Audubon Advocate: 2017 Legislative Session - Week 5 Update

Florida Conservation Network Legislative Update

Happy Everglades Day! Week 5 of the Florida Legislative Session

Today, April 7, 2017, marks the 127th anniversary of the legendary Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ birthday. The Florida Legislature designated April 7 as Everglades Day to honor the author of The Everglades: River of Grass, who inspired the nation to protect and conserve this ecological treasure.

America's Everglades: Update on Key Everglades Legislation

It is fitting that this week, the Florida Senate advanced an amended Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) that refocuses on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir. The bill now centers on fulfilling water storage goals while meeting water quality standards. It leaves open the flexibility to store more water on state-owned lands or to reconfigure existing projects to treat and store the additional water. Several options are identified to obtain additional land for the project if needed to meet the goals.

Sen. Rob Bradley took to heart many of Audubon’s suggestions for improving the bill. The amended bill filed together with Sen. Jack Latvala keeps water storage south of Lake Okeechobee at its core without other impacts on the ability to use Florida Forever bonds in the future. It also shifts funding for the removal of septic tanks and other programs to General Revenue rather than using funds made available from 2014’s Amendment 1 for the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. Read Audubon’s statement on the Amendment.

The next step is for the bill to head to the Senate floor for a vote by all senators. Weigh in with your Senator and Representative now, asking them to support the EAA Reservoir.

On this Everglades Day, the Audubon Florida team of scientists and policy professionals strive to protect and restore the vast ecosystem from the great rivers and lakes of Central Florida to the blue expanse of Florida Bay. Each time you share a story, write or call your legislator or join us at a public meeting, you are the part of the team. Thank you for making us effective!

Two More Counties Pass Pro-Land Conservation Resolutions

With the help of Audubon advocates, two more counties passed pro-land conservation resolutions. St. Johns and Volusia Counties, along with several other counties, have sent a message to Tallahassee: fund land conservation. Florida Forever and the Rural and Family Lands program help ensure lands are conserved for wildlife, future generations, and water resources. In Tallahassee, Audubon Florida is urging legislators to approve at least $150 million in funding for Florida’s land conservation programs. Across the state, local Audubon chapters continue to work to secure county-wide resolutions in support of critical land conservation program funding. Has your county passed a resolution in support of these important conservation programs?

Your help is still needed to keep up the momentum in Tallahassee. Send a message to your legislators and ask them to support Florida’s land conservation programs – Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands. Working together, we can make a difference and help save the places that make Florida special.

Audubon's Pete Frezza Brought Attention to the Plight of Florida Bay Working with the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association

Keys fishing guides send a message to Tallahassee: Help!
By: Jenny Staletovich (Miami Herald)

Fishing guides in the Florida Keys turned to the tools of their trade to send a message to Tallahassee Thursday.Using the iconic skiffs created to navigate Florida Bay’s shallow waters, about 40 guides and anglers set out from docks behind World Wide Sports in Islamorada to spell out a simple missive in Little Basin: Help. Read more in the Miami Herald.

Audubon’s 2017 Legislative Priorities

1.    $150 million for Land Conservation including Florida Forever and Rural and Family Lands.
2.    Support Senate President Negron’s proposal to buy land for reservoirs to send Lake Okeechobee south.
3.    Advance water conservation and new limits on water pollution sources. 

We hope we can count on you to stay engaged. Audubon is Florida’s most influential conservation voice. We show up at the right time, do our homework, and are respected for advancing science-based solutions. We propose more than we oppose. When we oppose, we work hard to stop bad ideas from becoming law. 

How you can help, right now