environment

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner is seeking a permit that would give her and other landowners legal coverage if they were to kill or harass endangered animals while developing thousands of acres in eastern Collier County. The land includes habitat for the Florida panther. The commission helps oversee the species’ rebound. This comes as the agency rethinks its role in the panther’s recovery plan. Some environmental organizations worry about the state’s timing.

Jessica Meszaros / WGCU

Local volunteers snorkeled Pine Island Sound recently to count scallops. It was the sixth annual Great Bay Scallop Search in Lee County. Scallop numbers were so low in the 1980s , it caused a local fishery to close. Now, Florida Sea Grant is checking to see if those numbers are bouncing back. It was morning at Pineland Marina . About 120 volunteers were gathered around Joy Hazell. She organizes the Great Bay Scallop Search every year for Florida Sea Grant. It’s a University of Florida-based...

Hear the audio version of this story. Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife is pressing for a city ordinance to protect Burrowing Owls . It doesn’t think the current state laws are strong enough. The potential city ordinance could take between six months and a year to accomplish. Pascha Donaldson checked up on one of the 3,000 owl burrows she regularly visits in Cape Coral. This burrow was on the front lawn of a foreclosed home in the southwest part of the Cape. "We call them our little fluff balls...

Disease Threatens FL Roses

Aug 24, 2015

Florida’s $20 million rose industry is threatened by a disease that’s devastating the flower across the Eastern United States.

Regulators Asked To Reject FPL Nuclear Request

Aug 18, 2015
FPL.com / Courtesy

Florida Power & Light received pushback Tuesday from South Florida officials and other critics as it requested $34.2 million from customers to continue planning a pair of nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point complex in Miami-Dade County. The request, if approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in October, would place the cost for new nuclear power at 34 cents on a typical residential customer's monthly bill in 2016. Jessica Cano, an FPL lawyer, told the commission during the...

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. Still, the folks at Kanter Real Estate have applied for the rights to drill an exploratory well on their...

Miami-Dade Pine Rockland Designated "Critical Habitat"

Aug 17, 2015
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. “The critical habitat designation for the two plants is really important because it lets everybody know that this last remaining pine rocklands habitat is essential for the continued...

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. "Without that symbiotic relationship, it's unable to feed properly. The coral is a living...

Smelly seaweed assaults, blankets Caribbean beaches

Aug 10, 2015
Israel Leal/AP Photo
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. They start with tiny fragments of just a few polyps. "They will expand to a size that probably...

Proposed Congress Bill May Block Fishing Ban

Aug 3, 2015
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. The hearing was...

Emma_L_M/flickr

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. For the first time in...

Listen to the interview here: 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,...

klereayiti.com

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. The project, called Klere Ayiti, will sell unites for ...

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. The conference, sponsored by the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area ( ECISMA ) , is intended to share accomplishments and research from the past year, as well as determine what the priorities are for the year to come. Luckily for South Florida’s human inhabitants, the region’s famous and fearsome pests — pythons...

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