Environment

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.

The Florida Burrowing Owl is now considered a “Threatened” species, which means it has higher protections from the state. And environmental advocates in the city of Cape Coral hope this new title will help their efforts in preserving the local burrowing owl population. 

Officials are trying to figure out why pelicans are dying in St. Petersburg.


Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Sarasota residents who want to try out solar energy are getting a chance to save money on rooftop panels. A new solar co-op launched in the county Wednesday morning.

Some Florida environmental activists are hoping to channel public interest from one pipeline to another, by organizing a series of protests across the state. This year Native American leaders, activists and celebrities staged a months-long protest at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline, spurring the Obama Administration to ultimately halt the project. Some Florida environmentalists are taking inspiration from the Dakota Access protests in their own fight against the Sabal Trail Pipeline

Steve Linder, flickr

Fishing enthusiasts should note Florida is making some changes to mutton snapper regulations that kick in January 1.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the species is not overfished, but says data indicates the population may be lower than previously estimated.

The recreational limit for mutton snapper is essentially being cut in half. Currently there is a 10-snapper per person bag limit, and that's most kinds of snapper. But beginning in January, only five of those snappers can be mutton snapper.

www.flickr.com

Four environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to stop a plan to mine 50,000 acres of phosphate in three counties. They say the federal government hasn't looked at the overall impact of mining in the region.

Ranchers in two southwest Florida counties are eligible for federal funding to protect panthers.

King tides caused widespread flooding throughout South Florida in October and November. From Key West to West Palm Beach, pedestrians waded through streets and drivers moved their cars from massive parking lot puddles.

 

A bill that’s a major step toward restoring the Everglades’ natural water flow is on its way to President Obama.

 

Photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration

One of the rarest and least-known species of whales off of Florida's Gulf Coast could soon be listed as a threatened or endangered species.

St. Petersburg To Become First Green City

Dec 11, 2016
Sierra Club

The city of St. Petersburg will become the first city in Florida to completely transition to clean and renewable energy.

The city council voted unanimously on the decision which would generate electricity and power from sustainable sources like wind, water or solar with little to no pollution.

Mayor Rick Kriseman said was happy that his city was the first to do this and hopes other Florida cities do the same.

Republican Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg won big in August when voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, his solar tax cut ballot measure.

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