Six years ago the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took Florida manatees down a notch on the endangered list, reclassifying them as merely “threatened.” Now, after nearly 2,000 have died over the past few years, the feds say they may put them back on the top of the list. Manatees had previously been on the endangered list longer than since the Endangered Species Act of 1973. They were an entry on the original list issued in 1967.
Environment & Water
For the last several days, Hurricane Lee, the most powerful storm of the season yet and a potential record-breaker, has been as if making a beeline for Florida, from the middle Atlantic. But models and Flagler County’s emergency management director say the hurricane in five days will make an abrupt turn north well before it comes near the Florida Peninsula. Still, the dangerous storm is expected to cause more erosion on an already weakened Flagler County shore, with hurricane season just beginning to peak.
After Hurricane Idalia became an “extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm, it made landfall as a Cat-3 in Florida’s Big Bend this morning. Effects on Flagler and Palm Coast are expected to be limited to rain and wind gusts as the storm’s track has shifted north.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Sackett v. EPA that federal protection of wetlands encompasses only those wetlands that directly adjoin rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. This is an extremely narrow interpretation of the Clean Water Act that could expose many wetlands across the U.S. to filling and development.
For the second time in only 10 weeks, a rarely seen whale beached on Flagler County’s sands and was put down hours later before it was to be removed from the surf and transported by truck to Orlando’s SeaWorld for a necropsy.
Some 150 people, including numerous Flagler Beach and county officials, turned out to see the state Department of Transportation’s four options to more permanently strengthen State Road A1A, with sea walls taking precedence over dune rebuilding. But a combination of the four options is likely ahead.
A killer whale was found beached at dawn this morning in the surf opposite Hammock Dunes Club. The female orca was dead. It was being transferred to SeaWorld in Orlando for a necropsy.
The bill includes $100 million for beach-erosion recovery, an amount certain to help boost Flagler County’s prospects for tapping many of those millions as it faces vast challenges on 18 miles of its eroded coast.
Through its cost-share programs, the District partners with communities on projects that stretch local dollars to support water resource protection. The application window is open through January 31, 2023.
During the 2021-2022 winter, 202,000 pounds of lettuce were fed to manatees, with nearly $117,000 spent on the project. Wildlife officials say the public should not feed manatees.