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.
Lee will discuss his book, Backcountry Lawman: True Stories from a Florida Game Warden,and selected topics from his experiences in conservation law enforcement. He is a wonderful writer who can make you laugh and shake your head in amazement.
Please join us at the Edgar Johnson Senior Center, 1215 Westover Drive, Palatka, and bring your family and friends for a fun evening.
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..."
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