Science

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Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

The good news about the St. Johns River is that nitrogen levels are down and there is a drop in overall emissions of toxic chemicals in the region but algae blooms are still a major concern.

Those are some of the findings of the ninth annual St. Johns River Report.

The report is a collaboration between Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida, Florida Southern College and Valdosta State.        

Markolf Zimmer/Creative Commons

What registered as an earthquake Saturday off the coast of Daytona Beach was in fact an underwater explosion caused by the Navy, according to military officials.

Moira Brown and the New England Aquarium / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Bill Nelson, D-Florida, is one of 18 senators asking President Barack Obama to deny permits for seismic gas testing off the Atlantic coast.


In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia, Marcia Wiley, a glass artist from Seattle, is introducing her 12-year-old son, North, to bird-watching.

"OK, just look for something red," she says.

"That's hard to do," North says.

But not for long. "There's a quetzal on that branch," Wiley says, spotting a bird with deep-red breast plumage.

"Oh, I get it!" North exclaims. "Did you see it?"

Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

A state-of-the-art, international bee-research lab could be coming to Gainesville if Florida beekeepers raise enough money.

Last month, Governor Rick Scott OK’d $2 million for bee research, and the University of Florida is covering some of the cost—but it all kicks in only if beekeepers raise $200,000 of their own.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Editor's note: This article has been modified to clarify the parties involved in the lawsuit.

On the final leg of a conservation-awareness tour, the St. Johns Riverkeeper announced Friday it’s suing to halt plans to deepen the river.

The lawsuit is challenging state environmental regulators' approval of a Jacksonville plan to accommodate larger ships at JAXPORT.


solar panel
Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr

Solar panel users in Jacksonville are fighting a JEA plan to reduce the amount the utility pays them for their excess power, under a practice called net metering.

Consumers say cutting incentives would make installing solar panels less affordable.


water flowing  out of tap
next. via flickr

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a water policy bill Thursday despite calls from environmentalists to veto the measure.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper was part of a statewide coalition calling for the veto.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida farmers are cheering a recently passed federal bill that would block a proposed clean-water rule from taking effect.

The legislation will most certainly be vetoed by the president.

But that hasn't stopped environmentalists from clashing with ranchers and growers over the proposal.


Chuck Coker / Flickr Creative Commons

Jacksonville is one of the least energy-efficient major cities in the country. That’s according to a scorecard by a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit.

Still, the city scored higher than it did two years ago.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Ponte Vedra Beach was abuzz with convention-goers Wednesday at the American Beekeeping Federation’s annual conference.

Organizers say they’ve expanded as interest in beekeeping has risen in recent years. But as more people want to raise them, the world’s bee population is shrinking.


Leonard J. DeFrancisci / Wikimedia Commons

Florida is expected, before the end of January, to approve a permit to deepen the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

The St. Johns Riverkeeper says it will challenge the permit because the dredging plan doesn't do enough to offset negative environmental effects.


NASA astronaut web page
NASA

NASA is looking for astronauts to help blaze a trail to Mars. The space agency started accepting applications Monday.

To be considered, applicants must be U.S. citizens with at least a bachelor’s degree in science, math or engineering.

Competition is expected to be intense: Of the more than 6,000 people who applied for NASA’s last astronaut class in 2013, only eight made it.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA research permit #15488

North Atlantic right whales have begun to appear in the calving grounds off the coasts of Florida and Georgia.

According to the Marineland right whale team, two mother-calf pairs were spotted recently, one of them close to shore at Ponte Vedra Beach.

And wildlife officials saw an injured right whale Sunday near Georgia’s Jekyll Island.  They say the whale’s injuries probably came from getting tangled up in something like a fishing net.  She’s also very thin and is missing part of her lip.

A humpback whale has also been spotted near Flagler Beach.

bear sleeping
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr

Florida wildlife officials Thursday called last month's bear hunt a success, with 304 bears killed in two days and few hunters cited for violations — but critics called it a slaughter, saying most of the bears were killed on private land, where state regulations could be more easily skirted.

In a report released Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said 304 bears were killed — 16 short of the so-called "harvest objective" of 320 that was set for the state's first bear hunt in 21 years.

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