Environment

Despite a months-long season for red snapper in state waters off Florida and other Gulf states, fisherman across the Gulf of Mexico are gearing up to protest a brief three-day opening to catch the prized fish in federal Gulf waters. Fishermen argue a short opening hurts businesses and hampers anglers across the Gulf, but fishery managers say a small window is important to preserve a species still recovering from overfishing.

The Atlantic Storm season starts June 1st and while a lot of attention is given to the winds packed by hurricanes, that's not the only peril. Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Meteorologist Jeff Huffman says the latest data from hurricane or tropical related fatalities is striking.

Advocates are developing a Florida Forever rescue strategy for next year, even before Governor Rick Scott weighs in on the Legislature’s $82.4 billion spending plan.

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Three Pinellas County beaches being eroded by the Gulf of Mexico are taking one step closer toward being restored. The $30 million will be used to help restore beaches at Sand Key, Upham Beach and Treasure Island.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, considered the GOP frontrunner in next year’s governor’s race, is slamming the Legislature’s $82.4 billion spending plan.

Officials with the Florida Forest Service say recent rains are not enough to tamp down the hundreds of wildfires raging across the state. Parts of the state are still in a drought.

Conservation groups, Governor Rick Scott and Cabinet members are praising Florida’s newest top environmental regulator, Noah Valenstein, as a consensus builder dedicated to public service.

New State Environmental Chief Chosen

May 23, 2017

With Gov. Rick Scott describing him as “passionate about the environment,” Noah Valenstein was named Tuesday as Florida's next environmental secretary after a short interview with Scott and members of the state Cabinet.

Valenstein, a former Scott aide who is executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, will take over at the Department of Environmental Protection on June 5.

Valenstein was the only one of more than 140 applicants to be interviewed by Scott and the Cabinet for the job.

Gov. Rick Scott has about 10 days to sign legislation appropriating money to counties hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A settlement deal gives the state about $2 billion over several years.

The Florida legislature directed funding toward water projects instead of land conservation this year. But environmental groups complain that the state has still not fully implemented the land conservation constitutional amendment passed in 2014.

Florida's Rural Lands Program Could Run Short Of Cash

May 20, 2017
Florida Wildlife Corridor

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet could spend about $8.5 million next week to conserve thousands of acres of land owned for decades by two ranching families.

Such deals have become a widely used strategy in recent years to protect land from development.

But the program that would pay for the deals in Okeechobee and Highlands counties --- known as the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program --- could be out of money by 2018, even with funds carried over from the current year's budget.

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People will be joining hands on beaches from Key West to Pensacola Saturday for what has become an annual rite: Hands Across the Sands.

It was started after the BP oil spill, and has become a protest against oil drilling off Florida's coasts.

Legislation making its way on Capitol Hill could help Florida communities hit by toxic algae blooms.

This Saturday is not only Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, it’s also the kick off for Florida’s Lionfish Challenge—an incentive program to encourage people to remove the nonnative species. State wildlife officials are doing a bit of a revamp this year.

Spring is in the air, hungry Florida black bears are looking for love, and state game officials are urging caution.

Research Shows Link Between Environment, Dolphin Health

May 15, 2017

New research reveals the critical role the environment plays in dolphin health.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just left an Arctic Council meeting in Anchorage without saying whether the U.S. will pull out of the Paris accords. Meanwhile, climate change activists say Florida should pay attention to the council's latest report.

As Florida’s Bald Eagle population continues to increase, state wildlife officials are considering changes to the state’s management plan for the iconic raptors. 

This past state legislative session, Florida’s beaches got the most funding for renourishment than they have in more than a decade: $50 million. 

Chris Sampson, WUSF

More than 140 wildfires are burning in the state of Florida today.

It's a "red flag warning" day in inland portions of West Central Florida today, which means high winds, no rain in sight and low humidity. Florida remains under a state of emergency because of a rash of wildfires, with a declaration from the governor last month.  

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