Environment

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Florida Forest Service, local agencies to host public meeting on prescribed burns Oct. 28

SOUTHPORT, Fla. – Local agencies from South Walton County are inviting the public to participate in a virtual public meeting to discuss the Florida’s annual prescribed burning program on public lands. Cooperating agencies include the Florida Forest Service, Florida Park Service, Florida Department of Environmental Services, South Walton Fire District, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Atlanta Botanical Garden Organization and Walton County Emergency Management. Discussions will involve the benefits of prescribed fire as well as preparations and evaluations on...

FWC seeking public input on bobcat otter, red and gray fox sightings

The FWC’s furbearer management and research team needs your help documenting the current range of bobcats, river otters, and red fox and gray fox in Florida. They are trying to increase the amount of data regarding distribution of these key furbearer species. We especially need you to be on the lookout and report sightings of bobcats, otters, and foxes in specific counties where we have information gaps (see the list of counties below). As you go about your normal daily...

Morrison Springs health advisory rescinded

Walton County — Oct. 7, 2020 – Effective immediately, the Florida Department of Health in Walton County is rescinding the September 3, 2020 health advisory for the Morrison Springs bathing place. DOH Walton feels that water quality in this area has improved considerably due to the reduction in bacteria levels. We will continue to monitor the water quality in this area monthly and routinely advise the public of our results. For more information, contact the DOH Walton at 850-892-8021. The...

DEP and The Nature Conservancy acquire more than 17,000 acres in Florida’s Big Bend

~ Iconic Bluffs of St. Teresa will be protected for generations~ TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 7, 2020 – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and The Nature Conservancy closed on a historic 17,088-acre land acquisition last week. The Dickerson Bay property, also known as the Bluffs of St. Teresa, is an essential tract of land in Florida’s Big Bend in the midst of a protected landscape spanning over one million acres. This acquisition closes the gap between Bald Point...

Walton County debris removal process for Hurricane Sally

Walton County is currently in the process of finalizing the debris removal planning process to facilitate the pick-up of storm related debris throughout Walton County. The following steps should be taken if you have debris to be removed from your location. Contact Walton County Emergency Management via email at damage@waltoncountyem.org regarding the need for debris removal. Please include the following: Name, Address, Phone and a brief description of debris. Over the coming days, WCEM, in coordination with Walton County Public...

FWC announces new way to report gopher tortoise sightings

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is launching a new interactive web application designed to provide biologists with thorough and reliable data, and promote science-based gopher tortoise conservation efforts. The new system will replace the Florida Gopher Tortoise smartphone app, which will be decommissioned Sept. 8. The new web application is user-friendly and is designed to function on any device. To report a tortoise sighting or notify the FWC of a sick, injured or dead tortoise, simply visit...

Help sea turtles survive: FWC offers tips on helping hatchlings

Sea turtle hatchlings are beginning to appear on beaches throughout the Sunshine State, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking the public to help ensure these tiny turtles reach the ocean by following a few simple guidelines. During sea turtle nesting season (March 1 – Oct. 31), it is important to keep your distance from these protected marine reptiles and their nests. You should allow hatchlings to crawl toward the ocean on their own. Any interference...

Financial assistance now available to Florida timber producers impacted by Hurricane Michael

SOUTHPORT, Fla. – Registration for the Florida Timber Recovery Block Grant Program is now available to timber producers and forest landowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program is managed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Forest Service, who will provide technical assistance to forest landowners required to produce documentation to receive compensation...

Health advisory issued for Morrison Springs

Sept. 3, 2020 – Walton County – The Health Advisory is issued on September 3, 2020, 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...

Health advisory issued for Grady Brown Park

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...