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July 15, 2023 Weekly Newsletter

As we move deeper into Hurricane Season, it's time to give your emergency plans some serious thought. We've included a few links to county resources below to help you get started with your preparations.

Considering the ocean's been quite warm, and in light of the latest updates, staying alert is key. The tropical forecast team at Colorado State University shared some significant news last Thursday. They're expecting 18 storms this season, with nine likely turning into hurricanes and four of these predicted to reach at least Category 3 status. That's an uptick of three storms, two hurricanes, and one major hurricane from their previous forecast in early June. So, let's keep our eyes open, stay on top of things, and be ready for whatever comes our way. We have all sorts of news and updates below and hope they help educate you on how much is going on, even in the quiet days of summer.


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We're right in the thick of Hurricane Season. Even though we're all hoping for clear skies, it's crucial to stay ready for anything. Solid preparation is key to making a real difference if a storm does hit. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, make sure you have your essential supplies in place, and get to know your evacuation procedures like the back of your hand. Staying one step ahead can help us protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.

For a complete guide on disaster preparation, head over to the Indian River County Emergency Management website using this link. It's an incredibly handy resource for getting through any disaster scenario. You'll find their Disaster Preparedness Guide, a vital tool filled with local contact information, shelter details, registration forms, evacuation routes, and a load of handy tips for preparing your home. Spending some time getting to know this guide can really pay off. Prioritizing safety means being well-prepared. Plus, you can sign up to receive Emergency Alerts directly to your phone or email, keeping you informed when it matters most.


News Headlines and Articles

Unusual malaria alert issued, but little to fear here (Vero News) - The Florida Health Department issued a statewide malaria alert after two cases of locally transmitted malaria were reported, but residents in the affected areas, including Vero Beach, have little reason to worry as the mosquitoes that carry malaria are not found in those areas and the cases have been mild and successfully treated.

Florida citrus growers grapple with grim reality: Harvest drops to levels not seen since 1936 (Orlando Sentinel) - Florida citrus growers are facing a significant decline in orange harvest levels not seen since 1936 due to the citrus greening disease, causing financial losses, decreasing citrus acreage, and a rise in orange juice prices as growers struggle to combat the disease and meet market demand through imports from other countries.

The Environment Needs a Constitutional Amendment to Save Us All (Bloomberg Law) - The recent Supreme Court decisions undermining environmental protections highlight the need for a constitutional amendment to enshrine and prioritize our inalienable environmental rights, ensuring their protection against government actions and political agendas, and the Green Amendments For the Generations movement aims to achieve this goal.

Giant Dust Cloud From The Sahara Could Reach Florida And Southern U.S. States This Weekend (Forbes) - A large dust cloud from the Sahara is expected to reach Florida and the southern United States this weekend, potentially impacting air quality, reducing temperatures, and inhibiting hurricane development, while also leading to more vibrant sunsets.

‘Slime time’ on Lake O becomes national story (Vote Water) - The New York Times has highlighted the toxic algae issue on Lake Okeechobee in a front-page article titled "It's Toxic Slime Time on Florida's Lake Okeechobee," shedding light on the potential environmental catastrophe and the need for urgent action to address the pollution problem.

Vero Beach makes a choice: Keep Alma Lee Loy Bridge partially open during construction (TCPalm) - Vero Beach City Council has chosen to keep at least one traffic lane in each direction open during the $22 million bridge-repair project on the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, opting for a longer construction period of over four years instead of closing the bridge entirely and diverting traffic to the Merrill Barber Bridge.

Regional water managers celebrate Indian River Lagoon projects (TCPalm) - The St. Johns River Water Management District celebrated the progress made in Indian River Lagoon restoration projects, highlighting the efforts to reduce pollution and improve water quality in the lagoon, which serves as a model for coastal waters across Florida, according to Shawn Hamilton, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The event showcased the Crane Creek/M-1 Canal project, the Moorhen Marsh Low Energy Aquatic Plant System, and the Ponce Inlet Ponce De Leon Circle Septic-to-Sewer project as examples of successful government partnerships.

Toxic industrial chemical infiltrated Central Florida tap water (Sun Sentinel) - A six-month investigation by the Orlando Sentinel reveals that the tap water in Lake Mary, Sanford, and northwest Seminole County in Central Florida has been contaminated with the likely carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, which has been leaking into the Floridan aquifer from a defunct factory in Lake Mary, raising concerns about public health and prompting utilities to struggle for solutions.



Man posing as land developer accused of stealing $1.4M from Manatee County (WFLA) - A man in Manatee County, Florida, posed as a land developer and tricked the county into transferring $1.4 million to his bank accounts, leading to his arrest and an ongoing effort to recover the stolen funds.

‘Natural Emergencies' law aims to improve hurricane response, but little impact seen here (TCPalm) - A new law called the "Natural Emergencies" bill, aimed at improving hurricane response and resilience, has raised concerns about restricting local land-use decisions and potentially undoing previous decisions made by west-coast governments following hurricanes, although officials in the Treasure Coast area do not anticipate significant impact.

Indian River hopes to avoid another garbage debacle; search for 2025 hauler to begin soon (TCPalm) - Indian River County in Florida is preparing to search for a new garbage and recycling hauler for a contract starting in 2025, aiming to avoid a repeat of the previous garbage debacle in 2015 when Waste Management failed to distribute garbage carts on time.

FWC Officers Remove Nearly 100 Impaired Operators During ‘Operation Dry Water’ Over Holiday Weekend (Space Coast Daily) - During the holiday weekend, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers arrested 94 vessel operators for boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs as part of Operation Dry Water, an initiative aimed at promoting safety on Florida's waterways.

Florida in Hot Water as Ocean Temperatures Rise Along With the Humidity (US News) - Florida is experiencing record-high ocean temperatures in the mid-90s (mid-30s Celsius), posing threats to coral reefs, making swimming less refreshing, and contributing to oppressive summer weather, while forecasters predict temperatures with humidity will feel like 110 degrees (43 degrees Celsius) by the end of the week, and the state is also expected to experience dust from the Saharan desert, which will negatively impact air quality.

Makeover of Round Island Park means no lifeguards for 2 weeks (Vero News) - The oceanside portion of Round Island Park in Vero Beach will be closed from July 18 to August 1 for renovations, including parking improvements, removal of invasive plants, and installation of native vegetation, with no lifeguards on duty during this period, but pedestrian beach access will still be available from the western portion of the park.

Scientists monitor overlooked algae toxin in Indian River Lagoon (WPTV) - Scientists at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have conducted an 18-month study on Pseudo-nitzschia, a type of phytoplankton found in the Indian River Lagoon, and discovered that nearly half of the surface water samples collected had domoic acid, a toxic compound that can affect humans and animals if consumed through contaminated shellfish.

State report shows Florida may run out of fresh drinking water; South Florida's outlook (CBS12) - A state report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reveals that Florida's current fresh water supply may not be able to meet the demand caused by the increasing population growth in the state, prompting concerns about the availability of fresh drinking water, although the South Florida Water Management District assures that there is a plan in place and alternative water supplies are available.

Florida fishing: Snapper is the go-to target; Kingfish, sailfish also in good supply (TCPalm) - The snapper fishing continues to be excellent along the Treasure Coast, while summer sailfish action is also in full swing, and the regional water supply plan in South Florida ensures the local water supply is secure despite concerns of running out of fresh drinking water in the state.



Scientists predict 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs could soon die off but conservationists in the Bahamas are aiming to regrow the oceans' reefs one piece at a time by creating a coral nursery.


Other News

Here’s a Super Easy Way to Keep Mosquitoes Away From Your Home, According to the CDC (Self) - To keep mosquitoes away from your home, it is important to eliminate standing water as mosquitoes are attracted to it for breeding, and even small containers like a bottle cap can provide a suitable environment for mosquito development.

US Government Proposes Revising Endangered Species Rules (Coastal News Today) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have proposed changes to regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act, including revoking certain changes made during the previous administration and reinstating the "blanket 4(d) rule" to extend protections to threatened species, with the proposed revisions being in response to a January 2021 executive order.

Is Florida’s rental market really cooling off? (University of Florida) - Despite national reports indicating a decline in rent growth and a shifting market in favor of tenants, Florida's rental market may take some time to level off or decrease, as population growth and high rent increases in recent years have led to a stabilization of the rental market at a high rate, according to experts from UF's Shimberg Center for Housing Studies.

South Florida military bases draft plan for climate risk. It’s a national security threat (Coastal News Today) - A draft report by the South Florida Regional Planning Council highlights the need for millions of dollars in projects and policy changes to protect military facilities across South Florida from the increasing threats of climate change, as the risks posed by hurricanes, extreme weather, and flooding not only impact these facilities but also pose a national security threat.

Lake Manatee algae bloom impacts taste, smell of drinking water for some (WFLA) - An ongoing blue-green algae bloom in Manatee County, Florida, has caused an earthy taste and smell in the drinking water, although officials assure residents that the water is safe to consume and there are no known health effects, but some residents remain skeptical.



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