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Environment

Amy Green / WMFE

Florida water managers are bracing for a potential water shortage months after massive releases from Lake Okeechobee triggered widespread toxic algae.

Authorities say a Maitland police officer fatally shot a rabid otter several days after people reported attacks.

Four Florida Species No Longer Listed As Imperiled

Jan 15, 2019

Florida wildlife authorities say four species no longer will be listed as imperiled.

Governor Ron DeSantis is receiving high praise from some environmental groups for his quick action focused on the Everglades. Last week, the governor called for $2.5 billion for Everglades restoration and combatting red tide and blue-green algae across the state. He also empowered two separate task forces, one on toxic algae and another dedicated to sea-level rise. And he called for the resignation of the entire South Florida Water Management District governing board.

'Fracking' Ban Proposed In The House

Jan 14, 2019

With the idea getting support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, a House Republican has filed a proposal to ban the oil- and gas-drilling process known as “fracking” in Florida.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis followed up on a campaign promise Thursday by signing an executive order designed to address the environmental issues that have been plaguing the state.

A bipartisan group of Florida representatives is pushing to end offshore oil drilling in Florida for good. New legislation would permanently extend a federal moratorium that is set to expire in 2022.

Several people voiced concern Tuesday about 30,000 tons of toxic sludge from Fort Myers that will be dumped in a Polk County landfill. But there's nothing county officials can do about it.

President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill expanding funding in response to toxic algae.

Before leaving the governor's mansion for the U.S. Senate, Rick Scott filled more than 70 positions. It includes a Bradenton man facing an environmental ethics complaint.

Last year, a judge ruled the Florida legislature ran afoul of a constitutional amendment directing a certain amount of money be set aside for environmental spending. It seemed like a victory for environmentalists.  the amendment’s backers have filed a brief in an appeal of the case, saying the judge may have overstepped.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is making its way through its list of 57 of the state’s imperiled species, issuing voluntary guidelines to help landowners and other interested parties with the animals’ conservation.

The agency recently approved guidelines for another nine species. The animals that the agency hopes will benefit from the guidelines include a frog found mainly at Eglin Air Force Base; a tiny fish that in Florida is found only in the Escambia River; and more recognizable species like the roseate spoonbill and the little blue heron.

Mayor Rick Kriseman Facebook page

St. Petersburg is one of 25 cities getting money to go green from philanthropist and rumored presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg.


Florida State Parks want to help you usher in the New Year with a "First Day Hike."

More than 35 events are planned at parks across Florida on Jan. 1 as part of a national initiative to get folks out to their state parks. And unlike national parks, the federal shutdown won't affect state park facilities on the first day of the new year.

Preparations are underway for a long-anticipated reservoir project meant to help restore the Everglades and prevent toxic blue-green algae outbreaks around Florida’s coasts.

The South Florida Water Management District has started surveying areas where it can expand canals that run south of Lake Okeechobee. The canals will help move lake water south to an Everglades reservoir.

Eight Florida youth have amended a lawsuit accusing the state of failing to protect them from climate change to name Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

The lawsuit alleges the state has violated the youth’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by supporting policies that accelerate climate change.

The federal government recently released a report claiming climate change is, in fact, real. The report confirms that climate change is an issue that is spiraling, and will likely lead to significant implications that could potentially affect the economy or human safety. Some climate change-caused scenarios are earthquakes, wildfires, floods, increased hurricane intensity, disrupted agriculture yields, or increasingly severe algal blooms and red tide outbreaks.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

Seabird specialists say that toxic red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico affect every species differently. Some shore birds are affected later than others.

Three Florida cities have spilled almost 1 million gallons (3.8 million liters) of wastewater in recent days.

NOAA.gov

When lawmakers return to the Capitol in January to prepare for the 2019 legislative session, four Senate committees will delve into the impacts of Hurricane Michael, according to a Senate calendar.

City of Sarasota Utilities

The storm that rumbled through Florida Thursday caused a rupture at a sewage treatment plant in Sarasota that released nearly one million gallons of wastewater.

Sarasota utilities officials say while most of the estimated 900,000 gallons of wastewater was contained at the site of the spill, an undetermined amount of wastewater flowed into Sarasota Bay.

JESSICA MESZAROS / WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

A Red Tide bill backed by Florida lawmakers was passed by the United States Congress and is now headed to President Donald Trump's desk to be signed into law.

After months of widespread red tide infestation along Florida's coast, the noxious algae bloom is giving much of the state a break.

It’s been a deadly year for manatees, but Florida wildlife officials believe there are more of the threatened marine mammals than they previously thought.

Off Cedar Key on Florida's west coast, the water is some of the most pristine in the Gulf. The estuary there has long supported a thriving seafood industry.

Sue Colson, a city commissioner in Cedar Key, says one of the best places to harvest oysters used to be the Lone Cabbage oyster reef, about a mile offshore. When the tide was really low, she says there were so many oysters that she and her husband could walk along the reef picking them up.

Historic Decade-Old Everglades Deal Dies Quietly

Dec 18, 2018

A decade-old billion-dollar deal in which the state would have bought out the nation’s largest sugar cane producer and restored the Everglades’ historic flow is dead.

The South Florida Water Management District voted quietly to terminate a remaining option of the 2008 agreement in which the state would have bought out U.S. Sugar Corp.

Central Florida water management district board member Dan O’Keefe says the decision to terminate the deal was authorized by a 2016 legislative measure to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Governor-elect Ron Desantis’s environmental transition team is focusing on water quality and supply. But when climate change didn’t come up in the team’s discussions, advocates for environmental protection took action.

Carlton Ward Jr.

Looking from atop the ridge at U.S. Highway 27 as it follows the sandy central spine of the state, you can see brand-new red roofs roll in waves down the hills to Interstate 4.

Leaders from nearly 200 countries, including the United States, are at a big climate conference in Poland this week. They are struggling to agree on rules for how to meet their national promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement of 2015. The official U.S. position is making it difficult.

The group advising Governor-elect Ron Desantis on environmental issues met Monday for the first time. Members focused on water quality and supply.


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