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.

Money Could Flow To The Environment, Water Quality

Mar 20, 2019
Everglades
Roberto Koltun / El Nuevo Herald

The Florida Senate is topping Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for environmental funding, despite early concerns about a tight budget and the need to react to Hurricane Michael.

The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday released an initial $5.9 billion budget proposal that includes $656 million for Everglades restoration and water-quality efforts such as trying to reduce future outbreaks of toxic algae and red tide.

Richard Elzey/Flickr

State wildlife investigators announced Tuesday that they've wrapped up a two-year investigation targeting what they say is a criminal conspiracy in the spiny lobster fishing industry.

Lobster is Florida's most valuable commercial fishery, with landings usually worth more than $40 million a year.

Investigators went undercover and conducted surveillance in what they called "Operation Thimblerig." Thimblerig is another term for shell game.

Three people face felony charges including racketeering, fraud and identity theft.

Frankel - AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Diaz-Balart - AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Lake Okeechobee may be a natural feature of the Florida landscape, but politics also come into play when it comes to it.

 

More than $1 billion of federal support has been spent to help restore the Everglades and fix the plumbing around the lake. That money, along with other money for the Army Corps of Engineers, starts flowing from the House Appropriations Committee.

Updated at 5:44 p.m. ET

Darrell Blatchley received a call from the Philippines' Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources early Friday morning reporting that it had a young Cuvier's beaked whale that was weak and vomiting blood.

Within a few hours it was dead.

Blatchley, a marine biologist and environmentalist based in the Philippine city of Davao, gathered his team to drive two hours to where the whale had washed up.

Pollution, much like wealth, is not distributed equally in the United States.

Scientists and policymakers have long known that black and Hispanic Americans tend to live in neighborhoods with more pollution of all kinds, than white Americans. And because pollution exposure can cause a range of health problems, this inequity could be a driver of unequal health outcomes across the U.S.

DAVE DOEBLER

Beach-goers across the state of Florida largely agree that there’s far too much plastic in the waterways.

So why would the state want to pass legislation to stop local authorities from banning plastic straws?

Samantha Padgett, an attorney for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that local bans burden consumers and the hospitality industry and are “not a long-term sustainable solution.”

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK / FACEBOOK

The Republican–controlled Legislature will be tasked with an unexpected job: deciding whether to allocate funds for environmental causes championed by the governor.

Carline Jean / Sun Sentinel

Broward County's Ron Bergeron signed a $25 million no-bid construction contract with the South Florida Water Management District more than a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped him for the district's board.

Bergeron signed the contract calling for Bergeron Land Development Inc. to complete the district's work on a stormwater treatment area in western Martin County on Feb. 6.

DeSantis Could Come Up Short On Environment Money

Mar 6, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request for $625 million next year for environmental projects, including Everglades restoration, may be “pushing” the limits of a budget expected to be taxed because of the response to Hurricane Michael. 

Ron Magill / Zoo Miami

The state wildlife agency is taking the next step toward establishing — or re-establishing — the American Flamingo as a Floridian bird.

Flamingos had been considered a non-native exotic species for decades, and were listed that way on the state wildlife website. Birds that people saw flying around were thought to be captives that had escaped.

Florida lawmakers will gather March 5 in the House chamber to hear Gov. Ron DeSantis give his first State of the State address, the traditional start of the 60-day legislative session.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The Florida Keys could be facing a deadline that's unprecedented in South Florida. Four years from now, there might not be any more homes that can be built in the Keys.

The state has a rule that the island chain has to be able to get everyone out 24 hours before a hurricane hits. And there’s just one road out. So there’s a limit to how many people are allowed to live in the Keys.

That means people who live in the Keys — and especially the people who would like to build there in the future — are trying to figure out what to do.

State Clamps down On Shore-Based Shark Fishing

Feb 22, 2019

Shore-based anglers will no longer be able to use fish parts, bones and blood to attract sharks, as critics of shark fishing would like to see lines cast farther away from beachgoers.

DeSantis Names Environmentalists To South Florida Water Board

Feb 22, 2019
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday named four appointees to the nine-member South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, after he called last month for the prior board’s resignation.

DeSantis announced the selections during appearances in Naples and Stuart.

everglades holiday park
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Next to the airboats at the entrance to Everglades Holiday Park, about thirty people from The Sierra Club, the Broward County League of Women Voters, and other environmentalist groups stood together holding signs Tuesday that read "Not Here, Not Now, Not Everglades."

The groups gathered, along with local lawmakers, to speak out against drilling for oil in the wetlands they were standing in. 

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