Florida Department of Environmental Protection

US Department of Agriculture

Florida Governor Rick Scott is unveiling his plans for environmental spending ahead of the 2018 lawmaking session.

DXR via wikimedia commons

Florida Governor Rick Scott is tapping a former aide and water management district chief to head up the state’s environmental agency.

University of South Florida

A bill creating memorials to remember the boys who died and were buried in unmarked graves on the Dozier School for Boys’ grounds is now heading to Governor Rick Scott. It’s part two of what the Florida legislature’s doing to help address the abuses that occurred at the school decades ago.

The Department of Environmental Protection is tinkering with new regulations that would expedite public notification for pollution.   But many industrial interests are pushing back.

wfla.com

Proposed notification guidelines for pollution are raising hackles among the state’s major industries.  The rule changes come after millions of gallons of contaminated water were spilled at a Mosaic phosphate plant.

Secretary Jon Steverson gained confirmation in the Senate Thursday.
US Department of Agriculture

The Florida Senate confirmed a raft of agency heads during its last floor session.  Most passed without comment, but one secretary raised opposition among Democrats.

Center for Advanced Research and Teaching

Democrats sounded the alarm about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the same day Republicans went ahead with plans to cement ground rules for the controversial gas and oil drilling technique.

Environmentalists are less than pleased with Florida Governor Rick Scott’s pick to head the Department of Environmental Protection. Jon Steverson is returning to the department as secretary after a stint at the Northwest Florida Water Management District.

Jon Steverson oversaw the restructuring of the Northwest Florida Water Management District as Executive Director. Prior to that, he served in the administration of former Gov. Charlie Crist—where he dealt with environmental issues.

APD website/AHCA website

Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of more agency heads Tuesday.

Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Scott spoke to reporters about the appointments—most of them returning from around the time Scott first took office.

WWW.DEP.STATE.FL.US / Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Clifford Wilson III is the Interim Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. His position is official December 1, the day Secretary Herschel Vinyard steps down due to retirement, according to a statement from Governor Rick Scott's communications office.

“Secretary Vinyard was instrumental in helping us protect Florida’s environment for future generations, and we are thankful for his service to Florida families," Scott said in a written statement.

Michael Dye / University of South Florida

The recent ID of the first set of remains of a boy buried on the property of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys in Marianna has helped bring one family closer to closure—some 70 years after the death. And, it’s also helping to keep hope alive for other families awaiting similar answers.

“Ordinarily anybody who knows me, knows I’m never at a shortage to talk. But, I have to say that when Erin [Kimmerle] came to visit me and she revealed to me that they had found my brother, I was totally dumbstruck, said Ovell Krell.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Four years ago, an oil rig owned by BP exploded off the Louisiana coast—causing one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. The oil flowed all the way to Florida's western panhandle, causing tourists to flee and businesses to dry up. Now tourism is back and the money is flowing again—but the oil remains.

LHatter / WFSU News

North Florida’s Lake Talquin is getting a house call from the state’s environmental doctors. Officials are targeting the lake as part of ongoing efforts to clean up polluted water bodies.

Lake Talquin is not a natural formation; it’s man- made. And the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Greg DeAngelo  says that makes addressing pollution a little harder. A big part of fixing Talquin’s problems is determining total maximum daily loads, or TMDL’s—that's the maximum amount of pollution a water body can handle while still meeting water quality standards.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Florida officials are grappling with how to regulate fracking after a Texas-based oil company used a similar procedure in a Southwest Florida exploratory well. Now the company says it’s pulling out of the area, but its activities have brought the issue of fracking to the forefront. 

wiki commons

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has cancelled plans to get business proposals from potential vendors for Camp Helen State Park in Panama City Beach. It’s the latest panhandle state park to have those type of plans withdrawn, after area residents voiced concerns.

beachguide.com

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is no longer seeking applicants to provide vendor services at one of their state parks in Walton County.

Last month, DEP officials put out a request asking for business proposals to help enhance visitor services at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach. That includes food and beverage services, recreational equipment rentals, and event management services.

But, those plans were later quashed after Senate President Don Gaetz, and his son, State Representative Matt Gaetz stepped in.

Sierra Club Florida

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has a list of demands for the company at the center of a Southwest Florida fight over oil exploration. 

The Dan A. Hughes Company angered state environmental regulators back in December when it went ahead with a process similar to fracking at a well site in Collier County. The state didn’t disclose the incident until April, causing an uproar in the Naples area.

LHatter / WFSUNews

A Southwest Florida town has been in turmoil for the better part of a year over a renewed push to explore for oil in a reserve that stretches like a belt from Fort Myers to Miami. That push, and the actions of the companies doing the exploration, have some residents and environmental groups at war over what they see as an effort to bring fracking to Florida.

Oil Exploration In, Around Sensitive Lands Sparks Concern

Florida State Parks To Feature Geocaching Tour

Jun 26, 2014
Maclay Gardens
Matthew Stolpe / WFSU News

Florida state parks are inviting visitors to try their hand at treasure-hunting this summer. More than 70 parks and trails are part of a high-tech quest to find hidden containers.

People all over the world participate in this game, known as geocaching. Players, or “cachers,” hunt down the caches using GPS-enabled devices, and log their progress both in the cache and on the internet.

Paul Clark via Flickr

Tallahassee Community College’s proposal to sublease part of Wakulla Springs State Park for its newly formed Wakulla Environmental Institute has been met with some opposition. The Florida Department of Environmental Education will host a workshop Tuesday to hear public comment on the issue.

Wikimedia Commons

The Florid Department of Health is warning residents in North Florida’s Live Oak area to stay clear of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. A 9-million gallon spill of partially treated wastewater in Valdosta, Georgia is contaminating the area surrounding the two North Florida rivers.

Kathleen Haughney

An algae bloom in Tallahassee’s Lake Lafayette is toxic, say state biologists.

The algae bloom in Lake Lafayette has infested the fishing fingers on the west side of the lake, near where it backs up to the Piney-Z neighborhood. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are putting the blame on excess fertilizer runoff generated by the neighborhood’s hundreds of homes.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, which tests algae, the bloom is now giving off a toxin called microcystin at a rate DEP biologist David Whiting says may trigger health advisories:

Florida DEP News Twitter

Several Florida Panhandle counties are slated for about $90 million worth of early restoration projects to address areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard, other Environmental leaders, as well as local officials made that announcement Friday in Panama City.

Environmentalists Praise Proposal To Track Algae-Caused Sickness

Apr 16, 2013
EarthJustice

When nutrient levels – nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen – are too high in Florida’s waterways, toxic algae blooms erupt damaging the ecosystem. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a bill moving through the legislature that would put the State in charge of the problem. But environmentalists worry the bill won’t help as much as it should. So a new amendment to the bill is piquing their interest.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

After taking public input, the Florida Park Service has released a draft plan for managing the Central Florida Silver Springs attraction as a state park. That’s if the private manager gets out of its lease early. The state will present its plan and gather input at a meeting on Monday.

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