Environment

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.  

Things are a bit quieter at the state capital, now that the year's legislative session is over. Many bills were left on the table, as always happens, but one that made it is being cheered by numerous environmental groups. 

Scott Signs Lake Okeechobee Bill

May 10, 2017

A plan to build reservoirs south of Florida's Lake Okeechobee to treat polluted water before it flows downstream became law Tuesday as Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed that and 10 other bills.


The Knight Foundation

The Florida Legislature has voted to eliminate funding for Florida Forever, the state's primary land-conservation program.

The only part of Florida Forever that is receiving any money this coming year is $10 million dollars for ranchers to not develop their land.  Since 2001, the state has spent nearly $3 billion to buy more than 700,000 acres of land.

Florida Forest Service

It's been hot and dry and it's peak wildfire season in Florida. That's a point drawn home to the families who live near River Ridge Middle School and High School. They are close enough to the big fire in Starkey Wilderness Preserve that the campuses were cloaked in smoke yesterday.

That is why Pasco School Superintendent Kurt Browning decided to push back the schedule for those two schools, which are opening at 10:45 in the morning and ending the school day late in the afternoon for the rest of this week.

 UPDATED: Friday, June 30, 2017 at 10:36 AM 

CORRECTION: WGCU originally wrote, "Acquaviva did not return WGCU’s calls for comment," but it should read "call."

Lee County is once again looking for the chemical arsenic on Pine Island. That’s after documents surfaced from a few years ago showing arsenic levels hundreds and sometimes thousands of times higher than the federal government allows on private and public lands.

Experts say this could’ve potentially harmed island residents and wildlife within the surrounding estuaries. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal, but state and federal health officials say if high levels are consumed, it can make people sick and cause cancer.

Public records show state environmental officials knew about the high arsenic levels but decided to stop testing for it in 2015.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

A handful of residents living near the Tampa Sports Authority's Babe Zaharias golf course are protesting the application of the fumigant "Curfew," which is set for Tuesday, May 9. They say the insecticide, which is being used to control nematodes, can be harmful to people and animals. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, monitors weather and climate change for the federal government. It predicts about one foot of sea level rise by 2100 under the best case scenario, and more than eight feet of sea level rise in the so-called “extreme” scenario.

The Florida House is pushing to change how money in one of the state’s primary environmental trust funds is spent.  But most lawmakers were in the dark about how much money the fund will get as the measure went to a vote.

The American Petroleum Institute is praising President Donald Trump’s latest move to open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling. But more than  half of Florida’s Congressional delegation stands opposed.

The push by Florida's largest power company to charge customers for out-of-state fracking investments is dead, putting an end to a pair of big-money fracking fights this session in the Florida Legislature.


Florida lawmakers have tentatively agreed to pull funding from the state's top land conservation programs.

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that would open up areas off the West Coast and the Northeast Unites States to oil drilling. The executive order would reverse an Obama-era ban on drilling.

Wikipedia Commons

Marches to raise awareness about the need to address climate change and rising sea levels will be held Saturday throughout the Tampa Bay area. It's part of a worldwide effort to urge action to curb greenhouse gases.

The wildfire in Golden Gate Estates destroyed nine structures, including four homes. The Florida Forest Service is urging people to be “Firewise”

The premise is simple: Take proactive measures to protect your house in the event of a wildfire. 

Advocates are hopeful they’ll see legislation implementing tax breaks on solar energy pass the legislature this session. But they’re not happy with different parts of the House and Senate bills.

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