Posted on May 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A manatee comes up for air in Florida’s Crystal River.
CRYSTAL RIVER — Getting a closeup look at marine mammals is always a treat. I believe we have a lot more in common with our ocean-going friends than we realize, and we should be trying to listen to what they have to say. This week, I had a chance to visit the Crystal River in Florida this week to look for manatees. The gentle vegetarians are protected by various federal and state laws, but they are still struggling due to extensive development and other human activities along the Florida coast. One of the best places to catch a glimpse of manatees is at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park about 45 minutes north of Tampa, Florida. Biologists at the park help rehabilitate manatees that have been injured by boat strikes, and from the park’s manatee observatory, it’s easy to see the deep scars on their backs. We’ve made some progress on protecting these magnificent marine mammals, but there’s more work to be done. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: Crystal River, endangered species, Florida, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, manatees, marine mammals | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 25, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
More than 700 miles of beaches included in USFWS proposal
A long swath of Florida’s Gulf Coast has been proposed as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Federal biologists have proposed protecting hundreds of miles of U.S. shoreline from North Carolina to Mississippi to protect critical nesting habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles.
Florida beaches could be especially crucial to the survival of the species, with the most recent science showing that the state harbors one of only two global loggerhead aggregations with more than 10,000 nesting females nesting per year. The other is on Masirah Island, Oman.
The proposed critical habitat areas include 90 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The proposed areas incorporate about 740 beach shoreline miles and account for approximately 84 percent of the documented nesting in these six states. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, critical habitat, Florida, loggerhead sea turtles, national marine fisheries service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Measures don’t meet Clean Water Act requirements
Florida’s Everglades are threatened by a new state water plan. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Watchdog grous are characterizing a proposed Florida water quality plan as a give-away to polluting industries, creating even more loopholes to spew sewage, manure, and fertilizer into Florida waters, according to watchdog groups who sued the state and federal government in 2008 for their failure to set pollution limits, as required by the Clean Water Act.
“We have record numbers of dead manatees washing up on southwest Florida right now, in the prime of our tourist season,” said Earthjustice attorney David Guest. “Where is the leadership? This is an absolute sell out. This bogus plan gives deep-pocketed polluters even more loopholes. And what do we, the public, get? More gross, slimy algae in the water.”
Earthjustice said the plan was developed in a shady backroom deal without public input, and pointed out that a federal court has to review the plan under the terms of an earlier settlement agreement. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, water, wetlands | Tagged: Clean Water Act, Earthjustice, EPA, Everglades, Florida, water quality | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Beachin’ it …
Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
FRISCO —It’s always nice to dream about the beach about now, when the snow in the Colorado high country is probably piled about as deep as it’s going to get for the winter. That doesn’t mean I’m about to abandon the slopes to head for warmer climes, but a little day dreaming never hurt anything. Plus, shooting beach scenes is the most fun thing to do with a camera after shooting mountains and snow. These are a few of my favorite ocean side scenes along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Visit our FineArt America online gallery for more photography.
Port St. Joe, Florida.
Filed under: Florida, Morning photo, photography, Travel | Tagged: beaches, Florida, landscapes, photography, Travel | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 6, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A spiny lobster in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation in the Florida Keys benefits ecosystems and fisheries
By Summit Voice
FRISCO —Over-fished species like black and red grouper are making a comeback in south Florida waters thanks to strict management of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The 151-square nautical mile Tortugas Ecological Reserve was designated by the Florida Keys sanctuary in 2001, and its design involved extensive collaboration between commercial and recreational fishermen, divers, scientists, conservationists, citizens-at-large and resource managers. The reserve is closed to all consumptive use, including fishing and anchoring, and a portion of it is open only to permitted marine researchers. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Black grouper, Florida, Florida Keys marine sanctuary, marine sanctuaries, oceans, red grouper, Tortugas Ecological Reserve | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Nothing says hot summer day like a dragonfly.
FRISCO —After a chilly start, it ended up being a rather nice week, with some balmy afternoons, considering it’s mid-January. But I still decided it was time for a little break from all the snow, ice and frost pics, so I went back through the archives for warm weather scenes for this weekend warmup photo essay.
Filed under: climate and weather, Morning photo, photography, seasons | Tagged: Belize, Florida, Jamaica, photography, summer, Travel | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 11, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Three endangered cats killed by cars within seven days
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Last week was not a good one for Florida panthers, as three of the endangered cats were killed by vehicles on southern Florida roads. Total documented panther deaths for the year now stand at 19, getting close to the record 24 mortalities tallied in 2011.
One was a mature (2.5 year-old) radio-collared female; another was a juvenile (three-month old) un-collared female and the third was a one-year-old un-collared male. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Florida, Florida panther deaths, Florida panthers, Roadkill, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Twin trouble in the Atlantic
Tropical storms Isaac and Joyce are both visible in this NOAA satellite image of the southern Atlantic Ocean.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT VOICE — Two tropical weather systems are now churning across the Atlantic Basin, with Tropical Storm Isaac expected to cause problems in Haiti and potentially in Florida in a few days. And Joyce, just upgraded to tropical storm status by the National Hurricane Center, is still far out to sea, but may take aim at Bermuda next week. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, tropical storms and hurricanes, Weatherblog | Tagged: Florida, Gulf of Mexico, National Hurricane Center, Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac, Tropical Storm Isaac satellite photo | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 15, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Massive investments aimed at restoring flows, protecting habitat
The Everglades — river of grass. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The northern Everglades watershed, where Florida’s freshwater begins it’s long, gradual downhill slide through the marshy tip of the peninsula to the sea, is getting some more help.
The Obama administration last week committed $80 million to support farmers and ranchers who voluntarily conserve wetlands on agricultural land in the watershed.
The funding could help restore 23,000 acres of wetlands vital to water quality and wildlife habitat in the greater Everglades ecosystem, including the endangered Florida panther. (more…)
Filed under: endangered species, Environment, rivers, water, wetlands | Tagged: Council on Environmental Quality, Everglades, Florida, Glades County Florida, Kissimmee River, Obama administration | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Tropical Storm Debby is churning in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Florida’s west coast gets a soaking
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Tropical Storm Debby is generating sustained winds of 50 mph in northern Gulf of Mexico and spawning severe weather on its eastern edge, moving up the coast of Florida from Fort Myers to the Tampa area. Some of the offshore thunderstorms are showing signs of rotation, triggering concerns about possible tornadoes in the area.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Debby is the earliest fourth tropical system to form in the Atlantic Basin, beating out Hurricane Dennis, which became a tropical system on July 5, 2oo5.
Most forecast models show the storm gradually strengthening during the next few days, to near hurricane force strength by mid-week.The models are still split on the ultimate direction of the storm, with some tracks taking the system eastward across Florida, but most indicate the storm will move to west across the northern Gulf of Mexico, potentially with a landfall in Texas.
Filed under: climate and weather, tropical storms and hurricanes | Tagged: Atlantic hurricanes, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Debby | 1 Comment »