environment

Lawmakers Wade into Amendment 1 Details

Feb 27, 2015

New rules for Florida waters will be one of the first bills the House takes up when the legislative session gets underway.

But don't expect that all aspects of a voter-approved initiative to conserve water and land will sail smoothly through the 60-day session that begins March 3.

As House members and senators hammer out new rules and new funding levels required by the initiative, known as Amendment 1, a wide array of suggestions has poured in from Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, environmentalists and business lobbyists.

Stephen Meszaros

Big Cypress National Preserve runs over 729,000 acres in Collier County and bits of Monroe and Miami Dade counties. The preserve is applying to be an international “dark sky park.” There are only 20 in the world. A "dark sky park" is a place where humans get clear, starry scenery, and nocturnal animals, like the endangered Florida Panther, see better.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is biking, hiking and kayaking from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists are trying to call attention to the need to preserve what they call the corridor's "integrity" --- an unbroken pathway for wildlife to travel. They recently led about 75 enthusiasts on a hike through the wetlands of the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

Palm Beach County Farmers Want To Sell Land To Developers

Feb 18, 2015
Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County held its second roundtable Tuesday, discussing development options for the county’s Agricultural Reserve -- a 22,000-acre piece of land west of Boynton Beach and Delray Beach, just between Florida’s Turnpike and the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. Farmers want to sell their land to developers because business is bad.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Matt Ortega /Flickr

Budgets are said to embody values, and President Barack Obama’s budget surely shows his legislative values. The $3.9 trillion budget would levy new taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for things to help low and middle income families, like free community college.

That’s not sitting well with Republicans in the region. South Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo says it’s a political document.

Emma_L_M/flickr

More than 4 million voters approved Amendment 1 in the November 2014 election. The measure received an overwhelming 75 percent "yes" vote.

That vote unleashed hundred of millions of dollars this year and billions of dollars over the next 20 years that have to be spent on acquiring and improving Florida lands. The amendment uses fewer than 150 words to describe the types of projects the money has to be spent on. That section is highlighted in blue below.

    

Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

For more than 20 years, Palm Beach County has worked to improve Lake Worth Lagoon -- a 20-mile body of water stretching from North Palm Beach to Boynton Beach. It’s the county’s largest estuary and also infamous for its polluted past.

The county hosted its third lagoon boat tour in late January to showcase several projects improving the lagoon and helping the county’s ecotourism.

WUSF is following the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition as they bike, hike and kayak from Central Florida through the Panhandle to the Alabama state line. The three conservationists recently paddled down the Withlacoochee River from the Green Swamp to the Gulf Coast. We  tagged along with them for a trip back to primeval Florida - paddling down one of the state's most pristine springs.

 

Joe Rimkus Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

It's not a canary or a coal mine in Florida, but the idea from Audubon of Florida is the same. Wading birds hold the same function as the canary, and in this case the coal mine is the Everglades. Tabitha Cale with the society says things are dire.

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