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Urban Service Line Update, Turtle Season Coming Soon, and more!

April 27, 2024 Weekly Newsletter


Indian River County is actively seeking community feedback on the Urban Service Boundary (USB), a key factor in shaping our region’s development. The USB delineates areas prioritized for urban infrastructure, like water and sewer services, and where urban-style development is anticipated. This boundary influences not only our current services but also our future growth patterns.


Understanding the gravity of these decisions, your insights are incredibly valuable. The USB study is a chance for you to voice your preferences and help steer the growth of our community in a way that aligns with your vision for our future.


To ensure that your voice is heard, please visit the project website, where you can learn more about the USB, contribute your ideas through a featured survey, and find details about upcoming workshops on May 8, 22, and 29. Engaging in this process is a tangible way to affect change and ensure our urban landscape flourishes sustainably.


We’re counting on your input to guide Indian River County toward a thriving, well-planned future. Visit the link here to start making a difference. Your commitment to our community is deeply appreciated, and together, we’ll continue to enhance the place we call home.


 

Are you new? Do you want to receive it weekly in your email? If so click here to sign up! We're happy to have you!


Together, we're weaving a tapestry of positive change, stitching a brighter future for Indian River County. Your support is the thread that binds us, making our vision a reality. Every contribution, big or small, is an investment in our collective well-being. Thank you for being a vital part of the movement.


 

Sea Turtles: Ancient Ocean Residents


Did you know that sea turtles have been around for millions of years? These majestic creatures play a vital role in our ocean ecosystems. Unfortunately, they are in trouble due to human activities. That's why organizations like Coastal Connections Inc. are dedicated to protecting coastal habitats and educating the public about these amazing reptiles.


Mark Your Calendar: Turtle Walk Registration Opens May 1st!


Want to experience the magic of sea turtles firsthand? Coastal Connections offers guided Turtle Walks where you can witness sea turtles nesting under the cover of darkness. This year, walks will be hosted in June and July, with registration opening on May 1st. Spots are open to individuals and groups, and they tend to fill up fast! Anticipated walk nights are Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Be ready on May 1st if you want to take advantage of these amazing tours. This is the page you can register on--but not until May 1!


 

Drinking water shortages worry Vero Beach officials (CBS12) - Vero Beach is experiencing a drinking water shortage due to increased irrigation demands, a growing population, and lack of rainfall, prompting officials to urge residents to conserve water.


Dive Into Nature Adventures in Indian River County (Visit Indian River County) - Indian River County offers diverse nature adventures including airboating through wetlands, birding at Pelican Island National Refuge, turtle experiences during nesting season, and kayaking along the biologically rich Indian River Lagoon.


Vero Beach downtown master plan unveiled, what are the key issues (TCPalm) - The first draft of Vero Beach's downtown master plan, emphasizing a walkable downtown and addressing issues like parking and storm water management, was unveiled Thursday for initial analysis.


Sebastian referendum: four-year City Council term lengths goes to vote (TCPalm) - Sebastian residents will vote in November on whether to change city councilmembers' term lengths from two years to four years, a measure aimed at reducing election costs and providing more stability in governance.


Sebastian, Vero Beach traffic getting worse? We started to take look (TCPalm) - Despite a significant population increase, traffic times on key Indian River County routes have not changed substantially since 1999, challenging the perception that traffic has worsened significantly.


Marine science students from St. Ed’s get immersed in lagoon-health project (Vero News) - Marine science students from Saint Edward's School participated in a hands-on project to install oyster reef balls in the Indian River Lagoon, aiding in shoreline protection and water quality improvement.


 


Join us for an important conversation about the health of our Indian River Lagoon! The next Let's Talk Vero at Riverside Theatre on April 29th at 5 PM will feature a panel discussion on the lagoon's current state, what a healthy lagoon means for our community, and actions we can take to protect this vital resource. IRNA's own Board Chairman, Mike Johannsen, will be among the panelists sharing their insights.


This free event is open to the public and includes complimentary small plates and a cash bar. An update on the Three Corners developer selection will also be provided. Space is limited, so please RSVP here.


 

Sargassum blobs in Florida: When will seaweed hit beaches in 2024? (TCPalm) - Scientists predict a late May or early June arrival of sargassum seaweed on Florida's southeast coast, but it's too early to determine if 2024 will be a major sargassum year.


Everglades restoration: They’ve been waiting and working on it (Miami Herald) - The Everglades restoration project, launched in 2000 to undo environmental damage, has fallen far behind schedule and continues to cost billions more than expected, even as the swamp and its inhabitants suffer the consequences of inaction.


The EPA is cracking down on PFAS — but not in fertilizer (Grist) - The EPA's new restrictions on PFAS in drinking water do not address PFAS contamination from biosolids fertilizer, prompting a lawsuit by Texas farmers and raising concerns about the widespread impact on agriculture.


These Floridians Rebuilt Houses in Flood Zones. Now FEMA Is Cracking Down. (Mother Jones) - FEMA is threatening to revoke Lee County, Florida's subsidized flood insurance over alleged violations of its '50 percent rule', which mandates costly rebuilding standards after a flood disaster, potentially adding additional financial burden to homeowners already facing rising insurance costs.


65-year-old manatee, Juliet, dies in Florida zoo months after rescue (Veterinary Practice News) - Juliet, one of the world's oldest known manatees, died at approximately 65 years old at ZooTampa, months after being rescued from the Miami Seaquarium for urgent medical care.


Oil Drilling Has Endured in the Everglades for Decades. Now, the Miccosukee Tribe Has a Plan to Stop It (Inside Climate News) - The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida and a nonprofit group have proposed a deal to buy out mineral rights in the Big Cypress National Preserve from the Collier family, ending oil drilling in the Everglades and protecting a vital source of Florida's drinking water.


Hurricane Center watching season’s first Atlantic disturbance (Miami Herald) - The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a disturbance in the Atlantic that, despite posing no immediate threat, highlights the unusually warm Atlantic temperatures and signals a potentially active hurricane season ahead.


'Sunny day flooding' increases fecal contamination of coastal waters (ScienceDaily) - A new study finds that "sunny day flooding" caused by high tides can increase fecal bacteria levels in coastal waters, though the elevated levels generally dissipate quickly and vary by location.


 

The Florida Right to Clean Water group has initiated a campaign aiming for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the 2026 ballot, advocating for a fundamental, enforceable right to clean and healthy waters in Florida. This initiative follows the failure to gather the required signatures for the 2024 ballot. The movement, driven by volunteers and grassroots support, emphasizes government accountability and challenges existing legal frameworks that have allowed pollution to harm Florida's waters.


Key points about this initiative include ensuring that any state action or inaction that harms or threatens to harm Florida waters can only occur if it serves a compelling state interest and minimizes harm as much as possible. This initiative is seen as a way to rectify the priorities in decision-making processes that have historically favored special interests over public welfare.


Importantly, the proposed amendment also aims to restore legal standing to individuals and communities even in cases where such standing might have been eroded or removed by state legislature actions. This ensures that citizens can challenge harmful environmental policies directly, making it a powerful tool for enforcing environmental accountability and protection.


It's important to note that if you signed the petition for the 2024 ballot, you'll need to re-sign for the 2026 initiative. Signatures from the previous campaign are not carried over due to the stipulations of the process and the timing of the collection period, which starts anew for each election cycle​.


To learn more, here is a recorded webinar from Friends of the Everglades explaining it's importance.


Sign your petition here.


 

Water extraction and weight of buildings see half of China's cities sink (BBC) - Nearly half of China's major cities are experiencing subsidence due to extensive water extraction and the increased weight from rapid urban expansion, posing significant flood risks as sea levels rise.


Biden moves to protect public lands with sweeping conservation rule (Washington Post) - The Biden administration finalized a new rule that prioritizes conservation, recreation, and renewable energy development on public lands, marking a shift away from the traditional emphasis on oil and gas extraction.


The Biden Administration Makes Two Big Moves To Conserve Public Lands, Sparking Backlash From Industry (Inside Climate News) - The Biden administration announced significant conservation efforts by finalizing a rule to boost conservation across public lands and banning drilling in 13 million acres of northwestern Alaska, sparking backlash from industries dependent on land access.


Broward is working to convert septic tanks to sewers (Sun Sentinel) - As sea levels rise in South Florida, local governments are converting thousands of homes from septic tanks to sewer connections to prevent sewage contamination of groundwater and protect public health.


Cities scramble to find trees that will survive climate change (Grist) - As the climate changes, cities are scrambling to plant new tree species that can survive increasingly harsh and unpredictable conditions.


56 companies account for over half of branded plastic pollution (Washington Post) - A new study found that a small number of companies, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé, are responsible for a significant portion of the world's plastic pollution.


The more plastic companies make, the more they pollute (Grist) - A new study found a direct correlation between the amount of plastic a company produces and the amount of plastic pollution it generates.


 

Want your voice to be heard? Use this link to easily contact elected officials—from your city council to the President. Your voice can make a real impact. While the IRNA may occasionally prompt you to contact specific officials about urgent issues, we keep this list handy for your convenience. Can't find who you're looking for? Just let us know; we're here to help connect you with the right people.


 


 

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