Florida Keys

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.

Walter Michot / Miami Herald

New sea level rise projections for South Florida were released Wednesday. And the numbers are up.

Mark Hedden / markhedden.com

Driving down the Overseas Highway is always a challenge during the busy season: the cooler months. And it's about to get even trickier, with two major construction projects scheduled to start the week of Dec. 2.

Bob Krist / Florida Keys News Bureau

After Hurricane Irma slammed into the Florida Keys in September 2017, the island chain saw a drop in visitors. Now the primary industry in the Keys is back — and it's booming.

Monroe County

Over the last 20 years, the Keys have been on a major mission to clean up nearshore waters.

That meant spending a billion dollars to install central sewage systems along the island chain. And the waters surrounding the islands are a no discharge zone.

To help make that happen, the county offers free pumpouts for vessels, including those in marinas without pumpout facilities and boats that are tied up behind people's homes.

Stephanie Russo / Monroe County

There's a big pot of money coming to Florida from the federal government to help communities hit hard by recent hurricanes be more resilient in future storms. The Keys are making the case for a good chunk of that money.

Courtesy of Monroe County Fl

Monroe County led the state last year in the rate of deaths by motor vehicle accidents and suicides.

That's according to the annual report from the Medical Examiners Commission. It tracks autopsies and causes of death throughout Florida.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

Splinter the green sea turtle returned home to the Atlantic Ocean off Key West on Friday.

It was less than two months after she was found off Key Largo, tangled up in trap line and speared through the neck.

Courtesy Doug Mader, DVM

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

More than two years after Hurricane Irma smashed into the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, the cleanup of canals is finally drawing to a close. 

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Florida Keys inmate decided to rid Key West of one more iguana. He fed it alive to an alligator at the sheriff’s petting zoo, police said.

His fellow inmates ratted him out for the killing.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The local legend in Key West is that a few businessmen started Fantasy Fest in 1979 because they wanted to drum up some business at the end of the off-season.

That's true, says Tony Falcone, who was one of those founding fathers for what has turned into the biggest annual event in the Keys. But it's not the only reason.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Online home renting sites like Airbnb have greatly expanded the vacation rental market — when travelers rent a home or apartment instead of a hotel room.

Two new studies illustrate the impact that's having on the Florida Keys.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Initial reporting can leave lasting impressions after a hurricane — and that can be really damaging to a tourism destination.

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