Environment

In South Florida, where the Everglades meet the bays, environmental challenges abound. Sea level rise threatens homes and real estate. Invasive species imperil native plants and animals. Pesticides reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, but at what cost? 

WLRN's award-winning environment reporting strives to capture the color and complexity of human interaction with one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet.

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.

Coral City Camera

County and municipal marinas are closed, popular sandbars are empty for the first time in recorded history, and there are no cruise ships packed with passengers sailing out of South Florida’s ports. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot going on when it comes to life on the water, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

That’s on the surface.

NOAA

Don’t look for any favors from this year’s hurricane season.

NASA Earth Observatory

With workers and businesses around the planet suddenly shut down, scientists are getting an unexpected glimpse at a world with less carbon.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

José Javier Rodríguez, a state senator from Miami, has finally achieved the slogan he’s borne on his rubber boots for three years — ActOnClimateFL.

For the first time in a decade, Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has passed a bill that explicitly acknowledges climate change’s threats to the state and aims to limit at least some impacts.

Updated on March 16 at 8:42 p.m. ET

Long before condominiums lined the shoreline in Miami Beach, before air conditioning, many thousands of years before Columbus, people lived along Florida's coastline.

Archaeologists say the remains of their settlements are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change.

In Florida's Palm Beach County researchers are planning how best to protect and preserve the ancient sites most at risk from rising seas.

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.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Forty-five million.

That’s how many plastic straws Miami-Dade County Public Schools was sending to landfills every school year, according to estimates by administrators.

This school year, that number is zero.

Starting last August, the district eliminated plastic straws from the utensil packets distributed during breakfasts, lunches and after-school meals. Now, students get sporks and napkins, and those who need straws can ask for the paper variety.

Amy Green / WMFE

Sarasota is known for its sunny skies and beautiful beaches, but two years ago, a terrible outbreak of red tide left Bruce Andersen a virtual prisoner of his waterfront condo.

“It was to the point where we could hardly go outside without smelling the dead fish, all of the dead animals that came from that,” said Andersen, 75, a retired school administrator.

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