environment

Water Shortage Warning Issued For South Florida

Apr 14, 2017
J. Pat Carter / Associated Press

Stop sprinkling and washing so much. South Florida is getting dry.

On Thursday, South Florida water managers issued a water shortage warning, asking more than 8 million residents from Orlando to Key West to follow lawn-watering rules and conserve water. If the shortage persists, South Florida Water Management District officials say the agency may consider mandatory restrictions.

Rudiger Bieler, The Field Museum

A sea snail with spider-like abilities.  Sounds like a sci-fi movie monster.

But the creature recently discovered in the Florida Keys is causing some very real anxiety for scientists worried that it could become a particularly troublesome exotic invader.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, is trying to fill in fellow U.S. senators on climate change. So it makes sense that he invited members of the Commerce Committee — of which he's the ranking minority member — to West Palm Beach to learn about increasing temperatures and rising seas from the experts who know it firsthand.

But whether those committee members will ever hear the testimony from the hearing on Monday is unclear. None of the other 26 senators on the Commerce Committee attended.

Kate Stein / WLRN

A controversial plan to build a reservoir that would help address damaging water discharges in the Everglades ecosystem is one step closer to being enacted — thanks to revisions that take into account the concerns of farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revised version of Senate Bill 10. The bill aims to alleviate blue-green algae on Florida’s coasts by reducing the amount of water that's discharged to the coasts from Lake Okeechobee.

Monroe County

To improve water quality near shore, the Florida Keys has spent hundreds of millions over the last 20 years upgrading wastewater treatment systems and improving how stormwater is handled.

Negron Trims Controversial Water Plan

Apr 5, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron on Tuesday toned down a wide-ranging water bill intended to protect his district's waterways, as he sought to make it more palatable to House leaders and people living south of Lake Okeechobee.

Kate Stein / WLRN

What makes water managers celebrate?

New pipes, of course!

So South Florida Water Management District employees were stoked Monday when a flatbed truck with a massive aluminum pipe -- about 60 feet long and five feet in diameter -- finally arrived at a big district construction site southwest of Homestead. The pipe is one of three to be used in a project providing Florida Bay with more of the fresh water it desperately needs.

Dry weather has caused the water level in Lake Okeechobee drop below the minimum range targeted for South Florida’s drinking water supply.

President Trump has donated his salary from his first few months in office to the National Park Service, making good on a campaign pledge to forego a presidential paycheck.

His gift represents a small fraction, however, of the money the Park Service stands to lose if Trump's budget were adopted.

Instead of collecting a salary of $400,000 a year, Trump has volunteered to donate that money to charity. He chose the Park Service as the beneficiary of his first installment, $78,333, which covers the first ten weeks Trump was in office.

Severe Drought Developing in Florida

Apr 3, 2017

It’s the heart of wildfire season in Florida, and more than 90 percent of the state is in a drought. The National Drought Mitigation Center classified the situation as “severe” in nine counties Thursday.

Florida Forest Service reports show that wildfires have scorched almost 60,000 acres since January 1st. State Climatologist David Zierden attributes the active fire season to the shortage of rain, which he says is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

One of the symbols of Florida is no longer an endangered species. That's according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which announced Thursday they're downlisting the manatee from endangered to threatened. Manatees have been classified as endangered since the first federal endangered species list was issued in 1967.

More manatees than ever - 6,300 - were counted during the winter, when they congregate around springs and warm power plant outfalls. But last year, more than one hundred manatees were killed, mostly by boaters.

J
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

President Donald Trump may be trying to scrub his predecessor's initiatives to fight climate change from just about every corner of the federal government — Exhibit A being this week’s executive order aimed at undoing Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan — but the reality of the climate crisis is not going away.

R
Mike Segar/Reuters

The former head of United Nations climate negotiations says the Trump administration executive order rolling back energy regulations won’t derail the landmark Paris climate change agreement.

Christiana Figueres, who led nearly 200 countries to a hard-fought international climate change agreement in December 2015, says the US policy changes are a “sad commentary” on the worldview of the current administration, but that other countries remain dedicated to the UN climate agreement.   

Courtesy of Oceana

A new study shows shark-related diving in Florida is a growing business, generating some $221 million annually for shops and other providers.

A couple researchers created fake mangroves in Manasota Key to bring back marine life that was lost from development. Along Florida’s coasts are seawalls-- built to prevent the shoreline from eroding. But that defense sometimes means removing natural habitats. Experts are now trying to turn these solid barriers into thriving ecosystems.

Pages