Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

Apr 2013 Prez Sez

If you want to find out what our lawmakers are doing in Tallahassee I urge you to join the Florida Audubon Conservation Network and sign up for email alerts.  Another great source of info is the  Florida Conservation Coalition.  Some of the bills they are proposing are really over the top.  For example, one bill would not allow buying more conservation lands without selling off an equal amount of currently-owned lands first.  Another would let owners of property adjacent to state lands to basically take over the public lands.  We all need to get on this.

update on tiger bay

As you may recall from last month's PrezSez, the proposal was made by off-roading enthusiasts to ask the County Council to support their request for the State to dedicate a part of Tiger Bay State Forest exclusively to off-roading.  We were opposed and supported by other environmental groups as well as the State Forestry Service.  The proposal was heard at the County Council meeting on March 21 and the vote was 5-2 against the council supporting the plan.  The rationale was not so much the environmental consequences to the fragile lands but the thought that the County Council had no real business telling the State of Florida what to do with their lands.  


update on the Spaceex at county council

Frank DiBiello, Space Florida President and CEO, placed a short notice item on the agenda of the Volusia County Council on 4 April 2013 to brief the council and get their support for a proposal to get NASA to give them 150 acres of land in the area of Shiloh at the intersection of US 1 and SR 3 in Oak Hill, Fl.  They want a facility for the Spacex commercial launch project.  Although the project already has a site in the Canaveral Air Force Station, the Space Florida folks want an area that is free from the security restrictions of the NASA and the Canaveral AFS.  

I put a copy of the DiBiello powerpoint presentation on my website.  You can access it here.  It can be downloaded to your computer. . It is 7.7 Mb so you need a fast connection.

Problems with this proposal include the environmental sensitivity of the lands involved, potential destruction of wetlands and wetland buffers in the area, the lack of specificity for the exact area to be requested, and the potential loss of access to MINWR for legitimate users ( fishermen, hunters, birders, etc.) during the pre-launch and launch windows.  In addition, there is the danger to Oak Hill residents and other environmentally-sensitive lands should a high altitude catastrophe occur.

The environmental community in Volusia County, supported by Florida Audubon,  is  adamantly opposed to the proposal for the above reasons.  In addition, 150 acres requested seems a small area for a spaceport.  We are concerned that it may be only a foot in the door which could be expanded if the proposal is accepted by the county and state and later NASA and MINWR.  We know the state of Florida supports it because the governor's office sent the first request to NASA last fall.

The United Waterfowlers-Florida also opposes the proposal.  Here is their position paper .

The Council did not vote on the proposal, but  did agree to take this up in the near future and consider passing a resolution of support for the Space Florida project.  

Florida Land and Water Legacy program

The program has surpassed the 10% of the signatures needed for putting the measure on the ballot for constitutional amendment.  This milestone means that now the state Supreme Court will validate the constitutionality of the language and clear the initiative for continuing.

Happy Birding.