Environment

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FWC working to stop illegal trapping of Florida’s native songbirds

At its February meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed staff to move forward with a draft rule to help protect Florida’s native songbirds from illegal capture. To prevent the continued illegal taking of native birds, staff recommend creating a new rule within Chapter 68A-16, F.A.C. (Rules Relating to Birds) to include regulations for bird traps. The proposed rule includes regulations regarding the use, placement, possession and transport of bird traps. This rule would provide an additional...

FWC hosting open house on Juniper Lake management plan Feb. 12

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting an open house regarding the management of Juniper Lake in Walton County. The FWC is considering a drawdown of Juniper Lake between October 2019 and January 2020 to restore and improve lake habitat. The open house will be held Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at DeFuniak Springs Community Center, 361 North 10th Street in DeFuniak Springs. FWC staff in the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, Invasive Plant...

Haz mat collection day in north and south Walton March 2

Walton County is hosting a haz mat collection and waste tire amnesty collection day in north and south Walton on March 2, 2019 from 8:00 am to 12 Noon. The collection will be held at Walton County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 83 North in DeFuniak Springs, and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach. Representatives from the Walton County Solid Waste and Recycling office will be on hand to help unload the following items from your vehicle:...

Several Florida species no longer warrant listing

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) completed the final step in reevaluating five Species of Special Concern, one of six key objectives outlined in Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. As a result, several fish and wildlife species no longer warrant listing. Based on thorough scientific review, the FWC determined the harlequin darter, Homosassa shrew, southern fox squirrel and the Monroe County osprey population no longer warrant listing as Species of Special Concern. Through the process, FWC biologists and...

Learn about coastal dune lakes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Feb. 15

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance on February 15, 2019 from 10 – 11 a.m. Come learn about the rare coastal dune llakes in Walton County. Meet at the clubhouse. This program is free with regular park admission.  Topsail Talks is a monthly educational discovery series with presentations from organizations and government agencies from outside the park on the third Friday of the month at 10 am in the clubhouse.  Future dates and topics are...

Learn about Reefs of Florida: Past and Present in Niceville Jan. 25

Join Mattie M. Kelly Environmental Institute for our Spring Semester 2019 Seminar with speaker Dr. Jon Bryan presenting “Reefs of Florida: Past and Present.” The seminar will take place on Friday, January 25, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Robert E. Greene, Jr. Science Building (Building 350), Room 110, Niceville Campus of Northwest Florida State College. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. The Florida Reef Tract is one of the best-studied coral...

T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park to host public meeting Jan. 15

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service is in the process of updating the unit management plan for T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Citizens are invited to attend the public meeting to learn more about the proposed plans for the state park following impacts from Hurricane Michael, and to provide their comments. The meeting will be held on Jan. 15, 2019 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Gulf Cost State College – Gulf/Franklin campus, 3800...

Choctawhatchee beach mouse lecture in Santa Rosa Beach Jan. 16

The South Walton Volunteer Beach Ambassador Team is hosting a presentation on the Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse on Wed., Jan. 16. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Chris Whittle, Park Services Specialist at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park will talk about the endangered Choctawhatchee beach mouse, which calls our local sandy dunes along the Gulf Coast home. There is so much more to learn and Chris has a...

Water District launches online tools to assist with Hurricane Michael assessment, recovery

Dec. 27, 2018 – HAVANA – The Northwest Florida Water Management District launched a web application to help the public view the agency’s damage assessment from Hurricane Michael. The interactive application features an adjustable Google Earth view map showing the impacted areas from Hurricane Michael, including aerial photographs of impacted rivers, streams, and roadways. It also shows updated graphs of selected rivers that illustrate changes in water levels associated with debris from the storm. “We live firsthand with the damages inflicted...

FWC approves new guidelines for 9 State threatened species

On Dec. 13, 2018, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved Species Conservation Measures and Permitting Guidelines for nine of the more than 50 species in the agency’s Imperiled Species Management Plan. The Florida bog frog, crystal darter, Sherman’s short-tailed shrew, Georgia blind salamander, Southern tessellated darter and four species of wading birds including the little blue heron, tricolored heron, reddish egret and roseate spoonbill will benefit from the new species guidelines. Background: Species guidelines are designed to...

Step back in time at the Destin History and Fishing Museum

Most anyone who has been here for any length of time knows the best deep sea fishing in the Florida Panhandle is just offshore of Destin. You can learn how Destin got its name as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village as you explore history and more at the Destin History and Fishing Museum. The museum is chock full of noteworthy artifacts. Historical information dating back to the 1830s, along with environmental educational displays will entertain as well as educate visitors,...