation)- The beauty of old Florida is unparalleled with lush grasslands, whimsical cypress forests, and the crystal waters of the Everglades. These wild landscapes not only serve to remind us of Florida’s natural beauty, but are also vital in protecting Florida’s drinking water sources and storing floodwaters. Beyond that, these swamps, marshes, and meadows are also among the most productive ecosystems in the world and support a wide variety of plant and animal species, including the iconic Florida panther.

      But, Florida’s magnificent wilderness is under constant threat: wetlands are being drained to make way for urban development, native plant and animal species are being displaced or destroyed, and roads continue to fragment this beautiful state.

    • South Florida Sustainability Achievements in 2019
      2019 Sustainable
      Communities Workshop Recap

      Jan. 1, 2020 (UF IFAS Extension)-

    • Will FPL Get's Its Way on Renewing an Old Nuke Plant?
      FPL Could Get Ok to Run
      Turkey Point’s Nuclear
      Plant For 80 Years

      Oct. 29, 2019  (Miami Herald)-The Turkey Point nuclear power plant has moved a key step closer to receiving a 20-year extension to remain in operation through 2050, after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a favorable environmental impact statement Monday.

      In 2018, Florida Power & Light became the first power company in the U.S. to apply for a second 20-year extension for two reactors. If granted, the reactors would be operating twice as long as the original 40-year license. Federal regulators have previously extended the lifespan of Turkey Point’s two reactors, which went into operation in 1972 and 1973, granting a first 20-year extension in 2002.

    • The Battle Over Fish Farming In The Open Ocean Heats Up
      The Battle Over Fish
      Farming In the Open Ocean Heats
      Up, As EPA Permit Looms

      Sept. 18, 2019 (NPR)-Americans eat an average of 16 pounds of fish each year, and that number is growing. But how to meet our demand for fish is a controversial question, one that is entering a new chapter as the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to approve the nation's only aquaculture pen in federal waters.

      Fish farming has been positioned by its boosters as a sustainable alternative to wild-caught seafood and an economic driver that would put our oceans to work. So far, restrictions on where aquaculture operations can be located have kept the U.S. industry relatively small. In 2016, domestic aquaculture in state-controlled waters accounted for about $1.6 billion worth of seafood, or about 20% of the country's seafood production.

      But the biggest potential home for aquaculture, federally controlled ocean waters, has so far been off limits….

      Click now to read the story.

    • Algae Warning Signs Around Lake Okeechobee
      Do Algae Warning SignsAround Lake Okeechobee Signal
      More Than Health Risks?

      Sept. 13, 2019  (News-Press) —The end of subtropical summer signals more than back-to-school traffic: Usually, cooler, drier weather means reduced chances of harmful algae blooms in the region’s rivers, lakes and canals.

      “If the temperatures were dropping, I’d say ‘Oh, the season’s over,’ but it doesn’t look like they’re dropping.” In fact, he said, “They went back up. We’re seeing 90-degree (days) and that’s going to be great for cyanobacteria.”

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    Important Florida Links