Saturday, September 22, 2018


Craig Pittman

Craig Pittman

Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman is a native Floridian. He graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998 he has reported on environmental issues for the Times. He is a four-time winner of the Waldo Proffitt Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism in Florida and a series of stories on Florida's vanishing wetlands that he wrote with Matthew Waite won the top investigative reporting award in both 2006 and 2007 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He is the author of four books: "The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid" (2012); "Manatee Insanity: Inside the War Over Florida's Most Famous Endangered Species," (2010); and, co-written with Waite, "Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss," (2009). His new book, < a href=""> "Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country,"hits stores in July 2016. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.

A floating silt fence barrier can be seen Friday in the harbor at Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg. The barrier was put up to keep the thousands of fish killed by Red Tide from entering the harbor. Residents are asking for instruction for building such barriers to keep Ride Tide's deadly, and smelly, toll out of local waterways. [BRONTE WITTPENN   |   Times]

Blocked: People are building their own barriers to block Red Tide

ST. PETERSBURG — To combat the waves of dead fish that keep washing ashore during the Red Tide bloom, some Pinellas County businesses and homeowners are borrowing a tactic from the president himself:They’re building a wall.Take the folks...
Published: 09/21/18
A slurry fo dead fish, the result of Red Tide, moves out of Clearwater Harbor on the north side of Sand Key Park on Thursday as Pinellas County continues to monitor the bloom at a number of beaches right now, including Madeira Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Indian Shores. A Red Tide Advisory remains in effect at Sand Key Park, which has suspended parking fees. For weeks, the city of Clearwater has become the place of respite from the bloom for people on southern beaches experiencing red tide, as the bloom had not been detected. But the tide has changed in recent days after dead fish began washing onto the beach over the weekend, and spilling into the Intracoastal Waterway. The naturally occurring phenomenon and has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s, and its foul odor can cause respiratory irritation. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times)

Clay may combat Florida’s Red Tide, but opposition ended experiments here 15 years ago

With Red Tide creeping up the Southwest Florida coast and into the Panhandle, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced an international research partnership to determine if the toxic algae bloom can be quelled by clay.The effort is bringing...
Published: 09/20/18
Red tide at Fort De Soto Park in September 2005. (Douglas R. Clifford | Times).

Another reason Florida’s Red Tide is so bad this year: Pollution from the Mississippi River

The Red Tide algae bloom now tossing tons of dead fish on Pinellas County’s beaches has been fueled for months by many things — runoff from over-fertilized lawns, leaking septic tanks and sewage lines,
Published: 09/20/18
Several dead fish washed up on Indian Rocks Beach Monday afternoon as Red Tide continued to make its presence felt. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

Your questions about Red Tide’s attack on Pinellas County answered (w/video)

Now that the Red Tide algae bloom that’s been lingering along the Southwest Florida coast since last November has finally reached Pinellas County’s beaches, a lot of readers have questions about the toxic bloom’s effects. Here are some...
Published: 09/18/18
Thousands of dead fish, including large grouper, line the seawall at the north end of the Harbourside Condominium complex in St. Pete Beach. The complex is located on Deadman Key in Boca Ceiga Bay and the Intracoastal Waterway. The fish kill is the result of Red Tide in Pinellas County. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

Red Tide has swept into the Intracoastal Waterway, littering parks and canals with dead fish

ST. PETERSBURG — Red Tide, which chased the tourists away from Pinellas County’s beaches last week, has now infiltrated the Intracoastal Waterway and started stinking up residential canals too.
Published: 09/17/18
Updated: 09/18/18
A seagull picks a dead pin fish out of the water. The effects of Red Tide are seen at Pass-a-Grille Beach on Saturday, where hundreds, perhaps thousands of fish were dead on the beach. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE   |   Times]

Red Tide endangers more than sea life. Birds are latest victims

One recent morning, Elizabeth Forys saw a strange sight on St. Pete Beach.The Eckerd College biology professor was visiting to check on the condition of certain seabirds as a Red Tide algae bloom rolled into Pinellas County’s iconic beaches.
Published: 09/17/18
SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Workers clean up thousands of small, stinky fish on North Redington Beach earlier this week.

When will Red Tide on Florida’s west coast go away? It’s anyone’s guess.

ST. PETERSBURG — Now that Red Tide has reached Pinellas County’s popular beaches, chasing away tourists and depositing tons of dead marine life, the big question is when it will end.The short, unsatisfying answer, 10 months after the current...
Published: 09/12/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Workers clean up thousands of small fish that washed onto North Redington Beach on Tuesday as a result of the Red Tide bloom afflicting the Gulf. The small was pungent. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

In Redington Shores, the counterattack against Red Tide begins

REDINGTON SHORES — Ken Bish saved up for six months to celebrate his 60th birthday with a four-day trip to a beach resort for some fishing. He carefully monitored the reports about the Red Tide algae bloom. On Friday, when he checked into the Hotel...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/12/18
Veterinarian Martine de Wit places samples of manatee tissue in a freezer at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Marine Mammal Pathology Lab in St. Petersburg. The tissue will be tested to see if the current Red Tide caused the manatees death. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

Clues to combating Red Tide are found in mounting manatee carcasses

ST. PETERSBURG — As Martine de Wit stepped into a large and brightly lit laboratory near Eckerd College at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, she saw she had a heavy workload waiting.Eight dead manatees were stacked up like kindling, waiting to be cut up so de...
Updated one month ago
LANCE ROTHSTEIN   |   Special to the Times
Fans hold books by author Randy Wayne White, a guest at Bouchercon.

Welcome to Florida, a land of mysteries – including why mullet jump

Florida is a land full of mysteries. Why do we call it "the Sunshine State" when every major city gets more rain than Seattle? Why, after a hurricane destroys our homes with flooding and storm surge, do we rebuild in exactly the same spot?...
Updated one month ago