NEW DATE: Our Clean Water Conversation about Florida Bay, originally scheduled for September 28, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, October 12. We have much to discuss, including Hurricane Ian's impact on a lingering algae bloom that had been troubling Florida Bay. Our featured guest list has grown to include Islamorada fishing guide Steve Friedman who serves as Commodore to the Florida Keys Guides Association. He'll join leading fisheries scientist Dr. Jennifer Rehage, full-time Everglades and Biscayne National Park fishing guide Benny Blanco and Friends of the Everglades board member Dave Preston for a live discussion about current conditions in Florida Bay. This live conversation will be streamed directly to our Facebook page and our YouTube channel from 12 - 1 p.m. on Wednesday, [...]
Many of us are still struggling to wrap our minds around the immense toll of Hurricane Ian. The powerful storm that ripped across Florida last week, bringing record winds and flooding, has left areas from southwest Florida to north Florida devastated and tens of thousands of people displaced or without power or water. The economic damage has been estimated over $100 billion, and we haven’t realized the full extent of the storm’s lasting environmental damage. Of course, the human toll will be the most catastrophic cost, with deaths attributed to the storm surpassing 100 as of Tuesday morning. Nature can be brutally destructive. But it is also resilient. The calm after a storm always clears a path for new [...]
Due to the approaching Hurricane Ian, our Clean Water Conversation about Florida Bay, originally scheduled for tomorrow is postponed in order to ensure that everyone is focused on hurricane safety this week. Please bear with us for a few days as we work out the specific details with our featured guests: Dr. Jennifer Rehage, Capt. Benny Blanco and angler Dave Preston. In the meantime, registration will remain open. Our hearts are with all Floridians as we prepare for and weather the storm in the days ahead. We look forward to connecting with you all again when the skies clear. Best of luck to all and stay safe!
Sugarcane burning leaves communities vulnerable to air pollution, health risks and economic stress. It’s time to forge a meaningful path to a long-overdue solution. Make this the Last Burn Season. "I don't blame the people for not having hope, but I've got hope for them. I'm standing in the gap for my people."— Kina Phillips Kina Phillips knows what it is to sacrifice. At her home in South Bay, Florida, all she has to do is look past the fence line in her backyard for a reminder of the largest agricultural influence south of Lake Okeechobee, and the risks it poses to residents of the Glades communities. Sugarcane stretches for miles into the horizon. When the cane is burned [...]
Boca Chita Key at Biscayne National Park on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Aerial support provided by LightHawk. As a resident of Miami-Dade county, we need your help to hold the line against industrial development that threatens fragile ecosystems and jeopardizes local water quality. The Aligned Holdings application in District 8 has been reduced from an 800-acre footprint to 350 acres. But that does not diminish our concerns about the proposal which lies in a flood-prone, coastal high-hazard zone that is currently being farmed. This area is important for aquifer recharge and serves as an important line of protection from storm surge and other impacts of climate change. The proposed project is a risk to ongoing efforts to [...]
Residents against the Rural Lifestyle amendment protest ahead of the Martin County Commission meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Stuart. Martin County is the dividing line between South Florida’s sprawl and less-intense development. On Tuesday, in a very close vote that Friends of the Everglades opposed, the commission voted to open thousands of acres of rural land to suburban-style development. Kudos is owed to Commissioners Sarah Heard and Ed Ciampi as the only two commissioners to hold the line during the vote to move forward with a new land-use designation known as “Rural Lifestyle,” marking what’s arguably the most significant change to the county’s Comprehensive Plan since it was established under the leadership of Maggy Hurchalla. The [...]
It’s been a relatively dry summer. As of September 11, Lake Okeechobee stood at 12.55 feet. That’s about 2 feet lower than this time last year. Last week, the lake officially entered what’s known as the “water shortage management band” — a point where water managers can implement water restrictions if necessary and South Florida Water Management District steps in to determine release volumes from Lake O. But let’s not sound the drought alarm bells just yet. Typically the biggest concern during rainy season is that Lake O will rise too fast, threatening the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike and triggering damaging discharges to the northern estuaries — but that has not been the case this summer. [...]
For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents toxic-algae crises while delivering more clean water to the southern Everglades. On Monday, we submitted formal comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, offering specific suggestions for improvements. Friends of the Everglades is working to ensure the stated operational intent for LOSOM translates into realized benefits when the new lake plan takes effect in 2023. Read our full letter, including six suggested improvements to LOSOM. As the letter states, the toxic-algae crises of 2013, 2016 and 2018 were avoidable catastrophes borne of water management decisions and nutrient pollution. LOSOM is poised to [...]