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Going green

  1. Report: No one tried to bury sewer study, but St. Petersburg's public works department is dysfunctional


    ST. PETERSBURG — A city-commissioned report concluded high-ranking sewer officials did not bury a consultant's 2014 report that predicted St. Petersburg's sewage woes if the city shut down the Albert Whitted treatment plant — which is exactly what the city did in 2015, setting the stage for the current …

    Signs posted at St. Petersburg’s North Shore Park in September warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city’s sewer system after it was overwhelmed by Hurricane Hermine. On Friday a report found that the city did not bury a 2014 consultants report that explained how closing the Albert Whitted treatment plant could backfire on the city. St. Petersburg closed the plant in 2015, and has since released 200 million gallons of sewage. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tarpon Springs planners identify potential dump site for Anclote River dredge


    TARPON SPRINGS — Federal engineers have recommended the city use a familiar property to dump silt set to be dredged out of the Anclote River — the same one used during the last dredge in 1998.

    Commissioner David Banther is pleased the important project is moving along.
  3. 'World's weirdest whale' swims in Gulf of Mexico, may need endangered species protection


    ST. PETERSBURG — A lot of unusual things live in the Gulf of Mexico: hatchetfish that glow in the dark; pancake batfish that look as flat as the food they're named for; vampire squid that, when challenged, can turn themselves inside out.

    About 50 adult Bryde's whales (pronounced "BRI-duss") live in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are sometimes hit by ships. That population, which is distinct from the populations of other Bryde hales around the world, could be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act according to a new federal proposal. One British newspaper dubbed Bryde's whales "the world's weirdest whale." [Courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
  4. Oceanographer returns to aid new Pier 60 reef project



    Forty years ago, oceanographer Heyward Mathews organized a barge to drop thousands of pounds of concrete in the waters just west of Pier 60.

    The city is partnering with Oceanographer Heyward Mathews (left) to build a new artificial reef at Pier 60 to replenish the fish habitat and provide a better resource for fishing. Mathews built the original artificial reef that's there now in 1974. He realized it had deteriorated so much during a recent clean-up event. Mathews is working with Pier 60 manager TJ Murphey (right) who is also a former Marine Biology student of Matthews. The new reef will be closer to the pier.
  5. Emails reveal St. Petersburg approached state official about job while state investigated city's sewage woes


    ST. PETERSBURG — In the aftermath of the city's summer sewage crisis, public works administrator Claude Tankersley was looking for new talent to fill gaps in St. Petersburg's sewer department. Someone recommended a state environmental official, Michele Duggan.

    St. Petersburg public works administrator Claude Tankersley, shown speaking to City Council members in September about the sewage crisis, told DEP official Michele Duggan in October to keep a close eye on the city’s website for an upcoming job.
  6. Florida panther killed on highway sets grisly new record


    Somewhere out there in Florida is a driver who set a disturbing record Tuesday but may not know it.

    Researchers were encouraged earlier this year to see a female panther north of the Caloosahatchee River for the first time in 40 years. But the news overall is bittersweet for 2016: A record number of the endangered mammals have been killed on roadways this year. [Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  7. Pasco's proposed SunWest dredge faces more scrutiny


    ARIPEKA — Federal environmental regulators are slowing down plans to dig a deep-water channel between Pasco County-owned SunWest Park and the Gulf of Mexico.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended its review of a county application to dredge this channel to the Gulf of Mexico. The corps ordered a full environmentl impact statement , saying the application resembled a prior proposal rejected in 2014. Times files
  8. Sewage crisis' latest twist: State official investigating St. Petersburg applies for city sewage job


    ST. PETERSBURG — A state environmental official helping investigate the city's beleaguered sewer system has applied for a job with the very city department at the center of St. Petersburg's sewage crisis.

    A state official who helped investigate St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis has interviewed for a job in the department that oversees the sewer system and dumped millions of gallons of waste.
  9. Federal government blocks Dakota Access oil pipeline route


    CANNON BALL, N.D. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that it won't grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its supporters, who argued the project would threaten a water source and cultural sites.

    Maida Le Beau embraces Bobby Robedeaux at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp after learning that permits would not be approved for a section of the Dakota Access pipeline.
  10. State team finds and rescues a fourth manatee in Lake Tarpon


    The fourth and final manatee trapped in Lake Tarpon has been rescued and released back into the warmer waters of Tampa Bay, state wildlife officials said Friday.

    Members of a rescue team transport the fourth manatee found and rescued from Lake Tarpon in an operation that spanned two days, Dec. 1-2, 2016. The animal was brought to shore Friday morning before being relocated to Tampa Bay. [Courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]