Governor Ron DeSantis today announced the appointment of Noah Valenstein to serve as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Appoints Noah Valenstein as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Governor Rick Scott today announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is offering $3 million in grants to St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties to help mitigate the effects of red tide. [Read more…] about Gov. Scott: DEP to Provide $3 Million for Red Tide on Florida’s East Coast
Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is providing an additional $3 million in grant funding to assist local communities impacted by red tide, bringing the total amount of grant funding to $9 million. [Read more…] about Gov. Scott Directs an Additional $3 Million to Help Counties Impacted by Red Tide
Governor Rick Scott today announced that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District are committing up to $1 million in support for the Everglades Foundation’s George Barley Water Prize, which will award an unprecedented $10 million to the researcher or researchers capable of developing a cost-effective process for removing excess nutrient pollution from natural waterbodies. [Read more…] about Gov. Scott Announces $1 Million to Support Innovative Environmental Solutions Contest
Project will provide improved public access to region’s coastal resources
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Franklin County, and The Trust for Public Land announce the completion of the Island View Park, which will provide improved public access to the beautiful coastal resources of this region. [Read more…] about DEP, Partners Celebrate Completion of Island View Park
The Miami Herald today published an article about Florida’s water quality monitoring program that left out key facts and information. Unfortunately, critical information was not published on the state’s water quality, testing and restoration efforts, including: [Read more…] about Florida Continues to Lead the Nation in Water Quality Data
Governor Rick Scott today directed Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein to issue an Emergency Order urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to take emergency actions to help redirect the flow of water out of Lake Okeechobee to the south. [Read more…] about Gov. Scott Directs DEP to Take Steps to Curb Potential Algae Blooms
State, industry partnership works to reduce
contamination of curbside recycling through education
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, on Florida Recycles Day, will announce the launch of a statewide public education campaign, Rethink. Reset. Recycle. Designed in partnership with Waste Management, MARPAN, Waste Connections and Single Stream Recyclers, LLC., the campaign aims to educate Floridians about curbside recycling.
The campaign serves to remind Floridians of the basics of curbside recycling: clean and dry aluminum and steel cans, plastic bottles and jugs, and paper and cardboard. About 30 percent of all household materials recycled in Florida are actually not recyclable at curbside, according to estimates by Waste Management, leading to the shutdown of processing centers for hours at a time each day. Contamination costs an average of $125 per ton. By eliminating the 30 percent of contaminated materials in curbside recycling bins, Floridians could save up to $100 million in recycling costs in one year.
The centerpiece of the campaign is FloridaRecycles.org, a website that serves as the hub for the program, housing informational messaging and resources for recycling coordinators across Florida to use in their own counties. Resources include a robust social media kit with content; best practices and a response guide; fact sheet; infographic; rack card; mail insert; website banners; messaging and styleguide.
“With the increased popularity of curbside recycling across Florida’s 67 counties, we’ve seen a big increase in participation — but many items ending up in the bins aren’t actually recyclable at curbside,” said Joe Ullo, Division Director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. “We are pleased to be a partner in the launch of this statewide campaign, which calls on Floridians to rethink what they knew and reset their recycling behavior to focus on the basics.”
“Waste Management is pleased to lead a group of industry colleagues as part of the recycling partnership’s recycling education campaign,” said Dawn McCormick, Communications Director for Waste Management, Inc. of Florida. “We all share the important goal of recycling more material that has an environmental benefit, and keeping non-recyclables out of curbside containers to remain environmentally and economically sustainable.”
As Floridians commit to improve their recycling efforts and reduce curbside contamination, the partnership seeks to help Florida reach its long-term goal of a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020. Since 2011, the statewide recycling rate has increased from 30 percent. In 2016, Florida recycled 16.4 million tons of municipal solid waste – increasing the statewide overall recycling rate from 54 to 56 percent from the year before.
For more information, visit FloridaRecycles.org.
Governor Rick Scott today appointed, and the Florida Cabinet approved, Noah Valenstein as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Governor Scott said, “Throughout his entire career, Noah has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to protecting our state’s incredible and diverse natural treasures. As a native Floridian, Noah knows firsthand how important our natural resources are to our families and visitors, and he understands that we must work each day to protect our environment on behalf of our future generations. Noah has worked hard to manage and oversee a range of environmental issues over his more than 15 years of public service, and I know he will use this invaluable experience in his new role as DEP Secretary. I am confident that Noah will continue to be a strong leader and advocate for preserving the future of our state’s beautiful and pristine environment.”
Noah has served as executive director for the Suwannee River Water Management District since 2015 where he implemented a restructuring of the agency and oversaw the protection and conservation of water and land resources across 15 counties. Noah previously served as the Policy Coordinator for Energy, Agriculture and Environment in the Executive Office of the Governor from 2012 through 2015. Noah also previously served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Everglades Foundation and worked in the Legislative Affairs Office for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida State University.
Legislative appropriation helps fund muck dredging project
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recently awarded Brevard County an additional $21.5 million legislative appropriation grant for Phase II of the Brevard County Muck Dredging project. This latest funding builds on the previous $20 million awarded in the past two years for muck removal in the Indian River Lagoon, for a total investment of $41.5 million to date.
Muck build-up is a result of nutrient pollution, sediment, grass clippings, leaves and other organic matter entering the Indian River Lagoon over time and accumulating at the bottom. As muck decomposes, it consumes oxygen needed by fish and it releases nutrients that feed algal blooms. Muck sediments also negatively impact navigation and can damage seagrass beds.
“Eliminating current sources of muck is a crucial step toward improving water quality and the overall health of the Lagoon,” said DEP Interim Secretary Ryan Matthews. “Brevard County continues to demonstrate its commitment to protect and restore the Indian River Lagoon and we look forward to continued collaboration to protect this important resource.”
This newest phase of the project will remove approximately 400,000 additional cubic yards of muck sediments from the south Sykes Creek and Grand Canal sites within the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River Lagoon and associated tributaries.
“We are grateful to DEP for this additional funding to help restore the Indian River Lagoon,” said Virginia Barker, Brevard County Natural Resources Management Department director. “The continuation of muck removal projects is important to the overall health, productivity, aesthetic appeal and economic value of the Lagoon, and saving the Lagoon is a top priority for the people who live, work and play here.”
Previous funding includes $20 million for the ongoing Phase I of the Brevard County Muck Dredging project, which when completed will remove approximately 350,000 cubic yards of muck from the north Cocoa Beach, Mims boat ramp and Turkey Creek sites within the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River Lagoon and associated tributaries. Additionally, $800,000 was awarded to identify sources of muck in the Indian River Lagoon and remove aquatic vegetation from the Lagoon watershed.
Together, both phases of the muck dredging project are estimated to remove a total of approximately 1,400 tons of nitrogen and 300 tons of phosphorous contained within Indian River Lagoon muck sediments.
The Indian River Lagoon Research Institute at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), has been awarded $1.5 million to assist in monitoring project effectiveness, as well as conduct research on the chemical, physical and biological effects of muck removal within the Indian River Lagoon system.
“FIT is proud to be a research partner in this project,” said Professor Emeritus Dr. John Windsor at Florida Institute of Technology Department of Ocean Engineering and Science. “It was very foresighted of the legislature, DEP and Brevard County to assess the benefits of environmental muck dredging in coastal waters and support the research necessary to optimize Indian River Lagoon restoration from muck removal. It is also important for our students to experience how one state, one school or one person can change the world and help save a national treasure like the Indian River Lagoon, and be prepared to continue the ongoing restoration and maintenance plan.”
The department is working aggressively to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon by identifying and funding additional wastewater and stormwater projects to reduce the amount of nutrients going into the Lagoon, as well as dredging projects to remove muck from the bottom of the Lagoon.
Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Families” budget proposes funding for a 50/50 state matching grant program with local communities, including those along Indian River Lagoon, to provide funding to encourage residents to move from septic tanks to sewer systems in order to curb pollution that is currently entering impacted water bodies. Additionally, this proposal will support local communities to help build wastewater systems to meet the increased demand for wastewater services.
About DEP’s Division of Water Restoration Assistance
The Division of Water Restoration Assistance is responsible for providing loans and grants for projects that improve the quality and quantity of the state’s water resources and provide a significant benefit to the environment and local communities. Projects in several program areas are funded that improve stormwater quality, reduce pollutants entering surface water and groundwater, protect springs, collect and treat wastewater, produce and distribute drinking water, nourish beaches and reclaim mined land. For more information, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/water/waterprojectfunding/.