Florida Keys

Sue Schaf / Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Sea turtle nesting season  wrapped up at the end of October. The data is still being compiled, but initial reports indicate it was a particularly good year for one species.

"It was a great year for loggerheads this year, even with the storms," said Sue Schaf, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Mark Hedden

It's easy to spot birders. They probably have binoculars and a field guide handy. And there’s a good chance they keep a list of which birds they’ve seen, when and where.

But there’s a rare subspecies of birder you can see in South Florida every fall at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch.

Those are counters.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Federal authorities hope sterile screwworm fly releases and treating the Key deer will save the endangered species, which lives only on a few islands of the Lower Keys.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Since a screwworm infestation was identified in the Lower Keys, more than 10 million sterile screwworm flies have been released on eight islands.

Sterile flies are the proven technology to eradicate screwworms. The flies are zapped with gamma radiation, making them sterile. Then those sterile flies are released to breed with wild flies. That stops reproduction, preventing more fly larvae.

Those larvae are the problem. Screwworm flies lay their eggs in open wounds. When the larvae hatch — those larvae are the actual "screwworms" — they feed on the living flesh of the host.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is known for helping people fix up their property. But one South Florida branch is now facing its own problems with a fixer-upper.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Big Pine Key is a 6,000-foot showroom with everything from sofas to chandeliers – at very reasonable prices. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The plays of Tennessee Williams are usually set in the steamy, hot American South. Laurie Sansom is a theater director from chilly, gray Britain. But he’s come to love the works of one of America’s greatest playwrights. And because Key West is where Tennessee Williams lived for decades, that’s where Sansom came to work on a new project.

Officials say they've found no evidence of screwworm in hundreds of pets examined for signs of the parasite killing endangered deer in the Florida Keys.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The first Florida trial of the Wolbachia bacteria to combat Aedes aegypti mosquitoes has been approved for the Florida Keys.

Aedes aegypti are the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting the Zika virus. They can also carry dengue fever and chikingunya.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services approved MosquitoMate's request for a trial of Wolbachia as a method of mosquito control in the Florida Keys.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

A pest that had been eradicated from the U.S. has re-appeared in the Lower Florida Keys.

It's the first local infestation of New World screwworm in the U.S. in more than 30 years.

Jeremy Dixon / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 Burmese pythons have established themselves in the Everglades — and now they appear to be breeding in the Florida Keys, according to state and federal wildlife agencies.

Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald Staff

  The Keys have changed a lot in the last four decades — ask anyone who's visited or lived there during that time.

But one thing has remained the same: the toll collected at the booth on Card Sound Road, the only connection between the islands and the mainland other than U.S. 1. It's 50 cents an axle, the same price it has been since 1969.

"What's the same price as it was in 1969?" Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said Wednesday. "Nothing. Only that toll."

Scott Fraser / City of Key West

When it comes to sea level rise, Key West is pretty much as vulnerable as it gets. The island's average elevation is less than five feet above sea level. A tide gauge at Key West Harbor tracks the steady rise of the sea over the last century.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  While Florida Keys residents debate the use of genetically modified mosquitoes ahead of a November referendum, a new survey finds that a majority of Floridians supports the concept.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Key West has a great restaurant scene — but people who live on the island know that to get true local delicacies you have to get inside someone's kitchen. Preferably someone who was born in the Keys, or a Conch in local parlance.

Someone like Martin Liz. He was born and raised on the island and he knows how to handle a conch filet.

Diveheart

  Gabriel Spataro was instrumental in placing an Italian statue, cast from the same mold as Genoa's Christ of the Abyss, in the waters off Key Largo.

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