A roundup of news items related to climate change and other environmental issues in Florida:
Ridership of high-speed rail service Brightline is on the rise | WMFE
Brightline saw an increase in ridership of 101% from November of 2022 to November of 2023.
The service from Miami to West Palm extended to Orlando in September. Brightline’s Katie Mitzner said the holiday traffic is only increasing as families explore Brightline as an alternative option for being on a plane or in a car.
“It really is a perfect opportunity, a perfect place for families to travel from one destination to the next and not having to be up in a car in traffic all the way from one spot to the next,” Mitzner said.
Winter storm undid months of Pinellas beach restoration work, officials say | Tampa Bay Times
Just as Pinellas County neared the end of its months-long dune restoration project, the severe winter storm last weekend washed away nearly half of its progress on some beaches.
Since work on county beaches began in October, about 189,000 cubic yards of sand has been added to reinforce shoreline from Pass-a-Grille to Indian Shores — enough to fill 58 Olympic-size swimming pools. The project has cost about $26 million raised through the county’s tourism development tax, part of which comes from a tax on short-term vacation rentals and hotel rooms.
Survey teams are now assessing exactly how much sand was blown back into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. Early estimates put that figure around 50% along places like Indian Rocks Beach and Belleair Beach, according to county officials. They believe Pass-a-Grille Beach and other shorelines to the south sustained less damage.
Not all endangered species are created equal or cute and cuddly, so less cash flows their way | Florida Today
Fifty years ago this month President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act, one of history’s most important environmental laws.
The law has had some stunning successes in bringing back species from the brink of the extinction. Notable victories include the bald eagle, the manatee and the gray wolf.
But other forgotten or unforgiven at risk species — some venomous, others infamous — need protection, too, biologists say. But like morally ambiguous characters in the 1966 Clint Eastwood Western, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” it’s often unclear which if any of these “uncuddly” creatures are redeemable or better left to the harsh bullets Darwinism delivers.
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