Max Chesnes - Environment Reporter

Environment Reporter

Hi there! I’m Max, 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. The beaches off Indian Rocks Beach are flush with visitors despite the presence of red tide earlier this month.
  2. City of Tampa Water Department employees leave the dock as they fill the Hillsborough River with green dye. [CHRIS URSO | Times (2018)]
  3. Discolored water is observed near Pinellas County beaches near Indian Shores during a flight with SouthWings volunteers on Friday.
  4. Dead fish are seen along the shore of the intracoastal waters near the Dunedin Marina on Wednesday.
  5. A dead goliath grouper floats on the surface of the ocean on Aug. 8, 2021, in the Gulf of Mexico.
  6. Aerial drone photo of the Hillsborough River near the site of a sewage spill from a lift station pictured on Thursday in Tampa.
  7. Aerial drone photo of the Hillsborough River near the site of a sewage spill from a lift station pictured Thursday in Tampa.
  8. Dead fish are shown washed up at Pass-a-Grille Beach in December. The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, was detected along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
  9. Beachgoers are seen along the shore and in the water Thursday in Madeira Beach. State biologists said they received reports of fish kills and breathing problems at some Pinellas County beaches this week due to a red tide bloom.
  10. Pedestrians are seen along the John’s Pass Village Thursday in Madeira Beach.
  11. A fisherman looks at pelicans sitting by the South Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in St.Petersburg. Nearly 75% of bird rescues at the pier are pelicans, and wildlife officials are considering new rules to prevent their entanglement.
  12. One of many camera-trap photographs of a wild Florida panther captured by Carlton Ward Jr. You can watch "Path of the Panther" in theaters across Florida beginning Friday. The film will be released on Disney+ and the National Geographic Channel this spring.
  13. Rodney Boblitt stands on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. After patrolling the beaches following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Boblitt suffered memory problems and other health issues. Like thousands of other cleanup workers, he is suing BP, which denies any link between the spill and their illnesses.
  14. A cormorant swims over a thick mat of algae covering a bed of seagrass offshore from Tierra Verde near the Shell Key Preserve on June 29 in Pinellas County. Tampa Bay has lost 12% of its seagrass in recent years, a survey released Monday shows, leaving the northern bay with an all-time low amount of the plant crucial to life in Florida’s largest open-water estuary.
  15. Fifth-generation farmer Roy Petteway looks at the damage to his citrus grove from the effects of Hurricane Ian on Oct. 12 in Zolfo Springs. Agriculture losses in Florida from Hurricane Ian's high winds and drenching rains are now estimated at $1.03 billion, the University of Florida said Thursday.
  16. Big Cypress National Preserve, seen here in this 2008 file photo, is an important habitat for the endangered Florida panther and is a key ingredient in maintaining the Everglades' ecosystem health.
  17. Someone paddles through the water at Pass-a-Grille Beach on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in St. Pete Beach. Red tide conditions have improved in Pinellas County over the past week.
  18. Researchers recently documented, then killed, a population of invasive, air-breathing goldline snakehead fish living in a pond in Manatee County.
  19. Anglers fish along the North Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier in November. Wildlife officials are considering new rules to prevent seabird entanglements at the pier.
  20. Pictured are American white pelicans, one of the affected species. The news of two new infected species this week underscores bird flu’s widening reach.
  21. A car fire on southbound Interstate 275 in Tampa is snarling traffic near the State Road 60 off ramp this morning.
  22. A 19-year-old man was killed Saturday, January 21, 2023 during a horse training accident at Tampa Bay Downs, according to the track's announcer. (Times Archives)