Water-Related News

Majorities see government efforts to protect the environment as insufficient

Majorities of Americans say the federal government is doing too little to protect key aspects of the environment including water (69%) and air quality (64%). And two-thirds of Americans (67%) say the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change. These findings come after a year of change in climate and energy regulatory policies under the Trump administration.

Majorities of U.S. adults say federal government is not doing enough to protect environment in these waysAt the same time, Americans are closely divided (52% to 48%) over whether or not it is possible to cut back on regulations while still effectively protecting air and water quality. There are wide political divides on this issue, with roughly three-quarters of Republicans (74%, including independents who lean Republican) convinced this is possible but 64% of Democrats (including Democratic-leaning independents) convinced it is not possible.

The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted March 27-April 9 among 2,541 adults, finds pockets of partisan agreement over expanding solar and wind power, though wide political divides remain over increasing fossil fuels through such methods as coal mining, hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, a pattern consistent with a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

EPA releases 5-year review of Recreational Water Quality Criteria

The EPA has released its Five-year Review of the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), as required by the BEACH Act amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The review report describes the state of the science since the release of the 2012 RWQC, related to the protection of human health in water bodies designated for primary contact recreation (e.g., swimming) in these areas:

  • Health studies;
  • Indicators and performance of qPCR methods;
  • Microbial source tracking;
  • RWQC implementation tools; and
  • Criteria adoption by states, territories and authorized tribes.
  • Based on the EPA’s review of the existing criteria and developments in the available science, and consistent with CWA Section 304(a)(9)(B), the EPA has decided not to revise the 2012 Recreational Water Criteria during this review cycle. The Agency believes, however, that further research and analysis as identified in this report will contribute to EPA's future review of the 2012 RWQC. The EPA will work with the environmental public health community as it moves forward with its research efforts. The use of qPCR and ongoing research in methods and indicators continue to strengthen and augment the tools available to support the current criteria.

    Grand opening of Pine Meadows Conservation Area on May 17th

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    EUSTIS — Lake County is inviting the community to celebrate the official grand opening of one of its largest public lands, Pine Meadows Conservation Area, at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 18, at Pine Meadows Golf Course Road in Eustis.

    Stakeholders and guests will cut the ribbon on this 770-acre conservation area, which is complete with more than six miles of passive recreational trails. Lake County acquired the property in 2014 from the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and has invested $650,000 on improvements. Lake County provided enhanced landscaping, restrooms, picnic tables, a canoe and kayak launch area, gravel boat ramp and a dog-friendly loop trail.

    Together, SJRWMD and Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) contributed $549,000 towards removing and replacing water control structures, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat and creating new recreational opportunities.

    The improved site will now offer residents and visitors with quality fishing, non-motorized boating and wildlife-viewing while also providing sustainability of natural resources. The site is quickly becoming a popular destination for birders due to the nearly 120 species viewed there, including the Henslow’s sparrow, blue-winged warbler, bald eagle and swallow-tailed kite.

    Pine Meadows is the center point for the Trout Lake Nature Center-Pine Meadows Conservation Area-Lake May Reserve Loop Trail. Hiking and biking is currently available at the property, with future equestrian trails soon to be completed.

    The Lake County Office of Parks & Trails regularly hosts free events at the property. To find out more, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/parks or call 352-253-4950.

    Eustis considers spending millions to dredge Lake Gracie

    EUSTIS – Eustis City Commissioners are looking into spending millions to convert Lake Gracie into a swimming lake through dredging.

  • Eustis leaders want to dredge Lake Gracie
  • Goal would be to turn lake into swimming lake
  • Project would cost about $4.3 million

  • William Zeller, 72, says he's lived on Lake Gracie Drive since 1958. At that time, it was lakefront living.

    "It was great for swimming, fishing. In fact, we actually would water ski in this lake. We could make a complete turn up in the north end, which is now muck,” he described.

    Zeller says they call it "Gracie Swamp" now.

    "I wouldn't venture into that lake now," he said.

    In April, commissioners decided to look into the cost of removing muck deposits and build a public sand beach.​

    Officials estimate the cost will be about $4.3 million and say the money may come from a special assessment tax.

    Irma report: Devastation – and a huge warning sign

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    The forecasters got Hurricane Irma mostly right. At least compared to the predictions of past storms. That’s one of the conclusions from a National Hurricane Center report on the big storm that hit Florida last September.

    John Cangialosi is the lead author of the center’s report on Irma.

    “We’re not trying to brag here in any sense, but the Irma forecasts we had were really successful. That was very, very low errors that we made for track prediction,” Cangialosi said.

    In the future, they won’t always be so successful, he said — that’s why hurricane forecasters and emergency managers keep telling the public not to focus on the exact forecast track or even the wider cone.

    “Try to look at what might happen in your area and don’t be overly deterministic if I’m in the cone or out of the cone,” he said. “Every storm will be different, so let’s take these one at a time and please don’t compare systems over time like say, ‘Oh I survived Irma, I’ll be OK with the next one.’ They really are very different.”

    Lake County Mosquito officials offer tips as rainy season begins

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    TAVARES — During Florida’s rainy season, outdoor activities often go hand-in-hand with the buzz of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Lake County Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management is reminding residents of the health risks associated with mosquitoes as they become more active in the coming months.

    The county is currently hitting the road with its A1 mister, an industrial blower which can cover larger area with larvicides and adulticides. The chemicals being used have the same active ingredient as in previous years, but the county has upgraded to a time-released liquid that can last between 30 and 60 days, as opposed to just one week.

    “Our new, more advanced equipment is designed to blow a safe mist over both rural and urban areas,” said Craig Scott, Lake County Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management Program Manager. “Regular trucks have a 300-foot range, while this one can cover 600 feet or more - or up to three downtown blocks simultaneously.”

    The mosquito-borne diseases that Scott is most concerned with this year include Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile Virus (WNV) and the Zika Virus. Horse owners should properly vaccinate their animals against both EEE and WNV and dog owners are encouraged to ensure their pets are on year-round preventative medicine for heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes.

    Residents should keep in mind that it doesn’t take long to create a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos carrying these viruses. They simply require water to complete their life cycle, therefore if their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.

    Follow “the 3 D’s” to adopt safe mosquito control in and around your property:

  • Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week
  • Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
  • Defend: Properly apply an approved mosquito repellent.

  • Rain gutters, buckets and tires all make excellent spots for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. It is important to drain and cover these items on your own property and encourage neighbors to do so as well as part of a community-wide effort.