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Waterkeepers Florida News

Comments on cyanobacteria issues discussed by the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force meeting on July 29, 2020

By: John Cassani

Date: August 10, 2020

Dear Dr. Frazer and members of the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force: Thank you for soliciting comments regarding cyanobacteria issues discussed by the Florida Blue-green Algae Task Force (BGATF) meeting on July 29, 2020. Our fundamental premise is that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) should adopt water quality standards incorporating numeric thresholds for cyanotoxins and similarly, the Florida Department of Health should adopt swim advisories for the same cyanotoxins and numeric thresholds determined by FDEP.

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Guest Commentary – SB 712: A Watered-Down Bill that Will Not Fix our Water Quality Issues

By: Special to the Immokalee Bulletin

Date: July 19, 2020

AGovernor DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 – the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” – an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark. This bill has been praised by its supporters as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking...

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Guest Commentary – SB 712: A Watered-Down Bill that Will Not Fix our Water Quality Issues

By: Special to the Caloosa Belle

Date: July 19, 2020

AGovernor DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 – the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” – an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark. This bill has been praised by its supporters as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking...

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Environmental groups want state to do more to warn public about toxic blue-green algae

By: Chad Gillis

Date: July 16, 2020

An environmental network in Florida says Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health are not doing their jobs when it comes to informing the public about the health risks of toxic algae blooms. Four Florida Waterkeepers sent a letter to the governor and DOH earlier this week, saying the state is not doing enough to protect...

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Florida Department of Health Fails to Consistently Notify Residents of Health Risks from Toxic Blue-Green Algae

By: John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, K.C. Schulberg, Executive Director Calusa Waterkeeper, Reinaldo Diaz, Lake Worth Waterkeeper, Lisa Rinaman, St. Johns Riverkeeper

Date: July 13, 2020

After massive and recurring blue-green algae blooms in Florida waters that resulted in multiple “states of emergency” issued by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2016 and 2018, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is still unable to consistently warn the public of the toxic blooms. Governor DeSantis appointed experts to the Blue-green Algae Task Force...

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A watered-down bill will not fix our water quality issues

By: John C. Capece, Ph.D., Kissimmee Waterkeeper

Date: July 9, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 — the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” — an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark.This bill has been praised by its supporters as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. But looking back at...

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Clean Waterways Act won’t fix water quality | Commentary

By: Jen Lomberk

Date: July 1, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712 — the self-proclaimed “Clean Waterways Act” — an ambitious misnomer for a bill that claims to be the solution to our mounting water quality issues, but falls far short of that mark...

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John S. Quarterman: Watered-down bill won’t fix water quality issues

By: John S. Quarterman/Special to The Sunk

Date: July 1, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law SB 712, the so-called “Clean Waterways Act,” which falls far short of that mark. This bill has been praised by its supporters as one of the most environmentally progressive pieces of legislation in over a decade. Yet after the cuts and rollbacks to our environmental regulations by the last state administration, that isn’t saying much. The bill pays...

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DeSantis signs tougher rules on pollutants, but do they go far enough?

By: Jim Turner

Date: June 30, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Tuesday measures that include bigger fines for dumping pollutants into waterways and new rules for septic tanks and agricultural runoff, though environmentalists said...To continue reading, subscribe to The Tampa Bay Times...

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Out of sight, still a blight

By: Marlowe Starling

Date: May 18, 2020

The Florida Springs Council, Sierra Club Florida and Waterkeepers Florida sent a letter to Florida’s Chief Science Officer Thomas Frazer related to the Clean Waterways Act (SB 712). Among other weaknesses in the Act, they wrote, it does not go far enough in adopting recommendations from the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force, including “a septic system inspection and monitoring program” to identify and get rid of malfunctioning systems to “reduce nutrient pollution…and preserve human health.”

Read: Out of sight, still a blight

Andy Mele's Op-Ed to the Sarasota Herald Tribune

Date: May 8, 2020

Since most of Florida’s agencies began holding virtual meetings in mid-March, there have been questions in the minds of those who believe public participation is a keystone of our democracy: Is a webinar an adequate substitute for a face-to-face meeting that offers time for public input? And are webinars going to become the new normal? Waterkeepers Florida's Andy Mele submitted an Op-Ed to the Sarasota Herald Tribune highlighting concerns over lack of public access to and involvement with major environmental decisions in the State of Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read: GUEST EDITORIAL: We still need our three-minutes’ worth

Waterkeepers holds Earth Day event to celebrate conservation efforts

By: George White / Special to Islander News

Date: April 23, 2020

Miami Waterkeeper was among the supporters of Florida’s waters participating in an interactive Earth Day Salute Wednesday broadcast on Zoom and Facebook Live...

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Toast to Clean Water

By: Waterkeepers Florida

Date: April 22, 2020

Waterkeepers Florida celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with a virtual "Toast to Clean Water." Waterkeepers from across the state tuned in to give their salute to...

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RE: Proposed Rules Related to State Assumption of the Clean Water Act Section 404 Program: Public Comment Deadline Suspension Request

By: Waterkeepers Florida

Date: April 20, 2020

Waterkeepers Florida submitted a request to FDEP requesting suspension of rulemaking in the Clean Water Act Section 404 assumption effort. Waterkeepers Florida is deeply committed to ensuring public involvement in this rulemaking process. In fact, public involvement is the hallmark of our collective mission. We do not feel that these rulemaking proceedings have been adequately inclusive for all members of the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read that letter here.

Take Action: Protect Section 404 of the Clean Water Act

By: Miami Waterkeeper

Date: April 14, 2020

Recently, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) announced its intent to assume the federal authority of Clean Water Act permits...

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Re: Twin Pines Minerals

By: Waterkeepers Florida

Date: April 10, 2020

Waterkeepers Florida submitted two letters in opposition of FDEP's attempts to assume Clean Water Act Dredge & Fill (Section 404) permitting authority from the federal government. The first letter expresses concerns related to the rulemaking and the second letter expresses concerns related to the public comment period proceeding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read those letters here and here.

Florida Senate approves water measure aimed at easing algae blooms

By: John Kennedy

Date: March 8, 2020

TALLAHASSEE – A sweeping water quality measure sought by Gov. Ron DeSantis was approved Friday by the Florida Senate, with supporters calling it a major step toward easing...

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Waterkeepers Florida convened for an in-person meeting at the University of Florida's Public Interest Environmental Conference from February 6-8, 2020. Waterkeeper organizations in attendance included Calusa Waterkeeper, Matanzas Riverkeeper, St. Marys Riverkeeper, St Johns Riverkeeper, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Miami Waterkeeper, Collier County Waterkeeper, Lake Worth Waterkeeper, Suwanee Riverkeeper, Kissimmee Waterkeeper, and Suncoast Waterkeeper.

Waterkeeper representatives presented on numerous panels at the conference. John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, spoke on a panel titled "From Shoreline to Stateline: The Marine and Estuarine Policy Scene." Kelly Cox, General Counsel at Miami Waterkeeper, spoke on a panel titled "Un-Natural Disasters: We've Been Slimed!." A full panel discussion was dedicated to the work of Florida's Waterkeepers in a session titled "It's a Great State, If We can KEEP It: Florida's Waterkeepers Speak." This panel was moderated by Matanzas Riverkeeper Jen Lomberk and featured the work of John Capece at Kissimmee Waterkeeper, Lisa Rinaman at St. Johns Riverkeeper, and Georgia Ackerman at Apalachicola Riverkeeper.

PRESS RELEASE: In response to FL Chief Science Officer, letter sets record straight on flawed “Clean Waterways Act”

February 12, 2020 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Lisa Rinaman, Chair of Waterkeepers Florida and St. Johns Riverkeeper

lisa@stjohnsriverkeeper.org; 904-509-3260

Ryan Smart, Florida Springs Council

smarts421@gmail.com; 561-358-7191

David Cullen, Sierra Club

cullenasea@aol.com; 941-323-2404

Florida Springs Council, Florida Waterkeepers, and Sierra Club today responded to remarks by Florida’s Chief Science Officer, Thomas K. Frazer, Ph.D., regarding Senator Mayfield’s Senate Bill 712 (SB 712).The three organizations sent a twelve-page letter to Dr. Frazer, copied to Senator Mayfield...

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Waterkeepers Florida caps first year with a slate of achievements, new website, and important objectives for the 2020 Florida legislative session

1/21/2020 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Lisa Rinaman, Chair of Waterkeepers Florida and St. Johns Riverkeeper

lisa@stjohnsriverkeeper.org; 904-509-3260

Jen Lomberk, Vice Chair of Waterkeepers Florida and Matanzas Riverkeeper

jen@matanzasriverkeeper.org; 904-471-9878

Waterkeepers Florida is pleased to announce the launch of the Waterkeepers Florida website and to present its first annual report. Waterkeepers Florida is a regional entity licensed by the international Waterkeeper Alliance, composed of all 13 Waterkeeper organizations working in the state of Florida. While Waterkeepers have been working to protect Florida’s waters individually...

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Suncoast Waterkeeper’s “Sick of Sewage” Campaign Resolves Lawsuit Against Sarasota County

By: Suncoast Waterkeeper

Date: October 16, 2019

Suncoast Waterkeeper, Our Children’s Earth Foundation, and Ecological Rights Foundation are celebrating our third legal victory in the ongoing “Sick of Sewage” campaign focused on cleaning up Gulf Coast waters. After a series of horrific sewage spills in 2016...

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Suwannee Riverkeeper Fights to Protect Okefenokee Swamp from Titanium Strip Mine

By: Julia Widmann

August 23, 2019

Three times last week, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman helped gather locals and organizations across Georgia, north Florida, and beyond to voice concerns about a proposed strip mine alongside the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Georgia, home...

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The Everglades’ Forgotten Northern Estuary

By: Lake Worth Waterkeeper

July 10, 2019

In South Florida, we have fundamentally reshaped nature. Now our challenge is righting the wrongs of the past. As the Lake Worth Waterkeeper, I know this all too well. Lake Worth Lagoon is now an estuary, the tidal mouth of a river, where the ocean meets the...

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Lawsuit Launched to Stop Toxic Algae Bloom Releases From Lake Okeechobee

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

June 11, 2019

Conservation groups sued three federal agencies today for failing to address harm to Florida’s endangered species from Lake Okeechobee releases containing toxic algae.Today’s lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, challenges the U.S. Army Corps of...

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Waterkeepers Florida Committed to Protecting Sunshine State Waters

By: Julia Widmann

March 6, 2019

Regional entity Waterkeepers Florida came together early February for an in-person board meeting to set goals for the 2019 Florida legislative session. They gathered at the 25th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in...

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Statement of Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz to EPA on Redefining Waters of the U.S.

By: Lake Worth Waterkeeper

March 4, 2019

As your Lake Worth Waterkeeper, I advocate for the Lake Worth Lagoon and its watershed, a coastal estuary running along the eastern edge of Palm Beach County in South Florida. The watershed, which is considered the northern...

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Annual Report