Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 11:49 am
South of Florida's Lake Okeechobee, hundreds of thousands of acres of sugar cane thrive in the heart of one of the world's largest wetlands. The Everglades stretches from the tip of the peninsula to central Florida, north of Lake Okeechobee.
"The Everglades actually begins at Shingle Creek, outside of Orlando," says Jonathan Ullman of the Sierra Club.
That's nearly 200 miles north of the agricultural land that Ullman and other environmentalists say is crucial to state and federal efforts to restore the wetlands area to a healthy ecosystem.
Miami-Dade County commissioners on Wednesday opened the door to more warehouses and offices west of Doral, agreeing to expand the Urban Development Boundary to include a 521 acre-chunk already surrounding by buildings.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:56 am
Declaring that "human influence on the climate system is clear," a U.N.-assembled panel of scientists reported Friday that "it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."
The Argentine tegu lizard doesn’t grow nearly as big as a Burmese python but it may be a greater threat to South Florida’s native animals.
At a maximum size of four feet, a tegu can’t gobble down a full-grown deer or alligator with its rapier-sharp teeth. But the invasive, black and white reptiles have the potential to cause even more ecological damage than the 18-foot snakes that have drawn international media attention in recent years. And now, scientists say, it’s too late to eradicate them.
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:06 am
Something is wrong in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.
Over the past year, record numbers of dolphins, manatees and pelicans have turned up dead in the 150-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Bouts of algal blooms have flourished in the waters. All the signs point to an ecosystem that is seriously out of balance. The crisis has mobilized scientists, residents and elected officials in Florida.
Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am
Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.
That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.
Lt. j.g. Kyle Salling stood on the bow of a 24-foot boat in Florida Bay, holding what looked like a large model airplane. With the propellers gently whirling, and the small red and green aviation lights on, Sims launched the 13-pound aircraft like he was throwing a javelin.
The remote-controlled Puma AE banked upward into the sky and began heading toward its target, a mangrove island called Pigeon Key about a quarter-mile away in the vast Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:11 pm
The Environmental Protection Agency's second stab at a proposal to set the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants would make it impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired plants that have been the country's biggest source of electricity for decades.
Under the proposal, released Friday, any new plant that runs on coal would be permitted to emit only about half as much carbon dioxide as an average coal plant puts into the air today.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 11:15 am
The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.
There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.
When the late Archie Carr, a pioneering University of Florida ecologist, first began documenting the decline of sea turtles in the 1960s, the future looked grim — particularly for the green turtle.
The green turtle had long been a Florida seafood menu staple, usually served up in the famous soup. But with the population largely eaten out of existence in state waters, most meat had to be imported.
Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 12:00 pm
From the east and the west, two storm systems are closing in on Mexico, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. Hurricane Ingrid is moving toward the country's east coast in the Gulf of Mexico; Tropical Storm Manuel is closing in on the southwest coast in the Pacific Ocean.
A short-term benefit package will flow toward South Florida following approval Thursday of the plan to improve the health of waterways harmed by releases from Lake Okeechobee.
The $2.77 million allocation approved by the Legislative Budget Commission is to improve pump stations, reducing the flow of polluted waters that have negatively affected the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. The money will also go to a build a channel to aid the flow of water from the Florida Everglades across the barrier of the Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County.
Numerous parcels within the Florida Keys have been removed from the list of state-owned properties under consideration for a massive sale to help fund future land-conservation efforts.
The announcement Thursday from the state Department of Environmental Protection came as Susan Grandin, director of the Division of State Lands, defended the overall proposal to sell targeted acres of conservation lands to raise money for the purchase of more critical sites.