Environment

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Public meeting regarding Topsail Hill Preserve State Park beach access Dec. 5

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks, announces a public meeting to which all persons are invited. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 5, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (Central Time) at Northwest Florida State College, South Walton Center, Rooms 119-120, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459 All members of the public will have the opportunity to state recommendations and exchange information regarding beach access in Topsail Hill Preserve State...

Community clean up day in Freeport Nov. 3

Walton County is hosting a community clean up day on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will be held at Choctaw Beach Park, SR20, Freeport. Dumpsters provided for Walton County residents to dump trash, yard debris, tires, appliances, and other miscellaneous items. A crew and equipment to off-load heavy items will be available. Recycling trailers will also be available for newsprint, cardboard, and aluminum. Limit of (4) tires per household. DO NOT BRING: POISONS, PESTICIDES,...

Northwest Florida Water Management District announces closures across the Panhandle

All Northwest Florida Water Management District recreation sites are closed due to the impact of Hurricane Michael. The sites will remain closed for repairs and cleanup until further notice. This includes all campsites, boat ramps, picnic areas, day use areas) remain closed until further notice, with the following exceptions: Access to non-improved areas in the Perdido, Escambia, Yellow River and Lafayette Creek WMAs is allowed for hunting, hiking, fishing, bird watching and nature appreciation, in accordance with the Florida Fish and...

Florida Trail announces closures across the Panhandle

Oct. 20, 2018 – The Panhandle region continues to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and its devastating impact. The Florida Trail is closed within the following land management units until further notice: • Pine Log State Forest • Econfina Creek Water Management Area • Chipola Water Management Area • Blountstown Greenway • Apalachicola National Forest • St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge These areas remain closed as our land management partners work to assess damage, clear roads, restore basic...

Thomas Pilcher Park damaged by Hurricane Michael

Thomas Pilcher Park damaged from Hurricane Michael Oct. 16, 2018 – As we continue to reel in the devastating impacts of Hurricane Michael, many folks are focused on tending to loved ones, friends, and neighbors east of Walton County. Walton County has been spared major damage other than downed trees, and several dock wash outs around the Choctawhatchee Bay. Thomas Pilcher Park along the Clyde B. Wells (331) bridge took a beating from the storm and is currently closed. Here...

Bay County updates for Oct 16, 2018

Bay County Updates Post Date:10/16/2018 9:00 AM Hurricane Michael Monday, Oct. 15 Update 5:30 p.m. From the Bay County Emergency Operations Center Essential Information • The Citizen Information Line is open to answer residents’ questions 24-hours, seven days a week by calling 2-1-1. For emergencies please call 9-1-1. • A curfew is in effect for Bay County from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The curfew in Panama City Beach is 9 p.m. • The Bay County Board of County Commissioners...

FWC providing interactive daily sampling map for red tide

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is providing an enhanced, interactive map updated daily of water samples to inform the public on the status of naturally-occurring red tide throughout the state. The online Daily Sampling Map will be offered in addition to FWC’s current Wednesday and Friday updates on the status of Florida’s red tide blooms. This will provide the public with more immediate and accurate red tide data, as researchers process the many water samples from across...

Black bears more active in fall

In fall, Florida black bear activity increases as bears begin a natural process of putting on fat for the winter. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds people to be BearWise to help prevent conflicts with Florida’s largest land mammal. To be prepared for winter, bears require around 20,000 calories a day and will eat anything that’s convenient. Getting food from a garbage can often provide bears with more calories in a shorter amount of time than foraging...

Health advisory issued for Morrison Springs

The Health Advisory is issued on October 3, 2018, 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...

Beach water health advisory issued for Inlet Beach

The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) conducts regularly scheduled saltwater beach water quality monitoring at seven sites through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Samples are collected from March through the end of October. The water samples are analyzed for enteric bacteria (enterococci) that normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals, which may cause human disease, infections, or rashes. The presence of enteric bacteria is an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from storm water...