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Max Chesnes - Environment Reporter

Environment Reporter

Hi there, I’m Max Chesnes, the environment reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. I report on water quality, environmental justice, obscure Florida wildlife and everything in between. Prior to working for the Times, I covered environmental issues for Treasure Coast Newspapers and the USA Today network, where I focused on Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon in Florida. I was named a 2022 journalism fellow at the University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute. I’m also a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and a recipient of an SEJ national reporting award, the Poole Endowment for Environmental Writing, and first place recognitions from the Florida Society of News Editors and the Green Eyeshade Awards. I studied both journalism and sustainability at the University of Florida, graduating in May 2019. (Go gators!) I’m also licensed to fly drones.

  1. Dead fish washed up on the shores of Fort De Soto Park in 2021 during a Red Tide outbreak. Low amounts of Red Tide have been found off Fort De Soto again this week.
  2. A turkey vulture tussles with a bald eagle for a remnant of food at the Hernando County Landfill on Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022, in Brooksville. More than half of all Florida counties have confirmed or suspected cases of the extremely infectious bird flu strain this year. The epicenter of the outbreak initially emerged in Brevard County and along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
  3. Anglers fish along the North Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier on Wednesday in St. Petersburg. Wildlife officials are considering new rules to prevent seabird entanglements at the Skyway Fishing Pier.
  4. Dead fish are seen along Madeira Beach during a Red Tide bloom at Madeira Beach in June 2021.
  5. A group of manatees are pictured in a canal where discharge from a nearby Florida Power & Light plant warms the water. Fewer manatee deaths have been recorded so far this year in Florida compared to the record-setting numbers in 2021 but wildlife officials cautioned that chronic starvation remains a dire and ongoing threat to the marine mammals.
  6. A rattlesnake sits on a platform under the Tierra Verde Bridge on Thursday, Oct. 27. This screenshot of a video taken by Capt. Brett Norris shows the roughly 4-foot snake stretched out over the busy boat channel.
  7. Forty-eight hours after Hurricane Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach as a Category 1 storm, residents of Daytona Beach Shores began to assess the damage wrought by intense coastal erosion. Beach boardwalks and coastal infrastructure were washed away by hours of surging seas. From the air, scenes of strewn debris, damaged hotels and homes now at-risk from erosion begin to come to light. Volusia County faced the northern portion of the storm, which brought the strongest gusts and turbulent seas.
  8. Trey Harbord, 12, of Clearwater, settles into the surf with his sister, Gracie, 15, while exploring the stormy conditions brought on by Tropical Storm Nicole, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022 in Clearwater Beach.
  9. Red Tide warning were signs posted on local public beaches during a past algal bloom.
  10. Soleil and Piccolina are seen in the back of the ZooTampa Manatee Rescue Team’s transport truck as they prepare to transfer three female orphaned manatees to the Cincinnati Zoo for continued care on Saturday.
  11. A harmful algal bloom was photographed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday on Moody Lake in Pasco County.
  12. Jack, a 30-year-old black-capped capuchin monkey, escaped from Suncoast Primate Sanctuary on Sunday. This screenshot of a video by Natani Daehne shows a cyclist watching the runaway primate.
  13. Sandbags and runoff were seen in the driveway of a home located along 53rd Avenue North just east of Duhme Road on July 22 in unincorporated Pinellas County. About 300,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled.
  14. Cockroaches. Tampa Bay's got 'em in abundance, especially after Hurricane Ian. In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau in an American Housing Survey found our metropolitan area had more roaches than Miami, New York or Houston. At the time, roughly 40% of the 1,000 households surveyed said they had roaches.
  15. A dead goliath grouper floats on the surface of the ocean in August 2021 in the Gulf of Mexico. The harmful algae can kill sea creatures from fish to stingrays to horseshoe crabs.
  16. The Kissimmee River faced unprecedented flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ian. It's one of many Florida waterbodies that saw record-level rainfall and floods.
  17. Anthony Prado with the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team (FL-TF2) moves a damaged door while searching for people on Oct. 5 in Fort Myers Beach after Hurricane Ian devastated the area.
  18. A steady stream of people stopped along Bayshore Boulevard to see the effects of Hurricane Ian, which produced a reverse storm surge that pulled water out of Hillsborough Bay on Sept. 28 in Tampa.
  19. A home in Fort Myers is inundated with flood waters on Sept. 29. The environmental toll in the wake of Hurricane Ian is just coming into view.
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