Environment

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FWC approves new rule to stop illegal trapping of Florida’s songbirds

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) today approved a rule to help protect Florida’s native songbirds from illegal capture. The new rule within Chapter 68A-16, F.A.C. (Rules Relating to Birds) includes regulations regarding the use, placement and possession of bird traps, and will go into effect later this year. Background: The illegal trapping of native birds has long been a concern in the state, particularly in south Florida where trapping is believed to be widespread. Birds are lost...

Florida Caverns State Park now open following impacts of Hurricane Michael

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service has announced the reopening of Florida Caverns State Park following the impacts of Hurricane Michael. The park, which experienced significant damage from Hurricane Michael, is now open for limited day-use. The ranger station, visitor center and cave are open. Guided flashlight tours of the cave will be offered on a limited first-come, first-served basis. The Bluehole camping area, equestrian camping area and primitive camping areas remain closed at this time. “The reopening of Florida...

Florida Forest Service now accepting applications for Longleaf Pine Private Incentive Program

Southport, Fla.– The Florida Forest Service announced that applications are now being accepted for the Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program. Applications will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. The primary objective of the Longleaf Pine Private Landowner Incentive Program is to increase the acreage of healthy longleaf pine forests in Florida by assisting eligible, non-industrial private forest landowners with the long-term investment necessary to establish and maintain the valuable longleaf pine ecosystem. “We are excited to expand the...

Heath advisory issued for Morrison Springs

May 8, 2019 – A Health Advisory is issued on May 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 Enterococci CFU/100mL, or 235...

Land donated to State of Florida in Gulf County

Donation will preserve undeveloped tracts of land for native plants and animals TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands, acting on behalf of the Governor and the Board of Trustees, announces the donation of a valuable piece of conservation land to the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve in Gulf County. The 7.23 acre-property was donated by the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves. This land is part of the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Florida...

Gulf coast lupine blooms along South Walton area beaches

Beautiful blue shrub a welcomed sight In the springtime, sand dunes along the beaches in South Walton are dolloped with beautiful blue lupine. The gulf coast lupine (Lupinus westianus) is a native plant and endemic to Northwest Florida. Lupine habitats are sand hills, scrubs and coastal dunes. This particluar perennial shrub is only found in a few counties with Walton fortunate enough to be one of them. The beautiful blue flowers provide a delicate lavender-like scent. Early settlers to the...

Health advisory issued for Blue Mountain Beach

April 11, 2019 – 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...

Learn about animal scat at Grayton Beach State Park April 24

Join Grayton Beach State Park ranger Aaron Allen on Wednesday, April 24 as he discusses and identifies the different sightings of wildlife scat (poop) you may see in the park and on the trails. What you think may be raccoon scat could be grey fox. The event begins at 10 a.m. Ask for more details at the ranger station. Grayton Beach State Park is located in Walton County, South of U.S. 98 off of Scenic Road 30A. Take county road...

Learn about animals in the wild at Grayton Beach State Park April 17

Join Grayton Beach State Park ranger Slade Ward on Wednesday, April 17 as he provides information on the many species animals that call Grayton Beach home. Be ready to take a quiz on the top 10 species that are in park. Learn why it is discouraged to feed animals in the wild. Parking will be at the boat launch lot. The interpretive will begin at 10 a.m. Grayton Beach State Park is located in Walton County, South of U.S. 98...

Warm weather means it’s time to brush up on tips for living with alligators

Warm weather means it’s time to brush up on tips for living with alligators The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is an important part of Florida’s wetland habitats. This large reptile is found throughout the state in fresh water lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers. During spring, alligators become more active and visible. When temperatures rise, their metabolism increases and they begin seeking prey. Although alligator bite incidents resulting in serious injury are rare in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife...