coral reefs

Courtney Benson

Marine debris — or trash in the water — is a problem everywhere including the Florida Keys. And it got a lot worse when Hurricane Irma crashed across the Keys in September of 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

JOSE JIMNEZ-TIRADO FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

On this Tuesday, Jan. 7, episode of Sundial:

Puerto Rico Earthquakes

Puerto Rico's governor, Wanda Vázquez, has declared a state of emergency after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island early this morning. The earthquake was followed by an aftershock measuring 6.0. 


This week on Florida Matters, we share some of our favorite discussions about plants, animals and environmental challenges facing our state.

NOAA

Florida has an underappreciated secret weapon to help heal its ailing reefs: prickly sea urchins.

A. Neufeld / Coral Reef Restoration Foundation

For decades, most of the news about coral reefs has been pretty gloomy. Now the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is launching a new mission to bring back a few of those reefs.

Lawmakers Take Aim At Sunscreen Ban

Nov 4, 2019
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In light of Key West banning the sale of sunscreens that contain chemicals believed to harm coral reefs, Florida lawmakers are fast-tracking proposals that would undo the local regulation.

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said Monday that Key West is sending “mixed signals” to people about the importance of sunscreen and that his bill is meant to send a clear message to the “country and the world” that the use of sunscreen is encouraged in the Sunshine State.

NOAA

New rules for the troubled reefs and turquoise waters that make up the vast marine sanctuary that surrounds the Florida Keys are threatening to spark a Conch-style uprising. 

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / FWC

All of the Florida Keys reef is under thermal stress — meaning the water is warm enough that corals may start bleaching.

Florida's coral reefs are in trouble. Scientists say they've been declining for decades.

But researchers have very recently come up with some exciting results that they say show promise in restoring these beautiful and important marine communities.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

APOLLO BEACH -- After two years and more than $4.5 million, scientists working with the Florida Aquarium have pulled off something no one else ever has: They coaxed imperiled Atlantic Ocean coral into spawning in a laboratory, aquarium officials announced Wednesday.

Sherrilyn Cabrera / WLRN

The Florida Keys depend on the coral reef tract and marine life for much more than just recreation. They're vital to the economy, contributing billions of dollars in tourism and travel to the region. But pollution, development and a warming ocean have had catastrophic effects on the environment. 

Nick Zachar / NOAA

The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary has released its restoration blueprint, an ambitious plan with some major changes for the sanctuary, including expanding its boundaries, adding more protected areas and, in a few cases, limiting access to popular reefs for snorkeling.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary / NOAA

It's been more than 20 years since the last comprehensive plan to manage the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Now the sanctuary is releasing a restoration blueprint that will include four alternatives for protecting the coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass flats around the Keys, from Key Largo to the Dry Tortugas.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

The odds are stacked against Florida’s coral reefs.

A mysterious disease is devastating them. So is climate change, which warms and acidifies ocean waters. Development and pollution don’t help much, either.

Landmark federal legislation to help corals expired in 2000, and a new bill introduced Friday by Florida’s Republican senators would revive it.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The sparkling waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary help pump $4.4 billion into the state's economy while supporting 43,000 jobs, according to a report published Tuesday.

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