Environment

Category

Fire weather warning issued for entire Panhandle

May 11, 2020 – SOUTHPORT, Fla. – The National Weather Service is issuing a Red Flag Warning for our area today. Critically low relative humidity percentages combined with sustained winds of 15 mph are predicted this afternoon. ‘These conditions, coupled with a lack of adequate rainfall, create an increased potential for wildfire activity. Any open fire will have the potential to escalate quickly causing catastrophic damage. Holmes and Washington counties have issued county wide burn bans in their local jurisdictions....

Know the law before you burn

Did you know escaped debris burning is one of the leading causes of wildfires in Florida? With the extremely dry weather upon us, burn bans are in effect across the Florida Panhandle. The Florida Forest Service administers Florida’s outdoor burning and forest fire laws, along with issuing the permits. For beach bonfire permits, contact South Walton Fire District at 850-267-1298. To learn more, click here. Each County’s Board of County Commissioners issues burn bans, so keep abreast of your local...

Holmes and Washington County issue burn bans

SOUTHPORT, Fla. May 8, 2020 –County commissioners from Holmes and Washington Counties have issued burn bans on all outdoor burning activities. These decisions were based on the forecasted weather conditions and current fire behavior experienced within the Florida Panhandle. All outdoor burning of yard trash, household paper products, bonfires, campfires, warming fires, outdoor fire places, chimneys, and cooking fires within said jurisdictions is prohibited unless: 1) authorized by the Florida Forest Service; or 2) for the cooking of food exclusively...

Yellow flies are back!

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...

Spanish moss flowers from spring to fall

Did you know Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is a flowering plant?  Spanish moss is a native, perennial epiphytic herb. It is not Spanish, nor a moss, but a flowering plant. The slender, wiry, long, branching stems (reaching 8m or more) grow as suspended, bluish-gray streamers and garlands draping among tree branches and sometimes telephone lines and fences. Spanish moss grows on trees in areas of high humidity. It can be found on live oak and pines that border estuaries, rivers,...

Florida caterpillars with a sting

The four major stinging caterpillars occurring in Florida are the Puss Caterpillar, Saddleback Caterpillar, IO Moth Caterpillar and Hag Caterpillar.  Some less common ones also occur in the state.  These caterpillars do not possess stingers, but have spines (nettling hairs) that are connected to poison glands.  Some people experience severe reaction to the poison released by the spines and require medical attention.  Others experience only an itching or burning sensation. Stinging caterpillar’s feed on many pants, but they seldom are present...

The legend of Euchee Indian Chief Sam Story

Could it be an Euchee (Yuchi) Indian chief named Sam Story was the earliest known conservationist in Walton county? Our history books tell us so, however some traditions handed down may be simply legends, and solidified as truth when shared through generations. So with that said, here is one story, through a collection of information, about a man named Sam Story. Historic documentation shows many of the earliest white settlers in Walton County were Scottish families from North and South...

Learn about mosquitoes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 17

Learn about mosquitoes and the methods used by he South Walton Mosquito Control District to control them as well as what you can do to minimize their presence. The event will be held on Fri., Jan. 17 from 10 – 11 a.m. Topsail Talks is an educational discovery series with presentations from organizations and government agencies from outside the park on the third Friday of the month. This program is free with regular park admission. A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle...

Two conservation easements acquired by DEP in Walton County for longleaf pine habitat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in partnership with Nokuse Education Inc., has acquired two conservation easements totaling approximately 4,569 acres within the Seven Runs Creek Florida Forever Project in Walton County. These acquisitions will create an important conservation connection between Eglin Air Force Base and the Choctawhatchee Wildlife Management Area while providing opportunity for the ecological restoration of lands affected by tree-farming. With guidance from the Choctawhatchee Wildlife Management Area, the current landowner plans to harvest timber in...

Program on area water resources in DeFuniak Springs Jan. 8

Water, Water Everywhere, but from where does it come and where does it go? The Walton County Master Gardeners presents their popular lecture series event featuring Dr. Laura Tiu’s program about the area’s watershed. Laura is the Marine Science agent for Okaloosa and Walton County UF/IFAS – Extension. Please join the Walton Master Gardeners for a fascinating look into our area’s complex systems of fresh and saltwater. This program is free and open to the public on Wednesday, January 8,...

Bear education program at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Dec. 20

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on December 20, 2019 from 10 – 11 a.m. Come learn about bears, the role they play in the ecosystem and how you can live “Bear-Wise.” 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. This program is free with regular park admission....