Welcome to the Sunshine State Sampler, the Marjorie’s monthly roundup of Florida’s environmental news in bite-sized bits. Check out the links to learn more about what’s going on in your region!

Panhandle

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  • In an effort to protect the naval base in Pensacola from increasing boat traffic, the Navy has asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to approve five new boating regulatory zones, which would require boaters to slow down.
  • Representatives in Navarre are still fighting for a pass to let boaters through to the Gulf , which they say will increase development in their county. Right now, the closest passes are 24 miles to the east and west in Pensacola and Destin. However environmentalists say the pass will cause beach erosion and the military says increased boat traffic could compromise security.
  • Firefighters with the Florida Forest Service responded to 11 wildfires in late January throughout Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. One of the fires destroyed multiple unoccupied structures.
  • A public comment period is open until March 2 to offer feedback on the RESTORE Act’s spending plan which includes $12.6 million to clean up Bayou Chico in Escambia County and another $12.6 million to improve water quality in Santa Rosa Sound.
  • The fish hatchery saga in Escambia County continues.The Pensacola Community Redevelopment Agency has teamed up with the city and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to file a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by two homeowners. The homeowners who filed the suit say the lease for a planned fish hatchery in downtown Pensacola is invalid. The CRA says the lawsuit should be dismissed because the homeowners have no ground to sue.

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North/Central Florida

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Peninsula

  • The site where a Sanford dry cleaner formerly stood has been flagged by the Environmental Protection Agency as a one of 31 Superfund sites nationwide with the greatest potential for redevelopment.
  • More than 2,000 damaged boats have been retrieved from Florida waterways since Hurricane Irma, with half a dozen federal and state agencies involved in the effort.
  • The Gulf Shellfish Institute, a non-profit focused on facilitating the production of shellfish, has settled in Manatee County. The institute is working with UF IFAS, Florida Sea Grant and Manatee County on multiple research initiatives on topics such as algal blooms and restoration.
  • Researchers from Global Ocean Oxygen Network, including a USF professor, have found evidence suggesting that climate change affects oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal waters.

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The Sunshine State Sampler: January 2018

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