Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet
JOIN US AT OUR MEETINGS
For information call Loren (239) 267-1566
At 5:45 PM on the First Thursday at Happehatchee Center 8791 Corkscrew Road, Estero
Conservation Lands' Economic Value Cela Tega REGISTER HERE http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ VX7NY79 Wednesday November 2, 2011 Student Union Ballroom 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Florida Gulf Coast University For more information contact Nora Demers email@example.com
PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE Care2, Robin M., May 28, 2011
Florida Governor Rick Scott already made it clear via his vetoes that he has a radical agenda that is designed to leave most lower income women barefoot and pregnant http:// www.care2.com/causes/florida-cut-womens-health-services-but-dont-touch-pregnancycenters.html in the state. But now he's making it even clearer that although pregnancy is the goal, once the baby is out his responsibility to the women ends there. As Ashley Lopez reports over at the Florida Independent http://floridaindependent.com/32495/ rick-scott-vetoes , an even closer look at Scott's line item vetoes shows that he has unilaterally cut numerous programs that are in place to ensure that newborns are healthy. Most ominous, a veto of a legislatively approved measure to test for an immunodeficiency disease in babies that if caught early enough could greatly decrease the costs of treatment and the likelihood of saving the baby's life. Editors note: can we trust him with anything else if we cannot trust him with our babies?
Keith Fountain, Florida Protection Director, The Nature Conservancy "Protecting and restoring the vast natural landscapes in the Northern Everglades will pay huge benefits in the future for all of us. The benefits from the Wetland Reserve Program are perhaps the broadest of any USDA conservation program – permanent conservation of habitat, continued private ownership and economic benefit from cattle ranching, and wetland restoration that revives lost habitats and retains and cleans water for the people of central and south Florida.”
Florida Leaders Applaud USDA Efforts to Improve Water Quality and Enhance Wildlife in the Northern Everglades Watershed USDA Office of Communications (202)720-4623
WASHINGTON, August 11, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $100 million in financial assistance to acquire permanent easements from eligible landowners in four counties and assist with wetland restoration on nearly 24,000 acres of agricultural land in the Northern Everglades Watershed. Local leaders applauded USDA efforts to protect the Northern Everglades and reiterated their commitment to the continued restoration and economic opportunities made possible by the Wetlands Reserve Program from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS):
Melissa L. Meeker, Executive Director, South Florida Water Management District “The District appreciates the opportunity to work with public and private partners for the common goal of protecting and restoring the vast natural landscapes of the Northern Everglades,” said South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Melissa L. Meeker. “The Wetland Reserve Program offers significant benefits to South Florida and the Northern Everglades such as improvements in water quality, expanded wetlands and connected natural areas that support a diverse array of wildlife.”
Bill Nelson, United States Senator "This is a win-win that helps restore the Northern Everglades while allowing Florida ranching traditions to continue.” John Hoblick, President, Florida Farm Bureau “Conservation programs provided by NRCS are invaluable and production agriculture stands ready to do its part to maintain green space, wildlife habitat and freshwater recharge areas. The farmer's and rancher’s role has never been more important.” Alcee L. Hastings, United States Representative (FL23) “I would like to thank Secretary Vilsack and the USDA for providing the State with much-needed funds for the Wetlands Reserve Program. Since the Everglades are the source of a majority of our fresh drinking water, preserving and restoring this national treasure is vital both for the wildlife calling the River of Grass home and also for our own good. This latest drought we’ve experienced demonstrates how crucial a reliable supply of clean drinking water is for Florida. Unless we address our water infrastructure problems soon, water shortages will become a larger crisis for the State. With this funding, it is my sincere hope that we can better address the water infrastructure problems to ensure Florida has a stable supply of clean water.” 3
WHAT'S WRONG WITH OUR NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE
Cover-ups of law enforcement corruption are perpetrated; and
Peer, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility Jeff Ruch, Executive Director, July/5/2011
The NPS Director tells his subordinates to avoid candor with the public in order to quell controversy.
Few are nostalgic for the George W. Bush era but at least Bush generally left national parks unmolested (with a few exceptions such as the abandoned effort by a Dick Cheney crony to rewrite all National Park Service (NPS) National Management Policies).
Tellingly, “The Honest Chief” Teresa Chambers was restored as Chief of the U.S. Park Police earlier this year over the continuing objection of the Obama NPS. NPS leaders bask in the afterglow of the Ken Burns documentary series on national parks as “America’s Best Idea” but that does not mean this great idea cannot be screwed up. NPS is suffering from inbred and uninspired leadership that undermines both its resources and its underlying principles of conservation, which make our parks the envy of the world.
So, we have been distressed to see a stream of Obama-era NPS decisions that are deleterious to the lands, wildlife and integrity of our national park system. These actions are, in some cases, far worse than anything attempted by Bush officials and, in other cases, reverse protections erected under the Bush-NPS.
Help PEER complete our work putting America’s national parks back on the right path. http:// salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/823/t/2996/signUp.jsp? key=869
New destructive uses of national park lands are being proposed--let me give you some examples: In perhaps the most outrageous case, 40,000 acres of wilderness eligible lands in Big Cypress Preserve, the heart of dwindling Florida panther habitat, are being thrown open to off-road vehicle trails and hunting from swamp buggies; National parks want to carve motor-cross-style high speed, single-track mountain bike trails out of the backcountry in parks such as Big Bend; and Millions of acres of potential wilderness lands are threatened by loosening policies and a complete indifference to the system’s huge unrealized wilderness legacy.
JOIN US FOR THE ANNUAL ENVIRONMENTAL BREAKFAST Tara Caruso
Besides the Obama decision to allow loaded firearms in national parks (the first statutory rollback of park resource protections in U.S. history), park wildlife has been disserved by – The decision to run away from a proposed ban on lead ammo and tackle in national parks; Reversal of policies requiring hunting restrictions to protect wildlife in places such as Mojave National Preserve and perhaps another 40 park units which allow hunting without any NPS safeguards; and
Annual Environmental Breakfast Committee, Chair Audubon of Southwest Florida, Board Member
Every year the Audubon Society of Southwest Florida looks forward to putting on their Annual Environmental Breakfast. This year’s speaker is Tom Swihart, who will be speaking on Florida’s water: A Fragile Resource in a Vulnerable State. This is a free event and is open to the public. The breakfast is a diverse gathering where public officials, environmentalists, educators and people of the community come together to network and share ideas about current issues and successes. Please join us for the Annual Environmental Breakfast Thursday, October 27th 7:00am – 9:00am at Riverside Community Center, Fort Myers.
Even park plants are no longer safe. The NPS Director is pushing to allow wholesale removal of plants by certain groups and approved corporate bio-prospecting of park flora. Not surprisingly, the integrity of Park Service management has also suffered: Crude manipulation of official assessments is being allowed or encouraged; 4
PREMIER CANOE AND KAYAK EVENT SET IN NEW VENUE
Seminole Tribe of Florida fights FPL proposal 4 Aug
North America’s fastest-growing paddling festival will be located this fall on the Sanibel Causeway, bringing canoe and kayak activity to pristine back bays and giving residents, visitors and businesses eco-opportunities galore. A night time view from the recently-built power plant in Loxahatchee, which the Hendry proposal has been compared to by FPL, explaining how "low profile" it will be By Earth First! Journal In a recent legal challenge to Hendry County’s approval of re-zoning land for a newly proposed FPL power plant in primary panther habitat, attorneys with the Seminole Tribe of Florida demanded a Writ of Certiorari quashing the County Ordinance which gave preliminary approval for the plan. The following are excerpts from the legal challenge, filed earlier this summer: The approved use is not compatible with the longstanding and continuing uses of the Big Cypress Reservation, which is adjacent to the rezoned property… Given the flow characteristics of the area, such an analysis is critical in determining the compatibility of the rezoning with adjacent land uses on the Big Cypress Reservation. The extreme groundwater withdrawals necessary to support the project will diminish the hydrological functions of the floodplain and will impair important biological and ecological functions of the floodplain, thereby endangering the residents and use of the Big Cypress Reservation… While the Seminole Tribe brought these issues to the attention of the County prior to the adoption of the rezoning, no analysis of the compatibility of the approved project with the Big Cypress Reservation was ever conducted and no finding of compatibility was ever made that was supported by competent and substantial evidence. In fact, the County’s Planning and Zoning Department’s Staff Report failed to even mention the Seminole Tribe or the Big Cypress Reservation in its discussion of the Power Plant’s compatibility with the surrounding areas… As acknowledged by the County, the proposed Power Plant has “significant” water demands… The impacts of this significant water demand have also not been analyzed with respect to the Seminole Tribe’s own water rights pursuant to the Water Rights Compact Among the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District… The Seminole Tribe of Florida also has federally recognized usual and customary use rights within the Big Cypress National Preserve and Addition Lands.
The Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival, which has been selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2011, will be Nov. 3-6 with a hub at the Sanibel Causeway. New this year is a national presenting sponsor, Canoe & Kayak magazine. Since 2006, the popular Southwest Florida event has offered seminars, guided trips, demonstrations, races, a photo contest, a fishing tournament and social events to an eager audience of paddlers. This year’s festival will include on-water instruction, Stand-Up Paddleboard activities and a Canoe & Kayak film festival. Two races are planned: The long-distance Calusa Classic on Nov. 5 and a SUP and recreational kayak race – the Calusa Dash – on Nov. 6. Past years have had the festival spread over 10 days at sites throughout Lee County. This year, the four-day festivities will be concentrated on Sanibel Causeway Island A, with off-water and evening activities centralized at signature lodging sites. The festival serves to highlight public parks and archeological sites as well as resorts, restaurants and campgrounds along the Calusa Blueway, a 190-mile trail that spans Lee County. The festival is coordinated by Lee County Parks & Recreation, which reported attendance for the 2010 festival from 21 states and four countries. In addition to the causeway-area activities, other communities will host events. Pine Island, for example, will salute anglers and bluegrass lovers Nov. 5 with the Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament and the return of Bluegrass for a Blueway & A Taste of Matlacha.
negatively impacted by drawdown associated with the proposed project… The record evidences that the proposed Power Plant cannot be accommodated on the 3,127 acre rezoned property and will depend upon consuming the water resources from numerous wells on surrounding property outside of the rezoned site… On July 20th, the court accepted the Tribe’s petition and ordered the County to explain its approval. Let’s hope that the Seminole Tribe’s legal challenge can end this nightmare, for the Tribe and the Florida panther, before it gets any further.
SIERRA CLUB BEATS ROCK MINE IN THE EVERGLADES A Palm Beach Post article yesterday reported the defeat of a rock mine approved by Palm Beach County, in a favorable ruling from the Fourth District Court of Appeals. From the Post:
FGCU STUDENTS ACTIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES
In a decision that environmentalists say could affect the future of rock mining in the county’s rural western area, the court ruled the 470-acre expansion planned by Bergeron Sand and Rock Mine Aggregates did not meet criteria spelled out in the county’s comprehensive plan— a long-term blueprint for growth and development.
ECO-Action is a grassroots organization dedicated to improving local ecosystems by performing outdoor community service projects. To bring attention to environmental issues, we are involved in educational events and occasionally political activism.
8/14/011, Logan Mcdonald firstname.lastname@example.org
We have community partners at Lee County Parks & Recreation and have been active for almost 3 years! EcoAction engages students in volunteer experiences that are far more than a graduation requirement. Our work such as oyster and mangrove restoration projects, roadside cleanups, beach cleanups, and invasive species removal allow students to be directly involved in learning about local conservation efforts.
“Mining in the EAA has been a major Everglades issue for several years now,” said Richard Grosso, a pro bono attorney for the Everglades Law Center. “We are obviously happy to win the case, but frustrated that, at every turn in the last several years, the county commission goes and decides against Everglades restoration and for industry. At some point, we are hoping that the county will change its approach in order to start giving the benefit of the doubt to the Everglades.”
Witnessing these issues first hand encourages students to be more aware of the issues and take a more active role in our community. The majority of our volunteering is done early on the weekends, despite the rumors of hibernating college students. We are blessed with dedicated members that have come to truly appreciate nature. At invasive species removal, for example, our members are actively engaged and even have a competition to see who can find the largest air potato.
In all, the environmental groups 1000 Friends of Florida and the Sierra Club have filed legal challenges against three county mining approvals, including the Bergeron expansion. Two cases are still pending. The attorneys who filed the successful appeal against the rock mine cited that it was affidavits of the activists who were at the public hearings that were able to secure standing and result in this victory. So for all you out there that have sat through long, boring, infuriating public hearings (or Sierra Club meetings for that matter), sometimes its worth a damn… 6
ROADS, WHO ARE THEY FOR? Wayne Daltry, 7/24/2011 Apparently, the MPO Plan shows an Alico Greenmeadows expressway running to Lehigh Acres as a 4 lane road. Additionally, a new road is to extend from Alico to Corkscrew along the powerline. This is also four lanes. Further a new road is to be built between Alico and the Airport Entrance Road, running east from Treeline to an extension of this power line road, north of Alico. In December, 2010, when this MPO plan was approved, there was also a resolution inspired by Reconnecting Lee, that pointed out that all this new road construction did not meet the new reality of forecasted fuel shortages, nor the direction supposedly coming from Federal DOT that we should be planning for less traffic in 2035 than we have today. Finally, these new roads (which are forecasted as needs under a traffic growth scenario of about 50 percent countywide) are shown in 2035 as operating above capacity. In other words, on the map, they aren't in high demand for the forecast year. Just before the Commission left, they approved an 800k study to improve the section of Alico from Treeline to Airport Haul road to 4 lanes. At this moment there is no development in existence nor underway along that stretch of road. I stood in the road Saturday a week ago at 2 pm for 90 seconds and did not have to move because of traffic, because there was none. The road is very apt to be shown as needing four laning because...ta da....the MPO Plan shows two roads that don't exist, and those traffic forecasts will be added to any current demand (little) and forecasted demand of developments that don't exist. In other words, the roads that don't exist will justify the expansion of today's basic two lane road without congestion problems. The kicker is all this is within the DRGR. And Lee County by proposing to build the roads will be increasing the speculative value of the lands along the road, thus providing an economic incentive to undercut the DRGR plan just approved, and the road construction and four laning will effectively divorce the northern third of the DRGR from the rest.
MANGROVE PROTECTION LAWS UNDER ATTACK By Phil Buchanan
Both the Scott Administration and Lee County developers seem to think the time is right for them to get rid of mangrove and other wetland protection laws. Governor Scott's programs have been held close to chest, but they've been leaking out bit by bit. There was the recent proposal to build 36-hole golf courses in state parks, but that died when they realized golf courses are failing all over the state (and thus not a good investment). Then, the St Petersburg Times published editorial reports saying the DEP had a program to turn portions of state parks over to private corporations to build camping and RV sites. One of them, they said, was an environmentally-sensitive area of Honeymoon Island State Park now used for nature-watching and picnicking. More than 400 people attended a rally last week to protect Honeymoon Island, and on July 9, Governor Scott announced that in view of fierce public opposition "this is not the right time" to privatize Honeymoon Park. He left it clear that only the timing was being changed-the program would continue. I've been suspicious ever since DEP renamed "Charlotte Harbor State Aquatic Buffer Preserves" (our local state -owned mangroves) to "Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park," so I of course wondered if 4,806 acre Little Pine Island in particular could be slated to become a privately-developed golf course, campground, or such. Earlier today, I got my answer when I found a June 28 article by Virginia Chamlee in the Florida Independent. She revealed a DEP list entitled "State Parks with Potential for Providing New Family Camping Areas" and number 10 on the list is the renamed "Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park." The designation includes all state-owned mangroves and other coastal wetlands in Lee and Charlotte County--some 70 miles of shoreline and 45,000 acres. It includes all of Little Pine Island, most of the mangrove fringe around Pine Island, and most mangroves along Lemon Bay, Cape Haze, Matlacha Pass, and Estero Bay. It also includes the 9,185 acre Cape Coral mangrove fringe, which has long been sought after by the Cape Coral Government for beaches and other development. All of our local state-owned mangroves are in serious danger of development, but Little Pine Island probably heads the list because of its size and because it was recently cleared of exotics by the Little Pine Island Mitigation Bank. It's supposedly protected in perpetuity, but that's supposedly also true of all of the former "buffer preserves," so why are they all on the list?....... 7
Algae in the Caloosahatchee in 2011 Lee County health advisory for Caloosahatchee. Warning signs were posted by the Caloosahatchee on June 9. On June 10, Hendry and Glades counties also issued a health advisory. Freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee were cut off on March 6 by the South Florida Water Management District. To learn more about the connection between the river and lake http://www.sccf.org/content/204/ Understanding-theCaloosahatchee-and-theLake.aspx For the river west of the Franklin Lock, lack of freshwater from the lake means that salinity levels become unnaturally high, damaging the natural system. For the river east of the Franklin Lock, the river becomes two stagnant pools: between the Lake and S-78 (the Ortona Lock); and between S-78 and S-79 (the Franklin Lock). Stagnant water warmed by long summer days is ideal for algal blooms.
THE CALUSA GROUP OF SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SUPPORTS STRONG FERTILIZER ORDINANCES THROUGHOUT FLORIDA! 8
AN INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER HECKER BY PATTY WHITEHEAD 8/11/2011 Plight of Panthers in an increasingly developed habitat With encroaching development and fragmentation of what little habitat remains for the critically endangered Florida Panther, it is enlightening to delve into some of the measures currently being pursued to ensure that panthers have continued access to their territories, which, many times transect roadways in rural, semi-rural, and even some increasingly urban areas. Jennifer Hecker, Director of Natural Resource Policy for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida illuminates some of the methods currently being implemented to allow panthers safer passage and about the ongoing struggle to keep wild places wild for the sake of this magnificent native cat and other creatures dependent on its survival. Jennifer can you please tell us if any more wildlife underpasses are planned for the use of panthers and other species in Lee, Collier and Hendry Counties? Response: Panther crossings are currently primarily along I-75 (Alligator Alley), and State Road 29, although there are other crossings designed for panthers and other wildlife throughout our region. Two new panther crossings are currently being constructed on Oil Well Road (as the road is being widened to 6 lanes) in Collier County. Another panther crossing has recently been completed on County Road846 east of the town of Immokalee in Collier County, as part of a compensation package for a proposed development. Also, we understand that there is a conceptual plan for an “experimental” crossing of a slightly smaller size on Immokalee Road in Collier County. Several more roadway segments around southwest Florida, where roadkills have been documented, are need of such structures to help facilitate safe wildlife movement between habitats. We understand that in addition to wildlife underpasses there is also the use of triggered flashing warning signals along some roadways. Does this system only work with collared panthers? Response: Due to the high cost of traditional panther crossings and the need to protect this imperiled species, other mechanisms are being explored for use in deterring animals from the roadways and alerting drivers of the habitat they are driving through. On US41 there are several current nighttime reduced speed zone for panthers and a radar detector that will light up the speed limit sign when cars are traveling faster than they should be. This area will also be receiving a RADS (Roadway Animal Detection System) in the near future. This isn’t just for collared, radio-tracked animals, but is to warn passing drivers when a large animal is entering the highway. Is it possible that the signal could be set off by the cats crossings an infrared beam between two points parallel to the roadway, thus serving the needs of uncollared panthers, is this a viable idea? Response: RADS systems can use radar technology and/or pressure sensitive plates on the ground to trigger the alert. The RADS technology is considered experimental only. The use of the these technologies, increased law enforcement presence, and outreach education still require that drivers take the time to slow down, especially in panther zones. However, none of these measures are failsafe. Although there have been limited cases were animals enter crossing fenced areas and cannot find their way back out, the wildlife crossing structures are the best means to provide wildlife safe passage across roadways. Crossings may be more expensive, but have been very successful, providing that they are designed appropriately. Jennifer pointed out to me that overall resources and emphasis should first and foremost be devoted to avoiding interference and impacts to wildlife and their habitat through proper development and road siting. “It is the inappropriate sprawling of development into panther habitat which requires the widening of roads to service that inappropriate development (like Ave Maria and the widening of Oil Well Road) that end up costing both the taxpayers and wildlife. Taxpayers have to pay to widen a road that services just a few while roads in town used by many are clogged and in poor condition. Wildlife is forced to try to cross 6-lane roads that run through their known corridors, creating more injury and deaths to them.”
VICTORY TOWARD ENDING DIRTY ETHANOL GIVEAWAY Jennifer also emphasized that crossings usually come years after development is in place and roads are widened so impacts to wildlife are tragically intense before any preventative measures are implemented. Consequently agencies scramble to put in place less expensive and unproven techniques which are substitutes for the safer more proven technologies like bona fide panther crossing underpasses. Unfortunately, growth and development in the pantherâ€™s last toehold promises more and wider roadways. However, perhaps with the rising price of gas, the demand for housing close to public transportation, and the convenience of existing services, the days of sprawling development in sensitive habitat will be minimized. For the ongoing survival of the panther, this most unique and majestic creature of Florida, we can only hope that wiser choices are made in the future to keep wild places untouched and to plan new communities close to established development and infrastructure.
Friends of the Earth In an unprecedented move, the Senate voted 73-27 to end a $6 billion giveaway to the corn ethanol industry in June. Campaigner Kate McMahon has spent the last five years building political support for eliminating these subsidies, which promote a polluting industry and overwhelmingly go to big corporations. Friends of the Earth activists sent more than 65,000 letters to elected officials since December to make this victory possible.
EASTERN GOPHER TORTOISE JOINS WAITING LIST FOR PROTECTIONS Endangered Earth, July 28, 2011 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday found that the eastern gopher tortoise is in deep enough trouble that it needs Endangered Species Act protection. But the tortoise won't get the help it needs any time soon; rather it's being added to a waiting list for protection. Found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama, the tortoise builds elaborate burrows that more than 360 other species use. Unfortunately, the tortoise's own homes are fast being destroyed by pine plantations and suburban sprawl. It's also threatened by the hunting of rattlesnakes, which use tortoise burrows.
Exciting new fuel efficiency and auto pollution standards will save Americans money at the gas pump, curb global warming emissions, and reduce our oil dependence.
The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments in favor of protecting the tortoise and has for years opposed the "rattlesnake roundups" that threaten its existence. The next important step: Fish and Wildlife should prioritize funding to make sure the tortoise gets protection. Read our press release http:// www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/ eastern-gopher-tortoise-07-26-2011.html and learn about outlawing rattlesnake roundups. http:// www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ outlawing_rattlesnake_roundups/index.html
Read more: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/ press_release/ucs-applauds-cafeannouncement-0548.html 10
AP'S EXPOSÉ ON AMERICA'S AGING NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS? THE FINDINGS ARE STARTLING Brad Ashwell Florida PIRG Legislative Advocate Whenever a reactor part wasn't up to standards, the standards were lowered.  There are hundreds of documented radioactive leaks, broken equipment and corroded containment facilities. And yet the U.S. nuclear power industry is pushing full-steam ahead to relicense many of these aging plants.
MOSQUITO DITCHES ON SMOKEHOUSE BAY PRESERVE, KEEP EM
Florida PIRG and our national federation, U.S. PIRG, oppose relicensing any nuclear power plant, and I need your help to continue this fight.
A letter from the Calusa group. June 14, 2011
So far, we’ve held off the relicensing of one nuclear power plant near an active fault line in California by encouraging thousands of people to speak up and by getting the media to pay attention.  We are calling for the retirement of both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants.
The Calusa Group of the Sierra Club includes people from a five county area in Southwest Florida: Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry and Glades. We currently have over 1000 members in the southwest Florida area. The Calusa Group takes its name from the Calusa Indians, who are now extinct. The Calusa Indians lived and thrived along the coast of Southwest Florida. They thrived through living in harmony with our Southwest Florida environment. The Sierra Club's Statement of Purpose is: To explore, enjoy and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
We helped to stop a bill that would have allowed the largest utility in Iowa to build several new nuclear plants by charging ratepayers for the plants now, even though they wouldn’t be built for years—if at all.  With your help, we can do more. https://secure3.convio.net/ engage/site/Donation2? idb=0&df_id=5612&5612.donation=form1&autologin=true&J ServSessionIdr004=h4rh013m91.app331b Here is what’s on our plate regarding nuclear power: • Put a moratorium on all license extensions: The AP found that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is keeping old, unsafe plants open for too long.  Since Fukushima, the NRC has approved four reactors to stay open for an additional 20 years beyond their original licenses. That includes two in New Jersey, where the AP found that the NRC hasn't enforced safety standards for more than 20 years. We're calling on President Obama and the NRC to stop renewing licenses for our aging nuclear plants. • Shutdown old, unsafe plants: In Vermont, we won a vote in the State Senate calling for the timely shutdown of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Now we're working closely with the governor to make that a reality, but the plant's owner, Entergy, is suing the state to try to keep it running.  • Investigate risks to our water from nuclear power: Our research has already found that one in four nuclear power plants has leaked radioactive tritium into ground water.  Now we're investigating what risk such leaks pose to our nation's drinking water supplies. • End nuclear handouts: From 1950 to 2000, the federal government gave out more than $150 billion in subsidies to the nuclear industry.  We're working to end the handouts. With so much attention on the risks of nuclear power, there's no better time to end the so-called “nuclear renaissance.”
We are writing to indicate our support to keep the mosquito ditches on the Smokehouse Bay Preserve property. These ditches are performing an important function of naturally controlling mosquito populations. As the tide comes into the ditches, they fill with fish that feed on the mosquito larvae. According to the Lee County Mosquito Control District, this area is naturally maintained and has not required pesticide applications. We realize there are soil piles on the property that need to be removed as part of the restoration efforts, but we request that the mosquito ditches remain in order to naturally control mosquitoes and prevent pesticide applications in this area. Ellen Peterson, President Sierra Club-Calusa Group
CC: Lee County Mosquito Control District Lee County Parks and Recreation
GEARING UP FOR MOVING PLANETMOVE BEYOND FOSSIL FUELS
FEDS WILL FINALLY TACKLE SEA TURTLE KILLINGS IN GULF
Sierra Club day of action We’re almost halfway through August, so the September 24 Moving Planet Day of Action http://www.movingplanet.org/ is not as far in the future as it might seem. That’s why we’re gearing up for it now.
SEN. NELSON ON THE GULF RESTORATION
ENDANGERED EARTH, June, 2011
Dear Mr. Wieland:
The National Marine Fisheries Service has finally announced plans to address the recent rash of sea turtle deaths in the Gulf of Mexico due to the region's shrimp-trawl fishery.
I want to share with you news about the latest effort to fully restore the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Senators Landrieu and Shelby have just introduced the RESTORE Act, a bipartisan, regional approach that would dedicate at least 80 percent of BP’s penalties under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to Gulf Coast States to invest in the long-term health of the coastal ecosystem and its economies. I am an original cosponsor of the RESTORE Act, along with the majority of senators whose States share the Gulf Coast.
A record number of dead sea turtles -- nearly 400 individuals, all protected under the Endangered Species Act - have turned up this year on Gulf beaches. The shrimp fishery is the likely culprit: Increasingly poor compliance with rules requiring shrimpers to use turtle-excluder devices or tow-time restrictions with their trawls have led to the entanglement and drowning of Kemp's Ridley, loggerhead and other Gulf turtle species already weakened by the BP oil spill. The Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a notice of intent to sue over the government's inaction on the turtle deaths. Now the Fisheries Service has vowed to evaluate several measures to better protect the magnificent marine reptiles, including broader requirements for the use of turtle-excluder devices.
The RESTORE Act would: • Dedicate 80 percent of CWA penalties charged to BP to the restoration of the Gulf Coast • Provide needed resources to Gulf Coast States to start recovery immediately • Establish a Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council and a Comprehensive Plan for the Gulf Coast Establish a Long Term Science and Fisheries Endowment and Gulf Coast Centers of Excellence
Also, in another Center for Biological Diversity sea turtle victory, this week a Florida court ruled that the feds violated the law when they failed to address sea turtle killings by the bottom longline fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
Based on the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, BP could face CWA fines between $5.4 billion and $21.1 billion. Unless the RESTORE Act is made law, that money would go to the U.S. Treasury and the Gulf Coast would get nothing.
Last year, the National Marine Fisheries Service weakened rules meant to protect sea turtles from the fishery, which snags and drowns hundreds of them. The turtles suffered another blow with the disastrous BP oil spill. The Center and allies had already sued the Fisheries Service to protect loggerhead sea turtles from longline fishing, as well as to get more help after the spill. But the Service held fast to its weakened rules, which allow the injury or killing of more than 700 loggerheads through 2011 and another 600 thereafter every three years -- more than seven times as many as the fishery was previously allowed to capture or kill. Loggerhead sea turtles, with their heart-shaped shells and unique, powerful beaks, don't deserve to die by longline hook. Now they could get a new chance at swimming in less dangerous waters.
This legislation is on a fast track--the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will be marking it up next week. Like you, I have an abiding concern for the region’s unique environment and coastal economy. And with support from folks like you we just might win passage of this measure in Congress. Sincerely, Senator Bill Nelson 12
Sierra Club Summer, 2011 Outings Sa, 2011 outings sampler Here is a sample of outings offered by various Florida Chapter outings groups, as well as information about Outing Leader Training. To access complete outing information around the state, visit the Sierra Club Florida Chapter Outings website: http://florida.sierraclub.org/outings.asp Sept. 10, Sat, Myakka Prairies Walk September brings the peak of hurricane season and the first signs of fall color. We’ll meander through the prairies looking for fall blooms and watch for hawks and eagles migrating back from the North. Might be muddy; bring along sun protection and day hike stuff. Reserve with Bill Lewis at 941-355-2156. (Manatee-Sarasota Group) Sept. 11, Sun, Stump Pass Kayak & Clean Up Join us for a leisurely paddle around the scenic islands and waters of Stump Pass Beach State Park in Englewood. Lots of osprey and a family of dolphins are often sighted. This is also a clean up paddle so be sure to bring a garbage bag. Optional lunch at beach restaurant after outing. Reserve with Don Kirkley at 941-493-3085 (Manatee-Sarasota) Sept. 18, Sun, 9:30 am, Little Manatee River Kayak. We’ll launch at a county park in Sun City and paddle upstream to Little Manatee River State Park where we’ll relax, walk a little and have lunch before returning to the starting point. Bring water, sunscreen and lunch. Reserve with Mike Lehner at 941-365-1073 or email@example.com (Manatee-Sarasota Group) Oct 1-2, Sat-Sun, Fisheating Creek Fundraiser in Glades County (Palmdale) Day 1, Dusk Paddle- Burnt Bridge to Fisheating Creek Campground. Day 2, Sunrise Run- Ingram's Crossing to Burnt Bridge. $125 fee include use of a kayak, kayak instruction, kayak shuttle, lunch and local naturalist talks. Donations are for the growth management efforts by Sierra Club along the only unperturbed watershed to the Everglades, Fisheating Creek. Contact (863) 683-9600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . (Ancient Islands Group) Oct 22, Sat, Outing Leader Training hosted by the Miami and West Palm ICO groups. The training will be an hybrid OLT101/201. They are also hoping to offer First Aid certification on Sunday. Contact Mark Walters at 305-243-7131 or WWalters@med.miami.edu . Nov 5-12, Sat-Sat, Fundraising Trip to the Enchanted Island of Puerto Rico. Spend 7 days on the beautiful island having fun hiking, kayaking, swimming, exploring the tropical forests and learning about the rich culture and history of Puerto Rico. Learn about the environmental issues the island faces from our local Sierra Club guides. We will spend one night in San Juan exploring the old town and the rest of the time we will be at the Patillas Eco Resort www.patillasecoresort.com. The cost of the trip is $895 per person plus airfare and includes all lodging and transportation. Limit 10 participants. For reservations and details contact: Rudy Scheffer at 727-726-8375 or email@example.com To view pictures from the 2010 trip please click here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfwR6HlJw4E.
OUR NEWSLETTER NEEDS YOUR HELP Over the years the club’s newsletter's, The Calusa Digest, printing and postage expenses have been largely reimbursed by the state and national organizations. This is no longer happening and we are on our own with most of the funding.
In these difficult times money is drying up for most of us. We are asking that any of you having expendable income to give us your help by donating to keep our newsletter going. We need your contributions to keep our newsletter coming to you. We are in the process of figuring out how to do the newsletter via the Internet for all members who have e-mail addresses while keeping the snail mail issues coming to those of you who need them. The newsletter is on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. Please send your greatly appreciated donation made out to the Calusa Group of the Sierra Club to: Carl Veaux, Treas, Calusa Group, 3705 SE 3rd PL, Cape Coral, FL 33904 Would all members who have e-mail addresses please send them to Carl: CVeaux@aol.com 13