Environment

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Divers spearheading fight against invasive lionfish

The northwest Florida area has been identified as having the highest concentration of invasive lionfish in the world.  Lionfish pose a significant threat to our native wildlife and habitat with spearfishing the primary means of control.  Lionfish tournaments are one way to increase harvest of these invaders and help keep populations down.  Not only that, but lionfish are a delicious tasting fish and tournaments help supply the local seafood markets with this unique offering. Since 2019, Destin, Florida has been...

Health advisory issued for Grayton Beach

Sept. 16, 2021 – Walton County – The Florida Department of Health in Walton County (DOH-Walton) conducts regularly scheduled saltwater beach water quality monitoring at sites through the Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program. Samples are collected from March through the end of September. 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,...

Be BearWise: Follow FWC’s bear necessities this fall

Fall is approaching and that means Florida black bears are traveling and searching for food. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds you to help protect both people and bears by securing garbage and other items that could attract these animals to your yard or neighborhood. Each fall, bears begin eating a lot more calories to pack on fat they will need during the winter. Throughout the fall, bears require around 20,000 calories per day and will eat...

Celebrate National Estuaries Day at Apalachicola Nature Center Oct. 1

Celebrate National Estuaries Day on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at the Apalachicola Nature Center from 1:30 – 5:30 p.m. ET. Activities include living shoreline exploration, touch tanks, prescribed fire activities, turtle hurdle boardgame, salt marsh bingo, button making, waterfront race, cast net game and more. Free snakes will be available. The first 600 guests receive a free t-shirt. The Apalachicola Nature Center is part of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. For more information contact the Reserve at (850) 670-7700....

Volunteers needed for Coastal Clean Up in Santa Rosa Beach Sept. 18

International Coastal Cleanup 2021 will be Saturday, September 18 at various locations in Santa Rosa Beach area. The event is hosted by the Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles. Registration 8:45 am. Cleanup 9:00 – 11:00 am (or per your personal availability). Trash bags and gloves are available. Choose your favorite location from these site options. Inlet Beach RBA, Santa Clara RBA, Ed Walline RBA, Dune Allen RBA, Miramar Beach RBA. If you would like to help at Big Red...

Health advisory still in effect for Morrison Springs

Walton County – The Health Advisory issued on July 15, 2021, for Morrison Springs is still in effect. The Advisory was 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,...

Volunteers needed for Lake Powell clean up Sept. 18

The Lake Powell Community Alliance (LPCA) together with St. Andrew Bay Watch (RMA), Friends of Camp Helen State Park and Bay County Audubon invite you to participate in a community effort to clean up Lake Powell on Saturday Sept. 18, 2021 from 8 a.m. – 12 Noon. Sign-in will begin promptly at 8 a.m. at the Lake Powell Park [boat ramp behind Publix] or at Camp Helen State Park. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 50 volunteers to...

Learn about the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program in Grayton Beach Sept. 8

After the summer hiatus, the traffic has calmed down and we are ready to get out and about again!  Please join us to learn about the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program (CBEP) from its Executive Director, Brian Underwood on September 8, 2021. The CBEP was established by an interlocal agreement among Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes and Washington Counties to address concerns about the Choctawhatchee Bay and its watersheds.  The mission of this organization is vital to everyone in the four-county area.   Mr....

FWC temporarily prohibits take of freshwater softshell turtles and yellow-bellied sliders

FWC temporarily prohibits take of freshwater softshell turtles and yellow-bellied sliders On Aug. 26, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) issued executive order #21-19 that states the take or transport of all freshwater softshell turtle species or yellow-bellied sliders is currently prohibited until the order is repealed. These temporary regulation changes were made to help conserve freshwater turtle species that continue to be affected by a fatal disease caused by a virus called Turtle Bunyavirus (TBV). The virus...

Health advisory issued for Morrison Springs

Walton County – The Health Advisory is issued on July 15, 2021, 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....

Help protect manatees and sea turtles with a waterproof sticker

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) just released the new 2021-2022 manatee and sea turtle decals. These high-quality waterproof stickers feature two different designs and are a fun way for people to directly support research, rescue and management efforts that conserve these species and spread awareness about the challenges they face. Each July, the FWC introduces new manatee and sea turtle decals that are available with a $5 donation. The designs look good on a vehicle’s bumper or the side...

DIY coastal dune lake clean-up day July 21

Help preserve our rare coastal dune lakes on Wednesday, July 21 with a do it yourself clean-up day. The event will be held from 9 – 11 am. Step 1: Pick your favorite coastal dune lake (by land or by water). Step 2: Bring your own bucket, mess bag, reusable gloves and trash pickers. Step 3: Place all trash collected at the closest Walton County TDC trash collection areas. Trash will be collected by Walton County TDC workers after 11:00...