Environment

Environmental groups are raising concerns about the Senate’s dramatically expanded plan to fight massive toxic algae blooms carpeting South Florida waterways.

The House Majority Leader says there’s a chance a hydraulic fracturing bill could pass the Florida Legislature this year.

Despite being known as the "Sunshine State," Florida lags behind others parts of the country when it comes to generating electricity through solar power. Florida is the third largest state by population in the U.S., but when it comes to harnessing the power of the sun, it's out-shined by states like California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Florida Forest Service

In Florida, it's always wildfire season. But spring is the time of year when the risk is highest.

Wading bird nests in the Everglades were at their lowest number last year since 2008.

The Tamil word for python is "malaippāmpu." Translated literally, it means "mountain snake."

But two Tamil-speaking snake trackers from India, who are in South Florida to help with the region's python problem, think "water snake" would be a more appropriate name.

Turtle Nesting Season Calls For Citizen Awareness

Mar 2, 2017

Florida is a large nesting site for endangered sea turtles, such as the leatherback. Dr. Robbin Trindell leads the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sea turtle management program. She warns curious bystanders can inadvertently harm a nesting sea turtle.

A proposal to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee could create more than 39,000 jobs, according to a study released Tuesday by the Everglades Foundation.

The state tourism industry calls it “Bragging Season”. To the weather community, the three-month period from December to February is referred to as meteorological winter. This year, however, many Floridians are asking themselves “what winter?”

 

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Sabal Trail has got to go…”

About 50 protesters in downtown Tampa in November chanted as they marched up and down Ashley Drive with signs that said "Protect our water" and "Solidarity with Standing Rock." This protest is one of many that have sprung up across Florida since construction began on the Sabal Trail Transmission Pipeline last summer.

Bill Would Block Bear Hunts

Mar 1, 2017

Black bears couldn't be hunted in Florida for a decade, while at least $1 million would be set aside so more people could purchase bear-resistant trash containers, under a measure filed Tuesday in the Senate.

The proposal (SB 1304) by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, also seeks to regulate burn schedules in state forests and parks to allow for the regrowth of oak trees, saw palmettos and other berry-producing plants that feed black bears.

"It is our obligation to ensure the preservation of the iconic species as well as the safety of our neighborhoods," Stewart said in a prepared statement.

During the moratorium, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would have to conduct a 5-year population trend study of black bears, which includes an impact of hunting. The bill is part of the continued reaction to a black-bear hunt in October 2015 in which 304 bears were killed. The hunt was the first in the state in two decades.

The children of farmworkers could get a chance to go to college for free under a state lawmaker’s plan. But one advocate is worried the requirements will put the scholarship out of reach for many.

The Everglades Foundation is touting the economic benefits of water storage south of Lake Okeechobee.

The state is spending $4 million to remove abandoned orange groves across Florida. That’s about four times the budget state agriculture officials had in past years for this effort. 

Steve Newborn/WUSF News

A 515-mile pipeline is being placed through northern and central Florida. When it's completed, it will supply natural gas from the North and Midwest to power plants throughout the state. And the construction has attracted protesters and fired up neighbors affected by the project.

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.

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