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Toxic Discharge Update: St. Lucie Locks 10-16-20

Scenes from the St. Lucie Lock and Dam captured Friday morning, October 16. Releases from Lake Okeechobee began Wednesday, October 14 at a rate of 1,800 cfs out of S-80 east to the St. Lucie estuary. The Army Corps reports that releases east are being pulsed at S-80 in an effort to have the lowest flow days at the peak of the King Tides this week.

2020-10-16T16:53:17-04:00October 16th, 2020|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie Estuary, Toxic Algae|

‘Marjory Saves the Everglades’ Author Chat

When we get depressed about bad politics and the degradation of our environment, we turn our thoughts to the next generation of Everglades advocates. Young Friends of the Everglades inspire us — and today’s chat with children’s book author Sandra Neil Wallace was no exception. Sandra’s newly published book, “Marjory Saves the Everglades,” tells the story of our tireless founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Watch Sandra’s chat with Young Friends of the Everglades: Signed copies of the book are available! Click here to give one to a young environmentalist in your life. And don’t forget to check out the activity kit and curriculum guide that accompany Sandra’s book! Your donations make Young Friends of the Everglades possible. Less than 24 hours remain for [...]

ALERT: There’s toxic algae in Lake Okeechobee — and the flood gates are opening

Friends, This is the news we've been dreading. With a massive blue-green algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee, the flood gates to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries are opening this afternoon.  The video below, captured by Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, illustrates the threat. https://youtu.be/SPkvviXhz00 Lake Okeechobee has been grappling with algae blooms for months. Now, with the flood gates opening to the estuaries, that algae — some of which has been confirmed toxic — may flow into the fishing holes and backyards of people along the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.  Blue-green algae is more than unsightly — it’s a confirmed threat to human health. Scientists have linked toxins in cyanobacteria to liver disease, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.  We know the [...]

2020-10-14T14:49:46-04:00October 14th, 2020|All Posts|

Army Corps: Hold off on Lake O discharges

Today, Friends of the Everglades asked the Army Corps of Engineers to hold off on Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries for one more week. We believe the cost-benefit analysis remains in favor of waiting, for the following five reasons: The 7-day forecast looks relatively dry, which means Lake Okeechobee’s water levels are likely to stop rising so quickly. King Tides are projected on the east coast this week, posing flooding risk that could be amplified by Lake O discharges. There are no imminent tropical-cyclone threats in the Atlantic that could bring rain to Lake Okeechobee. Florida Department of Environmental Protection is still waiting on toxicity results for water samples taken at S-308 and S-77, the [...]

Statement on general aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base

Below is a statement from Friends of the Everglades board member, Alan Farago, on general aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base. October 13, 2020 CONTACT: Alan Farago, 305-778-8765 alanfarago@me.com STATEMENT ON GENERAL AVIATION AT THE HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE A potential re-use of the Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB), wedged between two national parks,  is back on the table. Last week Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a resolution to negotiate a “joint use  agreement” with the U.S. Air Force for a fixed base operation (FBO) at the air base. Commissioner  Daniella Levine Cava added an amendment to the Moss resolution restricting operations to “general  aviation.” Critics note that “general aviation” may not stop cargo traffic and, on questioning, the county attorney  [...]

Lake Okeechobee Discharge Watch

South Florida residents are on edge as heavy rains have pushed the water level in Lake Okeechobee toward the tipping point where damaging releases to the coasts are deemed necessary to protect the Herbert Hoover Dike.  Today at 15.86 feet, the possibility of toxic discharges is more likely than it's been the last two years. Thanks to a change in operations that has lowered Lake Okeechobee levels before the rainy season, the Army Corps of Engineers has been better equipped to deal with extra rainfall like the deluge of storms that have lingered over South Florida for the past several weeks. We are hopeful that the Army Corps’ efforts to avoid discharges to the northern estuaries by finding additional southern [...]

2020-10-06T17:13:01-04:00October 6th, 2020|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, Toxic Algae|

Friends of the Everglades rejects building of a new communication tower on sensitive Everglades wetlands

Just 6 months ago, we celebrated an administrative judge's ruling against Miami-Dade County’s proposed SR-836 extension highway outside of the Urban Development Boundary into the Everglades. Following weeks of hearings, which raised major concerns about building through sensitive wetlands located in the Bird Drive Basin, the planned highway was ultimately rejected due to uncertain impacts to the Everglades and to the Biscayne aquifer that provides drinking water for residents in Miami and the Keys. While we’re waiting for the 836 ruling to be approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, another threat to Bird Drive Basin has emerged. A proposal has been submitted by iHeartMedia & Entertainment to install radio towers in the very same wetlands just secured [...]

2020-10-06T14:56:22-04:00October 6th, 2020|All Posts, Friends of the Everglades Statements|

Miami-Dade County Commission should hit the brakes on development of Homestead Air Base

Friends of the Everglades is asking Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to pull this topic from tomorrow's County Commission agenda to provide more time for input on a proposal that could lead to commercial flights out of Homestead Air Reserve Base. The following letter was submitted to Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission on behalf of Friends of the Everglades by attorney Paul J. Schwiep. October 5, 2020  Via Electronic Mail Carlos A. Gimenez County Mayor Stephen P. Clark Center 111 Northwest 1st Street, 29th Floor Miami, Florida 33128 mayor@miamidade.gov Re: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Agenda Item No. 11(A)(13) Dear Mayor Gimenez:  I write on behalf of the Friends of the Everglades (“Friends”) to request that the  Board [...]

Recording Available Now! Clean Water Conversations: The tipping point in Biscayne Bay

We are grateful to all of you for joining us for our latest Clean Water Conversation: The tipping point in Biscayne Bay. Today we heard about the factors surrounding and leading up to the recent fish kill in Biscayne Bay from Miami Waterkeeper, Rachel Silverstein, and Friends of the Everglades board members, Phil Kushlan and Camila Quaresma-Sharp. As mentioned in the conversation you can add your name in support of a strong fertilizer ordinance by clicking HERE or on the button below.  If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording available below. Please share it with your friends and neighbors to help us ensure that immediate and long term protections are prioritized to save this treasured [...]

2020-09-30T15:36:01-04:00September 30th, 2020|All Posts|

ACTION ALERT: Biscayne Bay is dying. Sign on to fertilizer ordinance now!

On September 2, 2020, following a unprecedented fish kill, Friends of the Everglades joined Miami Waterkeeper and dozens of representatives from science and education institutions and environmental organizations in signing a consensus statement that calls for the following remedies for Biscayne Bay:  Curtail sewage leaks Convert septic tanks to centralized wastewater treatment Clean and treat stormwater Reduce fertilizer overuse. While we recognize that many of these solutions will take concerted time, effort, and money to complete, we sincerely feel it is inexcusable that, in the face of Biscayne Bay's near-death state, Miami-Dade County has yet to pass a fertilizer ordinance. In Florida, 139 municipalities and 32 counties have passed fertilizer ordinances since 2007. Just over half of municipal ordinances include [...]

2020-09-30T09:07:33-04:00September 30th, 2020|Action Alerts, All Posts|