VIDEO: Will Florida Legislators make our fragile waterways better… or worse?

We're in the midst of another Legislative session in Tallahassee and it seems that the theme is the same this year as in years past. Despite all the water quality problems that we know are persistent in Florida, each year there are bills filed to further erode our pollution regulations and environmental protections. As Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples pointed out today, for those of us that speak up on these issues, it's easy to feel like we’re playing a lot of defense. During today's Clean Water Conversation, we broke down several of the best and worst bills being considered during this year's 60-day session. We'd like to extend a big thank you to VoteWater's executive director, [...]

2022-01-26T14:04:31-05:00January 26th, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature|

Stop the LOSOM bait and switch

The Story The State of Florida is asking the Army Corps of Engineers for big changes to the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that we do not support. Catch me up. LOSOM will determine when and where water flows from Lake Okeechobee for the next decade. During the LOSOM process, the Army Corps has indicated it would be responsible for dictating the movement of water from Lake Okeechobee when lake levels were above a “Water Shortage Management Line.” Once lake levels dropped below this line, control over lake flows would be passed to the state. Go on. Now, in a move that feels like an eleventh hour bait-and-switch, water supply interests are clamoring for greater state authority, demanding the [...]

2022-01-25T09:16:29-05:00January 25th, 2022|Action Alerts, LOSOM|

Letter to the Army Corps: Keep LOSOM fair and balanced

On January 21, 2022 we submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of Friends of the Everglades, Calusa Waterkeeper, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Florida Oceanographic Society, and Conservancy of Southwest Florida articulating concerns regarding the South Florida Water Management District's proposal to create a 1.5 foot buffer zone in the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). During the LOSOM process, the Army Corps of Engineers has indicated it would be responsible for dictating the movement of water from Lake Okeechobee when lake levels were above a "Water Shortage Management Line." Once lake levels dropped below this line, management deference would be passed to the state. Now, in a move that feels like an eleventh hour bait-and-switch, [...]

2022-01-21T17:03:40-05:00January 21st, 2022|Friends of the Everglades Statements, LOSOM|

LOSOM: Who foots the bill for water supply’s insurance in Lake Okeechobee?

JUMP TO: Friends of the Everglades LOSOM Reaction As the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual process enters the next phase of development, the fight is less about how the plan is written — but whose finger is on the trigger. That was laid bare today, during the Army Corps of Engineers’ latest meeting on the lake plan. In recent weeks advocates for “water supply” — many of them sympathetic to Big Sugar and other agricultural interests south of Lake Okeechobee — have insisted the state of Florida, rather than the Army Corps of Engineers, must have the ultimate say in how the system is operated when the water in the lake drops near the “water shortage management band.” When the [...]

2022-01-12T17:19:08-05:00January 12th, 2022|LOSOM|

Everglades Illustrated: The power of seagrass

Last week’s 37th annual Everglades Coalition Conference has us thinking about the importance of a particular building block throughout the greater Everglades ecosystem: seagrass. During the conference, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava reminded us of an astounding fact: Florida wetlands, including mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows, are much more efficient at sequestering carbon than even rainforests — making them some of the most efficient natural carbon storage environments in the world and considerably boosting our natural resilience to the impacts of climate change. In Florida, seagrass benefits don’t just end there. Seagrasses provide critical nursery habitat and feeding grounds for countless fish and aquatic animal species. Years of unchecked pollution and algae blooms have caused mass die-off events [...]

2022-01-11T11:27:32-05:00January 11th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Illustrated|

Friends of the Everglades 2022 Legislative Preview

The Florida Legislature will consider dozens of bills in 2022 that could have a significant impact on water quality, conservation, environmental justice and the health of the Everglades itself.  In line with Friends of the Everglades’ 2022 Legislative Priorities, we offer the following analysis of bills being considered for the session that begins January 11, 2022: JUMP TO: Stop pollution at its source Prohibit oil drilling in the Everglades and Big Cypress Strip "particle emissions" from the list of protected farming practices Fully Fund Florida Forever Support legal rights for the natural environment Stop the assault on home rule Other Priorities Priority: Stop Pollution at its source Seagrass mitigation banks - OPPOSE SB 198 (Rodriguez) and HB 349 (Sirois) would [...]

2022-01-11T10:49:55-05:00January 5th, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature|

Your moment of Everglades Zen: Serenity Found

Weaving between the knees of a cypress grove, a male bobcat wades quietly through the water in a world that must feel like all his own. A friend of the Everglades gifted us this trail cam footage captured in the Everglades. Palmetto leaf reflections shimmer on the surface of the water as he peers back over his shoulder, taking in the stillness of his surroundings. As we’re sure many of you did, we took a moment this week to consider all that we accomplished in 2021 and our targets for the year ahead. The first week of the year invites resolutions, planning, mapping, charting and charging into the laundry list of goals and obstacles that each of us envisions tackling [...]

2022-01-03T15:57:28-05:00January 4th, 2022|Everglades Zen|

Thank you for being a Voice of the Everglades

Since our inception in 1969, Friends of the Everglades has been powered by the voices of individuals who believe in protecting one of the world’s great ecosystems. It started with our founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and it continues today with you. Together, our voices had tangible, positive impacts in 2021. Successfully pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to adopt a less-damaging Lake Okeechobee management plan, one that will reduce harmful flows to the northern estuaries while increasing necessary flows to the southern Everglades. Worked to stop a proposal to bring non-military aviation to Homestead Air Reserve Base and block a nearby 800-acre industrial development — both of which sit between Biscayne Bay and Everglades National Park. Elevated awareness of the [...]

2021-12-29T08:03:00-05:00December 29th, 2021|All Posts|

Friends of the Everglades end-of-year highlights

Our lives are multifaceted and we know it's tough keeping up with all the news. Here are a few recent Friends of the Everglades headlines. Stop the Burn in Glades communities. The Story. Six to eight months of the year, residents living south of Lake Okeechobee are subjected to smoke and ash as surrounding farms burn sugarcane for harvest. The harmful impacts of the “black snow,” as residents call it, create a myriad of human health threats and harm property values. That sounds bad. It is. And it gets worse. Legislation known as the Right to Farm bill passed in 2021 ultimately insulates the sugar industry from the harm it causes by shielding growers from “nuisance lawsuits.” As it stands, [...]

Friends of the Everglades introduces a new Everglades education tool

During these final two weeks of the year, we are reflecting on the work our supporters have made possible at Friends of the Everglades. In that vein, we're proud to share some news. For more than six months, we've been working behind the scenes on a special project: The Everglades Learning Exploration Kit, designed to inspire and educate students about the Everglades ecosystem and the advocacy of our founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. We're thrilled to announce the first kit was delivered last week to our pilot school, Royal Palm Elementary in Miami-Dade County. The kit includes four lesson plans developed to meet Florida education standards, classroom sets of several books and hands-on activities. Marjory recognized the Everglades could not be [...]

2021-12-22T14:50:16-05:00December 22nd, 2021|Young Friends of the Everglades|

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