The following comments from Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades, were delivered during the Nov. 20 meeting of the Project Delivery Team developing the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual for the Army Corps of Engineers: We are reminded this year of the highly variable nature of Florida’s rainfall, which can vary upwards of 40 inches a year between wet and dry years. This year, it almost felt like we had both packed into one. The Everglades were literally on fire in April, and now Eta has dropped record rainfall on us in November, leading to damaging discharges to the northern estuaries that have continued for more than a month. This year also reminds us how much [...]
The Everglades Coalition has released a resolution adamantly opposing expanded operations at the Homestead Air Reserve Base including large passenger or cargo traffic commercial aviation. EVCO is comprised of 61 organizations, including Friends of the Everglades, dedicated to the protection and restoration of America’s Everglades. Read the full resolution below. For more information about environmentalists' opposition to a proposal that could lead to commercial flights out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, read a letter submitted to Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission on behalf of Friends of the Everglades by attorney Paul J. Schwiep by clicking here.
Friends of the Everglades joined Earthjustice and a number of other local, state, and national organizations in signing onto comments opposing the transfer of federal wetland permitting to the state department of environmental protection. Florida’s developers have been pushing for this handover to the state for decades. The environmental community stands steadfastly against the state's request to assume administration of a Clean Water Act Section 404 program because this would jeopardize vital natural resources at a time of unprecedented population growth combined with striking environmental degradation. Of particular concern, Florida proposes to take on the consequential responsibility of a Section 404 program without devoting an additional cent of resources to the undertaking. The proposal comes at a time when the [...]
Last week, Friends of the Everglades and our partners at Bullsugar.org signed on to a Friend of the Court Amicus Brief in support of Maggy Hurchalla. The rights secured by the First Amendment act as a powerful tool allowing the public to communicate with elected officials. A petition for review of Maggy's case by the U.S. Supreme Court has been filed by attorney Richard Grosso. Our joint amicus brief signifies our support for her and for the outcome of this fight which could severely impact concerned citizens' rights to petition their government. In Maggy's own words, "It's a long shot. The Supreme Court gets hundreds of cases submitted and accepts very few. But if no one risks losing, we all [...]
Below is a statement from Friends of the Everglades board member, Alan Farago, on general aviation at the Homestead Air Reserve Base. October 13, 2020 CONTACT: Alan Farago, 305-778-8765 email@example.com STATEMENT ON GENERAL AVIATION AT THE HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE A potential re-use of the Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB), wedged between two national parks, is back on the table. Last week Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved a resolution to negotiate a “joint use agreement” with the U.S. Air Force for a fixed base operation (FBO) at the air base. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava added an amendment to the Moss resolution restricting operations to “general aviation.” Critics note that “general aviation” may not stop cargo traffic and, on questioning, the county attorney [...]
Friends of the Everglades rejects building of a new communication tower on sensitive Everglades wetlands
Just 6 months ago, we celebrated an administrative judge's ruling against Miami-Dade County’s proposed SR-836 extension highway outside of the Urban Development Boundary into the Everglades. Following weeks of hearings, which raised major concerns about building through sensitive wetlands located in the Bird Drive Basin, the planned highway was ultimately rejected due to uncertain impacts to the Everglades and to the Biscayne aquifer that provides drinking water for residents in Miami and the Keys. While we’re waiting for the 836 ruling to be approved by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, another threat to Bird Drive Basin has emerged. A proposal has been submitted by iHeartMedia & Entertainment to install radio towers in the very same wetlands just secured [...]
Friends of the Everglades is asking Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez to pull this topic from tomorrow's County Commission agenda to provide more time for input on a proposal that could lead to commercial flights out of Homestead Air Reserve Base. The following letter was submitted to Mayor Gimenez and the Miami-Dade County Commission on behalf of Friends of the Everglades by attorney Paul J. Schwiep. October 5, 2020 Via Electronic Mail Carlos A. Gimenez County Mayor Stephen P. Clark Center 111 Northwest 1st Street, 29th Floor Miami, Florida 33128 firstname.lastname@example.org Re: Homestead Air Reserve Base: Agenda Item No. 11(A)(13) Dear Mayor Gimenez: I write on behalf of the Friends of the Everglades (“Friends”) to request that the Board [...]
Friends of the Everglades submits congressional testimony on Everglades restoration, water management in Florida
Today at 11 a.m., members of Congress will host a virtual hearing on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and water management in Florida. Tune in here to watch five witnesses appear before the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following congressional testimony in advance of this important hearing to drive home two main points: Human health must be a top priority for the Army Corps of Engineers, particularly when it comes to protecting people from the threat of toxic algae; and we need an EAA Storage Reservoir that is truly effective. Click here to view the testimony in full.
Almost half a million acres of sugarcane are burned for harvest every year in the fields around the Glades. Thick smoke looms, and ash rains down on houses, cars, and schools in communities south of Florida's Lake Okeechobee most months of the year. Insufficient protections for surrounding communities imposes air pollution, health risks, and economic stress on vulnerable residents — threats that are underscored by the current pandemic. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to express our support for the expansion of real protections for communities most impacted by the pre-harvest practice of sugarcane burning, until such a time that pre-harvest burning is banned entirely. Click here to view the letter in full.
The Florida Bonneted Bat, one of the rarest and most endangered species of bat in the world, is relying on the designation of critical habitat in Florida, partially located in Everglades National Park, for its best chance of recovery and survival. Known for its large ears that push forward over a wrinkled face, this beloved species is at odds with rising seas and ongoing development across South Florida. Found in only a small number of counties in or around Florida’s Everglades, the bat’s exact population is unknown but is thought to be small and ever-decreasing. In the attached comments, Friends of the Everglades joined the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation organizations in response to the U.S. Fish and [...]