GHOST ORCHIDS A group of scientists from Illinois College has been transplanting lab-grown ghost orchids into the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The results are promising as 80 percent are still thriving a year later. The endangered ghost orchid is highly sensitive to climate conditions, pesticides, pollinator loss and human activity. There are approximately 2,000 wild ghost orchids in South Florida.
ALLIGATOR HUNTING The annual alligator hunt commenced Monday, August 22nd. More than 6,000 hunters were awarded permits which will allow them to kill up to two alligators during the season before it ends November 1st. The alligator was one of the original species protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Populations recovered quickly and hunting resumed in 1988. Last season’s hunt yielded 6,694 alligators, with an average length of eight feet, four inches. There are an estimated 1.3 million alligators in Florida.
BEAR RESISTANT TRASH CANS Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission signed an agreement on August 17th with Waste Pro to make bear resistant trash cans more readily available to citizens who live in areas where bear-human interactions occur. The Legislature earmarked $825,000 to help make the cans more affordable.
FLORIDA CONSTITUTION REVISIONS COMMISSION Applications are being accepted for the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. The 37 member Commission convenes every 20 years to review Florida’s Constitution and propose potential changes to be approved by Florida voters. Governor Scott will appoint 15, the Florida Senate President will appoint nine, the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives will appoint nine, the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court will appoint three, and the Florida Attorney General will be automatically appointed. The application may be found here.
CAPITOL PARKING GARAGES The Senate garage and other areas of the Capitol plaza will be getting a facelift after it was determined that serious repairs were needed due to tree root damage and dirt weakening the parking deck structure. Dozens of trees and 7,300 tons of dirt have already been removed before repairs could commence. The Legislature allocated $36 million for the project.