Skip to main content

Sea Grant Notes – Sep 25, 2020

IT HAS BEEN A FEW DAYS SINCE WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET SEA GRANT NOTES OUT.  LIKE YOU, ALL HAVE BEEN DOING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT AND CLEAN UP TIME.

HURRICANE SALLY SURE HIT US HARD AND THERE ARE A FEW QUICK NOTES TO POST NOW.

  • 1) The waterways are not safe for recreation at the moment. Doing assessments with Escambia County Division of Marine Resources, we found a lot of large debris floating on, and just below the surface that could seriously damage a vessel if the captain did not see.  Would recommend idle speed with a spotter, or just stay off the water until things are clear.
  • 2) The water is brown and some areas have an odor. We know there were numerous sanitary sewage overflows and we also saw oil and fuel floating on the service.  The Department of Health has issued a health advisory for the swimming beaches they are currently monitoring.  We recommend everyone stay out of the water until it is clear.
  • 3) We have not seen any fish kills in the area. There were two reports from local ponds. If you do see any, please me or the Escambia County Division of Marine Resources.
  • 4) Many marinas have damage and roadways may have debris – be careful. We have posted an article on our blog page – http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2020/09/25/oh-what-a-night-sally-storms-into-the-panhandle/. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at roc1@ufl.edu.  I will be in the field continuing assessments but will get to your concern ASAP.

 

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.

 

WE DO HAVE PROGRAMS ONGOING DURING THIS TIME, WE WILL DO OUR BEST TO LET YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM ASAP. 

Ocean Hour will host the annual September Coastal Clean Up tomorrow – there are four locations you can pick from – read more below under Habitat Restoration Updates

 

Science Hour – Facebook LIVE – Rescheduled for Wed Sep 30

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

 

Youth Science Lessons – September The Nature of Science

I will post a new lesson next Monday – Sep 28.

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/.

 

 

Panhandle Outdoors LIVE – Webinar – Wednesday Sep 16  

Successful Wildlife Food Plots

This program was broadcast live this past Wednesday.  It has been recorded and I will post a link to the video next week.

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/.

 

Water Quality Updates

 

Health Advisories

  • HURRICANE SALLY – ALL WATERS TESTED CURRENTLY HAVE ADVISORIES ISSUED
  • Sep 22 – Those tested: Bayou’s Chico, Texar, Grande – Casino Beach, Park East, Park West, Quietwater, and Sanders 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 (21.2”) – HURRICANE SALLY

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 – Sep 18
  • Red tide was reported from one site in Hillsborough County during the week of Sep 14-Sep 18
  • Harmful Algal Blooms not detected in panhandle this week

Fish Kills

 

Habitat Restoration Updates

 

  • Living Shorelines
  • – The living shorelines did very well during Hurricane Sally
  • – All living shorelines have been monitored. Report coming very soon.  If interested in a living shoreline contact me. 
  • Seagrass Monitoring
  • – Monitoring has stopped due to poor water quality from Hurricane Sally.
  • Mangrove Surveys
  • – Our last survey has been postponed due to Hurricane Sally
  • OCEAN HOUR –

OCEAN HOUR plans to hold their annual COASTAL CLEAN UP event Tomorrow – Sep 26 (postponed due to Sally).  They will have FOUR sites to choose from.

  • – Wayside Park – 1401 E. Gregory – meet at the visitors center
  • – Graffiti Bridge – meet at the parking lot
  • – Bartram Park – 211 Bayfront – downtown
  • – Navarre Pier Park– meet at the Sand Crab Pavilion

 

 

Wildlife Monitoring Updates

 

  • KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR SNAKES WHILE CLEANING HURRICANE DEBRIS
  • Terrapin Surveys – Surveys on hold. Report coming out in the fall.  
  • Horseshoe Crabs – Surveys on hold.  
  • Barrier Island Cottonmouth Survey – Surveys on hold. Ongoing until Halloween – 15 snakes found / 8 were cottonmouths – update report in fall
  • The Great Scallop Search – Surveys on hold due to poor water quality.
  • Manatee Watch – More of reports this week. Reports coming from all over the bay area.
  • 62 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
  • – Small lionfish have once again been reported from the Ft. Pickens jetties. Please contact us if you see any while diving there

 

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 – Sep 30

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 – Oct 7

Bats: A Misunderstood Beneficial Mammal   

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 – Fall Semester  

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?” – Spanish Mass        

Carrie Stevenson – Escambia County

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

 

Oh, What a Night – Hurricane Sally Storms Into the Panhandle

Rick O’Connor – Escambia County

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

 

MEET OUR PANHANDLE OUTDOORS AUTHORS – Ray Bodrey Gulf County   

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

 

CFAP 2 Will Cover an Additional 40 Commodities; Including Farmed Mollusks  

Erik Lovestrand – Franklin County

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

 

 

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 32 11 11 .34
Sanders Beach 29 4 1 .03
Bayou Chico 23 6 6 .26
Bayou Grande 22 8 8 .36
Big Lagoon SP 19 2 0 .00
Perdido Key SP 21 0 0 .00
Casino Beach 21 1 1 .05
Park East 21 2 1 .05
Park West 21 2 1 .05
Quietwater Beach 21 1 1 .05
Ft. Pickens 7 0 0 .00
Opal Beach 7 0 0 .00
TOTAL 244 37 30 .12

NOTE: SEVERAL OF THESE WERE DUE TO HURRICANE SALLY

 

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 2 NR Fish kills occurred in two ponds (one in Pensacola and one in Gulf Breeze) during Hurricane Sally
TOTAL 4 0