Sign up For The Daily Digest

 

Sign Up Now

Follow Us On

   

twitter.jpg

Support Eco-Voice

   
Make a One-Time Donation

or view other ways to
Support Eco-Voice

Arthur R Marshall

 

ARTHUR R. MARSHALL LOXAHATCHEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

In Remembrance

Within the span of little more than two weeks, the Friends have lost two of the three volunteers who ran our gift shop for many years. Frank Bodofsky, a Friends volunteer for more than 10 years, passed away on June 23. Frank was always there to keep the store open whenever another volunteer couldn't be there. Along with Harvey Eisen and Hal Albertson, Frank ran the store and did most of the purchasing. Then on July 9 we received word from Hal's daughter Barbara that Hal, too, had passed away. Hal had been a Friends volunteer for more than 20 years, serving as President of the Friends board of directors for many of those years. Barbara remembers many newspaper clippings of her father at the Refuge and his personal mission to raise awareness and support for the Refuge. Hal, Frank and Harvey were the first recipients of the aptly-named Outstanding Friend of the Refuge award, for Outstanding Friends they truly have been.

Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of Frank and Hal, as well as to Morey Zuber and Heinz Schmitt. On June 29, Margaret Zuber, beloved wife of Morey, passed away in Idaho, where they were working as resident volunteers at Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Margaret and Morey have been invaluable to our Refuge as resident volunteers during the winter season ever since our resident volunteer program began several years ago. Margaret always found the beauty in everything around her, as you can tell when you look at her photos and see the Cypress Swamp through her eyes:
http://loxahatchee.smugmug.com/keyword/Margaret%20Zuber/i-7QTRmFM

And on May 29, Isabelle Schmitt, beloved wife of Heinz, passed away. Earlier this year Heinz received the Honor Award from the Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region for his longtime volunteer service to the Refuge. Almost any day Heinz could be seen working on the grounds around the Refuge until his leave of absence to care for Isabelle. We offer him our sincere condolences.

SCHEDULED PROGRAMS        August 2016

Guided Bird, Butterfly and Wildflower Walks

Every Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Join our volunteer naturalist for an early morning nature walk and see how many birds and other critters you can spot. Learn about our migratory and year-round residents of the Refuge and their habitat. Your guide will discuss the marsh ecology, answer your questions and identify the birds, butterflies, plants, reptiles and anything else you might find along the way. Meet in the Marsh Trail parking lot.

Roving Naturalist on Cypress Swamp Boardwalk

Tuesday, August 9, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 23, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

A volunteer naturalist will be strolling around the Cypress Swamp Boardwalk, answering questions and discussing flora and fauna of the swamp.

Tram Tours of the Marsh

Every Wednesday & Thursday, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 20 & 27, 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Take a Tram tour of the marsh with our volunteer naturalist, who will take you from the Visitor Center to the boat ramp to the LILA impoundments, then back through the C10 impoundment and the Marsh Trail, across to the Arthur R. Marshall kiosk and back to the Visitor Center. Your guide will talk about the Refuge, its birds and other wildlife, the ongoing research in the mini-Everglades impoundments of LILA, and answer all your questions in the comfort of your shaded electric tram.

Guided Canoe Trips

Every Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Meet at the Lee Road Boat Ramp to enjoy a beautiful canoe tour through a portion of the Refuge interior. You may rent a canoe for $33 from Loxahatchee Canoeing or bring your own. (One canoe seats 2 to 3 people.)

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Call the Visitor Center at 561-734-8303.

Enjoy this 3-minute video made on the canoe trail: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW49VXaOvGU&feature=related

Full Moon Guided Canoe Trips

Saturday, August 13, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 12, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 10, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Meet at the Lee Road Boat Ramp to enjoy a guided moonlight canoe tour through a portion of the Refuge interior. Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and bring a flashlight and bug spray.

Canoe rental from Loxahatchee Canoeing is $33; you may not bring your own. (One canoe seats 2 to 3 people.)

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - PLEASE CALL LOXAHATCHEE CANOEING at 561-733-0192.

*** Programs subject to change, for more information on any of the activities and programs, please call the Visitor Center at (561) 734-8303.

Events are listed on the Friends website at www.loxahatcheefriends.com/events/events.shtml

7th Annual Juried Art Contest - Loxahatchee Visions

Entries accepted: Monday, October 31 to Saturday, November 5
Reception and Award Presentation: Sunday, November 13, 1:00 p.m.

The contest is open to all artists. Each artist may submit one or two works of art, inspired by "Loxahatchee Visions." Any media or mixed media may be used, with the exception of photography. (Save your photographs for next year's photo contest!) Each entry must be framed and ready for hanging. Wrapped canvas edges are fine. Size limit is 36" on each side, including frame.

Prizes will be awarded in 2 categories - Novice (to age 18) and Adult (age 18 and older).
First prize - $250; Second prize - $150; Third prize - $100.

The entry fee is $5 for Friends members and Refuge staff and $25 for non-members. The fee is waived for Novices. Bring your artwork along with the entry form and entry fee in an envelope labeled "Friends Art Contest" to the Visitor Center.

For the Contest Entry Form and the complete set of rules, go to: www.loxahatcheefriends.com/upload/Lox2016ArtContestForm.pdf

Volunteer Orientation & Lunch for Volunteers New & Old

Wednesday, August 10, 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Visitor Center auditorium

All current and prospective volunteers are asked to attend this volunteer orientation, if at all possible. Volunteers are needed to work in the Visitor Center, lead nature walks, work on the grounds, help plan events and numerous other activities. Please bring a dish to share for lunch!

Lee Road Cleanup - Volunteers Needed!

Saturday, September 17, 9:00 a.m.

Come out and help the Friends pick up litter from the entrance road to the Refuge. The Friends have officially adopted Lee Road from U.S. 441 west to the Refuge gate under the Palm Beach County Adopt-a-Road Litter Control program. Please wear closed-toed shoes, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen and bug spray. Meet at the Visitor Center to get your safety vest, plastic gloves and instructions. Water and light snacks provided. Students can receive Community Service hours. Teens under 18 need parent or guardian's signed permission. For more information contact Cathy Patterson at 561-301-5056 or capatterson51@gmail.com.

National Public Lands Day - Volunteers Needed!

Saturday, September 24, 9:00 a.m.

Come roll up your sleeves and devote your morning to caring for your public lands! Volunteers are needed to weed around and possibly plant more cypress trees on the eastern edge of the Refuge. Please wear hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray and closed-toed shoes. Water and light snacks provided. Students can receive Community Service hours. Teens under 18 need parent or guardian's signed permission. For more information contact Elinor Williams at 561-496-4305 or elinor@loxahatcheefriends.com.

Admission is free all day to all visitors.

Nature Store Volunteers Needed!

The Friends are looking for volunteers to work in the Friends nature store in the Visitor Center - please contact Cathy Patterson at capatterson51@gmail.com.

Friends Volunteers Needed!

The Friends are always looking for volunteers who can help us raise awareness of the Refuge and improve the effectiveness of the Friends. We need someone to coordinate our upcoming art contest, someone who could promote events and Refuge activities on social media, a courier-type person who could deliver promotional brochures around the county on a regular basis, and speakers who would be willing to join our Speakers Bureau and share their knowledge of the Refuge with some of the local community groups who have invited us. We would also like to apply for several grants that could help us provide more buses for field trips for Palm Beach County school kids, new hiking trails, and possibly even a new boardwalk. If you would be willing to research available grants, work with a grantwriter, help us write a grant application, or help us find a local business or corporate sponsor that would be willing to partner with us, please let us know! And if you have other talents you would like to share, then by all means, let us know that, too! Contact Elinor Williams at 561-496-4305 or elinor@loxahatcheefriends.com or just reply to this note. We are an all-volunteer organization and so, the more volunteers we have, the more ways we can help the Refuge!

Your Ad Could Appear in Our Cookbook!

Preparation of a cookbook of Loxahatchee-inspired recipes is well underway and should be complete in time for holiday gift-giving. It's not too late to submit a recipe if you have one you would like to share. In particular, we could use a few more for beverages and breads. If you would like to send us a recipe, or if you would like to promote your business by placing a $50 business card-size ad in the cookbook, please contact the cookbook committee at loxrecipes@gmail.com.

Help Palm Beach County School Kids Discover the Everglades!

The Refuge is one of 186 federal sites selected to receive a field trip grant from the National Park Foundation. The funding will be used to bring Palm Beach County school children out to the Refuge on field trips. This grant, part of the Foundation's Open OutDoors for Kids program, supports the federal Every Kid in a Park initiative, which seeks to connect youth and their families to public lands like our National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. That first visit can inspire a lifelong connection to special places such as these, and for many of these kids, that field trip is their first visit. In the words of Refuge Ranger Joseph Whelan, "South Florida has some of the largest and most diverse school systems in the country and happens to border the largest, most iconic wetland ecosystem in the United States. It would be a disservice for kids to go through their entire school career and never be introduced to the Everglades, especially when it is right in their backyard."

Many teachers in Palm Beach County plan class field experiences but have to cancel due to a limited field trips budget and bus availability. Especially as the school year progresses, it becomes even harder to get kids out of the classroom. With this $9,000 grant, the Refuge has been able to provide funding for field trips for 1,350 4th-graders who would not otherwise have had the opportunity.

The Friends are actively pursuing additional grant funding to make these trips possible for more school kids. You, too, can help. You can make a donation at www.loxahatcheefriends.com/contributions/contributions.shtml.
$20 = 3 students; $200 = 1 bus of 30 students.
Specify "field trips" and we will make sure your contribution in its entirety is used for just that purpose.

Refuge Featured in Radio Interview

Friends volunteer Tony Lang was featured in a 30-minute interview about the Refuge that aired on WLML Legends Radio on July 24. Learn how a bobcat brought him back to the Refuge:
www.loxahatcheefriends.com/upload/CommunityFocusInterviewLegendsRadioTonyLang2016-07-24.mp3

Refuge Featured in FAU Student Video Project

Professor Caren Neile, also known as the Public Storyteller on NPR, and her FAU students came out to the Refuge to create a set of 6 videos as a reality TV-type class project. With help from her husband Tom's production company, SwampThing! is the result:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_RYkb6ea6A&list=PLwAoDcTPETku-Dh7ltBhbhWy06kW3_y8x

Vote Yes on Amendment 4 on August 30!

Amendment 4 would reauthorize the existing property tax exemptions homeowners earn for the installation of renewable energy source devices such as solar panels. Without its passage, this tax exemption will expire. Passage of Amendment 4 would also offer solar energy property tax abatement for the installation of new renewable energy equipment by businesses for the first time.
www.yeson4.org

Amendment 4 was placed on the ballot for the August 30 Primary Election by the Florida Legislature with bipartisan support. It has been endorsed by the League of Women Voters and numerous environmental groups including the Everglades Coalition, the Nature Conservancy, Audubon of Florida and Sierra Club Florida.

The reason this solar amendment was placed on the ballot for the August primary election was to avoid confusion with the more controversial, industry-backed solar amendment that will appear on the ballot for the general election on November 8. The other solar amendment that you may have heard of that was backed by environmental groups did not gain enough signatures to appear on either ballot this year.

Ask Congress to Adequately Fund the National Wildlife Refuge System!

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committees have finalized and passed their FY17 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bills and await floor time for final passage. While both bills include marginal increases for the Refuge System, each also contains riders that would harm the National Wildlife Refuge System, such as construction of a road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, promoting predator control on Alaskan refuges, and preventing the implementation of sage-grouse conservation plans.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association asks that you urge your Congressional representatives to adopt the House Refuge Operations and Maintenance (O&M) numbers for FY17, a small but much needed $3.5 million increase over FY16, and reject all damaging environmental riders. Of particular importance to our Refuge is a $250,000 increase for invasive species control.

To contact your Representative, go to www.house.gov, type your zip code at the top of the screen and click "Go", then click on your Representative's name;
To contact your Senators go to www.senate.gov, select your state and click "Go" next to the "Find Your Senators" box at the top of the screen.

Or you can go to the National Wildlife Refuge Association's action page:
http://refugeassociation.org/action/#/59

Invasive Exotics Control in Need of More Funding

In recognition of the serious problem of the spread of invasive exotics in the interior of the Refuge, a member of the Audubon Society of the Everglades wrote this letter to the editor:
www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-viewpoint-refuge-20160614-story.html
The letter prompted this response from the South Florida Water Management District:
www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/getthefacts_061516_lox_refuge_invasives.pdf

Invasive exotics, like melaleuca trees and especially Old World climbing fern, smother the native plants that native wildlife depend on for survival. Year after year of chronic underfunding has allowed these invasives to spread exponentially across the tree islands of the northern Everglades. One third of the annual budget for the Refuge is spent treating and re-treating these infestations, but more funding is needed. A small increase is included in the Congressional appropriations bill for the Department of Interior for FY17, but passage of the bill is not assured. (See above for more information on Congressional funding and how you can help.)

Everglades Foundation Seeks Cost-Effective Solution to Phosphorus Pollution with $10 Million Prize

The Everglades Foundation announced that it is now accepting contestants for the $10 million George Barley Water Prize for a cost-effective solution to cleaning phosphorus pollution out of rivers and lakes like Lake Okeechobee, where phosphorus from farm fields, urban stormwater runoff and septic tanks has caused the toxic algae blooms that kill fish and make waters unsafe for swimming.
www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-algae-solutions-sought-20160721-story.html
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-lake-pollution-20160708-story.html

Phosphorus-Laden Water Fuels Blue-Green Algae Outbreak, Multi-Faceted Crisis Continues

After months of draining phosphorus-laden freshwater from Lake Okeechobee east into the St. Lucie River, fueling the growth of toxic blue-green algae that has been killing fish, devastating coastal communities and local businesses and posing human health hazards, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last month that the lake level had lowered enough to reduce the draining into the river by about 44 percent. The South Florida Water Management District also approved nearly $3 million in emergency spending to help pay for temporarily storing more water north of the Lake and to pursue other drainage alternatives to dumping more water on the east and west coasts. Florida Governor Rick Scott announced plans to set aside additional funding in his 2017-18 budget proposal to create a voluntary program to encourage residents living near the affected waterways to convert to public sewer systems from septic tanks, which are another contributor to phosphorus pollution.
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-algae-fighting-measures-20160714-story.html
http://weatherplus.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/07/15/water-managers-decry-algae-misinformation-as-corps-reduces-harmful-flow/
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/business/governor-focuses-on-septic-tanks-to-combat-blue-gr/nrx2n/

At the same time the discharges into the St. Lucie River were reduced, the pumping of lake water into the L-8 Canal in the western part of Palm Beach County was increased, raising fears that more algae would move into the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County had not been affected until Fourth of July weekend, when public swimming areas on Peanut Island and Singer Island were closed to swimmers after lifeguards spotted blue-green algae there.
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/business/plan-to-spare-martin-county-could-steer-algae-to-p/nrsx8/
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/staggered-lake-o-flow-aims-to-reduce-algae-risk-on/nrwzj/
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/fl-toxic-algae-movement-20160701-story.html

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said last month that it will allow emergency pumping from western Broward and Miami-Dade counties into Everglades National Park to continue through hurricane season. After a rainy winter, state officials in February had warned of a potential wildlife disaster if emergency pumping wasn't allowed to avoid flooding the high ground that deer, wading birds and other animals in western Broward and Miami-Dade need to survive. "It would have been the greatest massacre of wildlife in the history of Florida," said Ron Bergeron, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioner who led the effort to lower the water levels. That emergency pumping now could linger into the fall after getting approval from the Corps.
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-emergency-pumping-prolonged-20160713-story.html

It helps to remember how we got here. In January, flooding concerns triggered the extra draining of lake Okeechobee water east through the St. Lucie River toward Stuart and west through the Caloosahatchee River toward Fort Myers. In February the lake reached 16.4 feet after the wettest January on record. As we entered hurricane season, Palm Beach Post reporter Kimberly Miller remembered Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 that brought much-needed rain to the drought-stricken state, pushing Lake Okeechobee levels up 4 feet in a single month. She added the sobering thought, "If Fay rolled through today, people could die."
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/weather/hurricanes/one-storm-could-push-lake-okeechobee-to-its-limits/nrtQF/
http://weatherplus.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/07/07/is-lake-o-water-toxic-why-so-much-algae-straight-talk-from-experts/

This comprehensive article from Christine Stapleton of the Palm Beach Post describes the issues that have swirled around Everglades restoration from 2000 to the present day:
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/will-a-reservoir-south-of-lake-o-save-the-st-lucie/nry6r/

Paula Dockery, a Republican who served 16 years in the Florida legislature, feels that she spent most of her 16 years fighting for good environmental policy, but finds very few environmental heroes today. In her words, "The short-term answer is to provide more water storage. The long-term solution is to return to sound environmental policy, regulation and enforcement, hardening the structural integrity of Lake Okeechobee's dike system, and providing water treatment both upstream and out of the water storage areas. We need a strong leader to put water experts back in key positions, invest in our land and water resource acquisitions, remove leaking septic tanks and convert septic systems to wastewater treatment. There have been a few elected officials genuinely working to resolve this latest environmental disaster like U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and state Sen. Joe Negron. Voters need to know who acted in their best interest and who paid them lip service."
www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-rick-scott-gop-responsiible-for-algae-disaster-paula-dockery-070716-20160706-story.html

Former West Palm Beach city commissioner Kimberly Mitchell has now joined the Everglades Trust as executive director. The nonprofit's goal is to change the opinions of Florida's governor and lawmakers and to get them behind investing in a reservoir south of the lake so that water can be stored, cleaned of pollution and redistributed to the Everglades.
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/guess-what-west-palm-politician-is-back-in-the-fig/nrZNX/

Here's another article with some history on how the Everglades got to the state it's in today and some of the obstacles encountered in recent years trying to fix it:
www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/roadblocks_to_restoring_the_everglades

The South Florida Water Management District has been putting out a series of press releases and fact sheets on an almost daily basis to report the actions they have taken to combat the multiple crises they have been dealing with and to counter public opinion that they need to explore other options such as finding more water storage south of Lake Okeechobee.
www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/sfwmdmain/news

Blue-Green Algae Adds to Snail Kite's Problems

After toxic blue-green algae invaded the St. Lucie River, water managers began holding more water in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, lowering the volume of water flowing into the Kissimmee River and ultimately into Lake Okeechobee. The lower Lake levels allowed a reduction in the discharges from the Lake that were harming the St. Lucie River. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised concerns that reducing water levels in the Kissimmee River and its flood plains threatens the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, making its nests more accessible to raccoons and other predators. Snail Kites have 10 known nests along the Kissimmee River.
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-algae-fighting-concerns-20160711-story.html
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/water-managers-fear-algae-strategy-endangered-by-1/nrwy8/

Blue-green algae itself may also pose a threat to Snail Kites. Snail Kites feed only on apple snails, and mostly exotic ones at that, since the native apple snails have all but disappeared. Exotic apple snails can often be found in lakes and waterways infested with hydrilla, an invasive plant that was unleashed into U.S. waterways by aquarium owners. The snails thrive on hydrilla, feeding on its leaves and scaling its stalks for a breath of air at the surface. Blue-green algae grows on aquatic plants and, as it turns out, that algae also has a particular fondness for hydrilla. Blue-green algae has been found on the hydrilla in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and other lakes where Snail Kites have been known to forage.

When waterfowl such as coots and ducks eat algae-covered hydrilla, they can become infected with a lethal brain disease known as avian vacuolar myelinopathy, or AVM. Sick birds become lethargic, eventually losing the ability to fly or forage. Their odd behavior attracts the attention of bald eagles and other raptors, and when they eat infected birds, the predators develop the disease too. The disease has killed thousands of waterbirds, as well as nearly 200 bald eagles and a handful of geese, hawks, owls, killdeer, and probably more avian species. No snail kites are known to have died from AVM, although if one did die while perching over a lake, its body would fall into the water, never to be found or diagnosed.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/160518-brain-disease-swamp-birds-everglades-kites/?google_editors_picks=true

Blue-Green Algae Adds to Problems of Manatee and Other Aquatic Life

Manatee deaths linked to pollution have resumed in the algae-stricken Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County. In Stuart in Martin County a family captured on video their attempts to help a manatee swimming in the algae-covered canal behind their home:
www.orlandosentinel.com/news/environment/os-manatee-deaths-resume-indian-river-20160712-story.html

A scientist with the Save the Manatee Club urges for all of us to get involved with these environmental issues, for boaters to be vigilant and slow down for manatees, and for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider these perils while weighing the request to downlist manatees from endangered to threatened on the federal endangered species list.
www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-viewpoint-manatee-20160729-story.html

Dr. Bill Louda, a research professor at Florida Atlantic University's chemistry department, warns that as the toxins move up the food chain, manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, birds and other animals will be affected. And as bad as the algae is now, it could be worse when it dies. The algae right now is actually generating oxygen, but it is also blocking the sunlight from algae and sea grass on the bottom. This will cause them to die and rot, devouring oxygen, killing fish and whatever else is down there, which will in turn rot and devour more oxygen.
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/algae-bloom-bad-now-but-catastrophic-when-it-dies-/nrqRK/

New Guidelines for Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and Moving Water South

Water managers have been frustrated with rules that prohibit releasing water into the western Everglades in order to protect two of the six remaining populations of the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow. The sparrows live in rocky grass prairies that regularly flood, foraging for food in grasses during the dry season. When the breeding season begins in April, which also coincides with South Florida's rainy season, they build nests just above the water. Too much water can flood the nests, as happened this year. Under new guidelines the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last month, less water will be moved into western nesting grounds, while more water will be moved east into Shark River Slough. As a result, the 915-square-mile area just north of the Tamiami Trail would be allowed to hold more water during wet years. The plan also speeds up the schedule for moving more water down the L-29 canal into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, which suffered a massive summer seagrass die-off this year.
www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article91371917.html

Unchecked Development not Limited to Palm Beach County

This comprehensive article from John Kennedy of the Palm Beach Post describes massive development projects that are taking place across the state since the rollback of growth management laws in 2011:
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/florida-statewide-building-boom-follows-rollback-o/nrTy6/

A fifth major development project is now being planned for western Palm Beach County. Combined, the five projects - Avenir, Indian Trails Grove, Westlake, Arden and now the Iota proposal - would add 14,723 houses to an exurban area where residents have fought to preserve a slower, quieter lifestyle.
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/another-big-development-planned-near-indian-trails/nrtXD/
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-palm-iota-care-20160708-story.html
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/editorial-smart-planning-sidelined-as-big-developm/nrRSP/

And Palm Beach County's Agricultural Reserve on the eastern border of the Refuge is being chipped away with the county commission's rezoning decisions and changes to the county's Comprehensive Plan, as Sierra Club spokesperson Drew Martin warns in his letter to the editor:
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/point-of-view-western-development-will-have-uninte/nrXqf/

The most egregious example of development taking over the county would have to be the new city of Westlake, population 5, whose mostly non-resident city commission, paid by the developer Minto Communities, will be able to set the development rules. Incorporation of the city of 5 was made possible by a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2012:
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/palm-beach-county-gets-39th-city-and-county-commis/nrkXJ/
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-palm-westlake-salaries-20160720-story.html
www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/westlake-mayor-stands-up-for-city-mckinlay-asks-sc/nrmZq/
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-new-palm-city-created-20160621-story.html

Concerned about the unchecked development, long-serving County Commissioner Karen Marcus created the organization Sustainable Palm Beach County to encourage smart growth policies in four key areas:
1) Land use policies that preserve open space, farmland and critical environmental areas,
2) preservation and protection of water resources,
3) compact building design to create livable communities and avoid sprawl, and
4)green space preservation.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/opinion/point-of-view-nonprofit-says-its-mission-is-smart-/nrMc6/

For more information on Sustainable Palm Beach County and how you can help, go to their website:
http://sustainablepbc.org

Oil Exploration in Big Cypress Contested

Six environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and National Parks Conservation Association, filed suit last week to stop Burnett Oil Company from exploring for oil across 70,000 acres of Big Cypress National Preserve. The National Park Service approved the company's plan in May, saying it would "pose no significant environmental impacts" to groundwater or endangered species such as the Florida panther. Although Big Cypress is part of the National Park system, it is not a park but a preserve, a designation that allows activities such as hunting and oil drilling.
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-big-cypress-oil-lawsuit-20160727-story.html

Meanwhile, the Kanter family of Miami is pursuing its application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for an exploratory well near Miramar, despite opposition from the Broward County Commission, the city commission of Miramar and other city commissions throughout Broward County.
www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/fl-everglades-oil-update-20160612-story.html

Nile Crocodiles Found in South Florida

South Florida is home to about 1,000 endangered native crocodiles. The American crocodile is smaller and less aggressive than its more ferocious relative, the Nile crocodile, which does not belong in South Florida. But unfortunately, three Nile crocodiles have been found here since 2009.
www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article78680152.html
www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-crocodiles-everglades-20160519-story.html

Refuge Hosts Largest Nesting Colony This Year

Surveys this spring indicated that the Refuge had the largest active wading bird colony in the Everglades this year, with over 7,000 active nests, primarily of White Ibis. The high water levels that resulted from an unusually wet dry season delayed the start of nesting season. Wading bird nesting in the Everglades, in general, was down due to the high water.

The Refuge also had the highest number of Snail Kite nests in the Everglades this year, with 7 nests counted, and one still active.

Reports Galore!

For a little light reading, three reports of note have been released lately. Audubon Florida has released its State of the Everglades Report for Spring, 2016:
http://fl.audubon.org/sites/g/files/amh666/f/audubon_stateoftheeverglades_spring2016.pdf

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative has released its State of North America's Birds Report for 2016, warning that one third of all North American bird species are in need of urgent conservation action:
www.stateofthebirds.org/2016/?utm_source=June%202016&utm_campaign=FF%20April%202013&utm_medium=email

And the Department of Interior has released its Economic Report for 2015, finding that National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and other public lands have contributed $45 billion to the economy and about 396,000 jobs nationwide:
http://my.usgs.gov/doidv

News from the National Wildlife Refuge System

Find out what's happening in the National Wildlife Refuge System with the latest from the Friends NewsWire, including some thoughts from Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, on the importance of Wildlife Refuges and the excitement she feels when she sees a child hold a lizard for the very first time:
www.fws.gov/refuges/friends/newswire/index.html

Shop on Amazon and Support the Friends!

Shop at AmazonSmile and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the Friends, at no extra cost to you! Bookmark this link:
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/59-2152926
Or, if you don't have the link handy, just go to smile.amazon.com and select "Friends of the Arthur R Marshall Loxahatchee Natl Wildlife Refuge" (You can just search for "Loxahatchee" but don't try to spell out "National" or it won't work!)

Like Us on Facebook!

Thanks to Kay Larche and Joseph Whelan we have a very active community of Friends on Facebook:
www.facebook.com/loxahatcheefriends
Please spread the word and ask the folks you know to "Like" us!

Join the Friends!

If you're not already a Friends member, why not join now? Your support helps fund Refuge programs and special projects, and helps make our annual Everglades Day possible. Dues are only $20 per person or $30 for a family membership. All members receive our biannual newsletter Gator Tales and a 10% discount in our gift shop. You can sign up online at:
www.loxahatcheefriends.com/membership/membership.shtml

Help Us Grow!

Tell your friends about this hidden treasure! How many of them know we have a piece of the Everglades right here in Palm Beach County? Bring them out, and encourage them to join the Friends. Better yet, give them a gift membership!

***

If you would like to be removed from this mailing list, please reply to this e-mail.

Elinor

Elinor Williams
Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
www.loxahatcheefriends.com
www.facebook.com/loxahatcheefriends

"There are no other Everglades in the world." ~Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Celebrate with us, The Friends of Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, 1982-2016