Kate Stein

Kate Stein can't quite explain what attracts her to South Florida. It's more than just the warm weather (although this Wisconsin native and Northwestern University graduate definitely appreciates the South Florida sunshine). It has a lot to do with being able to travel from the Everglades to Little Havana to Brickell without turning off 8th Street. It's also related to Stein's fantastic coworkers, whom she first got to know during a winter 2016 internship.

Officially, Stein is WLRN's environment, data and transportation journalist. Privately, she uses her job as an excuse to rove around South Florida searching for stories à la Carl Hiaasen and Edna Buchanan. Regardless, Stein speaks Spanish and is always thrilled to run, explore and read.
 

Everglades advocates are telling Congress to get moving on a major restoration project needed to help prevent future algae blooms like the ones currently choking inland and coastal waterways in Florida. 

There's a buzzword among people who work on quality-of-life issues in South Florida: "Resilience."

It’s a concept we often apply to a person, someone who's able to cope with difficult circumstances. But more and more, the word is being used in the context of how communities respond to issues like traffic, hurricanes, affordable housing and rising seas.

South Florida could see two feet or more of sea-level rise over the next 40 years. It’s alarming. 

 

And there’s growing concern that the risk of rising seas could sink South Florida’s economy before the water even gets here.

When it comes to the health of the Everglades, scientists often look to the birds. The healthier the ecosystem, the bigger the populations of wading birds like wood storks, spoonbills, egrets and herons.

Scientists say this year is shaping up to be a very good season for wading bird nesting, on the heels of a 2017 nesting season where some bird populations grew by 50 percent or more.

If current sea-level rise trends continue, the ocean that makes many South Florida cities desirable places to live may become an existential threat.

This year, Miami-Dade County's arsenal of mosquito-fighting technology includes traps, spraying backpacks -- and mosquito-eating fish. 

The newspaper headline for August 28, 2019, reads: “Category 5 Hurricane Expected to Hit Homestead, South Miami in Three Days.”

Most business owners in South and Central Florida think renewable energy makes economic sense, according to a recent survey from the Environmental Defense Fund.

The non-profit polled 1,200 business leaders and residents from South Florida and along the I-4 corridor in the central part of the state. Two-thirds of respondents said getting energy from sources like solar and wind is a smart business decision.

Leaders from Florida’s 67 counties will learn about a buzzword this week: resilience.

"It’s about understanding your neighbors, that their shortfalls may become your problem, and their assets may also be a solution to your problem," said State Rep. Kristin Jacobs, organizer of a panel on resilience at this week's Florida Association of Counties meeting in Orlando.

Jacobs said one goal is to talk with county leaders and state Department of Environment Secretary Noah Valenstein about collaborative solutions to common challenges, including hurricane evacuations. 

In the next 30 years — about the length of a mortgage cycle — more than 300,000 U.S. homes could experience chronic flooding due to rising seas, according to a report released this week by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A proposal to extend state road 836 — the Dolphin Expressway — in Miami-Dade County could imperil future funding for Everglades restoration, critics say.

Members of the Hold the Line Coalition, a group of transportation and environment organizations, oppose extending the 836 expressway into wetland and agricultural areas outside Miami-Dade's urban development boundary. The proposed 14-mile expansion is intended to alleviate traffic in the Kendall area by providing commuters an alternative to Florida's Turnpike.

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Sea-level rise is going to cost Broward County -- and leaders don't know yet how they're going to pay.

A roundtable meeting in Davie on Thursday brought together more than 40 elected officials, city staff and business leaders from across Broward. Many expressed concern over a lack of funding for sea-level rise adaptation projects.

Ron Wallace, the city engineer for Parkland, said he's concerned about drainage in South Florida's current system, which moves water from west to east.

If you thought sea-level rise was the greatest immediate threat to South Florida’s future, you may need to think again.

There’s growing concern that the perception of the sea-level rise threat by insurers, banks and investors might submerge South Florida before rising seas do.

Global warming is likely contributing to record-breaking heat in South Florida: 2015 and 2017 tied for the hottest year since regional record-keeping began in the 1800s, and temperatures in the early part of 2018 are setting records, too.

Hurricane Irma uprooted homes and lives in the Florida Keys when it tore through the state last September. The storm also wreaked less visible havoc in many of Florida's low-income communities, where people without cars or living paycheck-to-paycheck struggled to buy food and supplies, and experienced extended power outages.

Days after eight kids sued the state of Florida for policies they say contribute to climate change, a coalition of environment groups has launched a statewide campaign to get Floridians engaged on the issue.

Eight Florida kids are suing the state and Gov. Rick Scott over climate change.

They say it's not just inaction. The lawsuit states Florida officials have pursued policies that worsen the threat from greenhouse gas emissions, and violate Floridians' constitutional rights to health, prosperity and happiness.

A vote by Miami-Dade commissioners this week is causing concern among Monroe County residents and environmental advocates who say a collaboration between Miami-Dade and Florida Power & Light is developing too quickly.

An ugly moment at a meeting of Miami's sea-level rise committee last week has prompted controversy over one of its members and a discussion over the committee's mission.

South Florida’s future looks wet, salty and, unless you’re a mermaid, maybe a bit apocalyptic.

The blue-green algae blooms that sometimes swallow Florida’s coasts are thick, green, goopy and smell like sewage. But they’re not a problem that’s unique to Florida.

The blooms gained particular notoriety in the Sunshine State during the summer of 2016, when a massive outbreak choked businesses, wildlife and tourism along both of Florida’s coasts and prompted Florida Senate President Joe Negron to champion a plan to build a massive reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The South Florida Water Management District announced Thursday that its board has approved handing off a design for a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to its federal partner.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now begin reviewing the tentatively selected reservoir plan which, in conjunction with a state restoration strategies plan, provides 350,000 acre-feet of above-ground storage.

Palm Beach County's prized natural areas -- protected areas of dunes, wetlands, scrub and flatwood forests -- could lose money for maintenance in the next few years because of changes to funding sources.

At the request of Florida's governor, mental health experts, educators and law enforcement professionals met Tuesday in Tallahassee at workshops following last week’s school shooting.

The main goal of these gatherings is to identify measures that can be taken before the end of the legislative session to improve safety in schools, gun control and resources for mental health. The last day of the session is March 9.

The first funerals for students killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were held on Friday.

When fire alarms blared for the second time on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, many students found it a little odd. They'd already had a fire drill earlier in the day, and were surprised to have another one with just 20 minutes left in their last class period.

Wood storks, roseate spoonbills, ibises and egrets are among the many birds that fly, paddle and wade through the Everglades.

They draw visitors, particularly photographers, to the ecosystem. But the Everglades' birds are important for another reason: The health of wading bird communities says a lot about progress on Everglades restoration.

South Florida could see two feet or more of sea level rise in the next forty years, according to a joint projection by Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

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