Environment

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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...

Health advisory issued for Morrison Springs

Health advisory rescinded Aug. 14 Walton County – A health advisory is issued on August 8, 2019 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...

Learn about snakes at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Aug. 16

Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Long Leaf Alliance on August 16, 2019 from 10 – 11 a.m. and learn about the snakes that call the park, Eglin Air Force Base and the Florida Panhandle home. 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 a.m. in the clubhouse. This program is free. Entry into the park is free...

Health advisories issued for Inlet and 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...

Children’s book looks at the environment through the eyes of a catfish

If you are looking for an enjoyable read this summer, explore it through the eyes of a poetic catfish. Calvin The Catfish, written by local poet Calvin “Catfish” Carson, explores environmental awareness in verse. Carson was inspired to write the book after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and other human induced contaminations. In 2018, the book was finally published. “I’ve always been environmentally conscious,” said Carson. Growing up the Mississippi River Delta, Carson always enjoyed the outdoors fishing, hunting, camping,...