Public hearing regarding proposed changes to coastal dune lake protection zones May 18

walton-county-logoThe Walton County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Monday, May 18, 2015, at 5 p.m. or as soon thereafter as may be heard at the South Walton County Courthouse Annex, at 31 Coastal Centre Blvd, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  The following items will be heard:

LEGISLATIVE ITEMS:
CDLPZ Comprehensive Plan Ordinance – An Ordinance of the Board of County Commissioners of Walton County amending Policy C-1.4.1 of the Walton County Comprehensive Plan regarding the Coastal Dune Lake Protection Zone and Coastal Protection Zone; providing for severability; codification and an effective date. (Transmittal)

CDLPZ LDC Ordinance – An Ordinance of the Board of County Commissioners of Walton County amending Sections 4.02.00 and 4.03.00 to the Walton County Land Development Code regarding the Coastal Dune Lake Protection Zone and Coastal Protection Zone; providing for severability; codification and an effective date.

Proposed project(s) or plan amendment(s) may be inspected by the public from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday at Walton County Planning and Development Services located at 31 Coastal Center Blvd, Suite 100, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549 or 47 North 6th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435.

Interested parties may appear at the public hearing and be heard with respect to the proposed project(s) or plan amendment(s).

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Yellow flies are back!

Photo courtesy J.L. Castner, University of Florida

Photo courtesy J.L. Castner, University of Florida

It’s that time of year again, and those nasty yellow flies are biting… here are some tips for armoring yourself

In Florida, the name “yellow fly” is used to describe about a dozen different species of yellow-bodied biting flies. “Yellow flies” readily attack humans and are usually abundant in Florida with peak annoyance occurring in May and June. “Yellow flies” are in the family known as Tabanidae. All tabanids go through an egg, larva, pupa and adult stage, referred to as “complete metamorphosis,” the same development process that mosquitoes go through. Tabanids lay egg masses containing 50 to several hundred eggs. Most species deposit their eggs around ponds, streams or swamps on overhanging vegetation such as grasses or cattails.

Yellow flies congregate in shaded, humid areas on the edges of forests, rivers and creeks, avoiding large, open, sunny areas. Some species are active in the early morning while other species are more active in the late afternoon.

However, depending upon conditions such as heavy tree canopy, cloudy days or when an animal is moving through an area, yellow flies can become active and bothersome throughout the day. “Yellow flies” prefer to attack man about the head, neck or shoulders, however, any exposed part of the body may be attacked.

Their persistence to obtain a bloodmeal, once a host is found, can make 5 or 6 flies unbearable. Sometimes the use of the old-fashioned fly swatter will give relief by taking out the few flies in an area.

What to do

A trapping method homeowners can use, which does not involve the use of pesticides, is called the “sticky black ball” trap. Basically it is a beach ball, (milk jugs work just as well and are easier to hang) painted black and coated with a sticky substance. The sticky substance is called Tangle-Trap and comes in a spray or liquid applicator. It can be found at local Ace Hardware stores.

These devices are hung from a tree limb using string, in a shaded area, about 4 feet above the ground. Movement of the ball by the wind attracts the flies, thinking it is an animal, they land, get stuck, and die on the ball. Several of these balls will reduce the local adult populations.

A black beach ball coated with Tangle-Trap. The yellow flies are attracted to the heat and motion.

A black beach ball coated with Tangle-Trap. The yellow flies are attracted to the heat and motion.

Birds are not attracted to the ball nor can be “stuck” as the adhesive is only strong enough for insects.

CLICK HERE FOR VISUAL INSTRUCTIONS

South Walton Mosquito Control District offers of black balls, with a string and Tangle-Trap supply for free to property owners of south Walton County that live south of the Choctawhatchee Bay only. Available for pick up only with proof of residency. For more information, call (850) 267-2112.

You can also create your own “ball” using a milk jug, spray paint it a dark color and apply a sticky substance.

Vegetation management
By removing underbrush around a residence, helps to eliminate resting sites for the flies and increases light levels making the area less attractive.

Bite and sting relief
Here is a general purpose sting relief for yellow flies. It is also helpful for mosquito, chigger and jellyfish bites.
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup ammonia (Windex is mostly ammonia)
1/3 tsp. papain (meat tenderizer)
1 crushed aspirin
Mix thoroughly and store in refrigerator (be sure to label container). When needed, shake well and apply with cotton swab, and rub briskly.

Cactus juice, a non-toxic protectant has shown to be effective against yellow flies. Available at Ace Hardware in Santa Rosa Beach.

Cactus juice, a non-toxic protectant has shown to be effective against yellow flies. Available at Ace Hardware in Santa Rosa Beach.

Vinegar wipe/bath: When you first notice the bite, try applying a small amount of vinegar directly to the bump. If you have many bites, you may want to take a very hot bath in a tub filled with water and 2 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar.

Other methods locals have used with some success: Witchazel, Preparation H with aloe if put on bite immediately helps relieve itching and swelling, Cortisone cream.

Protection:
Personal protective measures include the use of repellants containing DEET (diethyl metatoluamide) applied to exposed skin. Wearing physical barriers such as a head net, long sleeve shirts and long pants are effective protection if you must be out in areas where “yellow fly” populations are high. Permethrin containing products labeled for application to clothing only, can also be effective in repelling and killing “yellow flies.” Thankfully, “yellow fly” season is relatively short, one maybe two months, and then mosquitoes become our major pest.

Repellents “Cactus Juice”  is available at Ace Hardware, and Modica Market in Seaside, also “Swamp Gator” which is available at Frank’s Cash and Carry.

Check comments below for reader contributions and suggestions.

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Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides hosting Farm Day May 23

gulfsidetrailrides2Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides will be hosting a Farm Day on Saturday, May 23 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Join in on a 20-acre horse farm for a family-friendly day featuring:
– Live music by Dismal Creek
– Bounce houses
– Pony rides
– Food by Grayton Beach Catering
– T.V.’s for the sports fans
– Beer and wine available

Cost is $5 per person, ages 2 and under are free – pony rides available for $5

Arnett’s is located at 613 S. Hwy 393, Santa Rosa Beach. Call 850-208-3114 for more information.

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Walton county fishing report for May 13

spadefishFishing is good!

Bay: Good trout bite on along with redfish, spadefish, flounder here and there, and a few sheepshead.
River: Bream biting on crickets.

Salt: Pompano bite is still on.

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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Arkansas student documents Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for GIS project

Click to access interactive map. Image courtesy Jodie Burns

Click to access interactive map. Image courtesy Jodie Burns

 

Jodie Burns of Bentonville, Arkansas is a big fan of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Burns, her husband and four boys have been coming to vacation at Topsail since 2010. One of her favorite activities is exploring and taking their boys biking around the park.

“We love all the biking.  I have four boys and keeping them worn out from exercise makes our life more peaceful,” Burns said.

While not enjoying nature, Burns is a student at Northwest Arkansas Community College studying Geographical Information Systems (GIS). She has been working on a project for an Intro to GIS class, and made an interactive GIS map of Topsail in March 2015. Burns took photos, documented the GPS coordinates, created two maps and a website for the project:

Interactive ESRI map: click here

Interactive ArcGIS map: clickhere

Presentation: click here

Burns’ studies are part of an EMPACTS project.

“EMPACTS stands for ‘Educationally-Managed Projects Advancing Curriculum, Technology and Service’ and is oriented towards giving back to the community in some way. One portion of your grade looks at what community you served and the project is designed to give students a taste of working together in groups – similar to working a job where you need to coordinate with several people to get a project done,” said Burns.

It’s great to see folks that visit our area take a great interest in our natural world. Learn more about Topsail Hill Preserve State Park by clicking here.

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World Turtle Day event at South Walton County Coastal Branch Library May 19

friendsofsouthwaltonseaturtlesDate/time: May 19, 4 p.m.

Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles an all-volunteer nonprofit group is kicking off efforts to meet their mission of sea turtle conservation through awareness and education with a special event to celebrate World Turtle Day at the South Walton County Coastal Branch Library on May 19th.

World Turtle Day is celebrated around the globe on May 23 each year. Sponsored since 2000 by the American Tortoise Rescue to bring attention to and increase knowledge about and respect for turtles and tortoises, the awareness campaign and associated events are meant to encourage education and action to help turtles survive and thrive in their natural ecosystems.

Turtle Day is celebrated worldwide in a variety of ways. From dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways or highlighting research activities, Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms and at other educational events and venues.

The Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles event is being held in advance of World Turtle Day to accommodate the schedule of the Coastal Branch Library in Santa Rosa Beach.

The South Walton County Coastal Branch Library is located at 437 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach off of Highway 331 near the bridge to Freeport. For more information on the library’s events and programs, visit www.focbl.com

For more information on Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles, visit www.friendsofswturtles.org or find the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FriendsOfSouthWaltonSeaTurtles, Twitter at @30ASeaTurtles and Instagram at @30aseaturtles. 

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City of DeFuniak Springs hosting Lakefest May 30

lakefestlogoThe City of DeFuniak Springs is hosting their second annual “LakeFest” festival on Saturday, May 30, 2015, from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Lake DeFuniak, 3 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32435.

Water activities, fun, food, historical tours, arts and crafts, entertainment, car shows, children’s activities, 5K race, fun run and more will be on tap along Lake DeFuniak.

For more information and registration information, go to http://www.defuniaksprings.net

Schedule
6 a.m. –  5K & Fun Run/Walk Registration
7 a.m. – 5K Run/Walk
8 a.m. – Watersports Registration
9 a.m. – Kids’ fun zone open
(Water slides, bounce house, sidewalk chalk, face painting, fun with bubbles, bean bag toss, hula hoop fun, reading rest stop, art activities)
9:15 a.m. Opening Ceremony, vendors open
9:30 a.m. – Lucky Duck Hunt, live entertainment begins, water races begin, car show begins
10 a.m – Historic tours
11 a.m. – Community competitions begin
11:30 a.m. – Dash and Splash Fun Run/Walk
1 p.m. – Awards Presentations – Water Races & Lucky Duck
3 p.m. – Car Show Awards Presentation
Live demonstrations and exhibits all day
3:30 p.m. – Country Showdown

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Take a guided hike to No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park May 22

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: May 22, 1 – 2 p.m.

Coastal dune lakes are extremely unique and rare worldwide. During this hike Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Rangers will lead you through the various ecosystems that make this park unique. This hike will lead you to one of the lakes in the park, No Name Lake. Be sure to bring your binoculars, sunscreen, and water. The trail is paved and the hike is approximately 2 miles long. Entry fee into the park is $6.00 per car, the hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330. ::MAP::

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Learn how to surf fish at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park May 15

surffishingDate/time: May 15, 1 – 2 p.m.

Surf fishing is a popular sport along the beaches of Topsail Hill. This program will teach you what types of bait will work, what times of year certain fish can be caught, and common fish you can catch from the beach. Fishing gear is optional, the park has fishing gear. This program will take place at the Beach Access, park in the Day Use parking area and catch the 1:00pm Tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 1:00pm Tram arrives at the beach. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the tram stop, entry fee is $6.00.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330. ::MAP::

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Walton county fishing report for May 6

specktroutFishing is good!

Bay: Good trout bite on along with a few redfish.
River: Bream biting on crickets.

Salt: Pompano bite is still on.

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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