Florida Keys

Courtesy Kelly Clark / National Park Service

Seventy miles west of Key West, a group of islands forms the Dry Tortugas. Those islands, and the waters surrounding them, are at the center of a national park with spectacular coral reefs. But the park is best known for its biggest structure.

Monroe County Marine Resources

In the Florida Keys, land is at a premium. But there's plenty of water — which means in recent years the area has seen an increase in the number of floating structures.

That's defined in state law as something that floats but is not a means of transportation, like a boat. Floating structures are used as homes, restaurants — and recently in the Keys, for a playground and an advertisement for helicopter tours.

Christine Ogura / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thirty female Key deer are now wearing radio collars so biologists can track them during fawning season.

The deer will be watched closely because does and newborn fawns are especially vulnerable to screwworm. The parasite has killed 135 of the endangered animals so far. The herd was estimated at 800 to 1,000 animals before the outbreak.

Screwworm flies lay their eggs in open wounds on warm-blooded animals. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the living flesh of the host.

NOAA Fisheries

Authorities say 81 false killer whales died this weekend in the southwest Everglades after their pod became stranded in shallow water.

 

Blair Mase of the National Marine Fisheries Service said on Monday that officials are investigating why the pod swam into shallow waters near Hog Key, southeast of Everglades City. Mase said rescuers had to travel about an hour by boat to the animals, and struggled to herd them into deeper water.

 

Three Dead At Underground Work Site In Keys

Jan 16, 2017
DAVID GOODHUE / Keys Reporter

Three contracted utility workers died Monday morning following an incident inside a wastewater trench in a Key Largo subdivision.

Rescue workers early Monday morning were also evacuating people in the immediate area because of a possible gas leak, said Deputy Becky Herrin, public information officer with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The subdivision is on the bayside of mile marker 106 in Key Largo.

Read more with our news partner the Miami Herald.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

There are a lot of endangered species in South Florida — and especially in the Florida Keys. Dozens of volunteers recently gathered recently to help build new homes for one of those species.

Miami Herald

A relatively small Keys-based water utility is objecting to expansion plans by mainland giant Florida Power & Light.

Deputy John Allen, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

A group of nine Cuban migrants arrived on Grassy Key, at mile marker 57.6 of the Florida Keys, around 2:20 a.m.  Tuesday after a 10-day journey from the island, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities indicated that the group was traveling in a boat that was found later behind the Rainbow Bend Resort.  

All the migrants were turned over to agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Officials plan to release lab-reared, bacteria-infected mosquitoes in the Florida Keys in March.


Andy Newman / Florida Keys News Bureau via AP

Former President Jimmy Carter; his wife, Rosalynn; and about 40 other family members have helped release a rehabilitated loggerhead sea turtle off the Florida Keys.

"Salty" was released after the Carters, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren toured The Turtle Hospital. The facility opened in 1986 and has treated and released more than 2,000 injured sea turtles.

Researchers say a widespread disease outbreak continues to afflict corals off the Upper Florida Keys.


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

It appears the endangered Key deer are winning the battle against the deadly screwworm fly.

But U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials are taking no chances as the deer head into fawning season, when the does and fawns will be especially vulnerable. Screwworm flies lay their eggs in the open wounds of warm-blooded animals. When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the living flesh of the host.

Diane Borden-Billiot / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

A Key deer was euthanized this week after it was found to be infested with screwworm. That's the bad news.

The good news is that it had been almost a month since the previous death, Nov. 14. That means the loss of the endangered species has slowed way down since the outbreak was confirmed in late September.

A total of 133 Key deer have died from the screwworms. Screwworm flies lay their eggs in the open wounds of warm blooded animals. When the eggs hatch, the larvae consume the living flesh of the host.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Florida Keys Community College established a mariculture program six years ago, after the movie "Finding Nemo" created a craze for clownfish like the title character.

But it wasn't until Mick Walsh arrived three years ago to head up the college's marine environmental technology department that the program took off.

"When I got here, we had eight pairs of parent fish and that was it," Walsh said. "And now we have eight pairs of parent fish and hundreds, hundreds of baby clownfish and many more that have also been adopted out to community members and students."

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