Water-Related News

Public invited to Dec. 18th screening of “Troubled Waters”

The screening of “Troubled Waters” will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

CHNEP invites you to a special showing of the Calusa Waterkeeper’s documentary “Troubled Waters” at the upcoming Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) Meeting on Wednesday, December 18th.

The 40-minute film will start around 11:45am - we suggest arriving by 11:30am for the screening and public Q&A.

"Troubled Waters" features expert scientists and doctors as they explore the human health impacts of blue-green algae in South Florida.

The CAC meeting is public and will be held at the Charlotte Community Foundation in Punta Gorda. You are also welcome to attend the full CAC meeting, which runs from 10 am – 3 pm. The CAC, comprised of community leaders acting as local liaisons to provide input on community needs and share information about resources, is part of the CHNEP Management Conference. Please view the meeting's full agenda here: https://www.chnep.org/citizens-advisory-committee

WHAT: Screening of "Troubled Waters" at the CAC Meeting
WHEN: Wednesday, December 18th, 11:30-12:45 (Full CAC Meeting runs from 10am-3pm)
WHERE: Charlotte Community Foundation, 227 Sullivan Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Thank you for your interest in protecting our water and wildlife!

2020 CHNEP Nature Calendars are here!

The Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership is thrilled to present the 2020 CHNEP Nature Calendar. Over 65 photographers submitted over 180 remarkable images of creatures and landscapes in the CHNEP program area. The Citizen's Advisory Committee curated a selection of the photos to illustrate the beauty and diversity of our region. We thank our photographers, subscribers, sponsors, and volunteers for their support! The 2021 Nature Calendar Photo Contest will run from May through July. Please check back in the spring to submit your photos!

If you are subscribed to CHNEP's Harbor Happenings/Calendar mailing list, you will receive your calendar by mail shortly. In 2021, we will be moving to a "subscription only" calendar/newsletter mailing system to be able to maintain this publication in the face of rising costs. You can receive future calendars and quarterly newsletters to your door, at no cost to you, with our free Harbor Happenings subscription.

If you are not a subscriber or subscribed very recently, you can pick up a 2020 calendar at one of the pickup locations on the map found at the link below.

Quantities are limited, and pick-up is on a first come first serve basis. To ensure every family gets a copy, please take one calendar per household.

Non-native fish are found throughout Florida’s freshwaters

Usually, when there’s news about escapees from medical research facilities, freshwater fish are not the obvious fugitives.

But that was the case with the pike killifish when researchers released about 50 of the fish into agricultural canals in the late 1950s.

Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified up to 22 non-native fish in Florida's fresh waters.

The agency in May added new rules that will "help proactively protect Florida from invasive species becoming established in the state," according to a news release.

While no freshwater fish made the list this year, the agency is "currently examining fish that are on the federal Lacey Act but not regulated by the state to see if they pose a risk to the state," a spokesperson wrote in an email.

The act, established in 1900, bans illegal wildlife trafficking in the U.S.

The state is a hotbed for the tropical freshwater fish trade. The subtropical climate is optimal for raising hundreds of varieties of nonnative fish, and sometimes those fish establish populations in state waterways.

Toilet-to-tap proposal sent back to Florida House for reconsideration

Florida is known for its freshwater springs, yet a House bill would bring water of a different type to taps.

HB 715, filed Tuesday [Nov. 19] by Zephyrhills Rep. Randy Maggard, creates statute for “water recycling for public water supply.”

The bill would compel the Department of Environmental Protection, with technical working groups, to adopt specified rules for using reclaimed water, contemplated as a statewide source for potable water.

“Developing water sources as an alternative to continued reliance on the Floridan Aquifer and surface waters will benefit existing and future water users and natural systems within the state,” the bill contends.

Given that half of “reclaimed water” is used efficiently, Maggard’s bill sees room for and necessity for improvement given Florida’s “current and future water needs.”

“Water recycling projects require significantly more planning and financial investment than nonpotable water supply projects and these projects need incentives to be implemented,” the bill asserts.

What incentives those are remain to be determined.

PRWC may charge miners, farmers for water

POLK COUNTY – On Nov. 13, the Polk Regional Water Cooperative unanimously voted to move forward with a plan to borrow around $250 million from the federal government.

The loan would be used to partially pay local costs for what could be a $1 billion water infrastructure project, primarily a plan to build two desalination plants in Polk County by 2027.

Groundwater has been steadily depleting under Polk County since at least the 1950s, when Kissengen Springs dried up due to excessive pumping. A few years ago, state officials warned Polk County leaders that future water supplies would have to come from alternative water sources, such as capturing surface water in lakes and rivers, or salt water in the Lower Floridan Aquifer.

The Southwest Water Management District has already agreed to pay 50 percent of the total cost of future alternative water supplies. If the two desalination plants are built as proposed, county taxpayers could be on the hook to pay the remaining $500 million in construction costs.

To cover the other $250 million in local costs, the PRWC board is considering borrowing additional money from the state, substantially raising water bills to residents to make federal and state loan payments starting around 2033.