Nancy Klingener

Reporter

Nancy Klingener covers the Florida Keys for WLRN. Since moving to South Florida in 1989, she has worked for the Miami Herald, Solares Hill newspaper and the Monroe County Public Library.

She is a Spring 2014 graduate of the Transom Story Workshop. She is on the board of the Key West Literary Seminar and reviews books for the Miami Herald. 

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

In South Florida, iguanas are everywhere. So now the state agency responsible for protecting wildlife — and dealing with exotic species — is holding workshops to help the public cope with the prolific reptiles.

Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau

It’s been almost three months since Hurricane Irma crossed the Florida Keys — and the heart of the tourism season is right around the corner. But some parts of the Keys are still cleaning up from the storm and some major resorts are still closed. 

Mark Hedden

People have asked me a lot since Hurricane Irma if it was scary to go through the storm. I was very fortunate to spend the storm in a strong concrete building, on high ground. And Key West was very fortunate, only 20 miles away from where the eye crossed the island chain we were spared the worst of the winds and didn’t see much of a storm surge.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than two million cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma. But many residents of the Lower Keys say they are still waiting and they are tired of living in a trash-lined landscape.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

Before Sept. 10, the last Category 4 storm to cross the Florida Keys was Donna in 1960 — 57 years ago.

"A community loses its institutional knowledge over that time," said Martin Senterfitt, Monroe County director of emergency management. "And we start replacing it with knowledge of Category 1s and tropical storms and we start forgetting just how bad a storm can be."

Senterfitt, and everybody else in the Keys, now has direct experience of how a major hurricane can impact the low-lying island chain. Irma destroyed hundreds of homes and caused major damage to thousands more.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Keys already had an affordable housing problem, before Hurricane Irma. Then that storm destroyed thousands of homes and is already driving up rents. So some government agencies in the Keys are looking at going into the landlord business.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A small lizard that lives only in the coastal areas of the Florida Keys is facing "a foreseeable and imminent death sentence" and deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to an environmental group.

Peter Frezza / Audubon Florida

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than a million cubic yards of debris has been hauled out of the Florida Keys since Hurricane Irma — but there’s still enough wreckage along the sides of the roads to make trick-or-treating a scary prospect in some neighborhoods. And not in a good way.

So Monroe County came up with an alternative: Two debris-free trick-or-treat parties at county parks, one in Bay Point in the Lower Keys and one in Key Largo.

City of Key West

Local governments in the Keys are challenging residents to document the especially high tides of autumn with a "king tide photo challenge."

High tides from Nov. 3-7 are expected to reach more than 2 feet above sea level, according to a press release from the city of Key West. Winds are expected to push the tides even higher along the northeast sides of the Keys.

"Building a photographic library of current flood conditions due to natural events, like high tides, is an important step to addressing the most vulnerable areas," according to the city's press release.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Survey teams this week completed an assessment of the condition of the Keys reef tract, from Biscayne Bay to Key West.

"It's very much like what's observable on land," said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "In some places, the impacts are pretty dramatic and visible and in other places they are much less. So we're finding the same is true underwater."

Even in the same location, the hurricane's impacts differ.

As we near Halloween, witches, ghosts and zombies are escaping from our screens and appearing all around us — on store shelves and at costume parties. But the other place scary stuff lives year-round is on the page. We asked some experts about their favorite scary reads.

Tananarive Due, author of Ghost Summer and The Living Blood

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The endangered Key deer herd was already coming out of a tough year — the herd lost more than 100 animals to New World screwworm.

So when the eye of Hurricane Irma crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 storm, wildlife managers were worried. The Lower Keys is also the only place on the planet where Key deer live.

But recently completed population surveys came up with good news, said Dan Clark, manager of the four national wildlife refuges in the Keys, including Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

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