When the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000, it was a historic move to "restore, protect and preserve" water resources in central and south Florida. The 30-year framework was designed with the ultimate goal of restoring historic water-flows to a "dying ecosystem." Project leaders and scientists are now focused on incorporating climate change adaptation into the plans and acknowledging that the Everglades will likely never look the way it once did.
State officials, local dignitaries, and conservationalists gathered last Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Tamiami Trail bridge project. The plan took more than two decades to achieve and is part of a larger effort to restore fresh water flow to the Everglades.
The future of some of Florida's smallest and most seldom seen inhabitants is under threat from climate change, and that could spell big trouble further up the food chain, scientists say. South Florida's coral and algae populations are declining as ocean temperatures rise and there's an economic factor to consider, according to researchers who study the coastal underwater ecosystems.
More than two dozen states are expected to adopt new national science education standards that include teaching children as young as elementary school about the effects of climate change. Florida was not among the 26 states that helped to "provide leadership" during the development stage of the Next Generation Science Standards, and it is unclear if it is among the roughly 15 states "that have indicated they may accept them," according to Inside Climate News.
Anyone who has tried to tend a garden or walk the dog in the height of a South Florida summer understands the energy-zapping qualities of a heat and humidity combo. A recently released study reports that climate change will mean an increase in those sticky, sweaty days.
Getting a handle on property insurance rates is a top priority in the upcoming Florida Legislature 2013 regular session, but it's no easy task, according to popular consensus at Monday night's Town Hall session hosted by WLRN and the Miami Herald.
"The legislature is in a terrible box," said Mary Ellen Klas, the capital bureau chief for the Miami Herald and a panelist at Monday's event. "This is one of the tough issues they have to grapple with."
Florida -- and Miami in particular -- should prepare for habitat destruction, loss of cropland, increased salt-water intrusion, worsening coastal flooding, and a host of related disasters if climate change and sea level rise patterns continue, according to findings in a federal "draft climate report."
The beach is emblematic of Florida life, so it computes that waterside residents in Palm Beach County are scrambling to find ways to keep the beach from crumbling into the ocean. Unfortunately, proposed sea walls -- meant to slow the beach erosion widely seen throughout South Florida -- actually hasten the problem, according to some environmental groups and government officials.
A new study from a German research institute identifies urban areas most threatened by sea level rise and indicates that although sea level rise has been occurring for more than a century, it's not happening at a steady rate around the globe. This is due to regional variances in temperature, circulation, and ocean density.
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give the first State of the Union address of his second term. Among the many issues that impact South Floridians -- jobs, immigration reform, Medicare -- climate change is one of the hot-button topics expected to make the agenda.
If Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $74.2 billion budget passes the Legislature intact, it would include $75 million for conservation land projects spearheaded by the Florida Forever Coalition. The 2013-2014 budget also includes $60 million for Everglades restoration and $6.5 million for restoring springs.
The price of property insurance in Florida keeps going up -- such that some homeowners are getting second mortgages or dropping coverage all together. The state created Citizens Property Insurance to be the insurer of last resort for Florida homeowners. But plans to shrink Citizens by loaning money to private insurance companies and allegations of corporate misconduct have sparked outcries by some state officials and the public alike.