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.
Two Florida attorneys, Bruce Kaster and Joseph Little, are petitioning the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service to (1) issue and implement rules to enforce the terms of the special use permit issued by the Forest Service to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and (2) issue rules to redress the continuing failure of the Forest Service to manage the Ocala National Forest in a manner that furthers the desired future conditions, goals, and objectives of the Forest Plan for National Forests in Florida. Kaster is a practicing lawyer and a member of the Board of Trustees for Florida Defenders of the Environment (“FDE”). Little has been a member of FDE for nearly 50 years, and has served as a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law since 1967.
The petition is being filed by Jane West Law, a public interest environmental and land-use law firm based in St. Augustine, FL.
A petition for rulemaking is the mechanism by which individuals, public interest groups, and private enterprise can argue to compel changes in existing rules or new rules for an agency that are necessary to remedy failures of agencies to fulfill their duties and purposes as provided by law.
The legal authority for such a petition is contained in the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §553(e), which states that, “Each agency shall give an interested person the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.”
To read the complete petition or press release click on Restoring Our Rivers above.
A turnpike that would connect Jacksonville and I-75 through NW Putnam County is being proposed by FDOT again.
The existing highway, US 301, could be improved as a connector between Jacksonville and I-75.
A turnpike in the proposed location and resultant development would adversely impact sensitive lake and aquifer recharge areas and sever the Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor, considered by Dr. Larry Harris to be the most important wildlife corridor in the SE United States.
The proposed route would facilitate development of agricultural and rural lands and promote costly urban sprawl.
The proposed route through Putnam County would not provide relief to I-75, because it would dump more traffic onto the interstate at its point of highest traffic volume between I-10 and Wildwood.
FDOT has not demonstrated a need for a new turnpike between Jacksonville and Tampa.
I 75 Relief Task Force FDOT Citizen Input "Open House" June 7, 5:30-7:30 Best Western Gateway Grand 4200 NW 97th Blvd, Gainesville
The Putnam County Environmental Council (PCEC) is proud to announce the availability of its report, "Management and Restoration of the Fish Populations of Silver Springs and the Middle and Lower Ocklawaha River, Florida, USA" by Roy R. Lewis III, M.A., P.W.S., Director of Science Policy for PCEC. The report can be downloaded from this website. Just click on the "Restoring Our Rivers" tab and then click on "Fish report..." under Ocklawaha River.
The report, three years in preparation, and funded in part by a grant from the Felburn Foundation, concludes that all the predictions of the demise of fish, fish populations and fishing opportunities by those who oppose restoration of the Ocklawaha River are not based upon good science. The report reviews 49 scientific documents including the most recent work on Silver Springs and the Silver River which documented a 92% decline in fish biomass from the original studies of Howard Odum published in 1957. This documented decline included a 60% decline in the biomass of largemouth bass. Blockage of historical migratory routes from the St. Johns River by the construction of the Kirkpatrick Dam and Rodman Pool are the cause of much of the decline in species and biomass of fish such as the channel catfish, striped mullet and striped bass in the Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs.
The Lewis report concludes that "...there is no credible scientific basis to predict any permanent decline in fish resources following restoration, nor a specific decline in sports fishing opportunities over the short or long term...fish biomass will likely remain the same or increase over time...in specific areas such as the Silver River, the reconnected springs and spring runs, a significant increase in fish populations can be expected...[S]ports fishing opportunities for species like the striped bass will increase with restoration."
Hard copies and electronic copies of the report can be requested from Mr. Lewis.
Roy R. "Robin" Lewis III, Professional Wetland Scientist #725
Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America
Board Certified Environmental Professional #1161
Director of Science Policy, Putnam County Environmental Council