Florida Fish and Wildlife

It’s been a tough year for Florida manatees. Red tide and cold snaps have led to their highest death rate since 2013, and that death rate could still go up. 

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An airborne irritant has closed at least six beaches in one county along Florida's Atlantic coast.

A record-setting nearly 30,000 lionfish were removed from Florida waters during the 2018 Lionfish Challenge. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the winners of its annual challenge Thursday. The fish came from waters off eight Florida counties including Bay and Franklin.

Governor Rick Scott says Florida is putting an additional $2.2 million  toward combating red tide. The funding will go to Mote Marine Laboratory to develop new technology.

State wildlife officials reported this past Friday that elevated levels of the organism Karenia brevis are persisting along Florida's gulf coast, which is creating toxic red tide algae blooms from Pinellas County down to Collier County.

Fish kills and Red Tide blooms are being observed in more Florida counties, most recently in Northwest Florida.

WMFE

Florida wildlife officials have changed fishing rules for snook and redfish in areas hit hard by a devastating red tide just ahead of the opening of the popular snook season.

Chandrava Sinha / Wikimedia Commons

A Florida family is terrified of a huge Monitor lizard that has taken up residence in their back yard.

Amy Green/WMFE

Cleanup rules are being waived for the removal of dead fish from areas of red tide in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. 

WMFE

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities. 

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

The Herald-Tribune reports that visitors piled into the parking lot of Venice Beach, got out of their cars, started hacking, coughing and sneezing and then quickly left.

Sea turtle deaths continue to increase as red tide lingers off Florida's southwestern coast. While the numbers remain steady in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties, Sarasota is experiencing a spike in cases. 

Wikimedia Commons

Researchers are reporting a spiking number of sea turtle deaths in Florida waters plagued by a red tide algae bloom.

The captain of a charter boat carrying government scientists on an environmental research cruise near the Keys has been cited for violating environmental regulations.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon releases 50 to 60 sea turtles back to the ocean every year. On Friday two unusually large turtles returned to the sea — with new souvenirs from their time on land.

Prescribed burns are a part of precautions taken throughout Florida to prevent massive forest fires by clearing flammable debris from the ground. They are meant to keep people safe, but one such burn was quite the opposite.

In the Panhandle town of Eastpoint, one of these burns grew out of control on June 24 and burnt down 36 homes. 

Wikimedia Commons.

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the future of shore-based shark fishing at a series of public meetings that kick off next week in Bradenton and Fort Myers. 

Florida’s wildlife agency will be holding a lionfish summit in the Fall. The goal is to find more ways to get rid of the spiny invasive species plaguing state waters.

Aaron1a12/Wikimedia Commons

More than 100 people have been waiting for temporary housing for almost two weeks since being displaced by a wildfire that burned through their tiny community in the Florida Panhandle.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

A firm hired by a state agency to conduct a prescribed burn sparked a weekend wildfire that burned 820 acres and 36 homes in Northwest Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday.

From “smart traps” to underwater drones, Florida’s wildlife agency hopes five organizations will spend thousands of dollars in grant funding to find new ways to further target lionfish. The spiny invasive species eat fish native to Florida, have no natural predators, and can lay thousands of eggs over a short period of time.

Hurricanes and warming ocean waters have led to damage in Florida’s coral reefs. Now experts say the state’s corals are facing a new danger—an especially pervasive bacteria.

A red tide algae bloom is persisting along Sarasota County beaches. Background concentrations of the toxic organism Karenia brevis are typical in Gulf waters, but very low to medium concentrations have been recorded across parts of Florida's west coast. 

St. Johns River Water Management

Environmental officials are investigating a freshwater turtle die-off in Florida.

WQCS

An outbreak of red tide is killing fish along the southwest Florida coast.

Miami Herald

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill aimed at reducing the number of pythons and other invasive species that cause damage in parts of the state, including the Everglades.

The bill (SB 168), which Scott signed Friday after it was unanimously approved this month by the Legislature, sets up a pilot program targeting pythons and species such as tegu lizards and lionfish.

Under the program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be able to enter contracts with people to capture or destroy the species on public lands and in state waters.

Chris Muenzer/Flickr

Wildlife officials say more manatees have died in a Florida lagoon plagued by algae and pollution.

Florida wildlife authorities want federal involvement in managing the state's growing panther population.

Florida Fish and Wildlife describes the Florida panther as a conservation success story as its population has rebounded to about 180 from fewer than 30 when it first was listed in 1967.