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Preview: Endangered and Drained in Polk

Endangered and Drained in Polk



Reporter Tom Palmer discusses the environment in Polk and beyond.



Last Build Date: Sat, 03 Sep 2016 16:41:05 +0000

 



Will storm bring in cool birds?

Sat, 03 Sep 2016 00:28:41 +0000

Birdwatchers were out today and will be out this weekend to see whether Hurricane Hermine steered any unusual fall migrating birds our way. I stopped at Saddle Creek Park after work today and saw a few migrating songbirds–Prothonotary Warbler, Louisiana  Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher among others–as the light was failing. Tree Swallows hunted overhead. P.S. I returned Saturday morning with some fellow local birders. We saw several more species. Get outdoors; no telling what you’ll see. Let me know what you… Read More »

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FWC venomous reptile rules pending

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 20:11:10 +0000

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is scheduled to hear recommendations at  its next meeting Sept. 8 and 9 in St. Augustine on tougher regulations for people who have permits to keep venomous reptiles. The main recommendations call for more secure areas where the reptiles are kept to prevent escapes  and restrictions on live handling of  non-native species. The review of the rules came after the escape of two cobras in different parts of the state. Violations of the… Read More »

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FWC reports palmetto berry arrests

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 17:03:13 +0000

This is the time of year many conservation land managers don’t look forward to. Saw palmetto berries have developed and people in search of a quick buck are sneaking into the woods to steal them. The latest law enforcement digest distributed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contains reports of wildlife officers catching several people in various parts of the state as they were illegally harvesting palmetto berries on public and private conservation lands in Charlotte, Columbia, Polk… Read More »

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Let homeowners look at development regs, too

Sun, 28 Aug 2016 09:51:22 +0000

In 2000 the  County Commission belatedly  approved development regulations to implement its belatedly approved 1996 growth plan to comply with a 1985 state growth law. The ink was barely dry on the chairman’s signature when work was under way to appoint a “Glitch Committee” composed of representatives of the development community to take a second run at the regulations they had heavy input in writing in the first place to look for places where the rules should be rewritten to… Read More »

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Leave sea turtle hatchlings alone, FWC advises

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:37:29 +0000

Sea turtle hatchlings are digging out of their nests and clambering toward the ocean in September and October, the last months of Florida’s sea turtle nesting season. “Hands off!” is the best policy for beachgoers encountering sea turtle hatchings, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises.. Well-meaning efforts to rescue a sea turtle hatchling by helping it leave a nest or picking it up and placing it in the ocean are not good ideas, according to FWC biologists. Worse… Read More »

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FWC, FHP crack down on Saddle Creek Park speeding

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 18:51:11 +0000

When Polk County decided a couple of decades or so ago to pave the roads through Saddle Creek Park to reduce maintenance costs, there as a big outcry from wildlife advocates that it would result in dead birds everywhere as people barreled through, I visit the park fairly often and don’t see much of a speed problem. I guess I’m not there enough. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and the Florida Highway Patrol recently teamed up to crackdown on… Read More »

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Despite problems elsewhere, local Monarch populations don’t need our help

Sun, 21 Aug 2016 09:54:14 +0000

The condition of Monarch butterfly populations in the United States has been the topic of quite a bit of news coverage in recent years. Reports have concluded that populations have been declining  by 90 percent  in many parts of North America over the past 20 years. Some have seen this decline as a sign that many less-familiar species of pollinators may also be in danger. The main reasons for the decline appear to be the increased use of herbicides in farming… Read More »

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DEP enforcement lagging, group claims

Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:17:45 +0000

Enforcement by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection   has declined significantly since Gov. Rick Scott took office, according to a report released this week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nationwide organization that monitors the performance (or non-performance) of state and federal environmental agencies. The report criticizes DEP officials for bringing fewer enforcement cases than in the pre-Scott era and assessing significantly lower fines when violations are documented. “In Florida, polluters do not need a ‘Get Out of Jail… Read More »

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Panther Point selected for new trail name around Lake Hancock

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 23:02:06 +0000

The new trail around Lake Hancock will be renamed Panther Point. That was the top vote-getter in an online survey organized by Polk County’s Communications and Parks and Natural Resources staff. Panther Point was the name an area of mined land overlooking the lake’s southern shore was given in the 1960s when it was opened in 1957 to birdwatching by Armour Fertilizer , the company that owned it at the time. Panther Point received 160 of the 649 votes. Second… Read More »

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Habitat matters; so does Amendment 1

Sun, 14 Aug 2016 10:16:27 +0000

Habitat matters. Habitat matters. Habitat matters. This is a fact bears repeating often in any discussion of the future of native wildlife species in Florida or anywhere else. This lesson is reinforced by a book titled “Restoring North America’s Birds: Lessons in Landscape Ecology” by Robert A. Askins that I came across recently. Although it was published more than a decade ago, the points Askins makes are as valid as if it were published last week. He sets the stage… Read More »

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