environment

Joletta Silver / Shedd Aquarium

On a vast, wind-battered bank wedged between Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas, scientists studying the troubling decline of queen conchs have discovered some rare happy news: a thriving conch republic.

Among the highest ever documented in the Caribbean, researchers believe the herds grazing on Cay Sal Bank provide a lifeline to overfished Bahamian waters miles away.

Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed multiple environmental bills into law. 

WUSF's Jessica Meszaros spoke to Jane West with the advocacy organization 1000 Friends of Florida about highlights from the legislative session:

Florida Has Thousands More Properties With High Flood Risk Than FEMA Says, According To New Study

Jul 3, 2020

About 114,000 more Florida properties are at risk of flooding in a 100-year storm than the Federal Emergency Management Agency currently estimates, according to a model released Monday by a nonprofit arguing the country has undersold its vulnerability to disasters.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released its plan to help the Florida Keys adapt to rising seas. The $5.4 billion plan would include elevating more than 7,000 homes and buying out almost 300.

NOAA / AP

The early start to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season — the sixth in a row and the first with three named storms by June 1— has rekindled calls to move up the season’s official start.

Protections for some wetlands and streams have been rolled back by the Environmental Protection Agency, under the Trump Administration. The affected areas are ephemeral streams, which only flow part of the year, and isolated wetlands, which are not directly connected to larger bodies of water.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to protect Miami-Dade County from hurricane storm surges over the next 50 years with flood gates across rivers, and a mile-long flood wall along its upscale waterfront, could cost nearly $4.6 billion.

The tentative plan, which is now open for public comment, is the latest and most fully detailed. The plan also calls for elevating about 2,300 flood-prone structures.

Ian Linder Sheldon

The rain that pounded South Florida last week, and dumped a half foot on Miami International Airport in just two hours, also tested the limits of the old Tamiami Canal.

Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium

A team of scientists looking for coral that can better survive global warming have identified a hardier Caribbean coral in the Bahamas.

Juan Manuel Barrero Bueno / Special to the MIAMI HERALD

Over the past two decades, scientists have suggested that deforestation increases the chances that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans.

Until the coronavirus halted daily life, oyster growers in Florida had been selling every bivalve they could harvest. There’s been a demand for them, but this method of aquafarming is still unable to match what used to be a thriving wild-caught oyster industry about a decade ago.

National Park Service

A 1,300-acre Everglades fire that ignited Sunday continued to burn Wednesday across dried out marshes, threatening to spark a more dangerous peat fire.

The fire started just east of Everglades National Park, near Southwest 112th Street and the L-31 canal, and spread north into the park, said park spokeswoman Allyson Gantt. While slower winds helped firefighters keep the fire from spreading, only 35 percent had been contained by Wednesday afternoon, she said.

Deepwater Horizon Anniversary Spurs Call For 'Clean' Energy

Apr 20, 2020
CHARLIE RIEDEL / AP

TALLAHASSEE --- Environmentalists and some lawmakers are pushing for more alternative energy as the nation marks the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Jenny Staletovich / WLRN

This story was updated to reflect water restrictions issued Friday.

As a drought across South Florida deepens following a record-dry March, Lake Okeechobee teeters on the edge of a water shortage, canals shrink and withering marshes risk losing peat that took centuries to build.

Capt. Bouncer Smith

On a balmy evening this past February, before the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in South Florida, Capt. Bouncer Smith motored his 33-foot open fisherman into Government Cut. The Miami skyline glowed like a string of lanterns. On board, a group of return customers in town for the annual boat show were stalking tarpon.

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