Environment

A quarter century after the state promised to clean up polluted farm water fouling the Everglades in a historic federal court order, water managers say its time to end the judicial oversight.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Supreme Court-appointed lawyer ruled against Florida in its decades-long water war with Georgia. As the court prepares to make its final decision, lawmakers are going back to the legislative drawing board. WFSU News went to the coast to see what the ruling means for the struggling Apalachicola Bay and its world famous oysters.

Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but state and federal wildlife officials are raising their official estimate of the number of endangered Florida Panthers.

North Florida Congressman Neal Dunn wants to throw out a federal plan that would reduce freshwater flowing into the struggling Apalachicola Bay. The move comes after a Supreme Court-appointed lawyer ruled against the state in the decades-long water war with Georgia. The Court has not yet made a final ruling. But Dunn and his colleagues are going back to the legislative drawing board to challenge the Army Corps of Engineers.

Florida is a prime breeding ground for invasive species that can threaten the state’s ecology and economy. For every lionfish or Burmese python that’s captured, thousands remain. And the sheer scope of the problem is pushing some lawmakers to ask how much of a difference state funding actually makes.

Courtesy of Erica Smith, Bok Tower Gardens

Have you ever looked up at the sky and found the artificial light was blocking out the stars? Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales is drawing attention to this issue on Saturday night.

Sen. Nelson Wades Into Apalachicola River Water Battle

Feb 16, 2017
USGS

With an adverse legal decision in the ongoing "water war" with Georgia, Florida congressional members on Wednesday began taking steps to reassert Florida's claim that regional water policies are hurting Apalachicola Bay.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fl., said he has filed a bill to require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase the freshwater flow from Georgia south into the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Phosphate giant Mosaic is going to get its expansion in Manatee County.  

It took several weeks and hearings for Manatee Commissioners to decide on the Mosaic request to expand its Wingate mine in the eastern part of the county.  Before Wednesday's vote, Commission Chairwoman Betsy Benac weighed in saying what commissioners did was not "a popularity contest."  

"You know, I don't like mining, but they have property rights, but mining is a specific, and I know Commissioner (Robin) DiSabatino knows this because she's a realtor, mining is a specific property right."

A new hunting dog rule approved by Florida wildlife officials is drawing some concerns.

Just days after a federal judge denied another attempt by protesting Native American tribes in North Dakota to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, South Florida has its own pipeline protest going on.

The Florida State Beekeepers Association has successfully raised $200,000 to fund an international bee research lab at the University of Florida.


Wikipedia Commons

A judicial official sided with Georgia in a decades-long dispute over water rights with Florida on Tuesday, recommending that the U.S. Supreme Court refuse Florida's high-stakes request to cap water use by its neighboring state.

When a diver who was also a volunteer for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation saw a fish that looked out of place in the waters off Dania Beach in October, she sent a photo to REEF, a marine conservation nonprofit based in Key Largo.

While President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions and Supreme Court pick dominate the headlines, many Floridians are focused more intently on Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

UPDATED: 1/31:

Manatee County Commissioners extended a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of the Wingate East phosphate mine until Wednesday.

Commissioners Monday finished a two-day public hearing, where most of the speakers opposed the mine expansion. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, they'll question Mosaic engineers and county staffers, beginning at 9 a.m. The board is expected to vote on the rezoning request at the end of that meeting.

Monday, dozens of people told commissioners what they think about the mine expansion.

Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio met with Southwest Florida citrus growers Friday in Immokalee to discuss challenges facing the industry and how the federal government can help.  The bacterial disease, citrus greening, has decimated the industry over the past decade, reducing crop yields by 70 percent compared to where they stood twenty years ago. 

South Florida is a hotspot for invasive species, and the exotic plants, reptiles, amphibians, and fish that take root in the subtropical region of Florida can cause harm to the ecology, economy, and even human health.

From invasive Burmese pythons to Argentine black and white tegus, from Clown Knifefish in the water to the climbing, coiling kudzu plants, Florida’s native plants and animals face displacement by nonnative species.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The first hint that Mosaic's Wingate Mine is no ordinary phosphate mine comes when you drive down a dirt road and see a large dredge boat listing in a pond that can barely contain it. Drive a few more minutes, and prepare to board a tugboat in a huge artificial lake.

A coalition calling itself Stand Up North Florida went public Monday. It says it wants more state water conservation money to go to North and Central Florida. Representing the group were local and state politicians and business leaders. Environmentalists were notably absent.

Environmental groups are giving Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson mixed reviews as he becomes one of the latest of Governor Rick Scott's top lieutenant's to step down.

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