Intermediate beekeeping classes start Aug. 17

The UF/IFAS Extension Panhandle Agriculture Team is pleased to offer three intermediate level beekeeping classes.  These classes will be offered via interactive web-conferencing at a number of Extension Offices across North Florida and will be taught by state and nationally recognized specialists.  This summer series will be Thursday evenings from 6-7:30 pm Central Time, 7-8:30 pm Eastern Time.  Each presentation will be followed by a question / answer period with the speaker.  Registration for all three classes is $15 per person, or $25 for a family up to four, and covers course materials and refreshments. 

Here is the lineup:

Thursday August 17th, Fall Pest and Disease Management -Varroa Mites and Nosema presented by Cameron Jack, UF/IFAS Bee Lab Apiarist

Thursday August 24th, Working With Pollination Contracts, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection

Thursday September 7th, Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides, presented by Jeanette Klopchin, FDACS Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.

Here is a link to a printable flyer and further details: Beekeeping in Panhandle Summer Series 2017. 

Please call your local UF/IFAS Extension Office to register.

Call and register today!

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Guided Kayak tour of Rocky Bayou Aug. 18

Date/time: August 18, 9 – 11 a.m.

Join a Park Ranger for a unique opportunity to paddle Rocky Bayou at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park. The paddle will go along the shoreline of Rocky Bayou to Rocky Creek and back to the park. Rocky Bayou is a fresh to brackish water system supporting a large variety of fish and shellfish, including the federally endangered Okaloosa darter.

Osprey and bald eagles are known to nest within the area. Osprey in particular are often sighted by campers, kayakers and locals.

Space is limited to 12 people for the trip. There are 5 double kayaks and 2 single kayaks available to rent or you may bring your own vessel. A signup sheet will be available in the ranger station at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park and will be on a first come first serve basis.

Park admission fees do apply and is $5.00 per vehicle. Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park is located at 4281 S.R. 20, Niceville, FL. For more information, call (850) 833-9144.


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Health Advisory issued for Morrison Springs

The Health Advisory is issued on August 9, 2017, for Morrison Springs. The Advisory is issued based on the criteria for fecal indicator bacteria.

This should be considered a potential health risk to the bathing public and swimming is not recommended. Samples taken are above the public health threshold for fecal indicator bacteria. Water quality exceedances are based upon the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended standard of no more than 61 Enterococci CFU/100mL, or 235 E. coli CFU/100mL in any single sample. Sample results for August 8, 2017, indicate 164 Enterococci CFU/100mL.

The water will be re-sampled next week. When re-sampling indicates that the water is within the satisfactory range, the advisory will be lifted.

The Florida Department of Health in Walton County monitors monthly water samples submitted by public bathing places during their operation season. The water samples are being analyzed for enteric bacteria (fecal coliform enterococci or E. coli) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and warm- blooded animals, and indicate the presence of pathogens which may cause swimming related diseases including gastrointestinal disease, ear and eye ailments, and skin rashes and infections. The presence of fecal indicator bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, domestic pets, wildlife, and human waste (sewage).

Sampling is also conducted by other county health departments at marine beaches and results can be found at Department of Health’s Beach Water Quality website at

For more information, contact the Florida Department of Health in Walton County (850) 892-8021.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

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Walton County fishing report for Aug. 9

Fishing is good

Bay: Still small redfish and speckled trout. Some white trout and a few mangrove snapper.

River: Mixed reports of bream and a few hardhead catfish.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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Wakulla, Jackson Blue, Econfina Blue springs receive restoration funding

Blue spring on Econfina Creek. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Collaboration enables continued momentum for springs restoration<

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a suite of 40 projects that will receive $50 million from the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems. This includes a state investment of more than $14 million to protect springs in Northwest Florida, including Wakulla, Jackson Blue, Econfina Blue and Horn springsheds. Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars.

The following highlighted projects are three of the 11 selected projects for the Northwest Florida Region, benefiting Wakulla, Jackson Blue and Econfina Blue springs.

Wakulla Springs

Wakulla Septic Abatement: A total of $10 million in collaborative funding will be used for three projects to extend and increase central sewer service around the Wakulla springshed. The Northeast Lake Munson sewer system project will extend central sewer service to approximately 260 residences in South Leon County adjacent to Lake Munson currently on septic tanks, reducing the total nutrient load by 3,606 pounds per year. The Belair/Annawood sewer system project will extend central sewer service to approximately 113 residences in South Leon County currently on septic tanks, reducing the total nutrient load by 1,567 pounds per year.

Wakulla Springs Land Acquisition Project: A total of $2.4 million in collaborative funding will be used for an acquisition of lands surrounding Wakulla Springs. This acquisition will assist in the protection of karst features and future septic tank expansion to Wakulla Springs.

Jackson Blue Spring

Jackson Blue Spring Agricultural Best Management Practice Producer Cost Share Grant Program: A total of $2 million in collaborative funding will be used to continue an agricultural cost-share program to the Jackson Blue Spring basin, and assist approximately 32 producers with retrofits and precision agricultural equipment to improve water quality and quantity to protect springs in the Dougherty Karst region.

Econfina Blue Spring

Econfina Land Acquisition Project: A total of $1 million in collaborative funding will be used for an acquisition of lands surrounding the first magnitude springs along Econfina Creek, beneftting the Econfina Recharge area.

A complete list of the springs protection projects funded by the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget can be found here. These projects will be considered by the water management district Governing Boards as part of their upcoming budget hearings. More information is also available on springs projects funded during the FY 16-17 year and FY 15-16 year.

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Watch for a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21

Photo courtesy NOAA.

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a total eclipse will cross the entire United States, coast-to-coast, for the first time since 1918. Weather permitting, the entire continent will have the opportunity to view an eclipse as the moon passes in front of the sun, casting a shadow on Earth’s surface.

The Walton area will see eclipse at: 1:38 p.m.
Viewable: 88.7%
Obscuration: 82.7%

NASA Television will air a multi-hour show, Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA, with unprecedented live video of the celestial event, along with coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals and museums across the nation, and on social media. Go to for live coverage of the event.

Only an estimated 12 million people live within the relatively narrow area of the total eclipse. However, several major cities and five state capitals fall within the path of totality—the narrow band where the moon completely blocks the sun’s face. Visit the CICS-NC interactive map (link is external) to search for an optimal viewing location by zip code.

Try the interactive eclipse map

The interactive map provides greater detail about viewing the eclipse across the nation. The map lists a “viewable” percentage for each reporting location based on predicted cloudiness. The viewable percentage represents the likelihood of skies being clear enough for the eclipse to be visible. A higher percentage means a viewer is more likely to have a view unobstructed by clouds.

Although skies will dim for many, day will turn to night only beneath the path of totality, approximately 70 miles wide on the surface. The farther away from the path of totality, the less the moon will cover the sun from the viewer’s standpoint. Most people will see a partial eclipse due to their location outside the totality.

Eclipse essential: protect your eyes

It’s important to take precautions when viewing the eclipse. The partial phases of the eclipse can last between 2 to 3 hours; at its longest, the total eclipse will last 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Direct viewing of the partial phases can cause permanent damage to your eyes because of the intensity of the sunlight. The eclipse should only be viewed with protective eyewear designated for use during an eclipse. Ordinary sunglasses or 3D glasses lack sufficient protection. Also, avoid viewing through unfiltered cameras, telescopes, binoculars, or other optical devices.

However, if weather cooperates during the few minutes that the sun is completely eclipsed in totality, the brief interval is as safe to view as a full moon.

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