https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9eCeQIy86M From the desk of our Executive Director, Eve Samples, your Voice of the Everglades update: The clock is ticking. Last Thursday, May 9, state lawmakers sent “Sprawl Bill” 540 to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis, triggering a 15-day deadline for him to either sign or veto this environmentally reckless bill. If approved, the legislation would be the death knell for responsible growth-management in Florida — putting citizens at huge financial risk if they challenge changes to local comprehensive plans, which are the blueprints for growth in cities and counties. Much is at stake. Florida is the fastest-growing state in the country; it's ground zero for the climate crisis; and it’s undertaking the largest ecosystem restoration effort on [...]
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 [...]
House Bill 41, filed by Rep. Alina Garcia, emerged as one of the earliest Bad Bills of 2023. Identified first by our friends at VoteWater, “the proposal looks to be yet another sop to developers, prohibiting local initiatives or referendums on land development regulations. State law already prohibits such initiatives or referendums on comprehensive plan or map amendments, except those specifically authorized in a local charter provision enacted before June 2011. HB 41 would essentially expand this to any local push to change land development rules, and make it retroactive.” You can read the full analysis by VoteWater by clicking here.
Last week, Miami-Dade County Commissioners voted 8-4 to approve the South Dade Logistics and Technology District, effectively gutting the Urban Development Boundary in favor of sprawling, industrial development at the expense of our natural environment. The original footprint of the project, identified in the map above, has since been reduced in size from 800 acres to a 311-acre mix of warehouses, call centers and other commercial uses south of Florida’s Turnpike. Regardless, it remains the wrong project in the wrong place, with construction slated for “Coastal High Hazard Area'' in dangerous proximity to Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay and ongoing Everglades restoration projects. As another tropical storm approaches Florida's coast, it's more clear than ever: It's reckless to bend [...]
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 [...]
Concerned citizens rallied at Martin County Commission meetings earlier this year following the passing of local environmental hero Maggy Hurchalla to oppose a newly proposed land-use designation that threatened the County’s environmentally protective Comprehensive Plan. The new “Rural Lifestyle” land use would undermine the cornerstone of Martin County’s comprehensive plan — prioritizing the environment and quality of life by maintaining responsible limits on development. Since those meetings, insufficient adjustments have been made to the proposed amendments, none of which adequately address the concern that rural lands in Martin County will be made vulnerable to sprawl. We need your help. On September 13, the proposal will be heard by the Martin County Commission once again, for a final vote. Join us [...]
It’s hard to believe six months have passed since we said goodbye to Everglades hero Margaret Reno Hurchalla. Not a day goes by that we don’t remember the immense contributions and sacrifices she made in Florida for our communities and environment. As difficult as it was to think of a world without Maggy’s perseverance and inspiration, you helped us realize that her triumphant spirit lives on through Everglades advocacy and supporters. Hundreds of Maggy Hurchalla’s friends and loved ones contributed more than $25,000 cumulatively to Friends of the Everglades in the wake of her passing. Now, Friends of the Everglades is honored to announce the creation of The Maggy Hurchalla Opportunity Fund, seeded by your heartfelt contributions. Your gifts [...]