environment

A Florida Senate committee has advanced a bill that gives certain Florida coastal communities the power to temporarily ban or regulate the use of plastic bags.

The Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation gave the measure its first-round approval on Wednesday, gifting a small victory to those who have fought for similar legislation to pass since 2013.

Angel Valentin / EarthEcho

A group of fifth graders from Citrus Elementary School huddle around Dr. Julien Zaragoza, a teacher with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center in Key Biscayne.

They’re all standing in knee-deep water with seagrass at the bottom of their feet. Each student is getting a glimpse of a male pipefish, which falls under the same fish classification as seahorses.

“See those little things inside here? Those are the eggs, and when they hatch all the little babies go out like ‘pew!’,” Dr. Zaragoza explains, while making a quick flicking hand motion.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Water, water everywhere, but a lot of it’s contaminated.

That’s a theme of World Water Day 2017, which took place Wednesday. It extends to South Florida, where high phosphorus levels in the Everglades contribute to harmful algae blooms and cattails that dominate native sawgrass.

On a cold and windy day off the coast of Alabama, a team of researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts gathers, conducting the first test outside a laboratory for a potential new solution to a challenging problem: cleaning oil spills from water.

The invention, the Flame Refluxer, is "very simple," says Ali Rangwala, a professor of fire protection engineering: Imagine a giant Brillo pad of copper wool sandwiched between layers of copper screen, with springy copper coils attached to the top.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Artist Jenna Efrein loves the Everglades. Since moving to South Florida, she's spent a lot of time exploring the ecosystem and learning about the challenges it faces. That passion -- and 10 years of gymnastics experience -- have shaped an installation of her work on display now at the Wynwood Building.

Peter Haden / WLRN

Hundreds of people packed a town hall meeting in Pahokee Friday with Florida Senate President Joe Negron. They say his proposal to build a 60,000-acre reservoir on prime farmland would be a plague to their region.

“The devastation from the loss of jobs is unimaginable at this point,” said lifelong Pahokee resident Lynda Moss. Her family owns a trucking business in the region.

[Read More about the Everglades and the efforts to restore it: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst]

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Almost six months after the New World screwworm outbreak was identified in the Florida Keys, the state Department of Agriculture announced the lifting the animal quarantine in Monroe County. The checkpoint in Key Largo for animals leaving the Keys closed as of 7 p.m. Saturday.

Florida lawmakers are tackling a proposed ban on hydraulic fracturing, and other fracking-like well stimulation treatments in the state.  The Republican-sponsored bills in the House and Senate have gained a number of co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.  Supporters of the ban say the risks of surface water and ground water contamination from fracking make the technology too risky.


Few animals arouse the instinct to hunt quite like the Burmese Python. The invasive species has slithered across the Everglades and into every corner of South Florida, taking over habitat from native species and consuming thousands of pounds of prey animals. 

This frog really lights up a room.

The South American polka dot tree frog initially appears unremarkable. But researchers in Argentina recently got a huge surprise when they shone an ultraviolet light on it, revealing that the creature is actually fluorescent and glows bright blue-green.

Updated at 4:02 p.m. ET

If there was any doubt over President Trump's views on climate change, those doubts evaporated with the unveiling of his proposed federal budget on Thursday.

The budget would end programs to lower domestic greenhouse gas emissions, slash diplomatic efforts to slow climate change and cut scientific missions to study the climate.

Amy Green / WMFE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reversing its stance and now says it must follow a schedule calling for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in 2021.

The corps had said it could accelerate the project aimed at improving water flow after toxic algae blooms last year prompted emergency declarations in four counties.

Colonel Jason Kirk now says the reservoir must wait.

Plastic bag use in stores could soon be a thing of the past in Coral Gables after the city commission on Tuesday gave initial approval to an ordinance banning the products.

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