Environment

  The Florida Department of Transportation recently announced plans to install wildlife exclusionary fencing and improve wildlife underpasses along a particularly deadly stretch of I-75 in an effort to prevent more panther roadkill deaths.

Florida, Alabama Senators Wade Into River Battle

Nov 8, 2015

In a move that could help boost recovery of troubled Apalachicola Bay, U.S. senators from Florida and Alabama have asked a Senate panel to intervene in what they call "the Army Corps of Engineers' ongoing mismanagement" of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.

A bill that would amend the state’s constitution to give tax breaks to people who install renewable energy devices on their properties passed its first committee Tuesday with no complaints and no debate. The bill is sponsored by St. Petersburg Republican Senator Jeff Brandes

“Occasionally a proposal comes along that both the Baptists and the Bootleggers can agree on and this just happens to be one of those proposals,” Brandes says.

UPDATE: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the final count for the hunt was 298 bears.  

Florida ended its first black bear hunt in more than two decades this weekend. State wildlife officials said the goal was to control a bear population that has been rebounding after more than 40 years of conservation efforts.

AP photo

Hunters for the first time in more than 20 years will trudge through Florida woods on Saturday to legally kill black bears, a contentious wildlife management action that has activists taking to the streets in protest.

Florida wildlife officials have sold more than 3,200 permits to hunters from all over, including 1970s rocker Ted Nugent and Liesa Priddy, a rancher and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission member who voted to approve the new hunts.

Fl. Justices Give Green Light to Solar Initiative

Oct 23, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved a proposed ballot initiative that seeks to expand the use of solar energy, moving the state one step closer to a fierce political battle next year.

State Makes Gains Against Fruit Flies in S. Florida

Oct 22, 2015
Fl. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida is on the way to eradicating the largest outbreak of Oriental fruit flies in the state's history, an agriculture official told a Senate panel Tuesday.

Since Aug. 26, a record 165 of the voracious insects have been found in part of Miami-Dade County that is mainly agricultural land, with an estimated 2,000 growers, nurseries and other businesses affected.

The United States and Cuba are teaming up to safeguard marine life in protected areas in the Florida Straits and the Gulf of Mexico. The two governments – and scientists from each country – will share resources and best management practices to help protect habitats and fish populations.

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will establish a sister sanctuary relationship with Cuba’s Guanahacabibes National Park, and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Texas will be paired with Banco de San Antonio, off the western tip of Cuba.

State Water Policy Changes Begin To Flow

Oct 20, 2015

Lawmakers appear closer to patching up differences on new statewide water policies which failed to advance earlier this year.

AP Photo/John Raoux

Under one of the biggest land development plans ever proposed in Florida, a tract more than six times the size of Manhattan could be transformed from a home for cows and alligators into new housing developments for half a million people.

Like all business owners, farmers want to get paid for their work. Sometimes, that work creates problems for the environment, so regulators are advancing the idea of creating environmental markets to allow farmers to make money off of their conservation practices.

Under plans in development, farmers could generate environmental credits by farming in ways that store carbon, filter out water pollution, or preserve wildlife habitat. Those credits could be bought, sold, and traded by companies that need to balance out their own emissions or pollution.

Thursday marked the start of stone crab claw harvest season for recreational and commercial use in state and federal waters.

File

Florida is getting more than $3 billion from the BP over the 2010 "Deepwater Horizon" oil spill, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Wednesday announced how he wants to spend the city's 6.5 million share. 

Georgia Subpoenas Putnam in Water Dispute

Oct 14, 2015

In 2013, Florida sued Georgia in the Supreme Court claiming that water use was killing oysters in Apalachicola Bay. Putnam was subpoenaed, according to court documents posted last week. Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been battling in court since 1990 over water from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers.

Tampa Bay Estuary Program

There's good news on at least one environmental front in Florida. Water flowing into Tampa Bay has been cleaned up so much in recent decades that seagrasses there now rivals the numbers found in the 1950s. On Friday, Oct. 16, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program will host a celebration on Picnic Island in Tampa. WUSF's Steve Newborn asks program executive director Holly Greening if she's surprised by this progress.

Republican Congressman David Jolly of St. Petersburg recently introduced legislation that would hire fishermen to collect red snapper data in the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen have complained about federal limits on catching red snapper. Jolly said this may give fishermen more days on the water, if it shows the population is healthier than federal research suggests. But some say it could actually mean less days on the water. 

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A group of scientists from Sarasota is in Alaska to investigate the effect of spilled oil on marine life. And it may have implications for how scientists respond to spills closer to home.

USF St. Petersburg

Scientists say they have extracted ancient DNA from the skull of a man buried in the highlands of Ethiopia 4,500 years ago that supports the theory that Eurasian farmers migrated into Africa some 3,000 years ago.

A pair of USF St. Petersburg anthropologists, Drs. John and Kathryn Arthur, were among the members of the international team of scientists, whose work was published in the journal Science.

The state needs to spend another $50 million next year cleaning and preserving Florida’s polluted freshwater springs. That’s what a top regulator told a Senate panel Wednesday.

NOAA Photo

The Justice Department and five states have finalized a settlement of more than $20 billion arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deal announced Monday resolves all civil claims against BP and ends five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134 million-gallon spill.

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