Members of the Putnam County Environmental Council work together to protect our natural resources, but we also have a great time hiking, paddling, bicycling, and learning about nature. Since 1991 we have taken an active role in government, educated the public, promoted ecotourism, and networked with others. Our work has led to our leadership on numerous issues of statewide concern. PCEC, as a result, was named Florida Conservation Organization of the Year in 2005 by Florida Wildlife Federation.
We publish the Green Gazette, provide programs and field trips for members and the public, and have an annual social in December. Our programs are usually held at the Water Works Environmental Education Center on the second Friday of the month.
Become a member of our PCECweb group, which means you receive Green Gazettes and alerts by email, or become a member of PCEC and financially support our work. You may fill in a membership form from the back page of a recent Green Gazette and mail it with your check or you may join online using PayPal (Subscriptions tab). Your name and email address will not be publicized or shared.
Join us Thursday, July 17, 6:30 PM, at the Edgar Johnson Sr. Center, 1215 Westover Dr., Palatka. Putnam County Environmental Council will present Garry McIntyre, President of Advance Plasma Arc Gasification Energy.
Mr. McIntyre recently presented plasma arc gasification to County Solid Waste Taskforce, as an alternative to the sale of the Putnam County Landfill. Following McIntyre’s presentations, Putnam County Environmental Council has continued to receive inquiries about plasma arc gasification from members and the public.
Plasma Arc Gasification technology is used by only a handful of plasma facilities in the world, located in Japan, India, China and the United Kingdom, and a test facility in Madison, Pa. McIntyre estimates the cost of operation from $250 million to $300 million and that there will be a tipping fee, but says the county would still share in the profit. He stated that gasification will convert trash to usable goods and do away with the landfill while putting nothing into the ground, air or water. Plasma Arc products include road bedding material, pig iron and electricity, and, most profitable, diesel.
Bring your questions about the process, health and safety, research studies, logistics, and profits of plasma gasification, offered by Garry McIntyre, as one alternative solution to recent Putnam County Landfill concerns. The public is invited to join with PCEC at the Sr. Center Thursday to continue learning about landfill alternatives.
Melrose, FL - Florida Defenders of the Environment has named Karen Ahlers Executive Director of the non-profit research organization. FDE board president Steve Robitaille has been interim executive director since October 2013.
Robitaille noted Ahlers is a life long champion of Ocklawaha River restoration since witnessing as a child the destruction wrought by the Cross Florida Barge Canal project. FDE was founded in Gainesville in 1969 by Marjorie Harris Carr in an effort to halt the canal project.
Former Florida governor Buddy MacKay said, “Like Marjorie Carr, Karen is knowledgeable, totally fearless, with a passionate concern for Florida's environment. Her selection is great news. I look forward to a revitalization of FDE.”
As FDE’s Ocklawaha Restoration Coordinator Ahlers has led the charge to protect the river from massive water withdrawals and to minimize nutrient pollution from the proposed 30,000 acre Adena Springs Ranch grass fed beef operation in the Ocklawaha Basin and Silver Springs springshed.
“Florida’s water resources are under tremendous pressure and I can think of no better place to fight for their protection and restoration than FDE,” Ahlers said. “The foundation laid by Marjorie Harris Carr is still strong with many seasoned environmental warriors ready to step up and be counted.”
A Putnam County native, Ahlers earned statewide recognition for the Putnam County Environmental Council where she served nine terms as president. Her *Rally for the Rivers* events brought participants from all over Florida to celebrate the state’s natural resources and focus on the continued existence of the detrimental dam on the Ocklawaha. Sandra Kokernoot, founder of Putnam County Environmental Council and former FDE board member, praised Ahlers for her organizing skills and her will to take on enormous challenges. “She made Putnam County Environmental Council one of the leading voices for protecting water resources in Florida,” Kokernoot said.
“Karen has been a long time and effective advocate for restoring the free flowing Ocklawaha River and preserving the purity and quantities of Florida’s natural water sheds,” said Joseph Little, FDE vice president. “She knows and is respected by all the players on both sides of the issues and assumes the role of executive director with no need for orientation. FDE’s executive committee is pleased that she has agreed to undertake this role.”
"It has been a privilege to serve as interim executive director, and in that capacity my respect and trust in Karen Ahlers as an environmental leader and steward continued to grow,” Robitaille said.
She is the ideal person to carry on the legacy entrusted to us by Marjorie Carr, and I look forward to working with her, the board and our members in the months and years ahead," he added.
CLEAN (Citizens Landfill Environmental Advisory Network) presented a public forum addressing the proposed Putnam County Landfill privatization. CLEAN is a PCEC committee comprised of citizens from a wide range of experience and knowledge. See May 2014 Green Gazette for more information.
The Floridians' Clean Water Declaration Campaign is working to bring the voices of water quality advocates in the non-profit and business worlds together to send a loud and clear message to Florida's decision-makers and water mangers. The first sign-on letter distributed and transmitted by the campaign is directed at Attorney General Pam Bondi, Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.
Recently nearly 50 conservation organizations gathered at a press conference in Orlando to call for the protection of Florida's springs, rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The groups announced a collaborative campaign to harness the resources and energy of organizations and individuals from throughout our state in this effort. See Kevin Spear's article on the press conference and campaign from today's Orlando Sentinelhere.
The cornerstone of the campaign is the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration which was developed with the input and support of dozens of environmental organizations. The Declaration lists six rights that should be guaranteed to the people of Florida and four responsibilities of our state government, water managers, and natural resource users.
The goal of the campaign is to get as many individuals, organizations, businesses, and elected and appointed officials as possible to sign the Declaration and commit to work together to achieve its principles. Through this effort we can demonstrate Floridians' overwhelming support for protecting our waters and create a framework for achieving meaningful policy changes in the future.
We encourage you to sign the Declaration, share it with your contacts, and look for opportunities to engage your city and county commissioners, elected representatives, and business and community leaders in this important campaign. You can read and sign the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration online here and follow the campaign on facebook here.
In a study published March 20, 2013, Winter Habitat Preferences for Florida Manatees and Vulnerability to Cold, authors David W. Laist, Cynthia Taylor, and John E. Reynolds III call for breaching of Kirkpatrick Dam on the Ocklawaha River.
"To mitigate effects of inevitable power plant closures, a long-term program to improve manatee access and protection at springs is required. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in particular has begun taking important, well-placed steps in this regard, but further actions are needed. Among them are the following: (1) federal and state acquisition of springs now in private hands for uses that include manatee habitat; (2) removal of dams obstructing manatee access to major springs and river segments, particularly those along the Ocklawaha and Withlacoochee Rivers; (3) restoration of structurally modified springs to more natural conditions; (4) restoring former depths to spring runs that have become too shallow for manatees; (5) improving measures to limit human activities that disrupt manatee use of springs during the winter season; and (6) experimental efforts to move some manatees..."