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FWC approves bay scallop season changes for 2017 in St. Joe Bay; discusses other regional changes

At its February meeting in Crystal River, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed the current status of bay scallops in St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County; approved regional changes to the bay scallop season dates in Gulf County and areas surrounding Gulf County; and discussed potential season dates in Dixie County and parts of Taylor County. These changes are for 2017 only and are an opportunity to explore regionally-specific bay scallop seasons.

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Snook reopens in Atlantic state waters

The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Feb. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season will remain open through May 31.

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Corps Commits to Conduct New Environmental Studies Before Port Everglades Expansion Dredging Begins

Rachel Silverstein, Executive Director and Waterkeeper of Miami Waterkeeper, examines coral suffocated by sediment following the PortMiami dredging project. Photo courtesy of Pete Zuccarini

Dredging delayed until 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will go back to square one and conduct new environmental studies before starting its planned dredging project to expand Port Everglades. The Corps’ dredging project at Port Everglades aims to make way for larger, “post-Panamax” shipping vessels.
 
While the Corps conducts new studies, plaintiffs, including environmental organizations and America’s largest trade organization for recreational divers, have agreed to put a temporary hold on their federal Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act lawsuit over the planned dredging. The Corps’ dredging plan failed to account for damage to nearby, fragile coral reefs. 

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University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla. Receives EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Funds to Support Community Revitalization

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 19 communities for approximately $3.8 million in funding to assist with planning for cleanup and reuse of Brownfield sites as part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning (AWP) program. Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse.

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EPA awards $440,000 in Rebates to Fund Cleaner School Buses in Orange County and St. Lucie County, Fla. Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the School Boards of Orange County, Fla. and Saint Lucie County, Fla. are two of 88 school bus fleets in 27 states that will receive rebates through EPA's Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The School Board of Orange County was awarded $240,000 and the School Board of Saint Lucie County was awarded $200,000.

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