Skip to main content

Sea Grant Notes – Oct 16, 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.

Horseshoe Crab Nesting Surveys

We have three more good days to survey for horseshoe crab nesting.  These surveys require either a beach walk, or paddle boarding, near Perdido Key or Pensacola Beach.  If you are interested in participating, contact Rick O’Connor at the Escambia County Extension office – roc1@ufl.edu and we will explain to you how, and where, to do this.

 

Science Hour – Facebook LIVE – Oct 26 – Cottonmouths on Barrier Islands

This month we will be with Rick O’Connor (UF IFAS Florida Sea Grant) in the field discussing snake encounters on barrier islands, with a particular focus on cottonmouths.  Join us at 12:00 PM CDT on the Escambia County Extension Facebook

You can see past programs on this page as well.

 

Youth Science Lessons – October The Water Planet  

LESSON 2 – THE OCEAN FLOOR

September Lessons – The Nature of Science

October Lessons – The Water Planet

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 Oct 21   

Seasonal Seafood  

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

  • Oct 12 only three water bodies sampled
  • POOR ADVISORY ISSUED: Bayou’s Chico, Bayou Texar, Sanders Beach
  • Oct 5 only three water bodies sampled
  • POOR ADVISORY ISSUED: Bayou Chico, Sanders Beach
  • MODERATE: Bayou Texar
  • 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”) – Summer (44.2”) – HURRICANE SALLY
  • Oct (2.2”)

Salinity

  • The objective to see who has a MEAN, MEDIAN, and MODE 20‰ of higher for seagrass and scallop restoration. Our goal is to get at least 100 readings (n = 100) from each location.
  • 2020 3rd Quarter Update
Body of Water No. of samples taken Surface Mean salinity (‰) Surface Median salinity Surface Mode salinity
Bayou Grande 24 20 20 21
Bayou Texar 4 9.4 8.4 NA
Big Lagoon 15 23 23 20
Big Sabine 24 21 21 22
Bruce Beach 1 18 18 NA
Kees Bayou 55 19 20 14
Little Sabine 21 23 24 25
Lower Perdido Bay 71 15 15 14
Old River 36 23 23 25
Sanders Beach 1 18 18 NA
Shoreline Park 1 18 18 NA

 

Red Tide & Harmful Algal Blooms

  • Report Date – Oct 9
  • Red tide was NOT reported anywhere in Florida during the week of Oct 4 – 9
  • Harmful Algal Blooms not detected in panhandle this week – article on hurricane bloom coming

Fish Kills

 

Habitat Restoration Updates

 

  • Living Shorelines
  • – The living shorelines did very well during Hurricane Sally
  • – All living shorelines have been monitored. Report update can be found at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2020/09/14/living-shoreline-success-stories/.
  • Seagrass Monitoring
  • – Monitoring has stopped due to poor water quality from Hurricane Sally. Report coming later this year
  • Mangrove Surveys
  • – Our last survey has been postponed due to Hurricane Sally
  • OCEAN HOUR –

Until it is repaired – Ocean Hour will hold weekend clean ups on both sides of the 3-Mile Bridge so that people can reach them.

Oct 17

  • 1) Bay Bluffs on Scenic Highway at the foot of Summit Blvd.
  • 2) Naval Live Oaks – Gulf Islands National Seashore Visitors Center near Gulf Breeze

BACK TO REGULAR HOURS – Meet at 8:45 – Clean up from 9:00 – 10:00 AM

 

Wildlife Monitoring Updates

 

  • Terrapin Surveys – Surveys are completed. Report coming out in the fall.  
  • Horseshoe Crabs – HORSESHOE CRAB SURVEYS TO BEGIN IN OCTOBER!  
  • Barrier Island Cottonmouth Survey – Surveys ongoing until Halloween – 16 snakes found / 9 were cottonmouths – update report in fall. 8 addition cottonmouths have been reported since Hurricane Sally.  7 were juveniles – they give birth in the fall.   
  • The Great Scallop Search – Surveys are completed due to poor water quality. Report coming.
  • Manatee Watch – More of reports this week. Reports coming from all over the bay area.
  • 63 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 October

  • Rolling out of peak season
  • – King Mackerel – children, pregnant women should only consume one serving a week
  • – Brown shrimp (bay shrimp)
  • – Rock shrimp
  • – Spanish mackerel
  • In peak season
  • – Clams
  • – Mullet
  • – Oyster
  • – White shrimp (Gulf shrimp)
  • – Snapper – check state limits and accessibility; change frequently
  • – Spiny lobster
  • – Swordfish
  • – Yellowfin tuna
  • Beginning peak season
  • – Flounder
  • – Stone crab
  • 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

October focus – The Water Planet

September focus – 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 – Oct 26

This month we will be with Rick O’Connor (UF IFAS Florida Sea Grant) discussing cottonmouth encounters on our barrier islands.  Join us at 12:00 PM CDT on the Escambia County Extension Facebook

 

PANHANDLE OUTDOORS LIVE – WEBINAR – Oct 21

Seasonal Seafood    

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

October Programs

Tue Oct 6 – Los Manglares

Thu Oct 8 – The Cost of Invasive Reptiles and Amphibians  

Tue Oct 13 – Litorales Vivientes  

Thu Oct 15 – Caribbean Spinty Lobster Biology & Ecology

Tue Oct 20 – Praderes de Pastos marinos y Navegacion Segura

Thu Oct 22 – Seagrass Biology

Tue Oct 27 – La Enfermedad de Perdida de Tejido de Corales Duros

Thu Oct 29 – Ocean Inspired Halloween  

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

http://bit.ly/bite-sizedscience

 

SEAFOOD @ YOUR FINGERTIPS

MORE COOL RECIPES AND SEAFOOD DISHES FOR YOU TO TRY 

5:00 PM CDT

Oct 7 – Blackened Shrimp & Corn Tacos with cilantro jalepeno cole slaw

Oct 14 – Oysters Empenadas Oysters in Pablomo Peppers

Oct 21 – Red Snapper Vera Cruz  

You can view these, and 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?” – Sea Nettles        

Carrie Stevenson – Escambia County

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

 

Weekly “What is it?” – Ghost Crabs          

Carrie Stevenson – Escambia County

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

 

Reef Fish of the Florida Panhandle

Rick O’Connor – Escambia County    

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

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

 

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?  The Sea Cucumber  

Shelia Dunning – UF IFAS Okaloosa County

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

 

Panhandle Outdoors: Meet Our Authors  

Dr. Pat Williams – UF IFAS Wakulla 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 35 13 13 .37
Sanders Beach 32 7 7 .22
Bayou Chico 26 9 9 .35
Bayou Grande 23 9 9 .39
Big Lagoon SP 20 1 1 .05
Perdido Key SP 22 0 0 .00
Casino Beach 22 1 1 .04
Park East 22 2 1 .04
Park West 22 2 1 .04
Quietwater Beach 22 1 1 .04
Ft. Pickens 7 0 0 .00
Opal Beach 7 0 0 .00
TOTAL 260 47 40 .15

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
Oct 0 0  
TOTAL 4 0