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Everglades

  • The largest Burmese python ever discovered in Florida was captured from the Everglades and brought to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for research. The female python, weighing in at 215 pounds and 18 feet long, had 122 eggs inside of her, which is the largest egg count ever recorded for a python.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced the veto of controversial SB 2508, a Lake Okeechobee water supply bill that environmental advocates strongly opposed.
  • Oil exploration firms are crossing paths trying to get permits to drill test wells in the greater Florida Everglades watershed, despite accusations that one of the firms, Burnett Oil Co., has left behind miles of scars in the environmentally-sensitive land during previous efforts. Trend Exploration of North Fort Myers, another firm that wants to drill for oil in Collier County, is challenging a November decision by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to deny it a permit the company sought to drill an exploratory well to seek oil reserves. Florida Division of Administrative Hearings Judge Francine Ffolkes is scheduled to hear Trend Exploration’s appeal.
  • Florida lawmakers are reviewing the most controversial environmental bill to arise during the current legislative session. SB 2508 is the latest attempt by lawmakers sympathetic - or beholden - to the sugar industry to give it and the agricultural industry the key to the Everglades’ huge spigot by guaranteeing “existing legal users” continue to receive a huge amount of the water.
  • A Florida Senate bill that critics claim is being fast-tracked through the Legislature to ensure big agriculture receives all of the water it already uses from Lake Okeechobee, rather than follow longstanding plans to send more of it into the Everglades, passed the chamber late this week.
  • Large amounts of nutrient-rich water released from Lake Okeechobee could once again flow down the Caloosahatchee River if a last-minute Florida Senate bill becomes law. The last-minute bill, SB 2508, effectively returns control of Lake Okeechobee’s water management to agricultural interests and was filed by the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. In addition to largely giving deference over the lake’s water usage to South Florida’s farming interests, critics of the bill say it would jeopardize water quality and lower water quantity in the Everglades, and threaten the viability for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir.
  • Environmental groups working to restore the Florida Everglades were elated to learn Wednesday that $1.1 billion from the federal infrastructure package has been earmarked to help pay for the massive, multi-decade restoration. The money will be used to hasten the efforts to undo the extensive environmental damage the Everglades suffered in the early 1900s, when the Army Corps built canals, locks and levees in a massive water management and flood control plan before the damaging environmental impacts of such efforts were fully known. Improving water quality and quantity is the Everglades is a top priority.
  • Nearly $1 billion in the governor’s budget is earmarked for the Florida environment, including water quality improvements, the Everglades restoration, redirecting rivers and waterways, cleaning up dead fish and decaying foliage after blue-green algae blooms or red tides, or to work to eradicate invasive species like Burmese pythons or kudzu
  • Environment
    Florida’s largest sugar companies say cane burning is safe and can't be stopped without economic harm. But Brazil has successfully transitioned away from the controversial practice, and experts there say the U.S. can follow their lead.
  • Environment
    Audubon Florida, a well-known environmental group dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats, published a report on the health and success of 43,680 wading bird nests last year from Fort Myers to Lake Okeechobee and south to Florida Bay at the southern tip of mainland South Florida.