Environment

Category

Share your input on Gulf County 2020 bay scallop seasons at workshop Nov. 14

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs public input on the Gulf County (including St. Joseph Bay) bay scallop season dates for 2020 and future years. This area’s scallop population was negatively impacted by a red tide event in 2015. Since then, FWC has been working with the community to set seasons each year that balance scalloping opportunities with the continued recovery of the scallop population. The FWC has also been working with other communities to create long-term...

FWC cracking down on illegal harvesting of saw palmetto berries

An ongoing problem in Central and South Florida has now spanned across the Panhandle. The illegal harvesting of saw palmetto berries has been on the rise in several local state managed lands, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement is cracking down. Each year, the FWC Division of Law Enforcement works targeted details statewide into the illegal harvest of saw palmetto berries, which are typically harvested between the months of August to October. The harvest of palmetto...

DEP designates Falling Waters State Park as State geological site

Designated State Geological Sites showcase Florida’s geological history and resources TALLAHASSEE – Oct. 24, 2019, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection designated Falling Waters State Park as the newest State Geological Site. Designated State Geological Sites are areas the Florida Geological Survey has determined to be significant to the scientific study and public understanding of geological history in Florida. Designated Geological Sites also provide opportunities to experience and learn about a site’s geological features, its connection to the local ecosystem, and...

Public meeting on planned Walton area prescribed burns at Eden Gardens State Park Nov. 14

Local agencies from Walton are inviting the public’s participation in a “town hall” meeting to discuss the annual prescribed burning program on public lands. Cooperating agencies include the Florida Forest Service, Florida Park Service, South Walton Fire District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Atlanta Botanical Garden Organization and Walton County Emergency Management. Discussions will involve prescribed fire benefits, preparations and evaluations on local state forests and state parks. The meeting will be held Nov. 14 from 5:30 – 7...

Why are the water levels so high in the Choctawhatchee Bay?

Oct. 10, 2019 – For more than a week, many folks have been wondering why the water levels are so high in the Choctawhatchee Bay and surrounding estuaries. Walton Outdoors reached out to area scientists from Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and Florida Sea Grant to seek answers. With the Choctawhatchee River water levels near historic low, inquiring minds wonder what is occurring. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the rising and falling of the sea is a phenomenon...

Health advisory issued for Bruce Creek and nearby wetland area in De Funiak Springs

Walton County, Sept. 27, 2018 – Due to an approximate 700,000-gallon raw sewage spill from a lift station malfunction, the Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) is issuing an advisory for the following area in DeFuniak Springs: Bruce Creek and nearby wetland area at 785 South 2nd Street to south of Hwy 280 A, DeFuniak Springs, FL DOH-Walton advises against any water-related activities at the above location until bacteriological sampling reveals that the area is safe. Sewage from...

Florida, Alabama wildfire officials come together to warn of fire danger as dry weather persists

MILTON, Fla. – Officials with the Florida Forest Service and Alabama Forestry Commission are coming together to warn residents of both states of increasing danger of wildfires because of a continued lack of rainfall. It has been more than a month since most of Alabama and Northwest Florida have seen significant rainfall, and there is little to no relief in sight. “With the current weather patterns that we are experiencing, any outdoor burning has the potential for escaping and developing...

Health advisories issued for Eastern Lake and Inlet Beach accesses

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...

Learn about invaders of the Gulf at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 20

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Dr. Laura Tiu, a Florida Sea Grant Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Okaloosa/Walton Counties on September 20, 2019 from 10:00  – 11:00 a.m. Come learn about lion fish, microplastics, nutria and other non-native species in the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf of Mexico. This program is free with regular park admission. Driving Directions Located in Santa Rosa Beach, the park is located 1/4 south of U.S. Hwy 98 on western end of Scenic Hwy....

FWC invites the public to attend workshop on Juniper Lake management plan Aug. 29

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting a workshop regarding the management of Juniper Lake in Walton County. The FWC is planning a drawdown of Juniper Lake to reduce the amount of aquatic vegetation (lemon bacopa) within the lake. The drawdown will occur between October 2019 and January 2020. The workshop will be Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at DeFuniak Springs Community Center, 361 North 10th Street in DeFuniak Springs. FWC staff in the...

Coastal Master Naturalist class offered in Walton and Okaloosa counties in Sept.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension Office is offering the Coastal Module class for the Florida Master Naturalist program September 6-30, 2019. Florida Master Naturalist Program students will increase their knowledge of Florida’s natural systems, of the plants and animals that depend upon those systems, and of the role of humankind in shaping our past, of determining our future, and as stewards of the land. The objective of the Florida Master Naturalist Program is to prepare persons to share their...

Health advisory issued for Blue Mountain Beach

Walton County – 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...