Environment

Researchers are concerned about another nonnative species moving into Florida waters. Schools of the regal damselfish now live in coral reefs on the western side of the Gulf of Mexico. The fish are not harmful, but they could be a nuisance.

The Florida League of Cities is dropping its opposition to a highly controversial fracking bill after Republican sponsors and their industry allies agreed to give local officials some say over where oil and gas drilling could occur.

Elevated Tornado Risk With Approaching Storm

Jan 21, 2016
FPREN

While the Mid-Atlantic states prepare for what could me a historic snowfall, we're watching the cold front associated with this storm that could bring severe weather, including tornadoes, to the Tampa Bay area.

In only eight days earlier this month, three strong tornadoes touched down in Florida. Prior to that, only three had been recorded since 2008, a span of over seven years. Chances of another tornado event are growing Friday, and similar to last weekend’s storms, it could hit before dawn in some areas.

Timing the Tornado Risk on Friday

In the Florida Everglades alligators are in trouble. The reptiles are scrawny, weighing 80 percent of what they should. The alligators grow slower, reproduce less and die younger.

Researchers are trying to understand why the Everglades' iconic species is in decline and what it means for the ailing river of grass.

Water Policy Bill Ready for Gov. Scott's Signature

Jan 16, 2016

A statewide water-policy bill that is a top priority of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was overwhelmingly approved Thursday by the Florida House.

Feds Seek to Change Manatee Status to 'Threatened'

Jan 8, 2016

Pointing to increased numbers of manatees and improved habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it wants to change the status of the sea cows from endangered to threatened.

Rainbow Springs
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A massive bill to protect Florida's springs, waterways and groundwater appears headed for passage at the start of the coming legislative session, despite objections from environmentalists who say it's been weakened by the influence of industry and agriculture interests.

They say they still hope floor amendments will close loopholes in Senate and House companion bills SB 552 and HB 7005, and are trying to pressure legislators.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

One of the most contentious environmental issues facing state lawmakers in the upcoming session is what to do with Amendment 1. That mandated a large pot of tax money be used to buy and protect environmentally-sensitive land. But just how that money should be used is muddying the political waters.

Submission for Best Series: Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition

The sun appears to be setting on a solar power ballot initiative, with organizers saying they may not collect enough signatures by a February 1st deadline.

Juvenile sturgeon
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The newest food gracing high-end retail stores comes from an area known more for cattle ranches and citrus groves than sturgeon. We go to an experimental farm far inland from the Gulf of Mexico, where a treat many of us have never tasted is being raised.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

That fish gracing your dinner table now is either caught in the wild - or raised in offshore cages. But with demand growing, researchers are looking for new alternatives to raise food. We take a tour of an experimental farm run by Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. There, fish - and vegetables grown using fish waste - are being raised far inland from the Gulf of Mexico. 

AP Photo

Florida set a new record for the number of panthers killed on roads after a 1-year-old female panther was hit by a car on Tuesday.

The United Nations climate change conference takes place in Paris this month. World leaders hope to agree on actions to prevent global warming. At the same time, the “Climate Hope Presentation” is happening in Sarasota on Monday, Dec. 7. Presenters will discuss environmental issues, but there will be a greater emphasis on solutions. WGCU’s Jessica Meszaros spoke with one of the event’s organizers.

Judge Tosses Part Of 'Amendment 1' Challenge

Dec 4, 2015
Florida Department of Environmental Protection

A Leon County judge Thursday removed a major part of a lawsuit that contests how lawmakers decided to spend money that voters approved last year for land buying and preservation.

However, an attorney for four environmental groups challenging the state's spending called the ruling a victory.

Fracking opponents flooded a House committee room Wednesday, arguing unsuccessfully for a ban on the oil and gas drilling technique in Florida.

www.mangrove.at

As the international forum on climate change heats up in Paris this week, it's placing a spotlight on places such as Florida - which could be Ground Zero for rising sea levels in the United States.

One computer model has the Florida Keys completely under water in a little over a century - if greenhouse-causing carbon emissions aren't curtailed.

The Sabal Trail pipeline, a joint venture of Spectra Energy, Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light Co.'s parent company, would extend 515 miles from central Alabama to Osceola County. The project, which covers more than 260 miles in Florida, faces a legal challenge to a state permit in Florida from an environmental group named the WWALS Watershed Coalition. On Oct. 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, saying it had "very significant concerns" about the process of choosing a route because of the threat of pollution to the Floridan Aquifer and the impact on conservation areas.

Gov. Scott Urges Lawmakers to Fund Bear-Proofing Measures

Nov 26, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

The state would set aside $230,000 for bear-resistant trash cans and outreach programs to reduce conflicts between humans and bears, as part of Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $79.3 billion budget.

The money would be used to partner with residents, local governments and businesses as a way to prevent bear attacks, according to a press release that accompanied Scott's budget on Monday. The funding request will be considered during the 2016 legislative session that begins in January.

Florida Dodges Hurricanes - Again

Nov 26, 2015

The Atlantic hurricane season is coming to a close for the 10th consecutive year without Florida taking a direct hit.

Going from June 1 to Nov. 30 without a hurricane making landfall --- even though hurricanes can form outside the designated "season" --- is once again great news for residents and for the insurance industry.

But emergency-management officials say there isn't time to rest.

Cloudy patches from other kinds of disasters --- storm-related flooding and tornadoes --- could be on the winter and spring horizon.

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