environment

Fishing
12:56 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Why Stone Crabbers Are Praying For A Better Season

Stone Crabbers line up on the Barron River behind the Everglades City Rod and Gun Club to receive a blessing before the start of stone crab season.
Credit Marya Repko

All summer, stone crab crews have been mending their traps and preparing their boats -- waiting for the start of the stone crab season.

With the opening of the season starting Oct. 15, the economic future of the industry will hinge on how bountiful the catch is for Monroe, Lee and Collier counties.

It’s these three areas that provide the bulk of the two to three million pounds of stone crab landings in Florida each year.

But last year, the going was rough for a lot of the crabbers.

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Environment
8:05 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Whatever Happened To The Deal To Save The Everglades?

Mechanical harvesters cut sugar cane on U.S. Sugar Corp. land in Clewiston, Fla., in 2008, the same year the state struck a deal to buy most of the company's Everglades holdings.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 11:49 am

South of Florida's Lake Okeechobee, hundreds of thousands of acres of sugar cane thrive in the heart of one of the world's largest wetlands. The Everglades stretches from the tip of the peninsula to central Florida, north of Lake Okeechobee.

"The Everglades actually begins at Shingle Creek, outside of Orlando," says Jonathan Ullman of the Sierra Club.

That's nearly 200 miles north of the agricultural land that Ullman and other environmentalists say is crucial to state and federal efforts to restore the wetlands area to a healthy ecosystem.

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Environment
7:43 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Miami-Dade Expands Urban Development Boundary

FIU Geography Professor Jeff Onsted straddles the Miami-Dade County Urban Development Boundary at Miller Road and SW 167th Avenue.
Credit Tom Hudson

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Wednesday opened the door to more warehouses and offices west of Doral, agreeing to expand the Urban Development Boundary to include a 521 acre-chunk already surrounding by buildings.

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Recreation
5:24 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Reminder: Florida State Parks Remain Open To The Public

A view of the gun room and 10-inch Rodman cannon at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.
Credit FloridaStateParks.org

While the partial shutdown of the federal government has caused national parks like the Everglades to close temporarily, the state parks are still open.

The Florida Park Service is reminding residents and visitors that all 171 state parks are open for business seven days a week.

Park managers say visitors who have planned a trip to a closed federal park shouldn't cancel their plans; they should just visit a nearby state park instead.

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Climate Change
7:52 am
Fri September 27, 2013

It's Clear Humans Are Changing World's Climate, Panel Says

The Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula, which is among the places where such ice has been breaking off.
Mariano Caravaca Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:56 am

Declaring that "human influence on the climate system is clear," a U.N.-assembled panel of scientists reported Friday that "it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

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Environment
7:40 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Hunt Is On For Tegu Lizards In South Florida

Jake Edwards, a non-native wildlife technician for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, holds a young tegu lizard.
Credit Emily Michot / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The Argentine tegu lizard doesn’t grow nearly as big as a Burmese python but it may be a greater threat to South Florida’s native animals.

At a maximum size of four feet, a tegu can’t gobble down a full-grown deer or alligator with its rapier-sharp teeth. But the invasive, black and white reptiles have the potential to cause even more ecological damage than the 18-foot snakes that have drawn international media attention in recent years. And now, scientists say, it’s too late to eradicate them.

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Environment
8:54 am
Thu September 26, 2013

With Murky Water And Manatee Deaths, Lagoon Languishes

Biologists Laura Herren and Brian Lapointe bag red sea grass at Shorty's Pocket, a site in the Indian River lagoon. Manatees have died from eating the toxic macro algae.
Courtesy Brian Cousin FAU Harbor Branch

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 5:06 am

Something is wrong in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.

Over the past year, record numbers of dolphins, manatees and pelicans have turned up dead in the 150-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Bouts of algal blooms have flourished in the waters. All the signs point to an ecosystem that is seriously out of balance. The crisis has mobilized scientists, residents and elected officials in Florida.

An Ailing Lagoon

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Environment
7:31 am
Tue September 24, 2013

How Many Scientists Does It Take To Write A Climate Report?

An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in July. Researchers are studying how climate change and melting glaciers will affect the rest of the world.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 10:53 am

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It's thousands of pages of material, and if it's done right, it should harbor very few surprises.

That's because it's supposed to compile what scientists know — and what they don't — about climate change. And that's left some scientists to wonder whether these intensive reviews are still the best way to go.

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Environment
8:23 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Drone Watches Over Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary

Lt. j.g. Kyle Salling launches an unmanned aircraft that NOAA is testing for science purposes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Credit Cammy Clark / MIAMI HERALD Staff

Lt. j.g. Kyle Salling stood on the bow of a 24-foot boat in Florida Bay, holding what looked like a large model airplane. With the propellers gently whirling, and the small red and green aviation lights on, Sims launched the 13-pound aircraft like he was throwing a javelin.

The remote-controlled Puma AE banked upward into the sky and began heading toward its target, a mangrove island called Pigeon Key about a quarter-mile away in the vast Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

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Environment
12:31 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

EPA Wants To Limit Greenhouse Gases From New Coal Power Plants

Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility near DeKalb, Miss., seen under construction last year. Carbon dioxide will be captured from this plant and used to stimulate production of oil from existing wells.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:11 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency's second stab at a proposal to set the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants would make it impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired plants that have been the country's biggest source of electricity for decades.

Under the proposal, released Friday, any new plant that runs on coal would be permitted to emit only about half as much carbon dioxide as an average coal plant puts into the air today.

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Americas
6:30 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Beloved Brazilian Monkey Clings To A Shrinking Forest

The wild population of the golden lion tamarin, which lives only in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, fell to just 200 in the 1970s. Conservationists have helped the species rebound, but the monkeys are still at risk as development encroaches on their remaining habitat.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 11:15 am

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

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Climate Change
7:00 am
Thu September 19, 2013

What The Dutch Can Teach Us About Sea Level Rise

Credit Nickolay Lamm / StorageFront.com

American scientists and engineers have been comparing notes with Dutch counterparts over the problem they both have: how to protect their low lands from rising sea levels.

In the U.S., it’s treated as a new problem. But the Dutch stopped panicking about sea level rise about 800 years ago and began to address it systematically.

Dikes and levies are a big part of the plan. But the Netherlands has also learned to pick its fights, and even let the water win sometimes.

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Environment
11:13 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Sea Turtle Nesting Numbers Soar In Florida

Some of the green turtles removed from a nest last month at Biscayne National Park. It was the first green turtle nest ever documented there. The turtles were released in the ocean.
Credit Biscayne National Par

When the late Archie Carr, a pioneering University of Florida ecologist, first began documenting the decline of sea turtles in the 1960s, the future looked grim — particularly for the green turtle.

The green turtle had long been a Florida seafood menu staple, usually served up in the famous soup. But with the population largely eaten out of existence in state waters, most meat had to be imported.

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Weather
7:56 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Mexico Faces A One-Two Punch From Tropical Storms

An image provided by NOAA taken at 2:45 a.m. EDT Sunday shows Hurricane Ingrid approaching from the Gulf of Mexico and Tropical Storm Manuel just off the western coast of Mexico.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 12:00 pm

From the east and the west, two storm systems are closing in on Mexico, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. Hurricane Ingrid is moving toward the country's east coast in the Gulf of Mexico; Tropical Storm Manuel is closing in on the southwest coast in the Pacific Ocean.

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Environment
4:09 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Legislators Approve $2.8M Quck Fix For South Florida Waterways

Credit wikipedia.org

A short-term benefit package will flow toward South Florida following approval Thursday of the plan to improve the health of waterways harmed by releases from Lake Okeechobee.

The $2.77 million allocation approved by the Legislative Budget Commission is to improve pump stations, reducing the flow of polluted waters that have negatively affected the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.  The money will also go to a build a channel to aid the flow of water from the Florida Everglades across the barrier of the Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County.

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