Environmental & Natural Resources


On Tuesday, June 12 at 5:00 PM, the Citrus County Commission will consider a proposal by Citrus County Staff (apparently some NEW staff) to gut a number of important provisions from the Land Development Code. See the URL at the end of this message for details.

 

In particular, they are proposing to repeal former 100 foot waterfront buffers, springs buffers, wetland buffers, and replace them with a uniformly weaker general buffer of 35’, 15’, or 12’ setbacks under various circumstances.

 

The staff proposal also would remove references to requirements for Florida Friendly Landscape in buffer area, and would establish a process so that if a person purchases a lot to put a new house on, they can essentially forget all about buffers, and build their house as close to the water/wetlands/springs as their neighbors have built (even if their neighbors built under ancient land use requirements).

 

These changes were approved by the Planning and Development Commission on May 3. Though time is short, I hope we can mobilize an effort to defeat these bad changes on June 12 at the Citrus County Commission.

 Charles Lee

Audubon Florida


(Letter from Michael Czerwindki, P.A. stating need to maintain set-backs)

Honorable Commissioners

You may recall at the BOCC meeting towards the end of last year, I spoke during the public participation on the topic of wetland setbacks and buffers. This I believe was the first or second meeting /hearing on the LDC revisions and wetland setbacks.   Setbacks were put in place in Citrus Counties LDC for a number of reasons, most  notably to protect water quality on the receiving wetland lake or water body. In addition, many wetland dependant as well as upland dependant wildlife species use this important  wetland buffer zone for nesting, breeding, feeding and other core activities, as it is the transition between land and water.   This zone takes up nutrients and when the soils and root structure is left in tact in this buffer, it prevents erosion or loss of the land, reduces sedimentation and turbidity  and shoaling in our navigable waterbodies.  Mr Maidhof and his staff were very knowledgeable on this topic and  in providing a scientifically based and defensible justification for the setbacks so they would not be considered purely arbitrary.

 

During that presentation I mentioned the Wekiva River Buffer Study which sort of “set the highest bar” in terms of analysis of buffers roles and importance as well as recommended one of the larger buffers /setbacks of up to 300 -550 ft.   You had indicated a desire to see that study or similar scientific information I could provide you with.

 

IN this respect I have attached the Hillsborough County Report “Developing Scientifically-Based Ecologic Buffers to Protect Watersheds in Hillsborough County, Florida”  ( Jan 2006) which has links to and references the Wekiva as well as other studies including those by the U of F and Center for Wetlands  and provides a summary and review of other Florida County setback / buffer ordinances as of the date of the study.   I was also a contributing author for one  of the documents referenced in the report (SWFWMD 1991)  while I was with Henigar & Ray.  Please give this document a read over as it is very enlightening and scientifically based.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. And yes , I believe Citrus County should stay with the standard 50 ft setback (35 ft with a berm and swale) and 100 ft from a spring for a number of reasons including the initial research that was done by Citrus County to first establish these criteria and the water quality protection they provide for our precious waterbodies and lessening the standard would not only have the potential to cause undue harm to our water bodies but would also somewhat “penalize” the citizens that came before and complied with the 50 or 35 ft standards.

 

Thank you for you consideration of this important matter and remember that your decision could have a long term effect on the future of our waters.      

 cid:734393523@13122011-210B

-------------------------------

Last Chance to RSVP
for June 8 luncheon


June 8 luncheon
Tom Frick, the Director of 
the Division of Environmen
tal Assessment and Resto
ration for the Florida 
Department of Environmen
tal Protection, will be the 
speaker for the Chamber’s 
June 8 luncheon at Citrus 
Hills Country Club.
Mr. Frick has held this posi
tion with FDEP since 2013. 
Frick’s focus during his ten
ure with the agency has been 
to ensure that the depart
ment uses the highest quality data 
methodologies, and technology to in
form better environmental decisions to
assess, restore, and protect Florida’s 
unique water resources.

With the impending re
quirements established 
under the Florida Springs 
and Aquifer Protection Act 
that was passed by the State 
Legislature in 2016 and 
which are currently set to go
into effect on July 1, this will 
be an excellent opportunity 
to learn more about how 
these regulations will impact 
our community, residents 
and businesses. 
The June luncheon will be 
held at the Citrus Hills Country Club. It 
is sponsored by Citrus County Educa 
tion Foundation. $20 for Chamber mem
bers; $25 for non-members. To RSVP, 
call Janet at 352-795-3149.​

-------------------------------

A Tallahassee judge will hear the argument for a motion for partial summary judgment in a three-year-old lawsuit over how the state funds environmental conservation. 

Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge Charles Dodson will hear the motion June 15 at 10:30 a.m., court dockets show. Summary judgments allow parties to win a case without a trial. Partial summary judgments resolve one or more issues, but not the whole case. 

The motion was filed by David Guest, attorney for the Sierra Club, Florida Wildlife Federation and other plaintiffs. It relates to “nine appropriations to and expenditures by the Florida Forest Service (“FFS”) in the 2015-16 fiscal year (that) were in violation of” 2014’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment, also known as Amendment 1. 

The constitutional change, passed by nearly 75 percent of voters, mandates state spending for land and water conservation. It requires state officials to set aside 33 percent of the money from the real estate “documentary stamp” tax to protect Florida’s environmentally sensitive areas for 20 years.

Environmental advocacy groups filed suit in Leon County in 2015. The plaintiffs say lawmakers wrongly appropriated money for, among other things, “salaries and ordinary expenses of state agencies” tasked with executing the amendment’s mandate.

Guest’s motion says it goes to the “core constitutional question” of the case: “Whether (Amendment 1) permits monies from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to be expended for management and restoration of natural systems on public and private lands … or whether they may be expended only for … ‘conservation or recreation lands.’ ”

To wit: “The primary function of the FFS is to fight and prevent fires on private lands and to promote forestry and prescribed burning on private lands. However, the Legislature appropriated $57.6 million of funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the FFS for salaries, expenses, and operating costs,” three times as much as what it reported in expenditures, the motion says.

Named defendants include the Legislature, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection. Dodson previously set a weeklong bench trial in Tallahassee for July 23-27, records show.


-------------------------------

Newsletter NRC Report Mar 2018 2.0.docx



-------------------------------



-------------------------------

Response from Rep. Ralph Massullo's office regarding funding the budget for Springs Restoration Program - septic to sewer and cleaning up King's Bay/Crystal River.


Mrs. Connor,

 

Thank you for your email regarding the article in the paper about the budget.  The budget has not been finalized and I can promise you that we are fighting for our share of funding to protect our beautiful resources in our community.  The Springs are our top priority when it comes to appropriations.  Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.  I hope you have a great day and thank you for taking your time to be involved in the legislature. 

  

Respectfully,

  

 Adele Scordato

Legislative Aide to

Representative Ralph Massullo, MD

District 34

4067 N Lecanto Hwy

Beverly Hills, FL 34465

(352)527-4510


-------------------------------



-------------------------------


Senate Reworking Water Funds -------------------------------

Suncoast 2 Opposition Seeking Funding (Update added)

Suncoast 2 is planned to be a 4 lane (approved for 8 lanes) toll road from the Hernando/Citrus county line north to
SR 44 in Citrus County.  No one is sure, except maybe FDOT, where Suncoast 2 will go after SR 44. It could go north to Norvel Bryant (CR486) or terminate at 44, sending traffic east through Inverness to I-75 or to US 41 to go to points north towards Ocala and Gainesville or to a very crowded US 19 in the center of Crystal River. The public has been left in the dark about this mysterious route.

The projected traffic on Suncoast 2 to SR 44 is woefully small much like the north section of the existing Suncoast.  It is noteworthy that many years after completion of the Suncoast Parkway the road does not generate enough in tolls to pay for itself. Extending the road into Citrus County will not produce enough revenue to pay for the bonds. Yet the state is willing to spend $257 million on this 13 mile stretch into Citrus County. Governor Scott put $150 M into the budget for it but won't say why or where it is coming from.  One can only speculate about the intent and feasibility as no studies have been done to assess the impact of ending at 44 or going “somewhere north” and not to US 19 as was the original plan.

The I-75 task force concluded that improvements to I-75 should be the first priority. But as long as Suncoast 2 remains on the books routes other than I-75 are likely to dominate. Certainly other cities like Inverness and neighborhoods will suffer if these alternative routes prevail.

A non-profit has been formed to stop Suncoast 2 until the northern route is known and all stakeholders have been empowered. The name is: Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp. We are seeking donations for legal help. Donations can be sent to Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp, PO Box 75, Floral City, Florida 34436. Below is a link to articles from the Dec/Jan edition of the Suncoast Standard that gives information on ETNA and the history of the proposed road.

https://indd.adobe.com/view/78e95d1c-87b8-46c7-bcbe-0a0b6376588c

"The Task Force did not approve as first on its list the construction of this new road west of I-75 but put it last. Its first choice was to improve I-75 and also promote traffic taking alternate routes west of I-75, specifically SR 44 from I-75 in Wildwood to this new SC 2 segment ending at SR 44 in the middle of Citrus County. Governor Scott for unknown reasons put in last year's budget $150 M to make this road go. Total cost for the road is $257 M or over 1/4 of a BILLION DOLLARS to go where? There is no approval from the Task Force to build any further in the near future. We do know it will destroy the Etna Turpentine Camp that is on the National Register and actually was a town up until 1926 and part of the main industry then in Citrus County and in Florida. It's a lost part of history as they used leased convict labor comprised mainly of African-Americans arrested by local sheriffs on trumped up minor charges and forced to work in horrible conditions and be whipped if they did not make their quota. We know also that it will destroy 700 acres of the Withlacoochee State Forest which it traverses for 7 miles. The SC 2 also runs in its entirety over the Brooksville Ridge which is the main recharge area for the first magnitude coastal springs that are home to the manatees of world fame. SWFWMD actually in its infinite wisdom approved the road for being eight lane and allows them to use closed depressions for drainage ponds. The Floridan Aquifer in Citrus County has no confining clay layer to speak of and these depressions are indicators of fractures and conduits in the karst geology of the Brooksville Ridge. So where does road pollution and spills go? Right to the springs!!! I learned all this from SWFWMD's own research which they refused to follow as the directors now are all yes men to Governor Scott just like all the other water boards. Scott's $150 M could be better spent on the Everglades projects. It's a lot of money!!! People don't seem to get that. This is not pocket change. And for a 13 mile road in a county with just 140,000 residents with the second highest poverty rate in the state and a population 1/3rd of which is over 65. What's the purpose here, Governor Scott? So please consider supporting our efforts to stop this totally useless expenditure of tax dollars."
-------------------------------

Clean Manufacturing of EPS, Expanded Polystyrene , Idea to promote job growth in Citrus County?


   

 
                    

                     -------------------------------
"Hurricane Harvey - 2017" Climate Signals, August 24.
                                 -------------------------------
     -------------------------------
-------------------------------
 Tallahassee Democrat, 5/17/16
-------------------------------
"Florida Approves Increase in Toxins for Waters"
JULY 26, 2016
-------------------------------
-------------------------------
-------------------------------


Big Cypress National Preserve

-------------------------------

Keeping Your Lawn Green with NO WATER
         Hey folks, Don't water and fertilize your grass to   make it green...paint it! It's cheaper, saves on fertilizer costs and mowing and best of all, saves and protects water. Golf courses have been doing it for decades!!!
         Roger Dobronyi...
           GREEN GRASS

-------------------------------

            Tribute To Mother Earth
           
                                   
-------------------------------
      

             Environmental Impact of Peat Mining

              Information for those that use peat moss in yards and gardens.   Negative impact we never knew before! 

                                   

-------------------------------

 

                              For Nature Lovers