Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Newest Threat to the Everglades?

Venus, FL - - Save Our Creeks has reviewed the materials submitted to the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and concludes that the proposed re-zoning and Comprehensive Plan Amendment required for the Eagle National Security Training Center poses a real threat to the natural environment of the Fisheating Creek watershed. Below are Save Our Creeks’ specific comments. Comments have been submitted to each of the five Highlands County Commissioners and are part of the public record.

1. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s comments of February 10, 2009. The re-zoning of the land and associated comprehensive plan amendment will have direct, foreseeable, negative impacts to existing wetlands, floodplains, water quality, and water quantity.

2. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the South Florida Water Management District’s comments of February 16, 2009. The proposed comprehensive plan amendment to the Future Land Use Map projects a water demand for which a sustainable source has not been identified. There is potential for negative impact due to decreased natural flow of water to the Fisheating Creek watershed.

3. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s comment of February 16, 2009, that the proposed project is adjacent to the Fisheating Creek Ecosystem Florida Forever project. Fisheating Creek continues to be a Group A project on the Florida Forever acquisition list. Fisheating Creek is one of the largest fairly natural areas in the Florida peninsula. It is important for the protection of rare plants and animals. The area includes large populations of three plants endemic to central Florida: Edison’s ascyrum (Hypericum edisonianum), cutthroat grass (Panicum abscissum), and nodding pinweed (Lechea cernua). Fisheating Creek is extremely important as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area for the Florida panther and the American swallow-tailed kite, as well for such animals as Audubon’s crested caracara, snail kite, Florida grasshopper sparrow, Florida sandhill crane, mottled duck, red-cockaded woodpecker, and short-tailed hawk. At least six bald eagle nests are known to be in this project area.

4. Save Our Creeks has reviewed the Settlement Agreement and remains concerned that the comments of these three State Agencies are not adequately addressed to protect the natural environment of the Fisheating Creek watershed

Save Our Creeks urges the Highlands County Commission to vote against Resolution P&Z 1961 re-zoning the property and against Comprehensive Plan Amendment CPA-08-481LS.

Copies of the original letters are available upon request to info@saveourcreeks.org .

Monday, September 14, 2009

United Waterfowlers and Pollution

Just got this from our friends at United Waterfowlers of Florida:

Some surprising changes have been taking place quietly, and we at United Waterfowlers – Florida (UW-F) have taken notice. Walk into any home center or Wal-Mart, flip a few bags of lawn fertilizer over for yourself, and check the numbers. There are lots of ZEROs…zero middle numbers that is.

As you may know, UW-F authored the No-P Turf Fertilizer language in Senator Pruitt’s bill last spring; language which made it’s way intact into Senator Constantine’s Springs bill.

Our members statewide - have been surveying store retailers, and our surveys of home centers and fertilizer retailers show an average of 60% of all lawn turf fertilizer products are now No-P. Two years ago, only 1 in 15 products were No-P (N-0-K) according to our surveys at that time.

Lowe’s is doing best on average with 70% of Lowe’s lawn fertilizer products being No-P. Some Lowe’s home centers have only 3 products out of 20 with any P at all. Wal-Mart is a close second, and almost all other stores surveyed have at least half of their lawn fertilizer product line’s they carry - are No-P.

Contrary to what’s being touted, none of what is taking place is required by Florida statute, or because of the FDACS’s Turf Rule.

Many thanks to all of the coalition members who have helped with this effort. Coalition members include a unique mix of groups, and include near unanimous support of duck hunters, anglers, surfers, environmental groups, lobbyists, cities and counties, national sporting periodicals, garden clubs…the list goes on.

In particular I would like to thank Dr. Peter Barile. Peter has worked this project with us from day one. I would also like to thank the St. John’s River Water Management District. Their efforts have been priceless.

We will continue our efforts to eliminate P from turf fertilizer products, and we will continue to spread the word about why these changes are necessary - of this we are committed.

A century ago, when duck hunters and other wildfowl hunters, sportsman’s clubs and magazines began lobbying for the elimination of spring shooting, elimination of market hunting, banning the sale of migratory bird parts, and lobbied to the end to the ruthless practice of plume hunting; the results of their efforts saved the birds we all love and share today - they knew darn well they would change many people’s lives, and anger many.

But industry MUST be responsible members of a civil society.

With this in mind, following the traditions of conservation born of our heritage, United Waterfowlers – Florida will continue to be a force for change regarding nutrient pollution in Florida’s waters.

Like the ducks we love, water is migratory. This is a principle duck hunters understand very well.

So that a few can have crispy green grass, we all suffer. This is a priority that must change, and will soon.

Ducks and all of biota, all of humanity need clean, plentiful water.

John Hitchcock
Vice President and Secretary
United Waterfowlers - Florida

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

EPA demands standards for Highlands lakes (and CREEKS)

EPA demands standards for Highlands lakes

Highlands Today
Published: August 30, 2009

SEBRING - A consent decree signed last week by the EPA and Florida Wildlife Federation will require farmers and cities to tightly monitor the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus that run into lakes, creeks, rivers and the ocean.

The decree settled a July 2008 lawsuit filed last year by FWF, Sierra Club and others against the EPA, asking the federal agency to set an exact number on nutrients - pollution - allowed.

For the rest of the story....

Highlands Today reporter Gary Pinnell can be reached at gpinnell@highlandstoday.com or 863-386-5828