FL Legislative Update – February

FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

This information was presented by Surfrider Foundation FL Regional Coordinator, Holly Parker, at our February meeting.

State Issues:

Ocean Outfall Bill

It’s back! Since the Surfrider Foundation successfully passed an Ocean Outfall Closure bill in 2009, there have been numerous attempts to delay or weaken its implementation. This year, like the last two years, is no exception. Senator Diaz de la Portilla (Miami-Dade) submitted SB444, titled “Domestic Wastewater Discharged Through Ocean Outfalls”.

Learn more here: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=49649

Oil Drilling in Blackwater River State Forest

You may have already heard rumblings of a new bill proposing oil drilling on state lands. There is a bill proposing oil/gas exploration on state lands, but it is limited to the Blackwater River State Park (near Milton). We will be keeping an eye on this bill to make sure it doesn’t morph into anything broader, but the good news is that identical legislation was filed last session and promptly killed after substantial public outcry.  Stay tuned for more as there are additional developments. Learn more here: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=49579

FLORIDA DEP Beach Management Funding Assistance Program

The DEP has released its list of local projects though the Beach Management Funding Program. Once this list is approved, these projects will be fast tracked and we’ll have a much harder time stopping them.  You can also see each individual funding request application here: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/programs/becp/fund-req.htm

Nassau County Shore Protection Project

Nourishment of approximately 4.4 miles of Atlantic shoreline between DEP Monuments R11 and R34.  Restoration was completed in 2008 and nourishment is scheduled for nourishment 2014.

FUNDS REQUESTED:

FEDERAL  $2,997,938

STATE    $282,138

LOCAL  $325,394

TOTAL $3,605,470

St. Johns County Shore Protection Project

Nourishment of approximately 2.9 miles of shoreline between DEP Monuments R137 – R151 in St. Johns County. The project includes 0.9 miles of beach within Anastasia Island State Recreation Area. Restoration of the federal project and the non-federal extension within the state recreation area was completed in 2003. Emergency nourishment was completed in 2005 based on damages sustained during the 2004 hurricane season.

FUNDS REQUESTED:

FEDERAL $0

STATE    $138,317

LOCAL   $179,215

TOTAL   $317,532

 

Federal Issues:

Seismic Testing Delay

Good news! The US Department of the Interior has delayed a decision on whether to conduct seismic surveys in the Atlantic until October. For those chapters working on this campaign, that means you have several more months to push petitions, sign-on letters, and public outreach events. Learn more about seismic testing here: http://action.surfrider.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6937

 

Surfrider at the Florida State Capitol!

Save the date for our lobby day at the State Capitol on April 4, 2013. Details to come.

 

OFG Tip O the Month 4

When I moved to Jacksonville seven years ago and moved into our new home I wanted to do some landscaping to make my yard more ocean friendly. Unfortunately I had very little clue as to what plants and coverings were native to the area. I incorrectly assumed that what was being sold at the box stores was so and as a result I made a number of poor purchases.

Since getting involved with Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Gardens program and joining the Florida Native Plant Society I can now see the mistakes I made and am now better equipped to make the right decisions for my yard going forward.

So before starting your own OFG project please consider the following. You might first want to consult with a landscaper who is knowledgeable regarding native plants and OFG landscapes. There are also a number of garden centers in the area that specialize in native and Florida Friendly plants and ground covers. Another great resource is the Florida Native Plant Society that has chapters in our area. Last but not least please check out our own OFG program. There are great resources to be found on Surfrider’s national web-site and our chapter will be looking to hold OFG seminars and hands on events during the coming year(s).

So get involved and become more knowledgeable while at the same time saving yourself time, money and resources as well as our waves oceans beaches and rivers.


November Update from Paul

There is a part of me that truly believes that the sport of surfing and the ocean have saved my life. Both have given me strength, comfort and confidence when it was most needed throughout my life as well as a great deal of joy and happiness.

It is often said that when someone saves your life you them yours. I think this can be expanded to include activities or experiences that impact you significantly. I certainly feel this way about surfing and our oceans. In part, this is why I have devoted so much of my time giving back to both as best I can.

I feel extremely blessed to have had the privilege to serve as the chairman of the First Coast Chapter for the past two years. I have been associated with a great bunch of activists and learned a great deal.

As I leave my post at the end of the year I do so feeling very good about the things our chapter, including our executive committee and members, have accomplished and the progress we have made. At the same time, however, I wish I could have accomplished more. There are so many threats to our sport and coastlines and seemingly so little time and bodies to accomplish all we would like to.

I know that none of what we accomplished would have been possible without the dedication, time, talents and contributions of our executive committee, volunteers, members, sponsors and donors. I owe you all a great debt of gratitude.

Although I am stepping down as your Chairman I want you to know that I am planning on staying on as an advisor to the EC and plan to head up the Ocean Friendly Garden Committee and help out the Chapter in any manner required.

I am confident that I am leaving the chapter in very capable hands with Erin Handy as our new Chair – and the team she is putting together – and I expect great things to come.

Recently we sent out a survey to our members. We received a great response to it which will help us immensely to build the foundation of the chapter. We will be sharing the results with you all and personally contacting those who indicated they would like to get further involved.

We also recently held our seventh annual art auction. Thanks to the talented and generous artists that donated their work and the hard work of our volunteers, headed by Jamie Sauer, the auction was a huge success and the income from it will certainly help us accomplish our mission.

Thanks so much for your support of me and the chapter and I will look forward to seeing you at a future event.

Mahalo,
Paul Hayden, Chair
Surfrider Foundation
First Coast Chapter
chair@firstcoast.surfrider.org

Member/Volunteer Survey

In an effort to fulfill our mission the chapter needs to engage it’s members and make best usage of their background and talents.

Each member joined Surfrider with a specific purpose in mind and brings with them special background and talents that they believe will help make a positive impact on the environment. This survey is intended to help us get a better idea of what our members bring to the table and how we might tap into the collective talents of our membership.

We thank you in advance for your completing the survey and for your continued support of The
Surfrider Foundation and the First Coast Chapter.

Sincerely,

Paul Hayden-FCSR Chairman

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PTMMVFG

OFG Tip O the Month 3

When considering establishing an OFG at your home, business or community it is beneficial to know your rights to do so under Florida law. In 2009 the State of Florida passed a new law, Statute 373.185 regarding Florida friendly landscaping which in part states


a deed restriction or covenant may NOT prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land


A local government ordinance may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping on his or her land.



It should be noted however that the law has not yet been tested in court with regards to HOA covenants that may prohibit Florida-friendly landscaping and, as such, it could be costly for a homeowner to go to court to fight the HOA. As such it might be wise to discuss your plans with your HOA board to see where they stand on the issue before starting your project.


For a complete copy of the statute you should visit the Official Site of the Florida Legislature.

-Paul

OFG Tip O the Month 2

A great deal of run off that enters our waterways and oceans comes from yards, gardens, and golf courses. Due to the heavy usage of fertilizers and pesticides on our yards and grassy areas coupled with extensive watering, a substantial  mix of these substances ends up running onto our streets and down the street drains. This can be mitigated by limiting our grassy areas to a minimum, using ground covers that need less watering, fertilizer, and pesticides and that are well adapted to the local climate. Water runoff can also be restricted by planting borders along driveways, patios, and streets.

 

Paul Hayden, Chapter Chair

Hanna Park Access Threatened

Do you surf, bike, run, or play in Hanna Park? Your access to the park is being restricted! The official closing time in the summer months (April through October) is 8pm. However, recently the park has been closing at 6pm due to “budget cuts,” and parking citations are being issued to anyone that is in the park later than this. We’re told that the Jacksonville City Council has the sole authority to change the park hours, but they haven’t. Not only does that question the legality of the change of hours, but also the citations many of you may have received from the JSO. If you are concerned, check out the links below. They give you the contact information for the key decision makers within our city government. Please reach out the them by email or phone (or both!) and let them know that you support better access to Hanna Park, and don’t believe individuals (particularly those that are unelected) should have the power to restrict citizens from this public resource. There is also some sample text below that you can use.

It has come to our attention that the same change of hours has occurred at Huguenot Memorial Park. It is apparently not the poor management of a single park, but a city-wide effort to save money in the least effective way while limiting recreation opportunities. We don’t believe that makes sense. We believe if the City is going to control our land, they need to be good stewards of that land, and remember that it is, in fact, ours.

Ken Berk, Park ManagerKathryn Abbey Hanna Park:
500 Wonderwood Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32233
(904) 249-4700
(904) 249-8688 (Fax)

 

Chris Winterman, Park ManagerHuguenot Memorial Park
(904) 251-3335
chriswin@coj.net

 

These parks are managed under the purview of the Recreation, Community Development, Public Health & Safety Committee. They are holding their next meeting on Tuesday, April 17 at 2pm in the Council Chamber at City Hall (117 W. Duval Street). There will be an Agenda Meeting immediately prior at 1:30pm the same day in Conference Room A, Suite 425, City Hall. For more information on the committee, go here
Committee Members:
Bill Gulliford – Chair [(904) 630-1397,Gulliford@coj.net]
Reginald Brown – Vice Chair [(904) 630-1684,RBrown@coj.net]
Lori Boyer [(904) 630-1382,LBoyer@coj.net]
Doyle Carter [(904) 630-1380,doylec@coj.net]
Kimberly Daniels [(904) 630-1393,KimDaniels@coj.net]
Robin Lumb [(904) 630-1387,RLumb@coj.net]
Matt Schellenberg [(904) 630-1388,MattS@coj.net]

 

Hanna Park also falls within the boundaries of District 11
Ray Holt, District 11 Council Member:
Office of the City Council
117 W. Duval St., Suite 425
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 630-1383
FAX: (904) 630-2906
Email: Holt@coj.net

 

Alvin Brown, Mayor
Mayor’s Office
City Hall at St. James Building
117 W. Duval St. Suite 400
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 630-1776
E-mail: mayorbrown@coj.net

 

Contact information for the rest of the City Council can be found here.

 

Here is some sample text to use when contacting these officials. Feel free to use this in your correspondence with any of the above. Any personalization you add will only help convey your concern.
———————————–
I am contacting you to voice my support for public access to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park and Huguenot Memorial Park. The park is a one-of-a-kind city resource for recreational opportunities in a setting of great natural beauty. However, those resources cannot be utilized and that beauty not appreciated if the public is denied access. Recently, park officials have changed the summer park closing hours from 8pm to 6pm and Jacksonville Police officers have been on hand issuing citations to cars still in the park immediately after this time.

During the summer, the sun sets over Jacksonville as late as 8:30pm, meaning there are hours of daylight during which Jacksonville residents are denied access to a significant portion (1.5 miles) of public beach (belonging to the citizens), as well as 447 acres of taxpayer-funded city park land. These late hours are particularly important to the livelihood of those working a typical 9-5 work day, who otherwise would not have an opportunity to enjoy these recreational opportunities during the work week.

The park’s policy of antagonism toward users is neither sustainable nor fair to the citizens whose tax dollars and park use fees pay the salary of the park officials that are denying access. Additionally, the valuable resources of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office should not be wasted issuing frivolous citations of questionable legality to already-paying park users.

I ask that you please review this policy and protect open access to this and all city parks for the residents of Duval and the surrounding counties.

Thank you.
———————————–

We will also be discussing this at our meeting next Tuesday. We need to develop a way forward if the officials above do not respond to our concerns.

 

Image courtesy of Michael Whitaker

OFG Tip O the Month 1

As most of us know very well, one of the most critically stressed resources is water. We also know from our water bills that it is also a very expensive resource. Statistics prove that between 30-70 percent of our water is used outdoors. Most homeowners in Florida have outdoor sprinkler systems. These are needed but can be a big source of waste. To help cut down on that waste, from time-to-time check to make sure there are no leaks, that the system is working properly (as scheduled, etc) and that all sprinkler heads are pointed in the right direction. On watering days I can not believe how many sprinkler heads are aimed out into the street. Also, consider taking your system off the automatic setting and manually trigering it when needed. If it is raining or if we have been in a rainy period our lawns do not need the extra watering and the extra water will simply run out onto the street and down the storm drain, wasted. One additional tip is to water early in the morning when there is less of a chance for evaporation.

We will be running Ocean Friendly garden tips on a monthly basis and if you have a good idea for one please let us know.

March Update from the Chapter Chair

Check out the new update from Paul. We’ve gone electronic! We know, we know, we’re so cool and savvy. Listen to him speak about our individual ability to make a difference on the beach. He also discusses our upcoming meetings, cleanups, and events.
 
Big Thanks to Jim Walker and Jed Waldo for putting this together.  
March Update from Paul

 

February Update from the Chapter Chair

The tenth anniversary of the chapter had a great kick-off with a member appreciation party held at the Wine Bar in Jax Beach on February eighteenth. It was great to see old friends and make new ones at the event.
During the event we rolled out our anniversary t-shirts which became an instant hit thanks to a great design by our own EC Secretary Erin Handy’s son, Andrew Foster, and art-work by Damon Williams. The t-shirts were made possible due to the generosity of our sponsor Brian Weissmann of Trident Surf. There are still shirts available in both men’s and women’s styles for $15.00 each. They will be available for sale at future meetings and at our upcoming Black Tie and Baggies gala to be held in April.
The chapter continues to look for ways to upgrade our web-site to make it more user friendly. To that end, starting in March the newsletter will be presented in a video format. Next month we will also be adding a blog for our Ocean Friendly Garden campaign that will feature OFG events as well as monthly Ocean Friendly Gardening tips.
Lastly, we are fortunate that VOID magazine will be featuring an article about our ten year anniversary in their April issue so check it out.
Thanks again for your continued support of the chapter and I will look forward to seeing you at future meetings and events.
Mahalo,
Paul

OFG Launch in Florida and North Carolina

Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens National Coordinator, Paul Herzog, wrote about us this week on his Surfrider blog. Check out the link below for the article:

http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/ofg-launch-in-florida-and-north-carolina

 

January Update from the Chapter Chair

It’s hard for me to believe but this year marks the fourty-seventh year that I have been surfing. If someone had suggested at the time I started that I would still be surfing at this point I would have laughed at them. I feel extremely blessed to still be doing so as this sport has given me so much to be thankful for. Obviously I have seen a great deal of changes in the sport and the environment since I started out. Some of those changes have been good and some bad. Relative to the environmental side, while I have seen some marked improvements in some areas it does appear that the challenges faced by our oceans and sea creatures are great. Be it from overuse of chemicals and associated run off, oil disasters, overfishing, global warming and associated sea rise, discharges from industry and the relaxation of some environmental standards, our way of life as surfers, fisherman and beachgoers is threatened.

 

It is for all of the above reasons why I joined Surfrider around the time it came into existence and why I am active today. I feel very grateful that I am able to serve the First Coast Chapter and it’s members as it’s chairman and to help make a positive impact on our beaches and oceans. Each of us joined the organization for varying reasone and come into the membership with differing talents, experiences and capabilities. Together, if we bring all those things into play, we can make a huge positive impact on our environment. And it doesn’t matter if you are a grom or an old crusty veteran of the sport like me.
Thanks again for your support of the chapter and please feel free to contact any of our Executive Committe members with any questions, comments or suggestions you may have. I will look forward to seeing you at our Member appreciation party on February 18th at the Wine Bar in Jax Beach or at a future meeting or event.

 

Mahalo,
Paul Hayden


December Update from the Chapter Chair

On behalf of myself and the executive committee members of the First Coast Chapter we would like to wish our supporters, members and their relatives and friends a joyous and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2012. 2012 marks our tenth year as a chapter and we have a lot planned for the year. We will continue to split our meetings between Jax Beach and St Augustine Beach to accommodate and involve as many of our members as possible. On February 18th we will be holding a member appreciation/anniversary party at The Wine Bar in Jacksonville Beach (more details to come later). We are already making plans for our annual Black Tie and Baggies Gala scheduled for April 28th. We plan to have great speakers lined up for all of our monthly meetings as well and will continue to have beach clean-up events on at least a monthly basis starting in March. We already have some projects lined up for our Ocean Friendly Garden Campaign and will start committee meeting for the campaign in January. If anyone is interested in learning more about these events or wants to get involved please let us know. In the interim thanks again for your help and support of the chapter and Surfrider and I will look forward to seeing you soon.

Mahalo,

Paul

November Update from the Chapter Chair

As the year 2011 draws to a close I have reflected on all that the Chapter has accomplished during the year. We conducted thirteen beach clean-ups between Jax Beach and St Augustine including participation in the St Johns Riverkeeper, International Surfing Day and International Coastal Clean-ups. In February we again set up an educational booth at the Water Education Festival at the MOSH and did the same recently at Fletcher Middle School. In April we re-established our Black Tie and Baggies Gala, which was a great evening. Many of our members also contributed their time and talents to many of the Florida Surfing Association events as well as the Sisters of the Sea contest and after party. During the year the St Augustine part of our chapter was re-invigorated and between Jax Beach and our St Augustine meetings we had some great speakers and solid attendance. In April, four of our Executive Committe members attended the Florida Chapter’s conference in St Pete Beach where we learned a great deal about what is going on with the Surfrider Foundation and participated in a one year memorial paddle out in honor of the victims of the BP oils spill disaster. During those meetings our own David Hunt was a presenter. In June, we again hosted the Hands Across the Sand event in St Augustine and received some nice press for it. We also recently rolled out our Ocean Friendly Gardens Campaign that you will be hearing more about in the coming months. With the help of Patrick Snyder and others we have revamped our web-site and will continue to improve the site.

Looking towards 2012 we note that it is the tenth anniversary of the chapter. We look to have a lot of exciting events planned for the year so stay tuned. In December we will be holding a Member Appreciation Party at Rush Street on 12/10. It will also be the kick-off of our ten year anniversary. We hope to see as many of our members there as possible.

All of this would not be possible without the help and dedication of our EC, members, volunteers, contributors, sponsors and partners as well as our meeting hosts: Fionn MacCools, The Wine Bar, The Surf Station, Chicago Pizza and The Groove Cafe. Thanks to all for a great year and I will look forward to seeing and working with you all in 2012.

Mahalo,

Paul

September Update from the Chapter Chair

On September 20th we kicked off our Ocean Friendly Garden Campaign at our monthly meeting held at Rush Street/Chicago Pizza. I was very gratified by the great turnout and enthusiasm of those who attended. We had a great cast of presenters including Neil Armingeon our St Johns Riverkeeper, Donnie Pellicer, owner of Native Roots Landscaping, and our own Surfrider Florida Regional Director Ericka Canales. I am also grateful to Barbara Jackson who heads up the Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society for her valuable insights.
I am also thankful to those who volunteered to be on OFG committees and to our EC members who have helped in the effort in so many ways. A special thanks also goes out to Paul Herzog, who heads out our national OFG programs and is helping to guide us in our efforts.
In the coming months we will continue the discussion on our OFG campaign, form committees, look to establish partnerships with the likes of the St Johns Riverkeepers, who already have a River Friendly Garden program in effect that is very similar to ours, and the Florida Native Plant Society. Donnie Pelliecer has already agreed to speak again at our October meeting in St Augustine and Barbara Jackson will be speaking at our November meeting in Jax Beach.
We look at our campaign as a long-term and ongoing one as water and runoff issues will not be going away any time soon. Initially, our objective is to set up our committees of volunteers and professionals and identify potential partner organizations. We will then be working to educate the public, lawmakers and HOA’s on the value and benefits of OFG. We will then look to identify projects where we can construct  and certify Ocean Friendly Gardens in the community.
For those that are interested in finding out more about Surfrider’s OFG garden campaign please check out our link to the National web-site and if you want to learn about how you can help out locally please contact us and attend future meetings where we will have brochures and booklets on the subject available.
Thank you for your interest in and support of Surfrider and our chapter.
Mahalo,
Paul Hayden, Chair
Surfrider Foundation
First Coast Chapter