Links to News and Information on the Environment
- Audubon of Florida News Blog
- Bioenergy News
- Climate Progress - climate science, politics and solutions
- Comprehensive Everglades Restoration News
- CORPS Jacksonville District News Releases
- EcoWatch - feeds from the WaterKeeper Alliance
- Everglades City News - Mullet Wrapper
- Everglades Foundation - Breaking News
- Everglades Hub - back ground information on all things Everglades
- FDEP News Room
- Florida Channel
- Florida Conservation Coalition - in the news
- Florida House of Representatives
- Florida Senate
- Florida Water Atlas
- FWC News
- NASA Climate Information
- National Public Radio Eco-News
- New York Times - Climate Change Articles
- NOAA South Florida Weather
- Sierra Club
- Sierra Club Florida
- South Florida Watershed Journal
- South Florida Water Management District
- Southwest Florida Water Management District
- St. Johns Water Management District
- St. Pete Times - The Buzz
- The Daily Climate - news room
- Union of Concerned Scientists - news
- Yahoo News Search: i.e. The Everglades (type in your interest in search block)
A series of tornadoes struck the central United States this week, including a powerful storm in Oklahoma that killed at least 24 people. Marshall Shepherd, the president of the American Meteorological Society, describes the ingredients of major tornadoes, and how they are predicted.
Scientists say climate change could increase pests and weeds, lengthen growing seasons and turn dry soil to dust. Farmers are already on the offensive, adopting no-till cropping methods to conserve water and experimenting with different seeds. And scientists are using a technique called gene silencing to develop new crops--without tinkering with the plants' DNA.
In parts of the southeastern US, aggressive fire ants have been driven out by an even more recent arrival, the tawny crazy ant. Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the newcomers and how one invasive species can out-invade another.
Populations of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are declining at an average rate of 3.7 percent each year, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study released this week.
There is some political willingness, but because China is highly decentralized politically, the Communist Party has only limited influence over provincial governments and how they regulate their dirty factories. The powerful state-owned oil companies have also resisted pressure to produce cleaner-burning fuel.
The revival is partly based on the humble sour fruit's growing reputation as a superfood. And in Michigan, a scientist is on a quest to introduce a whole new world of hardier, tastier tart cherries by breeding American trees with ancestral varieties from Eastern Europe.
At nearly seven miles below the water's surface, the Mariana Trench is the deepest spot in Earth's oceans. And the site north of Guam is where director and explorer James Cameron fulfilled a longtime goal of reaching the bottom in a manned craft.
TALLAHASSEE – Today DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. welcomed the release of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s draft Initial Comprehensive Plan. The plan describes the Council’s objectives, the selection process and the evaluation criteria for the types of ecosystem restoration projects and programs that will be funded by the Council.
In response to today’s announcement, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host two public meetings: the first at 5:30 p.m. June 3 at the Escambia Board of County Commission Chambers in Pensacola and the second at 5:30 p.m. June 17 at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
“I am pleased to see the draft Plan completed so that we can begin the process of seeking public comment on a Plan that will have lasting results on the environment and economic recovery for Floridians,” said Secretary Vinyard. “The state of Florida will continue to work closely with local governments and all others affected by the spill to ensure funding is used to improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico.”
The RESTORE Act, which was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012 and signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012, creates the Council, and establishes various funding categories. The Council is comprised of the five Gulf State Governors and six federal agencies. The Council is required, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to have published an Initial Comprehensive Plan by July 6, 2013.
The meetings will take place:5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST
Monday, June 3
Escambia County Board of County Commission Chambers
221 Palafox Place
Pensacola 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST
Monday, June 17
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Avenue SE
To view or provide comments on the draft Initial Comprehensive Plan visit www.restorethegulf.gov, or submit written comments by mail to:Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council c/o U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue N.W. Room 4077
Washington, D.C. 20230.
More information on the Florida’s public meetings and state projects can be submitted online by visiting www.deepwaterhorizonflorida.com.
In celebration of May as American Wetlands Month, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection recognizes the important role Florida’s wetlands play in Florida’s complex and unique ecosystem.
Florida wetlands are areas that are saturated by surface water or ground water consisting primarily of hydric soil, which supports aquatic plants and provide a habitat for a variety of diverse species. Florida wetlands include swamps, marshes, bogs, cypress domes and strands, wet prairies, mangrove swamps and other similar areas. These are the transitional zones between land and water that take on distinct characteristics as an ecosystem.
Florida wetlands are beneficial to the state’s environment for a multitude of reasons. Wetlands naturally retain the excess nitrates, ammonium, phosphorus and sediment, acting as a filter for the water that flows through them and aiding in downstream water quality. Wetlands also act as natural buffers to floods as they slow water flow and can absorb significant amounts of water.
The Department is responsible for regulating Florida’s wetlands. This includes evaluating and delineating wetland areas in Florida, as well as restoration and protection. There are two wetlands regulatory programs exist at the state level; a dredge and fill permit program, which is within the limits of the Northwest Water Management District and an environmental resource permit program throughout the rest of the state.
May was designated “American Wetlands Month” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sector partners in 1991 to celebrate the vital role of wetlands to the Nation’s ecological, economic, and social health and to educate Americans about the value of wetlands as a natural resource. The Department encourages Florida residents and visitors to learn about wetlands and to explore a wetland in your area, not only in the month of May but throughout the year.
To find out more about the EPA’s American Wetlands Month click here.
For more information on the Department’s wetlands programs click here.
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service recognizes May as Military Appreciation Month and honors current and former members of the armed forces by offering discounted park passes and hosting historic reenactments around Florida’s state parks.
“Florida’s state parks are very proud to honor America’s military heroes,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “When our park rangers raise the flags in front of each of our parks every morning, we are reminded of the freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifice of others.”
Florida’s state parks provide discounts on the purchase of Annual Entrance Passes or free Annual Entrance Passes to those who currently serve or have served in the United States military branches, veterans with service related disabilities and surviving spouses of members of the U.S. military who have fallen in combat. The discounted Florida State Parks Annual Entrance Pass is available for purchase at any Florida State Park staffed ranger station.
During this Memorial Day weekend, visit one of the many preserved and restored historic forts found in Florida.
South of Tallahassee in St. Marks, the museum at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park displays pottery and tools unearthed near the original site of the fort built in 1679 and tells the stories of the Spanish explorers and others who occupied the fort over time.
Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in America. This park will hold a Union Garrison and Encampment the weekend of June 1 & 2. Living historians will re-create life at Fort Clinch during the Civil War. Activities may include black powder artillery demonstrations and marching drills, as well as soldiers and civilians taking up duty in the laundry, infirmary and kitchen. There is a candlelight viewing Saturday evening. Entrance fees are $6.00 per vehicle, up to 8 people, plus $2 for each person entering the fort. Memorial Day weekend, the park will hold a World War II event, honoring the men and women who served in that war.
A memorial marks the site of the Civil War battle that took place in 1865 at the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park. A visitor center shares historic information and artifacts year-round.
In St. Augustine, Fort Mose Historic State Park marks the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. Volunteers, dressed in period attire, will offer a glimpse into the past on Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $2 per person, museum admission fee.
In Inverness, Dade Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates the battle that started the Second Seminole War in 1835. A visitor center provides information and a video about the battle.
In Apalachicola, stop by the Orman House Historic State Park to see the Three Soldiers Detail, a bronze replica of the Vietnam memorial statue in Washington, D.C.
Fort Foster is a reconstructed fort that guards the bridge over the river at Hillsborough River State Park north of Tampa. Ranger guided tours are offered on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. This Second Seminole War fort offers a look at the 1830s.
Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Built in the mid-1800s, this fort served in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Guided tours are available daily.
Audubon’s Director of Wildlife Conservation Julie Wraithmell was profiled in this audio essay from WFSU Public Radio in Tallahassee about the upcoming Memorial Day holiday and what beach-goers can do to protect Florida’s most vulnerable coastal wildlife.
Many beach-dwelling birds make their nests in the Florida sand. And when threatened species, like the least tern, hatch, Julie Wraithmell, with Audubon of Florida said, “They’re basically these little fluff balls on legs that are scrambling around the beach.”
Organizing for Action — a group that formed out of President Obama's re-election campaign — has focused its ire on Republicans it calls "climate change deniers." But some environmentalists are frustrated with the president himself on issues like the Keystone pipeline.
Audubon was well represented at the May 17 Florida’s Gulf Counties Consortium meeting in Key Largo, where the Consortium heard updates on the agreement with the Governor’s Office and the Gulf Council restoration plan. Gov. Scott is expected to sign the agreement which will define the role of the Governor’s Office and state agencies in working with the Consortium to develop Florida’s Oil Spill Restoration Impact Allocation Plan. Also known as the State Expenditure Plan, the plan will determine how “Pot 3” RESTORE funds are spent. The State’s plan must be approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
Pete Frezza, a research manager at Audubon’s Everglades Science Center in Tavernier, gave an insightful presentation on some of the problems facing Florida Bay, an important habitat for Florida’s wildlife and the larger Gulf ecosystem. Click here to see a copy of Pete’s presentation.
The Consortium also established a committee of the 15 counties from Jefferson to Monroe County to provide input on U.S. Treasury options on how to distribute Pot 1 RESTORE funds among the 15 counties. A similar committee for the eight counties from Escambia to Wakulla was set up earlier.
Consortium members were briefed on the Florida Keys marine environment and how much influence Keys fish populations and other Keys resources have on other areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
Supervisor Connie Rockco, Harrison County, Missisippi Board of Supervisors, made a presentation and commented on how much coastal Mississippi has in common with coastal Florida. She advocated for the formation of a Gulf state coastal consortium to exercise more influence with Congress on Gulf coastal issues.
All presentations made at the meeting are posted on the Florida Gulf Consortium web site.
Many of Florida’s Gulf coastal counties have formed advisory committees to help shape local priorities for Gulf restoration funds. Your participation in these committee meetings is important to guide local restoration funds to critical Gulf environmental resources and wildlife. If you have information on your local committee meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be included on Audubon’s RESTORE Calendar.
A plant scientist at Mars Inc. has appealed to the world's biggest life sciences companies to help him — by sharing what they already know about 100 crops that could provide better nutrition in Africa. But can the kings of agricultural intellectual property get onboard with open source agricultural information for Africa?