Environment

In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? 

WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

Amy Green / WMFE

A key player on Everglades issues was elevated Monday to become executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, replacing Pete Antonacci who is leaving to become Gov. Rick Scott's top business recruiter.

The district's Governing Board unanimously agreed during a teleconference to promote Ernie Marks, district director of Everglades policy and coordination, to executive director.

Read more: River of Grass, Dying of Thirst

Florida Keys--Public Libraries

Should Florida allow harvesting of goliath grouper?

That is the question being discussed at 15 public workshops around the state.

The mammoth fish can grow to the size of a grizzly bear. What’s not been big about goliath grouper are their numbers: Fisheries dwindled due to overfishing in the 80s. In 1990, harvest of goliath grouper was prohibited in Florida state waters and Gulf and South Atlantic federal waters.

But, a recent federal stock assessment showed goliath groupers numbers on the rise South Florida waters.

As the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary, researchers there say that they’re on the cusp of developing a cure to the most serious threat facing the citrus industry worldwide:  citrus greening. 

Some conservationists say the wrong kind of serpent has been released into a Florida preserve known locally as "the original Garden of Eden," but others say there's no problem.


Kate Stein / WLRN

A chemical used for mosquito control in South Florida has been the source of controversy in recent weeks, after a study showed it could be linked to developmental delays in infants.

Miami Herald

Earlier this month a swimmer was attacked by a shark at Haulover Beach in Miami-Dade County. That person suffered no life-threatening injuries, but the attack was shocking because it was so rare. In the last 135 years, there have only been 15 total attacks in Miami-Dade.

At Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, the landscape is quintessential Florida. There's the marsh area with towering cypress trees and there's the wet prairie. 

It's what Florida looked like hundreds of years ago. And it's one of the places where people were tallying butterflies for the North American Butterfly Association's (NABA) summer count. 

South Florida Water Management District

Described by Gov. Rick Scott as someone who can “get deals done,” South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Pete Antonacci has been tapped as the next leader of the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida.

Enterprise Florida's executive committee last week unanimously approved a recommendation by agency Vice Chairman Stan Connally to offer the president and CEO position to Antonacci rather than to go through a search.

Kyle Holsten / WLRN

When he had a landscaping business, Bob Hartmann grew 200,000 orchids and thousands of other plants on his three acres in Southwest Ranches, about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.

 


Two days after his 69th birthday, Snooty the manatee has died in what the South Florida Museum says was "simply a heartbreaking accident." The manatee drowned after being trapped by a hatch door, officials said Sunday.

Snooty was the oldest manatee in captivity — and he was believed to be the oldest on record, according to the South Florida Museum, which houses the Parker Manatee Aquarium in Bradenton, Fla.

"Aquarium staff is heartbroken," said Jeff Rodgers, the museum's provost and chief operating officer.

The eastern indigo snake is back in North Florida, at least that’s what a group of scientists is hoping.  Reintroducing the species caps off three decades off environmental restoration efforts.

Monroe County

A new program in the Keys aims to help boaters dispose of "end-of-life" boats — those that are in poor condition but still floating — before they are abandoned and become an expensive problem for the county.

The Vessel Turn-In Program would be the first in Florida, though not the first in the country. The Keys were chosen "because we have so many of them and they cost so much to remove," said Richard Jones, the county's senior resources administrator.

Courtesy of Netflix

A new documentary came out on Netflix last week. It’s called "Chasing Coral," and it looks at the impact of coral bleaching on reefs.

Huffington Post

 

On Tuesday morning, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote in favor of a bill cutting the EPA's budget by 7 percent. The Environmental Defense Fund and its partner advocacy organization, EDF Action, are denouncing the move.

 

Courtesy the National Parks Conservation Association

The state agency overseeing Everglades restoration is threatening to stop participating in congressionally mandated scientific reviews of its progress.

The South Florida Water Management District says it is considering withdrawing financially from the National Academies of Sciences and seeking scientific guidance elsewhere.

Spokesman Randy Smith says the scientists are overstepping their authority and threatening to slow Everglades restoration by weighing in on budgetary and engineering issues.

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