VIDEO: Let’s make this the Last Burn Season

Colin Walkes painted a stark picture for us today, asking each of us to think what it's like to celebrate a wedding in our backyards as plumes of smoke billow in the background and black ash rains down to rest on a loved one's white dress. Though it may seem unimaginable to some, smoke as a backdrop to daily life is a familiar reality for residents of the Glades communities south of Lake Okeechobee that can last up to eight months of each year. Courageous local leaders have inspired a movement for justice to bring an end to sugarcane burning in favor of safer, sustainable, burn-free harvesting. We are grateful to Colin Walkes, Robert Mitchell and Patrick Ferguson for leading [...]

VIDEO: “SB 2508 isn’t a water bill — it’s an anti-water bill”

Friends of the Everglades board member Dave Preston called it like it is in today's Clean Water Conversation: "SB 2508 isn't a water bill. It's an anti-water bill." Though it's true that early amendments to the bill carved out some of the original bad provisions, significant threats in the remaining language warrant strong and continued opposition in the days ahead. Gov. DeSantis has until June 30 to sign, veto, or quietly allow this bill to pass without signature, leaving us with a short window of opportunity to advocate for the only acceptable option to support Florida's environment, economy and people: VETO.  Big thanks to Dave, Matt Depaolis of Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation and our own policy director Gil Smart for [...]

2022-04-27T14:49:07-04:00April 27th, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, SB 2508|

VIDEO: Protecting two national parks requires making the right call in Homestead

Our longtime board member Alan Farago summed it up earlier today: "We’re in a fight to protect and preserve what we have and not to just let the goal posts change whenever it's politically convenient." During today's Clean Water Conversation, we tackled development pressure in Homestead — an area that is uniquely situated between Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park and includes some of the last remaining expanses of green space in Miami-Dade County. This pressure is not new. Two decades ago, Friends of the Everglades strongly opposed expanded aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base, leading to an eventual rejection of commercial aviation by the Air Force. Now, we're working to combat new plans for more air traffic [...]

VIDEO: SB 2508 was a “full on assault”

This year's legislative session may have produced a litany of bad environmental bills, but the surprise attack that was SB 2508 took the cake. During today's Clean Water Conversation, we tackled the details surrounding why SB 2508 would have detrimental consequences for Florida's environment, economy, and public health. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch clued us in to the South Florida Water Management District's "unanimous stance against attempts to intimidate them with this bill," and Roy Gardener spelled out the dangers of delegating wetland “dredge and fill” permit reviews to utility companies. For a variety of reasons detailed throughout, Friends of the Everglades remains staunchly opposed to its passage. As egregious as this bill itself is, Gil Smart was right that the process with which is [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:16-04:00February 23rd, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

They blinked. Now keep your eyes open.

The Florida Senate didn't kill SB 2508 — Now what? The Florida Senate blinked. Now we need to keep our eyes wide open. Senate Bill 2508, pushed by Sen. Ben Albritton and backed by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, was amended late Wednesday to remove some of its most damaging provisions. That amendment was a direct response to outrage from the people of Florida — including roughly 1,700 messages you, our Friends of the Everglades, sent to lawmakers, calling on lawmakers to reject the bill in its original form. But our work isn’t done. The amended version remains very concerning, and it passed the Senate today, in a 37-2 vote (with only Sens. Gary Farmer and Jeff Brandes opposing). It [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:24-04:00February 17th, 2022|Clean Water Conversations, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

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|

VIDEO: There is no environmental justice without social justice.

There is no bigger issue of environmental justice in Florida right now than the outdated, dangerous practice of pre-harvest sugarcane burning. During today's Clean Water Conversation, leaders in the effort to stop sugarcane burning near Glades communities around Lake Okeechobee underscored the dangerous burning season conditions and the rise in community action to put an end to the practice for good.  We owe a big thanks to Sierra Club's Patrick Ferguson, Belle Glade resident and Friends of the Everglades board member Robert Mitchell, and family nurse practitioner and Steering Committee member of the Florida Clinicians for Climate Action Carol Lindsey for sharing their wealth of knowledge with us. We covered many important details during today's Clean Water Conversation. If you missed the event today, you [...]

2021-10-29T15:35:52-04:00October 29th, 2021|Clean Water Conversations, Sugarcane Burning|

VIDEO: What’s going on with red tide?

We have a system that helps us identify impaired water bodies. We have established targets for necessary pollution reduction to bring water bodies back to health. But the state of Florida is failing to crack down on polluters by adequately enforcing these rules. The results are catastrophic. Just look to the prolonged red tide event happening right now on the west coast for proof. We'd like to extend a big thanks to Jacki Lopez of Center for Biological Diversity, Justin Bloom of Suncoast Waterkeeper, and our own Gil Smart for sharing their insight and knowledge with us as we talked red tide during today's Clean Water Conversation. If you missed the event today, you can find the full recording below. And as recommended during [...]

VIDEO: The Army Corps must make LOSOM a system-wide win

"Cautiously optimistic." That's the way we're feeling as the process to write a new Lake Okeechobee management plan, known as LOSOM, continues into the optimization stage with Plan CC as the foundation. During today's Clean Water Conversation you heard from experts on the east and west coast as they tackled details about the differences in the impacted coastal ecosystems and the necessary modifications it will take to make sure the new LOSOM is a win for everyone. We'd like to extend a big thanks to Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic Society and James Evans of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation for sharing their knowledge and insight with us. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording here. And if you [...]

2021-07-29T17:36:09-04:00July 29th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

VIDEO: The latest on Florida’s toxic algae crisis

With toxic algae yet again plaguing Florida's water, residents are still left vulnerable due to inadequate warnings about the health impacts of exposure and retroactive "solutions" that focus more on temporary clean up than tackling the issue at its root cause. Today's Clean Water Conversation delved into the details of this worsening crisis. We heard input from Florida Gulf Coast University algae scientist Dr. Barry Rosen, Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz, and Stuart resident Becky Harris on the toxins in our water, the threats they pose to people and our pets, and how you can become an advocate for change. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording below. Today's Clean Water Conversation was brought [...]

2021-06-25T16:38:49-04:00June 25th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, Toxic Algae|


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