Everglades Illustrated: An Everglades threat looms in Homestead

The Everglades is vast, and restoration is complex. We’re breaking it down visually for you. A development frenzy is gaining momentum near Homestead Air Reserve Base in southern Miami-Dade County — and it poses a direct threat to nearby Biscayne Bay. As you can see from the map above, the proposed South Dade Logistics and Technology District (marked with a red star) lies just west of Biscayne Bay, on 800 acres currently used as farmland. If that proposal wasn’t alarming enough, now a Miami-Dade County Commissioner is pushing to convert another 700 acres of agricultural land near the Homestead air base to industrial use. “We can have an industrial revolution in South Miami-Dade County,” Commissioner Kionne McGhee told the Miami Herald. With [...]

2021-04-13T11:09:28-04:00April 13th, 2021|All Posts|

Friends of the Everglades Mid-Session Legislative Update

No legislative body has greater control over the health of Florida’s environment than the Florida Legislature. As lawmakers pass the midpoint of their 60-day session in Tallahassee, we offer the following analysis of key bills and pressure points impacting the Greater Everglades. JUMP TO: M-CORES Repeal Everglades Oil Drilling Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee Right to Farm Expansion Blue-Green Algae Task Force Recommendations Seaport Regulations Florida Forever It was a frightening and symbolic moment. Along Florida’s Gulf Coast on April 3, mobile phones rattled with a dire warning: Piney Point was in danger of imminent collapse. So far the radioactive phosphogypsum stack at the former fertilizer plant in Manatee County has not given way. But that’s only because workers [...]

2021-04-09T12:04:46-04:00April 8th, 2021|All Posts, Florida Legislature|

Introducing Friends of the Everglades at Stetson University

Introducing Friends of the Everglades at Stetson University   First-ever campus chapter features student-led initiatives to advance mission to preserve, protect and restore the only Everglades in the world. Friends of the Everglades is thrilled to announce Stetson University as the home of our first-ever campus chapter featuring student-led initiatives to advance the mission originally set in 1969 by our founder, Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Located in DeLand, the Stetson campus sits in the St. John's watershed just north of the headwaters of the Greater Everglades ecosystem. This fixture of advocacy near the northernmost region of Florida’s River of Grass further cements Friends' resolve to tackle water issues that plague the state holistically, and speaks to the powerful inspiration of Everglades [...]

Your moment of Everglades zen: A world hidden from view

We know the bad-news reel gets old. It’s good to stop and remember what we’re working so hard to protect. Here’s your dose of Everglades zen. To the end of the world, and back again When environmental icon Maggy Hurchalla calls extending an invitation to launch kayaks from her backyard for an after-hours adventure to the "End of the World," we make a habit of trying to drop whatever it is we're doing to take her up on it. Last week was one of those opportunities. What follows is usually a mixture of spectacular sights normally hidden from view, valuable history lessons, story-telling that leaves you belly-laughing, and arms so sore that you wonder if you'll actually make it home. There are always moments of [...]

2021-04-09T09:57:18-04:00April 6th, 2021|All Posts, Everglades Zen|

Bad bill alert: Right to Farm legislation poses a threat to Florida

When does the "right to farm" become the "right to harm”? On Tuesday the Florida House of Representatives' Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee voted 14-4 to advance HB 1601, which ostensibly seeks to boost agri-tourism and protect farmers from newcomers who want to curtail farm operations. But we believe the effect of the bill will be to disenfranchise the already disenfranchised, like those who live near sugar fields and find themselves hacking and wheezing when smoke from the burning cane wafts in their direction. The bill curtails their ability to sue, requiring they live within 1/2 mile of the farm in question to file a nuisance action. It also raises the burden of proof, limits damages and requires plaintiffs who [...]

2021-03-30T14:48:36-04:00March 30th, 2021|Florida Legislature|

Friends of the Everglades joins request urging Interior’s Haaland to reject oil-drilling in Big Cypress

Friends of the Everglades joined Center for Biological Diversity in the request outlined below, sent on behalf of more than 100 conservation groups and businesses, urging Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to reject oil drilling in Big Cypress. More Than 100 Conservation Groups, Businesses Urge Interior’s Haaland to Reject Oil-drilling in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve Preserve Provides Vital Everglades Habitat for Endangered Florida Panthers WASHINGTON— More than 100 conservation groups and businesses urged the U.S. Department of the Interior today to deny requests to drill for oil in Big Cypress National Preserve. The preserve, which is part of the greater Everglades region and a unit of the National Park System, provides vital habitat for endangered Florida panthers and Florida bonneted [...]

Have you been exposed to toxic blue-green algae?

University of Miami is looking for participants for a study measuring the longterm health impacts of Microcystin exposure. The study requires multiple participants in three categories: Residents living near areas that have been or could be impacted by harmful algal blooms Workers who are employed in areas that have been or could be impacted by harmful algal blooms Out-of-state short term visitors to those areas If you are willing to participate, please use the contact information listed below to get in touch with the study coordinators by April 15, 2021. Study Coordinators: Addison Testoff & Mohamed Diop, Marcela Jaramillo, MS, PhD Email: act110@miami.edu, mxd976@miami.edu, mxj323@miami.edu Phone: 305-308-2477 and 305-243-7565 Study Leader: Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez DO, PhD, MPH, CPH

2021-03-29T15:50:19-04:00March 29th, 2021|All Posts, Human Health and Safety, Toxic Algae|

VIDEO: Putting a stop to the Roads to Ruin

During today's Clean Water Conversation, we heard a multi-faceted case supporting the urgent need to repeal M-CORES in full, removing the threat of all three proposed toll roads. We'd like to extend a big thanks our guest representatives from the No Roads to Ruin coalition — Amber Crooks, Ryan Smart, Barbara Byram, and Lilly Rooks — for sharing their expertise. The fight continues to halt these roads, which threaten rural communities, natural springs, and water supply, and put pressure of some of Florida's most loved and endangered wildlife. Friends Executive Director, Eve Samples said it well: "So much of what we all do is defense, and we've got our defensive work cut out for us in the remaining weeks of [...]

2021-03-26T15:16:59-04:00March 26th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations|

Friends of the Everglades LOSOM PDT Comments 3-22-21

Comments from Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples made at the March 22, 2021, meeting of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) Project Delivery Team. The new lake plan will have widespread impacts on the Greater Everglades ecosystem. Col. Andrew Kelly put it well when he said “this is the tough part" of the LOSOM process. This is where the Army Corps of Engineers will have to make some challenging decisions about the new management plan for Lake Okeechobee. It will be a difficult balancing act, with plenty of opportunities (and perhaps excuses) to avoid taking needed action to prevent public exposure to toxic-algae blooms. However, we at Friends of the Everglades implore the Army Corps to [...]

2021-03-22T16:52:15-04:00March 22nd, 2021|Friends of the Everglades Statements|

Everglades Forever Act calls for additional Lake O water sent south

The following comments were sent to the South Florida Water Management District by Friends of the Everglades Executive Director, Eve Samples, following last week's governing board meeting. Governing Board members, During yesterday's Governing Board meeting, there was some debate about whether the 1994 Everglades Forever Act (EFA) was designed to send additional Lake Okeechobee water south through the STAs. I'm writing to offer some historical facts to support the case that the EFA in fact did: 1. The text of the EFA states: "A comprehensive program to revitalize the Everglades shall include programs and projects to improve the water quantity reaching the Everglades Protection Area at optimum times and improve hydroperiod deficiencies in the Everglades ecosystem. To the greatest extent [...]

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