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Environment

The Executive Director of Florida’s wildlife agency is leaving. He’s the latest to step down from a top role at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

In the aftermath of any major storm, we can expect to see many toppled and uprooted trees in South Florida. But recently one massive tree in a public park in Miami-Dade was tagged with a heartfelt plea for passersby.

Stuck on the tree were two handwritten signs reading “I’m alive. So stand me up!”

“It's a good intention,” says Adrian Hunsberger, urban horticulture agent with the University of Florida/Miami-Dade County Extension Office. “But usually if it's blown over and it's laying on its side it's really beyond salvaging.”

The impacts of hurricanes on people are well documented, and can scar communities for years. But the ecological effects of storms aren’t as obvious. 

Business Group Takes Aim At State Environmental Proposal

Nov 21, 2017

One of state's most-powerful business groups is gearing up to fight a proposal at the Florida Constitution Revision Commission that the group argues would lead to increased litigation about environmental issues.

Associated Industries of Florida announced Tuesday it has hired attorneys from the Gunster law firm to battle a proposal filed by Constitution Revision Commission member Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch that would give Floridians more legal standing when environmental problems occur.

For nearly 25 years, the Miami Seaquarium’s killer whale, Lolita, has been the star of a sequel that has never been made.

In 1995, inspired by the original tale of Keiko, the whale in the 1993 film “Free Willy,” a Washington state governor sought to make Lolita the next captive killer whale returned to the ocean. A fundraising campaign ensued, and soon it seemed that Free Lolita could be the next real-life Free Willy.

New Senate appropriations chairman Rob Bradley wants more of the land acquisition trust fund going to land purchasing and management. 

Florida's $2.5 billion request for federal disaster relief for its agriculture industry after Hurricane Irma might not be enough.

This week, Governor Rick Scott announced tax cuts he'd like to have in place for next year. But he also recently said he wants to spend almost $2 billion dollars on environmental projects. 


Florida lawmakers are advancing a plan to allocate $100 million a year to the land buying program Florida Forever. Last year the legislature zeroed out its funding.

Photo Courtesy Florida Audubon

Gov. Rick Scott has appointed one of Florida's leading environmental advocates to run the state park system.

Eric Draper has been executive director of Audubon Florida for 18 years. At the end of the month, he'll take over as director of 164 state parks. It's a bit of a switch for a service that has been criticized in the past for proposals such as logging and grazing in state parks.

Something much larger than a luxury yacht was unveiled at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Thursday.

South Florida’s new Marine Research Hub hopes to make the region the next Silicon Valley or Durham Research Triangle for marine sciences.

 

Dave Chapman and dozens of other long-time organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards board in Jacksonville.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging lawmakers to put $50 million into repairs for Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover dike.

Florida Governor Rick Scott stopped by the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Monday extolling his proposal for $1.7 billion in environmental funding next year — a more than $200 million boost from the current year.

But some critics are questioning the governor’s motive for the funding increase. Environmental groups who’ve traditionally been at odds with Scott are tepidly supportive of the governor’s proposal.


Julio Ochoa / Health News Florida

Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe announced Friday he won't press charges against the city of St. Petersburg.

The decision came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's investigation into the city's sewage discharges of 2015 and 2016.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is unveiling his plans for environmental spending ahead of the 2018 lawmaking session.

Gov. Scott Calls For Boost In Environmental Spending

Oct 23, 2017
Photo Courtesy Florida Audubon

Spending on Florida's natural resources and environmental programs would grow by $220 million under a proposal by Gov. Rick Scott as he nears his final recommended state budget.

The $1.7 billion environmental package for lawmakers to consider in 2018 includes increased funding for the state's springs, beaches and parks, along with $355 million for Everglades restoration, $50 million to help the federal government speed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee and $50 million for Florida Forever, the state's most prominent land-preservation fund.

Photo Courtesy American Phytopathological Society

A new statewide poll shows environmental issues to be one of the top five issues facing Floridians. But not all parts of the state have the same concerns.

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

Oct 20, 2017

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. 

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