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Sea Grant Notes – Sep 4, 2020

Extension offices across the district are opened on a limited basis.  Some essential programs are being provided with limited attendance and social distancing.  It is still best to contact us by phone or email.

 

Youth Science Lessons During COVID

Extension will be posting weekly science lessons that can be used in the classroom or remotely at home.  The focus will be marine science, but the lessons can be used in any general science course.  The target age is upper middle school – high school.

For the month of September, the topic is “Nature of Science”.  You can find these lessons by scrolling through the natural resource page of the Escambia County Extension website. There should be four lessons for each topic – one topic for each month.

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/category/natural-resources/.

 

FWC Seeks Public Input on Rule Revisions Concerning the Management of Diamondback Terrapins in Florida. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking input on proposed revisions to diamondback terrapin rules. These proposed revisions are expected to affect take, possession, transport, and sale of the species in Florida. More information on the proposed revisions can be found at: https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/freshwater-turtles.

Webinars During the Public Comment Period

Key information on proposed rule changes will be presented at two public webinars. The webinars also offer an opportunity to ask questions. Each webinar will offer the same information. Participation in the webinar will require access to a computer. A recording of the webinars will be available online between September 15 and October 2, 2020, for interested parties who are unable to attend.

Information on how to join the webinars is available at:

https://myfwc.com/media/24472/terrapinwebinars.pdf

Webinars are scheduled for the following dates:

  • Wednesday, September 9 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET)
  • Monday, September 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (ET)

How to Comment

Written comments will be accepted between September 2 and October 2, 2020. Please email comments to Freshwater.Turtles@MyFWC.com. If you would like to comment but are unable to do so in the specified timeframe, or if you prefer an alternate format in which to comment, please contact Freshwater.Turtles@MyFWC.com

 

Gray Triggerfish Reopens in Gulf State and Federal Waters Sep 1

It will remain open until Oct 25.  Minimum size is 15” fork length and 1/person/day

 

Panhandle Outdoors LIVE – Webinar – Wednesday Sep 16  

Successful Wildlife Food Plots

12:00 – 12:30 CDT

1:00 – 1:30 EDT

This series of webinars is replacing the Panhandle Outdoor LIVE program we typically do but cannot due to COVID-19.  These will be broadcasted the first and third Wednesdays of each month from August 19 through December.

You can find a calendar of all presentations at the link below.

You can register for a talk by clicking on the title.

http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/panhandle-outdoors-live-online/.

 

Blackwater State Park Looking for Volunteers

Blackwater River State Park is demolishing a pavilion currently at risk of washing into the river.

Last time we hosted a volunteering event, we tried a bank stabilization until we could secure funding and a contractor to remove the building.

Now that it is being removed, we are planning to lay down a coconut fiber mat and plant some native vegetation to hold the sand in after the removal.

If anyone is interested in participation, please forward my contact! No dates yet as the contractors are still working around the weather.

This project will consist of carrying objects under 40 lbs, walking roughly 2 miles across the boardwalk throughout the day, being outdoors in the sun, and digging shallow holes.

We would love in volunteers could bring wagons!

 

We expect to get started in about 3 weeks. – Contact me for information if you are interested

 

Water Quality Updates

 

Health Advisories

  • Aug 31 – (POOR – ADVISORY ISSUED – Bayou Grande, Bayou Chico); (MODERATE – Sanders Beach); (GOOD – Bayou Texar, Big Lagoon SP, Perdido Key SP)
  • Sep 1 – (GOOD – Casino Beach, Park East, Park West, Quietwater Beach)
  • See all data below

Rainfall  

  • Rainfall collected weekly from East Hill (UF IFAS)
  • Jan (4.0) Feb (2.8) Mar (0.6) – Winter (7.4”)
  • Apr (3.2) May (1.6) Jun (6.5) – Spring (11.3”)
  • Jul (9.1”) Aug (13.9”) Sep (0.0”)

Salinity

  • The objective to see who has a MEAN, MEDIAN, and MODE 20‰ of higher for seagrass and scallop restoration.
  • 2020 2nd Quarter Update
  • > = 20‰: Big Sabine, Old River, Bayou Grande, Little Sabine, Kees Bayou, Big Lagoon
  • < 20‰: Lower Perdido Bay,

Red Tide & Harmful Algal Blooms

  • Report Date – Aug 28
  • Red tide was not reported anywhere in the state the week of Aug 24-28
  • Harmful Algal Blooms not detected in panhandle this week

Fish Kills

 

Habitat Restoration Updates

 

  • Living Shorelines
  • – ALL LIVING SHORELINES HAVE BEEN MONITORED. REPORT COMING VERY SOON.  If interested in a living shoreline contact me. 
  • Seagrass Monitoring
  • – We are monitoring in Big Lagoon and will end in September. Report will be in the fall.
  • Mangrove Surveys
  • – WE HAVE ONE MORE TRANSECT TO COVER. WITH 90% OF REPORTS IN – NO MANGROVES FOUND IN ESCAMBIA COUNTY THIS YEAR.
  • OCEAN HOUR – September 5 – sign in at 7:45, clean from 8:00 – 9:00 AM
  • Meet at Grand Marlin to clean south and north end of Bob Sikes Bridge

 

Wildlife Monitoring Updates

 

  • IT’S SEA TURTLE HATCHING SEASON – if you live (or are staying) on one of our barrier islands remember…
  • – Dim or turn off your lights at night – use turtle friendly lighting products to reduce disorientation of the hatchlings
  • – Clean up the beach before you come in – remove chairs, tents, debris, and fill holes
  • – Remember they are federally protected – you cannot handle them and please no flash photography
  • Let’s give these little guys a chance
  • Terrapin Surveys – One more month of surveying. Report coming out in the fall.  
  • Horseshoe Crabs – will resume in the fall – Oct 1 – IF COVID ALLOWS
  • Barrier Island Cottonmouth Survey – ongoing until Halloween – 13 snakes found / 4 were cottonmouths – update report in fall
  • The Great Scallop Search – Some survey grids are complete – others still need volunteers. These are in Big Lagoon.  You will need a team of 3 to do this survey.  Requires snorkel gear.  Underwater gloves recommended.  Some locations require a boat to reach.  Contact me if you would like to do this.
  • Manatee Watch – More of reports this week. Reports coming from all over the bay area.
  • 61 reports since Jan 1
  • – PLEASE CONTACT ME WITH SIGHTINGS (roc1@ufl.edu)
  • – ALSO, APPROACH SHORE AND DOCKS SLOWLY WITH A LOOKOUT IF YOU CAN

 

Invasive Species Updates

 

  • Beach vitex – this is an invasive plant we are trying to stay ahead of. This time of year the lavender blossoms are falling and the spherical smoky gray seed pods are forming.  THESE SEED PODS ARE VIABLE IN SEAWATER FOR SEVERAL MONTHS – PLEASE REMOVE THEM IF YOU HAVE THIS PLANT GROWING ON YOUR PROPERTY.  If you would like information on how to remove this invasive plant, please contact me.
  • Cuban Treefrog Records – there has been an increase in reports of these animals in our area. Read the following article to find out where and how to manage this before they become a bigger problem –

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2020/07/02/are-we-being-invaded-by-cuban-treefrogs-maybe/.  

We had a webinar on this topic Aug 19 – you can view this by visiting the Panhandle Outdoors Facebook page – be sure to follow us!

  • Halloweed – coming in October – We will be removing beach vitex from Naval Live Oaks in Gulf Breeze if COVID will allow. More to come.
  • Lionfish
  • LRAD has been canceled – there are plans for one next spring!

 

Seafood in Peak Season for September

  • Rolling out of peak season
  • – Flounder
  • In peak season
  • – Clams
  • – King Mackerel – children, pregnant women should only consume one serving a week
  • – Brown shrimp (bay shrimp)
  • – Rock shrimp
  • – White shrimp (Gulf shrimp)
  • – Snapper – check state limits and accessibility; change frequently
  • – Spanish mackerel
  • – Spiny lobster
  • – Yellowfin tuna
  • Beginning peak season
  • – Mullet
  • – Oyster
  • – Swordfish
  • Seafood Safety Guidelines – Escambia County Division of Marine Resources – https://www.myescambia.com/our-services/natural-resources-management/marine-resources/seafood-safety.

 

Upcoming Programs

 

YOUTH SCIENCE LESSONS – every week

September will focus on The Nature of Science

One a week posted early in the week

You can find any of them by scrolling through the natural resource page of our website

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/category/natural-resources/.

 

SCIENCE HOUR – FACEBOOK LIVE

This month we will be with Dr. Matt Deitch (UF/Milton) in the field discussing water and water quality issues.  Join us at 12:00 PM CDT on the Escambia County Extension Facebook

 

PANHANDLE OUTDOORS LIVE – WEBINAR

Sep 16 – Successful Wildlife Food Plots  

12:00 – 12:30 CDT

1:00 – 1:30 EDT

Register, and see other webinars, at

http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/panhandle-outdoors-live-online/.

 

BITE SIZED SCIENCE WEBINARS – ROUND 2

We will begin this month – the Spanish versions on Tuesdays and English on Thursdays

The programs will begin at 3:00 PM CDT

September Programs

Tue Sep 15 – Manaties

Thu Sep 17 – Oysters and Water Quality

Tue Sep 22 – Tiburones

Thu Sep 24 – Snakes on Florida’s Barrier Islands

Tue Sep 29 – Rescate de Animales Marinos

Thu Oct 1 – Florida’s Founding Fish; The Mighty Mullet

Pre-register is required, you can register at the link below.

http://bit.ly/bite-sizedscience

 

SEAFOOD @ YOUR FINGERTIPS

WE ARE ALSO COMING BACK!  MORE COOL RECIPES AND SEAFOOD DISHES FOR YOU TO TRY – STAY TUNED. 

Round #1 have all been completed. You can view any of the past programs by visiting the Florida Sea Grant Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/floridaseagrant/.

Or get the recipes at our website – https://www.flseagrant.org/.

Current Articles

 

Weekly “What is it?” – Chocolate Tube Slime Mold        

Carrie Stevenson

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/category/natural-resources/.

 

Bottom Fish of the Gulf of Mexico

Rick O’Connor

https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/category/natural-resources/.

 

MEET OUR PANHANDLE OUTDOORS AUTHORS – Carrie Stevenson  

http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/

 

Overcup Oak – The Best Native Landscape Tree You’ve Never Seen

Calhoun County Agent Daniel Leonard

http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/

 

Marine Bottom Fish of the Florida Panhandle  

Escambia County Agent Rick O’Connor

http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/

 

2020 Year of the Turtle – WE HAVE COMPLETED ARTICLES ON ALL FLORIDA SPECIES 

You can find any species you are interested by visiting the link below – find the search box near the top entitled “what can we help you with?” – and type in the turtle you are interested in.

https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/escambia/?topic=natural-resources#county-feed.

 

 

HEALTH ADVISORY DATA

Enterococcus bacteria count rubric for health advisories (Florida Department of Health)

 

GOOD             0-35 colonies/100ml of sample

MODERATE    36-70 colonies/100ml

POOR              71> colonies/100ml

 

Health Advisory Frequency

Data provided by the Florida Department of Health’s Healthy Beaches Program

Body of Water # of samples collected # of POOR reports # of advisories issued % frequency of advisories
Bayou Texar 30 10 10 .33
Sanders Beach 27 3 0 .00
Bayou Chico 22 5 5 .23
Bayou Grande 21 7 7 .33
Big Lagoon SP 19 2 0 .00
Perdido Key SP 21 0 0 .00
Casino Beach 20 0 0 .00
Park East 20 1 0 .00
Park West 20 1 0 .00
Quietwater Beach 20 0 0 .00
Ft. Pickens 7 0 0 .00
Opal Beach 7 0 0 .00
TOTAL 234 29 22 .09

 

 

Fish Kill Data provided by FWC (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties)

Month # of Fish Kills reported # of Dead Fish reported Cause
Jan 0 0  
Feb 0 0  
Mar 0 0  
Apr 0 0  
May 0 0  
Jun 0 0  
Jul 2 NR Baitfish at Navarre Beach and Perdido Key; probably a discard
Aug 0 0  
Sep 0 0  
TOTAL 2 0