Last Month's Newsletter

ARTHUR R. MARSHALL LOXAHATCHEE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Visitor Center Closed Christmas Day, December 25

The Visitor Center will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, but the grounds will remain open.

Shop for the Holidays in Our Nature Store for Artwork, Cookbooks, Calendars and More!

Visit the Friends' nature store in the Visitor Center, where you'll find a large selection of nature-themed books for children and adults, nature jewelry, wildlife-themed T-shirts, original artwork and the Friends cookbook. Be sure to pick up our lovely 2019 Calendar with photos from this year's photo contest. Maybe you know someone who would appreciate a yearly pass to the Refuge - just $12 - or a Friends membership.

Here's a picture of Cathy Patterson and Sue Rowe showing off the Friends cookbook, featuring native Florida recipes like Cocoplum Jam:
www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1876465952572448&set=pcb.1876465979239112&type=3&theater

Holiday Special - Brick Pavers Now Two for the Price of One!

Have you considered engraving a brick for our paved path at the entrance to the Cypress Swamp? It's a thoughtful way to commemorate a loved one or yourself, for that matter, and help the Refuge at the same time. From now through the end of December, $100 buys two for the price of one! Up to 3 lines, 18 characters per line. Installed within 30 days of order. For an additional $25 you'll also receive a matching 4" x 4" tile, suitable for display in your home or office. Stop by the Visitor Center or go online at www.loxahatcheefriends.com/brick/brick.php.

SCHEDULED PROGRAMS        December 2018

Freshwater Fly Fishing

Thursday, December 20, 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

Try your hand at fly fishing! Refuge volunteer and expert fly fisherman Ted Shaine will hold a seminar on freshwater fly fishing on the Refuge. Supplies are limited, bring your own fly rod if you have one. Meet at the C-6 Pavilion.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. Maximum of 15 participants. Call the Visitor Center at 561-734-8303.

Everglades Tram Tours

Every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. & 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Every Tuesday, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. except Christmas Day
Saturday, December 29, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Grab your camera and binoculars and enjoy the Refuge on an approximately 1.5 to 2-hour tram tour. The open-air tram can seat 5 passengers and provides a unique view into the wildlife, marshes, and cypress swamps of the Refuge. 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. Meet at the Visitor Center front desk 15 minutes prior to the tour.

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

Sunset Everglades Walking Tours

Tuesday, December 4, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 18, 6:00 p.m.

Experience the unique sights and sounds of the Everglades at night! Grab your flashlight and join a volunteer naturalist on this approximately 1-mile hike to see the sights and hear the sounds of the Refuge at twilight. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, good walking shoes with closed toes and heels, and bring a jacket, water, a good flashlight and bug spray. You might also like to bring a hat. Meet at the Visitor Center. Try to arrive a little before the tour starts as a courtesy to others.

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

Swamp Strolls

Every Monday & Thursday, 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Join a volunteer naturalist for a guided tour on the 0.4 mile Cypress Swamp Boardwalk. Learn about the swamp ecosystem from cypress tree knees to animals that call the swamp home. Your guide will talk about how the plants of the swamp were used in the past and present for medicine, food, fiber, transportation, construction, and ceremonial objects. Meet at the pavilion behind the Visitor Center.

Photography Tours

Every Sunday, 7:00 a.m.

Explore, learn, enjoy, and record the natural resources and biological treasures of the Refuge with award-winning photographers Dr. Peter Lekos and Lora Lekos on an early morning photography tour. Reservations are required because space is limited to give personal attention to each photographer. Meet at the Marsh Trail parking lot near the gazebo.

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

English/Portuguese Nature Walks

Every Saturday, 1:30 p.m. except December 1 & 8

Join bilingual (English/Portuguese) volunteer naturalist Leandro Bauer to stroll around the Visitor Center, Cypress Swamp Boardwalk, and Marsh Trail. He will be answering questions and discussing the plants and wildlife that live here at the Refuge. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Early Morning Bird Walks

Every Wednesday, 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Friday, December 7, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Join our volunteer naturalist for an early morning bird walk on the Marsh Trail. Bring binoculars and wear closed-toed/closed heel shoes. These walks are open to birders of all ages and abilities. Meet in the Marsh Trail parking lot. Please arrive 5 - 10 minutes before the walk starts to meet your guide.

Check out recent sightings from eBird Trail Tracker:
www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147602841
... and view our Bird Checklist:
www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/2011_%20ARM_Loxahatchee_NWR_BirdList(2).pdf

Roving Naturalist

Tuesday, December 11, 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

A volunteer naturalist will be strolling around the Visitor Center, Cypress Swamp Boardwalk and Marsh Trail, answering questions and discussing the plants and wildlife of the swamp. Meet at the Visitor Center.

Guided Canoe Tours

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

Meet at the Lee Road Boat Ramp to enjoy a beautiful canoe tour guided by a volunteer naturalist through a portion of the Refuge interior. Explore the northernmost end of the Everglades on this approximately 1.5 to 2-hour tour. You may rent a canoe or kayak for $35 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

Moonlight Guided Canoe Tours

Saturday, December 22, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 19, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 16, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 16, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 20, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 18, 7:00 - 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 $35; you may not bring your own. (One canoe seats 2 to 3 people.)

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED - 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

Friends Luncheon

Saturday, December 8, 12:00 noon
Location: Iberia Grill, 3745 S. Military Trail, Greenacres

All are invited to join the Friends for a delicious buffet-style luncheon with open bar and silent auction at the Iberia Grill. Buffet is $30 for Friends members and $35 for non-members.

Refuge Manager Rolf Olson will share untold tales of Fire, Biology, Law Enforcement, Maintenance, and Visitor Services, with stories of the staff from when they were young. He can also answer any questions you have about the Refuge and about the new Visitor Services Plan.

Please RSVP to info@loxahatcheefriends.com. Make check payable to "Friends of Loxahatchee Refuge" and mail to P.O. Box 6777, Delray Beach, FL 33445 or pay at the Nature Store in the Visitor Center or pay online (select Operating Fund):
www.loxahatcheefriends.com/contributions/contributions.shtml
And if you have any items you would be willing to donate for a silent auction, please let us know!

Charity Auction: Blimp Ride for Two!

The Friends have just been awarded a certificate for a ride for two on the world-famous Goodyear Blimp! This will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for someone because rides aboard the Goodyear Blimp are by invitation only. Goodyear receives hundreds of requests from charities each year, and only a lucky few are selected. The certificates are awarded free of charge, on the condition that the charity hold an auction and award the certificate to the highest bidder. The charity is then required to report back with the name of the winner and the amount the certificate brought into the organization. We are very excited that this will help us extend the term of our Education Outreach Assistant and his work with visiting school groups and other community service groups. We will have more details to follow, but we have already received our first bid of $1,000!

Audubon Everglades: Challenges of Wildlife Filmmaking

Tuesday, December 4, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Speaker: Tom Fitz, Conservationist Cinematographer
Location: FAU Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, 6301 W. Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, Rooms 101 and 102

At the monthly meeting of Audubon Everglades, award-winning cinematographer Tom Fitz will speak about the challenges of wildlife filmmaking. Fitz, a Palm Beach County resident, has been documenting our planet's natural wonders on the land and under the sea for over 30 years, across all seven continents and five oceans, including under the ice in the polar regions. He has received numerous awards for his work with the BBC (Blue Planet, Blue Planet II, Planet Earth, Planet Earth II), PBS, National Geographic, Discovery and others, including four Primetime Emmy Awards for cinematography and two for outstanding series. His recent work includes Protect Your Water, a 12-part series of short videos about the growing water crisis in Florida. Inspired by his own children, he co-founded the non-profit Schoolyard Films in 2008 as a way to introduce students, grades K-12, to natural history and the environment through films, which he shoots, produces, and distributes for free, along with study guides.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit www.auduboneverglades.org or contact Paton White at 561-818-7574 or President@AudubonEverglades.org.

Dynamic Composition 1-Day Photography Workshop

Saturday, January 12, 9:00 - 12:00 noon, Visitor Center Theater

Back by popular demand, award-winning photographer Lance Warley is presenting a photography workshop on Dynamic Composition: Tools to Create Evocative Images, for any level photographer or visual artist interested in adding greater depth and emotional impact to your photos.

Email one of your photos for an optional critique to Lance by December 14. File size limit 500KB.

Space is limited. Please contact Lance to reserve your spot. Entry fee is $20 per participant, with all funds donated to the Friends of the Refuge.

Lance Warley lwarley213@gmail.com 561-945-2074 www.lancewarleyphotography.com

34th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference

Thursday, January 10 - Sunday, January 13
Location: Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key, Florida

For more information and to make reservations: www.evergladescoalition.org/conference

Save the Date! 20th Annual Everglades Day

Saturday, February 9, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Join us for Everglades Day, our all-day family festival, with activities for all ages. The theme of the day will be "Giving Wings To Your WILD Side." Enjoy tours, nature walks, bird walks, wildlife demonstrations, presentations, exhibits, games, kids' fishing, kids' archery, canoeing, music, dance, food trucks and much more! All day free admission. Details to follow!

Audubon Everglades 7-Week Conservation Stewardship Training Course

Every Monday, February 4 - March 18, 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Audubon Everglades is offering a 7-week Conservation Stewardship Training Course, an exciting educational opportunity to explore the beautiful natural habitats surrounding us in Palm Beach County. The course will run on consecutive Mondays, from February 4 to March 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Fifteen expert instructors will engage participants in understanding how five fragile Florida habitats sustain plants, birds and wildlife, cope with invasive plants and wildlife, manage species of concern, and adapt to growth and climate change. They will also explain the function and importance of the Greater Everglades ecosystem.

This basic environmental education course will include field exploration, complemented by classroom study, an advocacy component and special presentations during the provided catered lunch each Monday. Throughout, stewards will be guided in developing a personal plan of action that will empower them to advocate for their environment.

Check out the course syllabus, the instructors, and the native habitats you will be experiencing at the Eventbrite sign-up page:
www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-conservation-stewardship-training-course-mondays-feb-4-mar-18-tickets-52440981387

Scholarships for college students to take this course free of charge are available. If you are a college student or you know one who would be interested, find the application on the Eventbrite page, complete it and submit it by January 16.
For more information email stewardship@auduboneverglades.org or call (561) 876-8815.

Return of the Smooth-billed Ani

The Smooth-billed Ani's have returned! Jay Paredes sent us this photo taken on Veteran's Day, November 11:
loxahatchee.smugmug.com/Birds/Other-Feathered-Friends/i-pZxNgtN

Loxahatchee Visions Art Now on Display - Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to our art contest winners and to all who participated! And thank you to our distinguished judge Isidro Pentzke. The entries are on display in the Visitor Center theater until mid-January, so come see for yourself the outstanding artwork.

And the winners are:

1st Place: Manny Jomok - Panorama at Loxahatchee
2nd Place: Jerry Smietanka - The Refuge (cypress trees)
3rd Place: Leszek Zarebski - Egret
Honorable Mention:
Diane Hutchinson - Another Point of View (Egret in marsh)
Holly Rutchey - The Owl is Watching
Jerilyn Brown - Refuge (leaves & water)
Kerry Eriksen - Wetland Reflections

Novice Category:
1st Place: Kristen Thies - In the Woods
2nd Place: Matt Vogel - Waiting for Lunch (gator)
3rd Place: William VanRyzin - Don't Feed the Alligator
Honorable Mentions: Nicolas Leon - Cormorant Sunset
Nicolas Leon - Snowy Egret
Nick Vogel - On the Prowl (birds)

Most of the artwork is available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds (25%) will be donated to the Friends.

Art Exhibition: Florida, Wisconsin and Beyond

Artist: Bob Barfknecht
Opening: Thursday, December 13, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Exhibition runs December 10 - January 18, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Location: Weisman Delray Community Center, 7091 W Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach

Local artist and lifetime Friends member Bob Barfknecht invites you to the opening of his solo show of recent watercolor paintings, "Florida, Wisconsin and Beyond" on Thursday evening, December 13. Refreshments will be served. The show will be available for viewing from December 10 through January 19 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Photo Exhibition: Pursuit of Beauty

Artist: Phoenix Marks
Exhibition runs December 17 - January 15
Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Palm Beach Gardens Recreation Center, Burns Road Recreation Center, 4404 Burns Road, Palm Beach Gardens

Local photographer and Friends member Phoenix Marks invites you to view more than 20 pieces of her fine art photography at this solo exhibition, "Pursuit of Beauty." Just drop by or, let her know what's a good day for you for a personal tour. Contact Phoenix at info@photographsbyphoenix.com and view her work at www.photographsbyphoenix.com.

Photo Exhibition: ENDANGERED and "Behind the Shot" artist talk

"Behind the Shot" talk by Phoenix Marks: Friday, December 7, 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Exhibition runs December 5 - 8, 2:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Dade Heritage Trust, 190 SE 12 Terrace, Miami

ENDANGERED celebrates the beauty found in endangered and threatened species and habitats. It features special programs including classes, live paintings and discussions, as well as a showcase of the finest work entered in the contest, including "Starry Night Over the Rockies" by Friends member Phoenix Marks. Proceeds from the contest and exhibit benefit the Center for Great Apes, an award-winning, Florida-based, 501(c)(3) registered sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees.

Does Your Group Need a Speaker?

The Refuge is reaching out to our local community with an exciting opportunity. Several experienced Refuge volunteers have formed a Speakers Bureau to provide information and education about the Refuge to local residents. If your group is interested in hosting a speaking engagement, we would be happy to work with you. The presentation is approximately one hour in length and designed for a lay audience. You will learn fascinating facts about Everglades wildlife, plants, and habitats as well as the many recreational and educational opportunities that exist on the Refuge. Programs are free and can be arranged during the day, in the evening, or on weekends. For more information or to schedule a presentation, please call or email Sue Rowe, 207-440-0121, sue.rowe769@yahoo.com or Steve Henry, 561-735-6021, steven_s_henry@fws.gov.

A View from the Front Lines of the Battle Against Old World Climbing Fern

Palm Beach Post reporter Kimberly Miller observed a work crew in action on the Refuge last month as they fought invasive lygodium, also known as Old World climbing fern. In what is called a "poodle" cut, the stalks of lygodium are sliced about two feet off the ground and then sprayed with a low-toxicity herbicide. The remaining growth over the rounded tree tops is left to die, leaving the tree trunks exposed and resembling a groomed poodle.

The South Florida Water Management District has sole responsibility for exotic plant management in the Refuge under the terms of the newly renegotiated lease agreement under which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates the Refuge. The Service has agreed to pay the District a minimum of $1.25 annually for treatment of invasive exotics. If only $1.25 million is paid, the 20-year lease is reduced by one year. If $2 million or more is paid, the lease is increased by a year.

The Service paid $2 million last year and dedicated another $2 million for the current budget year. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission chipped in $1 million, and the District earmarked another $2 million. After years of inconsistent funding, the goal may now be attainable: $5 million each year for five years to bring the invasive fern under maintenance control.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181031/along-with-pythons-theres-another-invasive-species-raiding-everglades

Federal Water Resources Bill Authorizes Lake Okeechobee Reservoir

The federal Water Resources Development Act, known as America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, was passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law last month. The Act authorizes a nationwide list of water projects, including the long-awaited reservoir in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee in western Palm Beach County. The reservoir will reduce the need to release lake water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers in order to relieve pressure on the aging Herbert Hoover Dike. Lake overflow can instead be stored in the 23-foot-deep, 10,100-acre reservoir, decreasing the harmful discharges that have contributed to the toxic blue-green algae blooms in those rivers and estuaries. A shallower 6,500-acre man-made marsh, or Stormwater Treatment Area, will clean the water, removing excess nutrients like phosphorus so that it can be sent south into the Everglades and Florida Bay.

The U.S. House had approved the bill twice, once in June with a "placeholder" for the reservoir project and again in September when, as the bill stalled in the Senate, a compromise version was worked out to align with the expected Senate version. Funding for the $1.4 billion reservoir is supposed to be split equally by the state and federal governments. The state has already committed $200 million annually through 2024 as part of the Legacy Florida law passed in 2016. Federal funding for the reservoir has yet to be allocated and could take two years to go through the appropriations process. With "consistent funding" the reservoir project will take 9 to 10 years, according to the South Florida Water Management District.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181011/help-for-algae-issue-lake-o-reservoir-wins-us-senate-approval
www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2018/10/23/president-trump-scheduled-sign-wrda-law-reservoir-cutting-lake-okeechobee-discharges/1598546002/

Over Objections, SFWMD Extends Agricultural Lease on Land Intended for Lake Okeechobee Reservoir

On November 8, the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District unanimously passed a measure - added to the agenda at 9 p.m. the night before - to extend Florida Crystal's lease for up to 8 years in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of Lake Okeechobee in western Palm Beach County, land where the reservoir intended to hold Lake Okeechobee overflow is to be built. (See above - Federal Water Resources Bill Authorizes Lake Okeechobee Reservoir.)

At the tail end of the same meeting, the governing board voted to vacate a 30-year-old "consent decree," a move which could bring an end to nearly three decades of federal oversight that has ensured that water sent south into the Everglades meets pollution-reduction standards. (See below - SFWMD Votes to Vacate Federal Consent Decree Governing Water Quality Standards.)

On the lease, the board ignored requests to delay the vote by a month. Representatives for the Everglades Foundation, Audubon Florida and Everglades Law Center said they weren't aware the lease would be a voting item until late the night before. Rep. Mast also voiced his concern with the surprise vote during public comment. He had driven over two hours from Palm City to the the University of Miami where the meeting was held to deliver a message on behalf of himself and Governor-elect Ron DeSantis, asking the District not to move forward with extending the lease.

The following week District officials held a media event to break ground for the new reservoir, touting their commitment to the project. The ground the district began work on is 560 acres it carved out of the 8-year lease, which is for 16,100 acres that will remain farmland for two years and thereafter until permits and contracts are signed for construction to begin on the reservoir. After 20 months, the district can get out of the lease with four months' notice.
www.tcpalm.com/story/opinion/editorials/2018/11/15/public-snubbed-water-district-rushes-key-decisions-our-view/1998885002/
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181115/groundbreaking-for-14-billion-lake-o-reservoir-why-environmentalists-are-outraged
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181108/breaking-controversial-new-lease-allows-sugar-farming-on-lake-o-reservoir-land

SFWMD Votes to Vacate Federal Consent Decree Governing Water Quality Standards

On November 8, the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District voted 6-3 to vacate a federal consent decree that has governed water quality standards in the state since 1992. Board members said that it is no longer necessary; with 90 percent of the Everglades now meeting standards for phosphorus levels of 10 parts per billion or less. But 90 percent isn't 100 percent, and none of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan's 68 projects approved after the decree has yet been completed. Board Chairman Federico Fernandez as well as members Carlos Diaz and Daniel O'Keefe voted against the move. But board Vice Chairwoman Melanie Peterson said the consent decree "shackles" future restoration efforts by forcing the district into a violation if it tries to send needed water into Everglades National Park under the only method available to it currently.

Original plans had called for water delivery into the Everglades to be in a natural rainfall-mimicking method called sheet flow, but some projects necessary for that were not constructed because of a lack of federal money, District officials said. That meant the only option would be a more direct flow that models show could violate phosphorus levels.

With no notice that a vote was going to happen - and with the vote occurring at the very end of a very long meeting held at the University of Miami, 80 miles from the usual meeting location at the District's headquarters in West Palm Beach - only Audubon Florida Director of Everglades Policy Celeste DePalma remained in the audience to publicly comment against the move.

Background:
In 1988, the federal government sued the state for polluting the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park with farming runoff loaded with phosphorus. A legal battled ensued until 1991, when newly elected Governor Lawton Chiles unexpectedly showed up in a Miami courtroom with a white flag saying, "We want to surrender." The subsequent settlement entered into by the federal government, the state of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District established total phosphorus concentration limits for the Refuge and the Park. Farmers were mandated to clean up their runoff and Stormwater Treatment Areas were created to help clean water before sending it south into the Refuge and the Park.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181108/why-water-managers-want-to-end-three-decades-of-federal-everglades-oversight

Yet, according to the District's own report, the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Okeechobee hit an all-time high in 2017:
www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2018/10/25/dep-pollution-levels-lake-o-decreasing-actual-data-contradicts-claim/1495922002/?fbclid=IwAR1UouPm3VtNfGjC86BFZH1RwgDNu_sHTSdUqikO59BsL750p5tKhFtKVQU

Other State-Owned Land Near Lake Okeechobee Reservoir Not Considered

Nearly 4,000 acres of state-owned land that could have been traded to expand a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in the Everglades Agricultural Area was never considered for a swap. The land in Belle Glade is leased to a non-profit prisoner work program that has grown sugarcane on the property in an agreement with Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar Corp. Florida Senate Bill 10, which authorized the construction of the reservoir to hold excess lake water as a way to alleviate discharges to the northern estuaries, specifically required that type of lease be terminated so the land could be offered as a swap for parcels closer to the reservoir. A reservoir with a larger footprint and shallower depth would be more effective in cleaning water before sending it south to the Everglades. And the Senate was concerned that using prisoners for agricultural work was exacerbating the already high unemployment rate in the area. However, the claim now is that the prisoners have stopped doing agricultural work and are currently "repairing stuff" on the property, so the lease can remain intact.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181108/state-land-used-for-sugarcane-evades-swap-in-reservoir-deal

Rising Seas and Budget Cuts Threaten Everglades Restoration

The Everglades buffers South Florida during hurricanes, absorbing drenching rains and rising waters. Its freshwater replenishes the underground supplies we tap to drink. But rising seas from the south are encroaching on the Everglades, causing the collapse of the peat soil that underlies the sawgrass. As the soil collapses, the sawgrass is replaced by ponds of open water. Already in the Everglades National Park's Cape Sable area, at the southwestern tip of the Florida peninsula, the freshwater marshes have disappeared almost entirely. And as the rising seas turn the freshwater Everglades salty, South Florida's drinking water wells are increasingly at risk.

Everglades restoration plans call for storing and cleaning more of the water we now drain out to sea for flood control. Once free of pollutants, that freshwater could instead be used to replenish the Everglades and boost our drinking water supply. More freshwater could shore up the peat soil, helping it withstand the attack from the ocean.

The National Academies of Sciences, which issues a report to Congress every year on the progress of Everglades restoration, warns that sea-level rise both threatens and adds new urgency to Everglades restoration. According to the latest report, "There is now ample evidence that the South Florida climate is changing. There is general consensus that temperatures will increase over time, although considerable uncertainty about future rainfall patterns remains. There is also compelling recent evidence that sea-level rise is accelerating. These changes will have profound impacts on the South Florida ecosystem and the related challenges of providing flood protection and meeting future water and recreational demands."

Projects in the restoration plans that get more freshwater flowing south could mitigate the damage, but only if we pick up the pace. The negative effects of the ongoing budget cuts at the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District are highlighted in the report.
www.sun-sentinel.com/news/florida/fl-ne-everglades-report-20181016-story.html
www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/editorials/fl-op-edit-everglades-protection-20181005-story.html

Rising Seas Threaten the Nation's Coastal Communities

A report produced by 300 scientists from 13 federal agencies, released on the day after Thanksgiving, contains a comprehensive diagnosis of how a warming climate is changing life on Earth. Predictions for Florida include fiercer hurricanes, pythons moving northward and epic traffic jams from Miami to Jupiter triggered by routine sunny-day tidal flooding.
www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20181128/florida-climate-change-more-traffic-and-pythons-fewer-days-at-disney

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a study in June that found that a million Florida homes worth $351 billion will be at risk from tidal flooding by the year 2100, with 64,000 of today's residential properties statewide "at risk of chronic inundation" by 2045. Local governments all over South Florida are taking heed and preparing.
www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-bz-king-tide-season-preparations-20180828-story.html

And it's not just Florida that's threatened. The same study says that more than 300,000 homes in the United States are likely to be affected by chronic flooding within the next 30 years because of rising seas. From New England to California, some of America's most prized waterfront real estate is disappearing into the ocean. Here are stories from Oregon, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Maryland:
www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/once-prized-and-profitable-beachfront-real-estate-can-now-be-a-losing-proposition/2018/08/07/9757b248-7efd-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.659fd124d6fa

Some Birds Predict Hurricane Seasons Better Than Meterologists

New research shows that birds may be able to anticipate the severity of the hurricane season ahead, months in advance, and adjust their migration schedules accordingly. The Veery is a thrush that nests in forested areas in the northern U.S. and Canada and winters in the Amazon. One researcher who has studied Veeries in Delaware for the past 20 years has found that in years when the hurricane season is less severe, Veeries extend their breeding season, occasionally raising more than one brood of young, while in years with severe hurricane seasons, Veeries lay more eggs the first time, cut their breeding seasons short and migrate sooner. How they know to do this is a mystery, one that meterologists would probably love to solve.
blog.nature.org/science/2018/09/26/this-bird-predicts-hurricanes-better-than-meteorologists/?src3=e.gp.nat.Nov2018.National.readmore

Latest Issue of Gator Tales

The Friends' most recent issue of Gator Tales features our winning photo contest entries, Dr. Peggy VanArman's observations of wading birds, Dr. Tom Poulson's pet peeve with Spanish moss, Barry Willette's invitation to join him on a night walk and more. Check it out online:
www.loxahatcheefriends.com/gator_tales/2018_fall.pdf

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 Bradley Rosendorf 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 $25 per person or $40 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!

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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, 1982-2018

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