Science news

Sandra Friend / US Department of Agriculture - Forest Service

Mayor Alvin Brown’s Port Task Force has voted in support of breaching a Putnam County dam as an offset for proposed deepening of the Jacksonville Harbor.

A coalition of Jacksonville business and environmental advocates say removing the dam will flush millions of gallons of fresh water into the St. Johns River each day. They say that would offset environmental damage caused by the proposed dredging of Jacksonville’s port.

Meanwhile, advocates for keeping the dam, and the man-made lake behind it, say it acts as a water filter keeping pollution from flowing downstream.

On the March 2015 edition of WJCT's Policy Matters, host Rick Mullaney speaks with nationally renowned water resource and marine life experts James G. Workman, writer and Deputy Director of the Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Share Design, and Dr. Quint White, Director of Jacksonville University's Marine Science Research Institute.

You can subscribe to the Policy Matters podcast in iTunes.

As the Obama administration opens the door to offshore drilling, the oil industry is promising more jobs and less reliance on foreign oil. Some people who live along the Eastern Seaboard are saying, "no thanks."

Coastal towns and cities in several states are formally opposing offshore drilling and oil exploration.

Tybee Island, Ga., is a short drive across the marsh from the historic city of Savannah. The island is dotted with hotels and tiny vacation cottages for tourists — and for about 3,000 people, it's home.

The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

For the first time in two decades, Florida officials have scheduled a bear hunting season. It's a response to a rise in bear attacks — but it has some environmentalists upset.

Experts say there's plenty of room for humans and black bears to co-exist, but the smell of food is pulling the animals out of the woods and into neighborhoods.

If you want to understand the situation, take a trip to Franklin County, in the pandhandle. A few months ago, a bear attacked a teenager there while she walked her dog near a convenience store.

News 4 Jax

More than 100 people reported seeing bright lights in the sky and hearing a window-rattling boom as a meteor fell over Northeast Florida Saturday night, according to our partners, News4Jax

The American Meteor Society says the meteor was traveling from the southwest to the northeast before ending its flight about 30 miles west of Jacksonville.

Peter Haden / WJCT

  There's a roadside stand in Putnam County that's known not just for its orange-blossom honey but for the way it operates: It runs on the honor system, and has for almost 70 years. 

It's just a stone's throw southeast of Palatka — in a bend alongside State Route 100 under a bunch of oak trees.  You could be forgiven for missing David C. Biggers' legendary roadside stand "Honor System Honey,"  but not by Biggers himself.

"If you live in this county and you don't know where the honey stand is, you just moved here," he said. "Everybody knows where it's at."

Peter Haden / WJCT

Combinations of stress factors are stopping coral from growing in the Florida Keys according to the finding of new research led by University of North Florida Biology Professor Cliff Ross. It’s a clue into what is wiping out coral colonies worldwide.

First thing's first: coral may look like rocks, but coral are animals.

Ross explains, "They’re closely related to jellyfish. If you take a bunch of jellyfish and shrink them and stick them together, that’s a coral."

Ross has been studying coral in the Florida Keys for over a decade, and lately, coral babies.

JEA Releases Energy-Efficient Heating Tips

Jan 8, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As temperatures continue to drop, many people will be turning on the heat, and JEA is releasing some efficient ways to reduce power consumption.

Jerry McInarnay is an energy efficiency analyst for JEA. He said the first way you can lower your bill is by setting your thermostat to 68 degrees.

"A couple things we can do -- gradually heat the home. We can bump the thermostat up 1 to 2 degrees," said McInarnay. "If we crank it up more than 2 degrees it's not uncommon for the auxiliary heat to engage."

Jeff Huffman / FPREN

The coldest air mass of the winter season so far arrives tonight in Northeast Florida. A hard freeze is likely for all inland areas north of a line from Gainesville to Jacksonville, with subfreezing temperatures also expected overnight in rural areas as far south as the I-4 corridor. The arctic front responsible for the looming cold snap will be driven southward by blustery north winds that could gust as high as 25 to 35 mph in some areas. For this reason, Wind Advisories and Wind Chill Advisories are also in effect.

Humanity has snapped detailed portraits of planets and moons throughout our solar system. But there's one missing from the album: Pluto.

Although Pluto was discovered in 1930, it has remained stubbornly hard to photograph. The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the best pictures, and frankly, they stink.

Map showing overnight low temperatures forecasts of 25 degrees in Jacksonville, 22 in Brunswick, 21 in Waycross and Valdosta, 22 in Lake City, 24 in Gainesville, 27 in St Augustine, and 31 in Daytona Beach
Jeff Huffman

Tonight’s freeze is not only coming several weeks early, it will likely break several records across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. Temperatures are expected to fall rapidly after sunset this evening, all the way to a low in the lower and middle 20’s for most inland areas by Wednesday morning. A Hard Freeze Warning is in effect for every inland county of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia, starting at 11pm Tuesday night. The warning also includes the greater Jacksonville metro area and the coastal counties of Duval and Nassau.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released its latest citrus projections for the season, with orange production up for the first time in the past three years. The state will produce an estimated 108 million boxes of oranges, which is a three percent increase from last year’s 104.6 million boxes.

Peter Haden / WJCT

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the University of North Florida have teamed up to learn more about the lives of sea turtles.

Peter Haden / WJCT News

Trash is getting smarter at bus stations around Duval County.

The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has installed new solar-powered waste and recycling stations at three area bus terminals: Rosa Parks Transit Station downtown, and the Regency and Gateway Transit Hubs.

The new trash cans are high tech. When they become full, the units compact the garbage automatically, creating more space. When they can hold no more, a signal goes out to maintenance staff so the trash can be picked up.