Environment

The water level in Lake Okeechobee appears to have stabilized.

Rainwater from Hurricane Irma has pushed the lake over an alarming 17 feet. It's risen more than 3 feet since the storm, the highest the lake level has been since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct daily inspections of the lake’s 80-year-old dike.

The Corps has been working to reinforce the eroded Herbert Hoover Dike for a decade. The $1.7 billion project is scheduled to take another eight years.

Plastics Widespread in Florida Coastal Waterways

10 hours ago

New research shows plastic pollution is widespread in Florida’s coastal waters.

Today in Sundial: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced earlier this year that she would not be running for office again in 2018. That brings to an end almost 40 years of public service. The Republican legislator joins us to discuss why she made the choice to end her political career, as well as chiming in about some of the big issues being debated on Capitol Hill.

The Florida Cabinet has approved a conservation easement in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

Florida’s beaches are in constant need of restoration, to truck in sand that the sea washes away. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, miles of critically eroded beaches are in even more danger. Now a powerful lawmaker is once again trying to get funding to replenish the shorelines.

Three Florida parks in the Keys opened to the public Friday for the first time since Hurricane Irma, as the state looks at overall storm damage to its parks topping $55 million.

Excess water from Hurricane Irma is still making its way through Florida, exacerbating the significant water management challenges the state's faced this rainy season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting this year’s Florida citrus crop will be the smallest since the 1940s. The state is slated to produce 54 million boxes, down from nearly 300 million in the 2000s.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Relief is coming to Pasco County’s agricultural community with a Disaster Assistance Session, Thursday, Oct. 12.

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.

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.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Now there's a way to leverage the power of group buying to get solar power installed in homes and businesses. Two new cooperatives are being formed to spread the cost of getting solar power installed in homes in Hillsborough and north Pinellas counties.

The League of Women Voters and a consortium called Florida Solar United Neighborhoods started the solar power co-operatives. The co-op aids residents and businesses by using competitive bidding. 

Hurricane Irma hung over an annual gathering of state and industry officials discussing water policy.

Some of Florida’s military supporters are lining up behind the state’s land acquisition program. Unlikely allies are joining forces to defend Florida Forever.

With losses total in some areas of the state, Florida’s iconic citrus industry will need Congressional help to recover from Hurricane Irma, according to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Florida has reopened 114 of the state parks that were closed for Hurricane Irma.

National Weather Service Image

Hernando County is opening a shelter in Brooksville for people escaping the high water of the Withlacoochee River.  Residents along the river, near Trilby in eastern Hernando County, have been asked to voluntarily evacuate.

National Park Service

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc not only on people and buildings, but on nature. Birds were pushed by the winds from the Caribbean into Florida, and the Category 3 storm washed away beaches and bird habitat in the Everglades and Florida Keys. WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida, about Irma's impact.

Here's some of the impacts outlined by Audubon Florida:

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Even though Hurricane Irma is well behind us, many neighborhoods remain several feet underwater - including one along the Alafia River near Lithia.

As major Hurricane Irma makes its way to Florida, farmers across the state have to prepare their lands.

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