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Climate Change

Fort Lauderdale's Polluted Waterways Need Help: Here Come The Oysters

Mar 15, 2020
Two men deploying oyster traps
Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun Sentinel

As broken sewage pipes foul Fort Lauderdale’s waterways, a group of conservationists has begun deploying one of the world’s most formidable filtration systems.

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — A few days after Hurricane Dorian, Amanda Kellowan rummaged through what was left. She had just spent 36 hours in the attic of her home, fleeing from the 30-foot storm surge that swept over her island home of Grand Bahama last September.

Walking the trails around the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse area, it’s easy to see why the site’s manager describes the role as his dream job.

He's been working there for six years, and remembers its individual plants in precise detail. 

"I remember when this mangrove used to sit on the fringe, and now it's 10, 11 feet out there on its own little clump," he says, gesturing. Further down the trail, he points out sand pine scrub and hardwood hammock ecosystems that he's seen flourish over the years. 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has announced that he has joined the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. It’s the first caucus he has become a member of since taking office in 2011.

BRENDAN RIVERS/ADAPT

Julia Nesheiwat, hired by Gov. Ron DeSantis in August as Florida's first chief resilience officer, is reportedly going back to the federal government.

CARL JUSTE/MIAMI HERALD

A decade ago, if a Floridian wanted extra cash to replace a roof, install solar panels or a brand new air conditioner, the most common choice was a bank loan. But for the last few years, homeowners also have had a controversial new option.

Coping with storm surge fueled by rising seas in the Keys means elevating homes, buyouts in vulnerable areas, protecting important places like hospitals and wastewater plants and stabilizing parts of the Overseas Highway that could get washed out in storms.

Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it's causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.

Temperatures continue to steadily rise around the globe, but that trend isn't spread evenly across the map or even the yearly calendar.

In love, timing is everything, the saying goes. The same is true for fruit and nut orchards in California's Central Valley, which depend on a synchronized springtime bloom for pollination. But as winters warm with climate change, that seasonal cycle is being thrown off.

Cold is a crucial ingredient for California's walnuts, cherries, peaches, pears and pistachios, which ultimately head to store shelves around the country. The state grows around 99% of the country's walnut and pistachio crop.

A right whale emerging from the water.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

North Atlantic right whales – already the most endangered large whale species in the world – are becoming even more at risk as rising sea temperatures make it harder to find food or safe waters.

Why Are Californians Asking About Florida Cow Poop? It's All About Climate Change

Feb 13, 2020

A California company has arrived in Florida for a kind of reverse gold rush, but it's not seeking precious metal -- it wants manure.

Two colossal oyster shells on a person's hand. The top shell is two-thirds the size of the bottom shell.
Jessica Meszaros

Colossal oysters, which once thrived in Florida's northern Gulf Coast, are shrinking in size and in numbers. Scientists at the University of South Florida published a study in the journal Biology Letters on Feb. 5 that examines this loss. 

Climate change threatens to dramatically alter the coastal landscape of Miami-Dade in coming decades — one way or another.

Updated Feb. 11 at 10:04 a.m. ET

On the front lines of climate change, warming temperatures and thawing permafrost are making it harder to get an accurate count for the 2020 census in some of the most remote communities of Alaska.

Forget Hurricanes And Sea Rise. This Bill Could Lead To A Building Boom In The Keys

Feb 7, 2020
AL DIAZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Florida Keys has been battered by hurricanes, flooded by sea level rise and is gentrifying quickly. But one state lawmaker from Naples wants to add thousands more homes to the island chain, a place many local leaders believe is already built to capacity.

Experts are once again telling Miami Beach to raise its roads against the threat of rising seas, this time even higher. And once again, residents are pushing back hard.

Jose Melendez, who lives in San Francisco, was visiting Miami about a week before the Super Bowl. He said he’s planning to cheer on his team from afar.

“I’m not going. I can’t afford it. It’s too expensive,” he said with a laugh, wearing a bright red 49ers jersey at the Super Bowl LIVE Experience, a free festival that the local host committee organized.

 

Our Region’s Greatest Threat Is Also The No. 1 Threat To Future Super Bowls In Miami

Jan 30, 2020

The Super Bowl is at Hard Rock Stadium, but the real party is 15 miles south at Bayfront Park.

That popular stretch of green space that abuts the bay is the home of Super Bowl Live, where concerts, food festivals and water shows will entertain the hundreds of thousands of tourists who will soon pack our hotels.

Increasing sea rise is going to water down the value of some of the most coveted and expensive real estate in Florida, and insurance rates will go up too.

Environmentalists rejoiced when city commissioners voted unanimously to power every home and business here with 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Two and a half years later city leaders say they still aren’t sure how they are going to do it.

Note: Julia confirms this is her first sit-down one-on-one interview since she was appointed in August 2019.

Miami has a strategy to survive climate change, and a big part of it is finding a way to pay for it.

On Friday's Roundup, we discussed the parental consent bill that requires parents of minor girls seeking an abortion to approve of the abortion before a doctor can perform it. Also, lawmakers in Tallahassee are considering a bill that would establish a statewide Office of Resiliency, along with a statewide Sea Level Rise Task Force.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine) that would establish a statewide Office of Resiliency along with a statewide Sea Level Rise Task Force unanimously passed a House Subcommittee Tuesday afternoon.

Since 2016, Russian-American photographer Anastasia Samoylova has been capturing images of sea-level rise in South Florida in quiet — and often surprising — ways.

On a stretch of the Lower Keys, near an old borrow pit quarried during the construction of Big Pine, sea water and mud cover much of the rocky ground.

Before Britain started sending convicts to the continent in the 1700s, aboriginal Australians used fire to manage brushlands and forests across the continent.

About 1,000 middle and high school students and teachers from 27 schools came together for the second annual Broward Youth Climate Summit in Fort Lauderdale. 

Students had the chance to participate in a Broward County version of 'Game of Floods,' an interactive scenario. They also heard panels on how sea level rise will impact politics, art, economics, law and how they can advocate for policy change. The day-long event took place at the Museum of Discovery and Science.

As Florida’s leaders open the annual legislative session on Tuesday prepared to claim they’re responding to climate change, eight young residents are taking them to court for doing the opposite.

The mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater talked about how to grow as a region during a "State of the Bay" conversation hosted by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club Thursday.

Climate change and transportation received a lot of attention while the future of the Tampa Bay Rays remains a mystery.


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