environment

Dave Chapman and dozens of other longtime organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Jacksonville, Fla., this week. It was their last-ditch effort to strip the organic label from a tide of fluid-fed, "hydroponic" greenhouse-grown vegetables that they think represent a betrayal of true organic principles.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

When Miami voters head to the polls on Tuesday, they're going to find this question:

Shall the City issue General Obligation Bonds in an aggregate principal amount not exceeding $400,000,000.00 with interest payable at or below the maximum rate allowed by law, payable from ad valorem taxes levied on all taxable property in the City, provided that the capital projects debt millage not exceed the current rate of 0.5935, to:

• Reduce Flooding Risks; Improve Stormwater Infrastructure;

C
World Meteorological Organization

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere hit a new record in 2016. The concentration of the heat-trapping gas is higher than it’s been in at least 800,000 years, including all of human history.

That's the word from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

The WMO says last year's CO2 spike was 50 percent greater than the average increase over the past decade, which Petteri Taalas, the organization’s secretary-general, says is very bad news.

Peter Haden / WLRN

With the White House pointing to ties between President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott, repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee might be done more quickly than anticipated.

Trump on Thursday directed Mick Mulvaney, the chief of the White House Office of Management and Budget, to accelerate the work.

“The administration, working closely with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, will now plan to expedite work at the project,” the White House said in a news release late Thursday.

Valencia Gunder / via Facebook

Responding to Facebook posts accusing them of unfairly dumping debris in underserved neighborhoods, Miami-Dade County officials said Tuesday the foliage downed by Irma is a problem shared by everyone in the county.

The floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey had to go somewhere.

A new statewide poll shows environmental issues to be one of the top five issues facing Floridians. But not all parts of the state have the same concerns.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Survey teams this week completed an assessment of the condition of the Keys reef tract, from Biscayne Bay to Key West.

"It's very much like what's observable on land," said Sarah Fangman, superintendent of the 2,900-square-nautical-mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. "In some places, the impacts are pretty dramatic and visible and in other places they are much less. So we're finding the same is true underwater."

Even in the same location, the hurricane's impacts differ.

Peter Haden / WLRN

The water level in Lake Okeechobee appears to have stabilized.

Rainwater from Hurricane Irma has pushed the lake over an alarming 17 feet. It's risen more than 3 feet since the storm, the highest the lake level has been since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct daily inspections of the lake’s 80-year-old dike.

The Corps has been working to reinforce the eroded Herbert Hoover Dike for a decade. The $1.7 billion project is scheduled to take another eight years.

The Florida Cabinet has approved a conservation easement in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The endangered Key deer herd was already coming out of a tough year — the herd lost more than 100 animals to New World screwworm.

So when the eye of Hurricane Irma crossed the Lower Keys as a Category 4 storm, wildlife managers were worried. The Lower Keys is also the only place on the planet where Key deer live.

But recently completed population surveys came up with good news, said Dan Clark, manager of the four national wildlife refuges in the Keys, including Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Resiliency is more than dealing with sea level rise, and Hurricane Irma made that point clearly, South Florida officials said at a post-Irma summit on Monday.

Not long ago, two Americans caused a scene in a Mozambique village. Locals were mystified by the tourists spending several days photographing a single tree.

"Sometimes we have to explain to people what we're doing but often they just think, 'Okay these guys are nuts,'" says New York photographer Len Jenshel.

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