Lake Okeechobee

Sean Lahav / UNF's Environmental Center

Updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday

On the wall behind Jim McCarthy’s desk hangs a large photograph of a skeletonized tree trunk resting on the iconic Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island State Park.

“That beach is important,” said McCarthy, president of North Florida Land Trust. Since 2012, the nonprofit organization has preserved most of the over 1,000 acres of privately owned land on the island. The project, which protects migratory birds’ layover spots and diamondback terrapins’ dwellings, is largely financed by a private fund.


Coffee-colored water gurgles near the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam. It flows down the Caloosahatchee River, roughly 30 miles from Fort Myers.

Topher Forhecz/WGCU

Coffee-colored water gurgles near the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam. It flows down the Caloosahatchee River, roughly 30 miles from Fort Myers.

Rick Scott speaking
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott, who environmentalists said was reluctant to support wildlife and conservation efforts for most of his first term, will ask lawmakers to designate money for the next 20 years for Everglades restoration.

Scott on Tuesday outlined a $5 billion plan for the Everglades that would begin with $300 million in the upcoming year. The plan, which includes money for building water-retention reservoirs and maintaining the upland habitat of endangered Florida panthers, was announced as Scott prepares to release his proposed 2015-16 budget this week.

Something is wrong in Florida's Indian River Lagoon.

Over the past year, record numbers of dolphins, manatees and pelicans have turned up dead in the 150-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida's Atlantic Coast. Bouts of algal blooms have flourished in the waters. All the signs point to an ecosystem that is seriously out of balance. The crisis has mobilized scientists, residents and elected officials in Florida.

An Ailing Lagoon

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