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.

A Senate panel has approved a plan to appropriate new dollars for the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs.  But the proposal could wind up vying for funding with a beach restoration measure.

NPR

A Florida State University study links declining bumble bee populations with climate change.

The researchers examined three bumble bee species in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and found warmer temperatures are affecting flowers, the animals’ food source.

Lead investigator Jane Ogilvie considers the findings a warning for other places like Florida, where she says the issue is not as well-studied.

“There could be subtle changes in how flowers are distributed in a place like Florida that could have these knock-on effects on pollinators.”

 

The practice of shark finning — removing a shark’s dorsal fin and discarding the animal’s body back into the water — has been in the political spotlight in recent months.

Peter Haden / WLRN

The water level in Lake Okeechobee has reached a level not seen in more than a decade — 17.16 feet — prompting concerns about the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott accompanied U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Jason Kirk on a levee inspection around the lake in Clewiston on Monday.

The  Corps of Engineers will be conducting daily inspections of the southern half of the Herbert Hoover dike as long as the water level remains above 17 feet.

The Corps predicts the dike will remain sound, according to Kirk.  

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will scuttle an Obama-era clean power plan aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, made the announcement in Hazard, Ky., on Monday, saying the rule hurt coal-fired plants.

"The EPA and no federal agency should ever use its authority to say to you we are going to declare war on any sector of our economy," Pruitt said, speaking at an event with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

MARK HEDDEN / MARKHEDDEN.COM

The Florida Roundup tackles a big backlog in immigration court, the housing squeeze in the Keys after Irma and how the storm may have helped sea life but hurt those making a living from the sea. 

This week's guests on The Florida Roundup with host Tom Hudson: 

A Texas company has asked state environmental regulators to allow crews to resume their hunt for oil beneath Big Cypress National Preserve in southwest Florida.

Interior Secretary: Trump Committed To Everglades Projects

Oct 8, 2017

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke picked up a machete to help clear a swamp buggy trail in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

A state legislator wants to reaffirm Florida’s commitment—to a horse and a turtle.

After Irma, Slow-Moving Crisis Headed For Lake Okeechobee

Sep 18, 2017
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The winds and outer bands of Hurricane Irma are long gone, but as rainwater drains south through Florida’s rivers and watersheds, the storm still presents a slow-moving crisis headed right for Lake Okeechobee.

As if loss of air conditioning and refrigeration weren't bad enough, widespread power outages in hurricane-battered Florida are teaming with structural failures to cause another headache: sewage overflows.

Local governments have submitted well over 100 "notices of pollution" to the state Department of Environmental Protection since Hurricane Irma struck, some involving multiple spills and releases of millions of gallons of wastewater in various stages of treatment.

President Donald Trump is nominating Tallahassee attorney Matthew Leopold for Environmental Protection Agency general counsel, and advocates say his background as a Florida regulator is a plus.

NOAA via AP

With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, water managers in South Florida are bracing for heavy rainfall they say could exacerbate high water issues from record-setting rains the region experienced earlier this summer.

Photo courtesy Brevard County

A $302 million clean-up of the Indian River Lagoon isn’t neglecting its shoreline.

Researchers are mapping some 200 miles of Indian River Lagoon shoreline in a first-of-its kind study in Brevard County aimed at understanding its condition.

Melinda Donnelly of the University of Central Florida led the team. She says natural shorelines help filter pollutants and provide habitat for an array of species.

At a time when the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs are facing unprecedented destruction, researchers in Australia have found a small ray of hope for the fish that make the reefs their home.

Fish are more resilient to the effects of ocean acidification than scientists had previously thought, according to research published Thursday in Scientific Reports.

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