State officials, local dignitaries, and conservationalists gathered last Tuesday to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the Tamiami Trail bridge project. The plan took more than two decades to achieve and is part of a larger effort to restore fresh water flow to the Everglades.
Fire ants are notorious Florida invasives, leaving a trail of painful welts and blisters in their wake. Those pesky exotic intruders also happen to be a serious threat to some of the state's most vulnerable endemic species. This includes the Florida grasshopper sparrow, which recently made the March/April cover of Audubon Magazine as "the most endangered bird in the continental United States."
On Saturday morning, Neil Hammerschlag stood on the stern of a charter boat frequently used for his innovative shark tagging and research program. The boat had departed just after 9 a.m. from Miami Seaquarium's docks. It stopped just a few miles offshore, Miami's skyline still visible in the distance.
At the height of the construction boom in 2006, Miami sprouted the second-fastest growing skyline in the world, behind Dubai. You could count over 70 cranes crowding each other out, like a tower of steel giraffes voraciously feeding on concrete.
One of Florida's most beloved endangered species is facing a tough end to the winter. State wildlife officials have confirmed the deaths of more than 170 manatees in Southwest Florida as red tide impacts regional populations of the gentle water-dwelling mammals.
In January, WLRN reported on the curious -- and destructive -- habits of some of the Everglades National Park's vulture population. The birds have been reported to "attack" parked vehicles, picking off rubber and vinyl. The baffling and costly behavior has led Everglades' staff to pass out anti-vulture kits to park visitors. It has also motivated state conservationalists and scientists to look into the matter more thoroughly.
The recent spate of sinkhole activity in Southwest Florida -- including a fatal sinkhole in Tampa earlier this month -- has shed light on the state's geologic anomaly. But how do sinkholes impact state economic factors like property insurance and home sales?
Miami-Dade County is grappling with how to repair and replace parts of its aging sewage system, under pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Water and Sewer Department has drawn up a $1.5 billion plan.
However, the clean-water advocacy group Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper says the plan doesn’t take into account the potential for sea level rise at its three coastal treatment plants on Virginia Key and in North Miami and South Miami-Dade.
The future of some of Florida's smallest and most seldom seen inhabitants is under threat from climate change, and that could spell big trouble further up the food chain, scientists say. South Florida's coral and algae populations are declining as ocean temperatures rise and there's an economic factor to consider, according to researchers who study the coastal underwater ecosystems.
At the recent WLRN/Miami Herald-sponsored Town Hall on Session 2013 panelist Sen. Jack Latvala mentioned the need to focus on science and technology education to better prepare Florida's kids for a tech-centric global job market. It's a point echoed by Lew Crampton who serves as president and chief executive officer for the South Florida Science Museum.
Anyone who has tried to tend a garden or walk the dog in the height of a South Florida summer understands the energy-zapping qualities of a heat and humidity combo. A recently released study reports that climate change will mean an increase in those sticky, sweaty days.
As Mike Perez mingled with visitors at the recent Python Challenge awards event in Miami, his left arm supported the weight of a black-and-white lizard with a body as thick as a linebacker's bicep. Gazing through heavily hooded eyes, the lizard rarely moved, save for sticking out its forked tongue for an occasional sniff .
Florida -- and Miami in particular -- should prepare for habitat destruction, loss of cropland, increased salt-water intrusion, worsening coastal flooding, and a host of related disasters if climate change and sea level rise patterns continue, according to findings in a federal "draft climate report."
South Florida's beaches in late spring through much of the fall resemble something of a crime scene, or rather, dozens of miniature crime scenes. Brightly colored caution tape and wooden stakes can be found scattered throughout the sand, sectioning off areas where sea turtles have left the water to build nests.
That tableau could look a bit different this year, says marine conservationist Dr. Kirt Rusenko, who is based at the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton.