Miami Herald

When you think of oil production in the U.S., it's perhaps along with images of oil wells in Texas or North Dakota, maybe Alaska. It's not something associated with travel logs of Florida.

Yet, there is oil drilling in the Sunshine State -- about 2 million barrels a year. And that is truly a drop in the bucket compared to the total amount of oil consumed in this country on a daily basis.

Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that more than 2,700 acres of pine rockland in South Miami-Dade will be designated as a “critical habitat” for two endangered plants.

These two plants — Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax — can only be found in south Miami-Dade County.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

People who fish and dive love it when the winds are light and the seas are calm.

Coral reefs, not so much.

That's because calm seas means sunlight can penetrate better and heat up the water. When sea temperatures pass a 30.4 degrees Celsius average for a month — that's 86.72 degrees Fahrenheit — corals start to bleach.

The corals expel the zooxanthellae, or symbiotic algae that gives them their colors.

Smelly seaweed assaults, blankets Caribbean beaches

Aug 10, 2015
Israel Leal/AP Photo

If you were planning on going on vacation to the Caribbean, maybe you should check first. Are those beaches still stinky and covered in rotting seaweed?

The algae is part of a family called Sargassum and it is carpeting beaches in tourist hot spots like the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

The algae can form a pile up to 6- to 10-feet-high on some beaches, making Caribbean countries worried (sniff!) as tourism grows toward the end of the year.

Smelly seaweed photo callout

Mote Marine Laboratory

Coral reefs have suffered major declines over recent decades. But one bright spot in marine science is the newfound ability to grow corals from fragments in coral nurseries.

Mote Marine Lab has been a leader in that field, working from its Tropical Research Laboratory on Summerland Key. It grows staghorn corals at its offshore nursery, near Looe Key, and reef-building corals at the lab facility.

Eleonora Edreva / WLRN

On Monday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Small Business held a congressional hearing in Homestead.

The subject of the hearing was a proposed bill that would allow state fishery managers to block fishing bans in state waters within national parks. 

The bill’s relevance to South Florida is that it would shut down an attempt to create a marine reserve zone blocking commercial and recreational fishing in a portion of Biscayne National Park. 


UPDATE, Aug. 3, 4:30 p.m.: The South Florida Management District board reversed its decision against tax cuts.

The board held a special meeting on Friday, July 31, where they approved to cut a property tax rate for the fifth year in a row.

Two weeks ago, the board voted 6-2 to maintain the tax rate that would’ve prevented having to rely on the agency’s reserves.

The final vote on the proposed budget will take place in September.

As the Florida Department of Citrus turns 80 years old, the industry it represents is fighting for its survival. The insect-borne disease of citrus greening is devastating groves statewide.

David Steele, the Director of Public Relations for the Department of Citrus, spoke with WUSF's Robin Sussingham about the challenges that citrus greening poses to the state's iconic crop. Steele says that every aspect of the citrus industry is under attack because of greening, resulting in the lowest production levels in his lifetime. But there's always reason to hope, he says:


Western Union is one of the leading money transfer providers the Haitian diaspora use to send money to family members and friends in Haiti. Thanks to a new initiative, it will now also be a source of renewable energy. 

At a press conference in Little Haiti Monday, Western Union and SogeExpress, a Western Union agent and Haiti-based money transfer agency, unveiled two solar power kits that will be available for purchase for people in Haiti.

Bob DeGross, National Park Service / Bugwood.org


On Wednesday and Thursday, biologists from around South Florida gathered at the Long Key Nature Center in Davie for the annual Everglades Invasive Species Summit.