Environment

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.

University of Florida researchers say they have developed genetically modified citrus trees that are resistant to greening. It is a significant step against the disease that has devastated Florida's $11 billion citrus industry and is among the worst to hit a US crop.

  Fifty-seven species of fish and wildlife are so rare or face such threats that they are considered "imperiled" by the state of Florida.

Environmentalists Say Governor's Budget Doesn't Go Far Enough

Nov 23, 2015
news@wjct.org

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more money for land preservation next year, but environmentalists say the levels fall short of what voters wanted in passing a 2014 constitutional amendment.

As part of his proposed $79.3 billion budget introduced Monday, Scott is asking for $62.8 million for the land-acquisition program Florida Forever, $188 million for work to improve the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee and another $50 million to help maintain the state's natural springs.

Scott called his proposal a "historic investment" as all the numbers top the funding for the current year.

Cuba coral
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The United States and Cuba signed an agreement Wednesday to join forces and protect the vast array of fish and corals they share as countries separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometers), the first environmental accord since announcing plans to renew diplomatic relations.

"We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations," said Kathryn Sullivan, chief of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The next phase in a multi-year study to look at the effect oil has on fish will begin Wednesday at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.

WUSF's Steve Newborn talks with two scientists who are involved in the study, Dana Wetzel of Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and Ben Prueitt of the C-IMAGE research consortium.

The study could have lasting impacts on our knowledge of how oil and dispersants used during the BP spill affects life in the Gulf of Mexico.

State Faces Second Challenge On 'Amendment 1' Spending

Nov 15, 2015
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Service

A Gainesville-based environmental group has launched a second legal challenge to how lawmakers carried out a constitutional amendment that requires spending on land acquisition and preservation.

The Florida Defenders of the Environment wants a Leon County circuit judge to block the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of State, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from spending the dollars in the current fiscal year.

  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.

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