environment

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

News of soil contamination at a Miami golf course being eyed by David Beckham as a future soccer stadium is not "shockingly new," the county's chief environmental regulator said Wednesday.

The World Health Organization says there's not enough evidence to conclude that microplastics — which exist nearly everywhere in the environment and show up in drinking water — pose any risk to human health, but it cautions that more research is needed to draw firm conclusions.

Fires in Brazil's Amazon rainforest are proliferating at an alarming rate.

That's the gist of an announcement this week by the country's National Institute for Space Research, or INPE. According to the agency, there have been 74,155 fires in Brazil so far this year — most of which erupted in the Amazon. That represents an astonishing leap of more than 80% over last year and by far the most that the agency has recorded since it began compiling this data in 2013.

The Turtle Hospital

He's not from around these parts. Yet somehow he's here.

Harry, an Olive Ridley sea turtle, was found floating roughly six miles offshore Tavernier in February. He had injuries from being tangled up in a fishing net on all four flippers.   

He was treated with antibiotics, nutrition via IV, laser therapy and more, including lots of fish, shrimp and squid. He's recovered enough that he's scheduled for release at Higgs Beach in Key West at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Harry will carry a satellite transmitter for tracking.

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.

Update: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is holding a meeting this week on delisting endangered species. Officials only plan to talk about Key deer, although other species are up for consideration. The story has been edited to reflect the updated information. 

Federal wildlife officials will discuss the status of the endangered Key deer Thursday. This comes as the Trump administration rolls back protections under the Endangered Species Act.

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.

Miami Waterkeeper

A crack in a half-century old iron sewer pipe has grown and could keep leaking for up to three weeks while workers struggle to fix it, Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Director Kevin Lynskey said Friday.

Nadege Green / WLRN

James Valsaint is concerned about displacement in Little Haiti. He knows the neighborhood’s high elevation is attractive to developers and perspective homeowners because it doesn’t flood. He questions how the majority low-income residents in the area will fare as rent costs balloon and where they will go.

Damian McNamara is a homeowner in Morningside, less than a mile from Little Haiti. His neighborhood is affluent, as is the case with most coastal enclaves in South Florida.

Miami-Dade County

Over the weekend, a crack surfaced in a 55-year-old underground sewer pipe in Miami's Oleta River.

The small crack is less than two square inches in diameter and has so far spewed about a half million gallons of raw sewage. But the flow will continue as workers race to install a bypass pipe on the aging line - work they expect to complete by Thursday night.

While less severe than originally suspected when a kayacker discovered the leak Sunday, the spill is drawing attention to a worsening problem across Miami-Dade County: polluted waterways.

Courtesy of Valerie Preziosi

Four thousand years ago, rising seas decimated huge swaths of mangroves in Florida Bay.

Today, seas rising at a far greater rate, combined with increasing storms and drought, could lead to another catastrophic loss of mangroves that help keep the state from sliding into the sea, according to a new study published by the U.S. Geological Survey in the journal Nature Communications.

When Florida wildlife leaders effectively declared “open season” on iguanas, they called for the animals to be killed on private property. And just this week, they doubled down on python eradication. Both animals are considered invasive species in Florida, but recent and past issues with how the animals have been killed has led to accusations of animal cruelty. The state says all killings have to be done “humanely”. But, what does that actually mean? 

Carl Juste/Miami Herald

Randall Dasher is a fourth-generation Florida farmer and until last year, he never had a crop of iron-clay cowpeas fail.

"Something has changed and somewhere, someway, that has affected our yields," he said Monday during a panel at the University of Florida, where farmers met with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa, scientists and agriculture officials.

View of Biscayne Bay from a downtown Miami condo.
Sam Turken / WLRN

A grand jury convened by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has sounded a dire warning about the state of Biscayne Bay, which it calls the “crown jewel of our environment.” The group warned local officials that immediate action should be taken to save it, and included a variety of recommendations.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

In the last few months, Key West has banned the sale of chemical sunscreens and the use of styrofoam and some pesticides on city property. Now the city is taking on single-use plastics.

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