May 13, 2023 Weekly Newsletter
The Indian River Neighborhood Association (IRNA) extends heartfelt gratitude to our volunteers for their dedication at the 14th Annual Indian River Marine Flea Market and Seafood Festival. Their efforts resulted in 363 new signatures for the Florida Right to Clean Water initiative, contributing to a total of over 1500! Engaging with attendees and conveying the importance of clean water rights was no small task, but our volunteers rose to the challenge. While there's still a long journey ahead, we're deeply thankful for the significant progress made. Your hard work is truly invaluable. Thank you!
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News Impacting Indian River County
Wild video shows 5-foot gator roaming stormwater pipes beneath Central Florida (WESH) - In an exhilarating turn of events, Public Works Crews in Oviedo discovered an unexpected surprise while investigating potholes on Lockwood Boulevard - a thrilling encounter with an alligator mistaken for a toad, as they followed the adventurous reptile with their trusty robotic camera before it made its daring escape!
Sebastian City Manager Paul Carlisle resigns in wake of poor evaluation from City Council (TCPalm) - Sebastian City Manager Paul Carlisle has resigned unexpectedly following a poor evaluation by the City Council, opting to spend more time with his family on the west coast of Florida, leaving the council with the task of finding a new city manager.
Impose meaningful sanctions on Treasure Coast developers who refuse to follow the rules (TCPalm) - Local governments on the Treasure Coast, should take stronger action against developers like D.R. Horton who refuse to comply with rules and regulations, possibly by issuing stop-work orders and imposing fines to protect citizens from harm caused by improper construction practices.
Florida’s fertilizer addiction leads to ban on sales bans, roads that glow (Florida Phoenix) - In a bizarre turn of events, Florida legislators have managed to pass measures that both ban fertilizer sales bans and allow the use of radioactive waste in road construction, proving once again that Florida's love for peculiarities knows no bounds - time to party on with glowing roads and fertilized chaos!
Florida’s waters will bear the scars of this legislative session (Vote Water) - The 2023 Legislative Session in Florida was a disaster for clean water and the environment, as legislators passed damaging bills in favor of industry profits, paving the way for sprawl, and undermining citizen engagement, making it clear that special interests and profit continue to trump the well-being of Florida's waterways and ecosystems.
Water quality in Florida to take a hit as lawmakers show their disdain for voters | Opinion (Miami Herald) - Florida lawmakers have once again shown their disregard for voters and the environment by slipping language into the state budget plan that would prevent local governments from imposing strict fertilizer control measures, favoring the state's fertilizer industry over clean water and public health, and further eroding local control and public input.
Another group of conservationists plans to sue US government unless they save manatees (TCPalm) - Three environmental groups and an engineer from Puerto Rico have notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of their intent to sue in order to have manatees reclassified as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act, with the hope that increased protections will be put in place to prevent further decline in manatee populations and address the water quality issues threatening their survival.
Driver hospitalized after Brightline train and car collide in Deerfield Beach (WSVN) - A driver has been hospitalized with serious injuries after a collision between a car and a Brightline train in Deerfield Beach, Florida, prompting authorities to shut down traffic in the area.
Are Central Florida’s railroad tracks at risk? (WFTV) - Experts and advocacy groups are sounding the alarm about lax inspections, blocked intersections, and the transportation of dangerous chemicals on Central Florida's railroad tracks, warning that a devastating derailment could occur, putting communities at risk.
Jones' Pier Conservation Area dedicated in Indian River County (TCPalm) - Check out this video of the great new conservation area our County staff has worked very hard on. Check out more about it here.
ELC of Wabasso gets gift to guide visitors on Indian River Lagoon tours (TCPalm) - The Environmental Learning Center received a generous donation through TCPalm's 12 Days of Christmas campaign, allowing them to purchase a new outboard motor for their pontoon boat tours on the Indian River Lagoon, enhancing their ability to guide and educate visitors, and providing a boost to their mission of environmental conservation and education. Congrats to the ELC!
State 'sprinkle list' could give Treasure Coast an extra $6 million. Where would it go? (TCPalm) - The Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) is set to receive $250,000 from the state's "sprinkle list" to support their Kilroy water-monitoring systems, which play a crucial role in studying and improving the health of the Indian River Lagoon by tracking pollution sources and water quality. (See the Kilroy data here.) Other good projects are funded as well!
Water Scarcity Keeps Legislators & Private Companies Finding New Solutions (CleanTechnica) - The increasing global water scarcity is driving various stakeholders, including legislators and private companies, to actively seek new solutions and partnerships to address water challenges and ensure sustainable water management.
What is Florida going to do with all this sewage sludge? (Vote Water) - Florida's legislature has passed House Bill 1405, aimed at addressing the disposal of sewage sludge, or "biosolids," which has become a major environmental issue in the state, but concerns remain about potential pollution and the creation of new problems as a result of the proposed solutions.
What is Florida's future as climate change threats add up? (News-Press) - A recent study on climate risks in the United States confirms that Florida is particularly vulnerable to the threats of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme rainfall, and more intense hurricanes, which may lead to increased risks and potentially force people to move away from uninsurable areas in the future.
The 2023 Florida Session is over, with legislation passing that promises to have significant impacts on planning, conservation, transportation, community design and other issues of concern to many Floridians.
Join 1000 Friends for our free 2023 Legislative Wrap Up Webinar at noon Eastern, Wednesday, May 17. Find out what passed and failed, what's in the budget, and the implications for planning for the future of Florida.
Florida tosses climate lifeline to swamped ‘Keybillies’ (E&E News) - Climate change is driving out low- and middle-income residents from the Florida Keys, increasing the cost of living and making it more dangerous, with extreme heat, tidal flooding, and hurricanes prompting longtime residents to consider leaving as real estate values soar and affordable housing becomes less accessible, putting the Keys' tourism-dependent economy at risk.
Commission didn't increase water rates for 8 years, now Lee residents will pay the price (News-Press) - Lee County residents in Florida may face higher water and sewer rates for the next three or more years due to population growth, inflation, and the need for infrastructure improvements, highlighting the consequences of not increasing rates for an extended period of time and the financial burden that can result from delayed adjustments.
Climate change forces a rethinking of mammoth Everglades restoration plan (Sun Sentinel) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District are initiating a restudy of the Everglades' water management infrastructure to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including rising seas, stronger storms, and population growth, potentially leading to alterations in the $21 billion Everglades restoration plan.
Dubai is building the world’s largest ocean restoration project (Luxury Launches) - Dubai, known for its extravagant projects, is building the world's largest ocean restoration project, Dubai Reefs, which will encompass a 200-square-kilometer artificial reef with over 100 million mangroves and aim to address marine conservation while providing luxurious eco-tourism experiences and creating thousands of jobs in various fields.
The Fun at the End of the Newsletter:
Looking for a small vacation, or something to do in the area but out of ideas? Check out this list of 340 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Florida.