Friends of the Everglades joins call to veto HB 1191

Photo credit: Sierra Club On May 1, Friends of the Everglades joined Sierra Club and more than 30 other organizations in sending a letter to Governor DeSantis requesting that he veto HB 1191 - Use of Phosphogypsum. Phosphogypsum is the radioactive waste from processing phosphate into phosphoric acid for fertilizer. This bill would permit the use of phosphogypsum in Florida road construction. As the letter states, "While HB 1191 would require the Florida Department of Transportation to complete a study on the feasibility of phosphogypsum for road construction, the unreasonably short study period ending on April 1, 2024, cannot even begin to thoroughly review the health and safety consequences. To even begin the study would be a tremendous [...]

Celebrate Earth Day with Friends of the Everglades

Great blue herons are one of 16 wading bird species that live in the Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. “Saving the Everglades is a test. If we pass, we may get to keep the planet.” These words, spoken by a former Friends of the Everglades executive director, convey what’s at stake as we work to restore the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. Beginning north of Orlando and stretching to the southern reaches of Florida Bay, the interconnected web of wetlands, rivers and lakes that make up the Greater Everglades is a watery wilderness as diverse as it is beautiful. The Everglades are home to critical habitats for a wide variety of species. [...]

2023-05-11T11:29:33-04:00April 21st, 2023|Everglades National Park, Wildlife Habitat|

WATCH NOW — A Postcard from Tallahassee

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6N94KZSWL8 Greetings from Tallahassee, where the Legislature is heading into the final weeks of a high-stakes session — with troublesome environmental legislation still in play. We’re here at the Capitol this week, advocating against two especially concerning bills that threaten to erode what’s left of sound growth-management policies in Florida.  Our mission at Friends of the Everglades is to preserve, protect and restore the only Everglades in the world — including its connected waterways. That can only happen if we plan wisely for development, taking reasonable precautions to protect wetlands and wildlife. Unfortunately, the bills we’re tracking most closely would grease the skids for developers who propose sprawl that encroaches on Florida’s last remaining green spaces. The short video [...]

VIDEO: Stop the Florida Legislature from disempowering citizens on growth

https://youtube.com/live/kNiMSwBqu9g?feature=share Florida's legislative session can mean playing a lot of defense against bad legislation, and this year has been no exception. As this "session of sprawl" continues to take shape, we are reminded of the imperative role that citizen action plays in combatting bad bills and how important it is that we maintain our ability to speak out without fear of retribution. We're grateful to our featured guests Jane West, Matt DePaolis and Gil Smart for sharing their extensive knowledge of the many bills moving through the legislature right now and the recurring acknowledgement expressed throughout that smart, intentional development is tied directly to water quality. Florida has a vested interest in getting this right. We remain cautiously optimistic [...]

Friends of the Everglades 2023 Mid-Session Legislative Report

Prior to the beginning of Florida’s legislative session March 7, we worried this would be the “session of sprawl.” Unfortunately, that prediction is coming to pass. Bills that will disempower citizens, handcuff local governments and result in more reckless development have sailed through committee hearings with little opposition. A few have already passed the full House or Senate and almost certainly will land on Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk. Meanwhile, many bills that might help our fragile waters have gone nowhere. There is some good news. The worst bills of the session, House Bill 1197 and Senate Bill 1240, have not gotten hearings. Those bills would have prohibited virtually any local government attempt to regulate water quality or pollution control. [...]

2023-04-26T15:08:27-04:00April 12th, 2023|All Posts, Florida Legislative Tracker|

Everglades Illustrated: This is how many sugarcane burning permits are issued in a single day

Last week, Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples took to the air with a volunteer LightHawk pilot to survey sugarcane burning in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee. It didn’t take long to find what they were looking for. Within five minutes of takeoff, they spotted several large burns, with smoke and ash blowing westward toward the Glades communities of Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee and Clewiston. Elsewhere in South Florida, it was a blue-sky day. But above the Glades, it looked like twilight due to the smoke, known to locals in the Glades as “black snow.” The burns produced so much smoke that the plumes showed up as rain on the LightHawk pilot’s radar. Keep [...]

Happy birthday, Majory Stoneman Douglas

Happy birthday, Marjory Stoneman Douglas!  Our spirited founder was born on this day in 1890, 133 years ago.  Marjory deepened human connection with the Everglades through her seminal book The Everglades: River of Grass, which was published in 1947, the same year Everglades National Park was founded. Her efforts to preserve, protect, and restore the only Everglades in the world continue through Friends of the Everglades, which she founded in 1969 at the age of 79 — proving it’s never too late to leave a positive mark on the world!  Marjory wore many hats, literally and figuratively, and her impacts on this beloved, unique ecosystem endure, which is why her birthday is still worth celebrating! April 7 is officially [...]

2023-04-05T11:16:37-04:00April 7th, 2023|Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Marjory's Circle|

Tell Sen. Mayfield to STOP SB 540

We need you to speak up! Senate Bill 540 (DiCeglie) would disempower citizens by requiring the losing party in challenges to local government comprehensive plans or plan amendments to pay the prevailing party’s attorney fees and court costs. This could be a significant burden for the average citizen, and runs the risk of scaring off well-meaning challenges, thereby leading to more development and sprawl. The bill was made even worse through an amendment that effectively greenlights a controversial Miami-Dade County proposal which Friends of the Everglades was involved in fighting last year — to bring dense industrial development to hundreds of flood-prone acres of farmland in Homestead, well outside the Urban Development Boundary. We’ve made it easy [...]

Your Everglades moment of Zen: Just Hatched!

Spring is in full bloom, signaling something we look forward to every year: It’s baby bird season! Everywhere you look in the Greater Everglades ecosystem, hatchlings are cracking open their multi-colored shells to peek out into the world for the first time. And they’re hungry! Their mouths are often wide open and pointed skyward, marking bullseyes for their parents to drop food inside. These birds will mature relatively quickly and will soon take flight to join the flocks that are indicative of thriving Florida ecosystems. Friends of the Everglades Multimedia Producer Leah Voss has spent the last few weeks capturing these Easter-egg-come-early moments. Barred owls, eagles, osprey, and [...]

2023-04-04T14:25:23-04:00April 4th, 2023|All Posts, Everglades Zen, Wildlife Habitat|