environment

Key West Quail-Dove
6:06 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

A Rare But Iconic Florida Keys Bird Flies In For A Visit

The Key West Quail-Dove, painted by John James Audubon. He named the bird on his 1832 visit to the Keys.

If there is an iconic bird for the Florida Keys, the Key West quail-dove is it. The bird was named, and painted, by John James Audubon during his 1832 visit to the island chain.

"I have taken upon myself to name this species the Key West pigeon, and offer it as a tribute to the generous inhabitants of that island, who favoured me with their friendship," Audubon wrote in his journal.

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Environment
6:28 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

October King Tide Brings Trove Of Data For Sea-Level Threat In Miami Beach

TIDAL SCENE: The October King Tide of 2013 was a problem in Miami Beach. This was the scene at 10th Street and Alton Road.
Credit Arianna Prothero / WLRN

Another King Tide will wash over South Florida on Oct. 9.

That’s the alignment of the Earth, sun and moon in a way that gives us the highest tides of the year. And this one will bring an opportunity for local students who are really serious about climate change and sea-level rise to glimpse and document coastal Florida’s possible future.

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Threatened Species
1:05 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Sea Turtle Travels Cross Country By FedEx

Devin Merriman, Richie Moretti and Bette Zirkelbach get Sapphire, an injured loggerhead sea turtle, ready for its journey across the country via FedEx to its new home near San Diego.
Credit Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Service

  How long does it take a sea turtle to travel from the Florida Keys to southern California?

Only a few hours when it travels by FedEx. That's what Sapphire, a loggerhead sea turtle, is doing today on a journey from the Turtle Hospital in Marathon to The Living Coast Discovery Center near San Diego.

The turtle has been at the Middle Keys rehab center for 16 months and cannot be released back to the wild.

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Environment
4:27 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Feds: Underwater 'Christmas Trees' Key To Saving Rare Coral

Hang a shining star upon the highest . . . PVC pipe? An undersea NOAA nursery where pieces of growing coral dangle like Christmas ornaments from plastic piping.
Credit NOAA

"Maybe it just needs a little love," said Peanuts character Charlie Brown in describing his tiny Christmas tree with branches so fragile a single ornament weighs them to the ground.

Perhaps the same could be said of distressed coral.

Federal scientists believe that a spindly structure resembling an underwater Charlie Brown tree could play a huge role in saving rare coral damaged by the PortMiami deep-dredge project.

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Environment
3:10 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

The People's Climate March Takes Miami

A moment of peace under the Freedom Tower before the march begins.
Lisann Ramos

The People’s Climate March Sunday included more than 2,000 events in over 150 countries.  

In Miami, a group of about 100 people spent Sunday afternoon handing out T-shirts, putting on costumes and coloring posters at the Freedom Tower. Many of those posters focused on the effects of sea-level rise.

Jonathan Ullman works with the Sierra Club, one of the organizers of Miami’s march.

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Environment
11:33 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Scientists Worry Warmer Keys Waters Might Harm Corals

The water off the Florida Keys is two degrees hotter than 100 years ago according to a new USGS study.
Credit USGS

  Late-summer waters off the Florida Keys are two degrees hotter than a century ago, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The report compares two periods of summer-month water temperature: historic data from lighthouse keeper records from the late 1800s and three decades of recent temperature data.

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Environment
7:26 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Could Your Sunscreen Be Harming Ocean Life?

A new study out suggests some chemicals in sunscreen may harm marine organisms.
Credit Creative Commons / Photo: Flickr user David Trawin

  While sunscreen is essential in protecting South Florida beach goers' skin, a new study from the Spanish National Research Council shows the skin protectant might also be killing off life in the ocean.

The study focuses on an aspect of sunscreens rarely looked at for its environmental impact: the nano-particles that block ultraviolet rays from baking our skin, including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Those chemicals can be found in sunscreens available at any corner drugstore.

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Climate Change
4:28 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Florida Should Get Rid Of Coal-Fired Power Plants Now, Climate Scientists Say

Florida scientists were given 30 minutes with Gov. Rick Scott to explain climate change.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Gov. Rick Scott sat down for half an hour this week with climate scientists who want him to take immediate action to deal with climate change.

A few of those same scientists took their message to the Internet Thursday.

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Environment
4:08 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Florida Inspectors Say Miami Port Dredging Hurts Sea Life

Divers inspect boulders dropped near the channel coral. They were intended to allow new coral to grow, but inspectors found many crushed existing coral.
Credit Florida Department of Environmental Protection

The $205 million dredge project to deepen PortMiami has spread a blanket of silt and clay over the bay bottom that is smothering coral and damaging sea life, state environmental inspectors have found.

In a letter Monday, the state Department of Environmental Protection warned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is managing the project, that work is violating state permits, churning up too much sediment and having a “profound effect” on the sea floor. The agency gave the Corps two weeks to respond.

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The Florida Roundup
10:04 am
Fri August 8, 2014

The Florida Roundup: How Redistricting Impacts Voters

The redistricting process began Thursday in Tallahassee.
Credit Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

    

  This week on the Florida Roundup: Florida lawmakers race the clock to fix voting maps recently ruled unconstitutional. What could this mean for Sunshine State voters heading into the 2014 Elections?

Join guest host Christine DiMattei and a panel of the region’s top journalists for a conversation about how redistricting impacts Florida voters.

Some of the other stories we’ll be addressing:

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News
2:47 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Feds: Undersea 'Little Houses' In Florida Keys A Threat To Marine Life

One of hundreds of 'casitas,' illegal lobster traps on the ocean floor off the Florida Keys.
Credit NOAA/TetraTech

For the last two months, marine restoration teams have been hauling up coffee table-like structures from Florida Keys waters. They're called casitas -- Spanish for "little houses."

Cute name -- but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says these things can be really nasty. They're made out of a wide variety of materials, including corrugated tin, plastic and cement.

When lobsters seek shelter under the artificial habitats, poachers can catch as many as 1,500 a day, far exceedng the daily catch limit of 250.

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News
1:57 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Sea-Level Rise To Be Discussed At Symposium

Great White Egrets flying off in the Everglades.
Credit Rasmus Bøgeskov Larsen / Flickr Creative Commons

The impact of sea-level rise on South Florida will be the topic of discussion at the Second Annual Sea Level Rise Symposium Friday.

Experts say Florida is ground zero for sea level rise, and the Southeast Florida region will be the most impacted.

Tara Bardi, senior scientist with the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades, says even with increased media coverage on sea-level rise, most people aren’t sure how it will impact them personally.

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Environment
2:31 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Scientist To Governor: Stop Spreading Doubt About Climate Change

Dr. Ben Kirtman is a University of Miami professor who sees the impact of climate change happening now in Miami Beach and other areas of South Florida.
Credit Carla Javier/WLRN

Gov. Rick Scott has been repeatedly quoted as saying "I'm not a scientist" when asked whether he believes in man-made climate change.

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Environment
3:33 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Environmental Group Threatens To Sue Army Corps Of Engineers About Dredging Near Corals

Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper claims the ships working for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are leaking sediment which harms coral reefs near the dredging project. The group says this image was taken on June 25, 2014.
Credit Dan Kipnis / Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper

An environmental non-profit organization has filed a letter that says it may sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper in Miami alleges the Army Corps violated the Endangered Species Act by not protecting coral reefs affected by dredging at PortMiami.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Corps Of Engineers Hopes To Accelerate Permit Process To Protect Endangered Species

In South Florida, marine species are at the top of the endangered species list.
Credit Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial history in Florida -- especially when it comes to the Everglades and the state’s wildlife.  

But now, the agency wants Floridians to know they’re working harder to protect endangered species.  

Each year the Corps of Engineers receives requests for various projects to build on regulated wetlands or the coast.  

The agency tries to issue half of those permits within 120 days.

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