Craig Pittman, Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

Craig Pittman

Environment, Growth and Development Reporter

I’m a native Floridian whose family arrived here in 1850. I graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where my muckraking for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label me “the most destructive force on campus.” Since then I’ve covered a variety of beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Stories I have written on environmental issues have won national awards, and "The Daily Show" once called me a "nerd" about Florida history. I’ve written four books. The most recent one,Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, is a New York Times bestseller and won a Florida Book Awards gold medal in 2017.

Ocean currents carried Red Tide close to shore, scientists say

A slurry fo dead fish, the result of Red Tide, was visible in Clearwater Harbor on the north side of Sand Key Park as Red Tide lingered along the coast in September. [Times]
An "upwelling" current moved the Red Tide bloom from where it originated offshore to the gulf beaches.

Tampa Bay Water postpones until 2020 voting on Tampa wastewater-to-drinking water plan

SCOTT KEELER   |   TimesPhoto of St. Petersburg City Council member and candidate Darden Rice
Amid vocal opposition to the Tampa Augmentation Project, the water agency again decides not to decide -- this time until a feasibility study is complete.

Rare Bryde's whales in Gulf of Mexico now officially classified as ‘endangered’

About 50 adult Bryde’s whales (pronounced Broo-dus) live in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are sometimes hit by ships. That population, which is distinct from other Bryde’s populations in the rest of the world, has been approved for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. [Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
Federal officials say there are fewer than 50 of the baleen whales, and they are threatened by being hit by ships and by offshore oil drilling.

Times’ series on patient deaths at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital wins top award

Tampa Bay Times deputy investigations editor Kathleen McGrory and investigative reporter Neil Bedi have won first place in the Division II print/online competition held by Investigative Reporters and Editors for their stories last year on the deaths of at least 11 children at the Heart Institute inside Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. [Times]
The series, ‘Heartbroken,’ on problems that led to the deaths of at least 11 children, tied for first place from Investigative Reporters and Editors.

Hurricane Michael turned millions of trees into kindling. Could wildfire be the next disaster?

A wildfire that officials say quickly spread through dead trees that still hadn’t been cleared after Hurricane Michael forced the evacuation of nearly two dozen homes in Florida’s Panhandle on March 31, 2019. [Florida Forest Service]
This weekend a wildfire that should have been easily knocked down spread to 600 acres thanks to the dried-out timber left behind by the hurricane.