Sea Grant Notes – Aug 16, 2019

August 16, 2019                                             Sea Grant Notes

 

 

MANATEE SIGHTINGS CONTINUE

This week we heard a presentation from Elizabeth Hieb (Dauphin Island Sea Lab Manatee Watch Program) at the Bream Fisherman’s meeting.  The manatees everyone are seeing are passing through on their way either to Mobile Bay or the Big Bend of Florida.  They would really like locals to call in sightings (photos would be awesome).

You can call 1-866-493-5803

Or email manatees@disl.org.

We encourage all to do this.

 

SEA TURTLE HATCHING HAS BEGUN

Please use wildlife friendly lighting at night

Remove all tents and chairs when you go to bed

Fill in all holes before you leave

Collect and dispose of all marine debris on your way home

 

SCALLOP SEASON OPENS TODAY IN PORT ST. JOE

 

NEW BOOK TO HELP IDENTIFY CONFUSING SPECIES – This and That; A Beginner’s Guide to Commonly Misidentified Plants & Animals in Florida

This new book was developed UF IFAS Extension Agents in Pinellas County responding to a need by local park employees trying to identify species that are often confused with others.  The book can be found at the University of IFAS Bookstore http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/.

 

REMINDER THAT THE BIG LAGOON SP BOAT RAMP WILL CLOSE AUG 19 FOR 9-11 MONTHS WHILE IT GETS AN UPGRADE. 

 

 

This Week

 

Tuesday Aug 20 – Bringing Back the Bayous

Sea Grant will give a presentation on the current health of our bay and practices residents can adopt to help improve things.

6:00 PM – Downtown Library – 239 N. Spring Street – Free

 

Wednesday Aug 21 – Panhandle Outdoors LIVE Springs Tour

Join the UF IFAS Natural Resource Extension Team on this annual field program.  This summer we will be touring springs in the panhandle region.  We will be visiting Vortex, Ponce de Leon, and Morrison springs.  At each we will hear a local expert speak on the natural history, and current issues, facing these springs.  We will also paddle Morrison to the Choctawhatchee River and back.  For more information, and to register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panhandle-outdoor-live-2019-springs-tour-tickets-68053011389

 

Current Articles

 

Migration, Adaptation, and Mitigation; dealing with climate change – http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/

 

Bioluminescence: Light Show Beneath the Sea – http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/nat/

 

 

Water Quality  

 

Health Advisories

  • Heavy rains trigger several POOR readings, but re-testing found most returned to GOOD
  • HEALTH ADVISORIES ISSUED FOR – Bayou Chico and Bayou Texar
  • POOR BUT RESAMPLES WERE GOOD – Sanders Beach, Quitewater, Big Lagoon SP
  • MODERATE – Bayou Grande
  • GOOD – Johnsons Beach, Perdido Key SP, Park East, Park West, Opal Beach, Ft. Pickens,
  • 2019 data at end of these notes

Rainfall

  • Rainfall collected weekly from East Hill (UF IFAS)
  • Jan (2.1”) Feb (1.5”) Mar (0.7”) – winter = 4.3”
  • Apr (6.3”) May (1.0”) June (7.4”) – spring = 14.7”
  • Jul (?) * was not present in July; East Hill gauge indicated 5” Aug (4.3”)

Red Tide

  • Last report issued was Aug 9 (FWC)
  • Background levels were found in one sample from Gulf County in the panhandle
  • Background levels were found in one sample from Pinellas

Fish Kills

LAKEWATCH Nutrient Data

  • Report will be out in August

Killifish Monitoring

  • One species of killifish, the Longnose Killifish (Fundulus similis) has low tolerance for freshwater. Working with Auburn University, we will be monitoring selected estuarine tidal creeks for the presence of this fish.
  • Project still under development.

Salinity Monitoring

  • We have volunteers monitoring salinity around the Pensacola/Perdido Bay system
  • First report coming soon

REMEMBER

Florida Department of Environmental Protection opens their new interactive algal bloom dashboard https://floridadep.gov/algalbloom.

 

Bringing Back the Bayous Program – presentation on the state of the bay and how you can help

  • Aug 20 – Downtown Library, 239 N. Spring St. 6:00 PM
  • Oct 9 – Margaritaville, Pensacola Beach, 165 Ft. Pickens Road, 5:00 PM

 

 

Habitat Restoration

 

  • OCEAN HOUR Clean Ups August 17
  • – Wayside Park and Graffiti Bridge – meet at the Visitors Center
  • – William Bartram Park across from Seville Square

Clean Ups begin at 9:00 and supplies are provided – rain/lightning will cancel event

  • Living Shorelines

The best time to have a living shoreline planted is the fall and winter.  However, we can assist any coastal property owner with this anytime of the year.  Contact me if interested in learning more.

  • Seagrass Monitoring
  • – Monitoring of Big Lagoon grasses began May 1 and will run through the end of September; a full update will be posted in the fall
  • Mangrove Surveys
  • – We have surveyed 8 of the 10 selected locations – no mangroves have been found
  • – If you believe you have seen this plant growing in our marshes, please let us know

 

Wildlife & Fisheries

 

  • Horseshoe Crab Nesting Search
  • – Sightings of horseshoe crabs continues but no reports of nesting activity yet.
  • – We will continue searching in the fall
  • Diamondback terrapins
  • – Terrapin surveys have been completed. We will announce report later this year.
  • Snakes
  • – No snake programs planned this month.
  • Manatees
  • – Sightings continue around Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.
  • – We lost three manatees in Escambia County in 2018. 2 to boat strikes and 1 to cold stress
  • – If you see a manatee, contact the manatee hotline at Dauphin Island Sea Lab; 1-866-493-5803 or manatee@disl.org.
  • The Great Scallop Search
  • – Scallop surveys in Big Lagoon are on-going. We recommend a team of three to do these.  If interested contact me.       
  • 2019 Scallop Season
  • – Jun 15 – Sep 10: Dixie and parts of Taylor counties
  • – Jul 1 – Sep 24: Franklin, parts of Taylor, Levy, Citrus, and Hernando counties
  • – Jul 19-28: Pasco county
  • – Aug 16 – Sep 15: Gulf county
  • Scallop harvest is currently prohibited in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties; please let us know if you do find any live scallops.
  • Invasive Wildlife
  • Nutria – A dead nutria was found on the side of Perdido Key Drive near the Theo Baars Bridge. It was a large one and there are probably more.  If you live in the Perdido Key area and think you have seen a nutria, contact us and we can let you know how to control there.
  • Cuban Treefrogs – The have been reported in the New Orleans area. We can show you how to set up a treefrog collector and assist monitoring for the presence of this invasive frog in our area.  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw259.
  • Invasive Species Presentations
  • – Oct 22 – Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Hwy, 6:00 PM

 

Invasive Species

 

  • Eradicating Beach Vitex

Beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) is an invasive ground covering shrub that begins as a vine.  We may have discovered this plant early enough to eradicate it from our area. If you think you may have this plant, please contact us.

  • Coastal Invasive Plant Management

The following invasive plants have been found on our barrier islands and estuarine coast

187 divers participated – record

$48,000 in cash prizes – most ever

5,048 LF turned in during pre-tournament – record

14,119 LF turned in during the weekend tournament – record

19,167 LF harvested total – record

  • Nearshore Lionfish Surveys will begin in June. If you see a lionfish near the beach or in the bay, please let us know.
  • Invasive Species Presentations
  • – Aug 13 – Margaritaville, Pensacola Beach, 165 Ft. Pickens Road, 5:00 PM
  • – Oct 22 – Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Hwy, 6:00 PM

 

 

Seafood

 

  • Seafood @ Your Fingertips
  • – Presentation on local seafood, with samples
  • – September 16, the Southwest Branch Library, 12248 Gulf Beach Highway, 6:00 PM
  • – October 15, Downtown Library, 239 N. Spring Street, 6:00 PM
  • Local Seafood in Peak Season for August   
  • – Cultured clams
  • – Flounder
  • – King mackerel – this fish has been known to have high levels of mercury, check county website for consumption recommendations – link below
  • – Rock shrimp
  • – Brown shrimp
  • – White shrimp
  • – Snapper (check annual regulations)
  • – Spanish mackerel
  • – Spiny lobster
  • – Yellowfin Tuna
  • Seafood Safety Guidelines – Escambia County Division of Marine Resources – https://www.myescambia.com/our-services/natural-resources-management/marine-resources/seafood-safety.

 

Environmental Literacy

 

  • 2019 SCIENCE HOUR SCHEDULE; programs are held at the Escambia County Central Office Complex; 3363 West Park Place; they begin at 6:00 PM and are free
  • – Sep 12 Genetically Modified Organisms            Libbie Johnson, County UF Extension
  • – Oct 10 Harmful Algal Blooms                          Matt Schwartz, UWF
  • – Nov 14 Bay Bridge & Artificial Reefs                Robert Turpin, Escambia County

 

 

Upcoming Programs

 

  • Aug 20Bringing Back the Bayous; Restoring the Health of Our Bay. A presentation on local water quality, habitat and fisheries loss. Downtown library meeting room B.  239 N. Spring Street.  6:00 PM. Free.
  • Aug 21 Panhandle Outdoors LIVE Springs Tour. Join the UF IFAS Natural Resource Extension Team on this annual outdoor class. This year we will visit three springs in the central part of the panhandle; Vortex, Ponce de Leon, and Morrison’s.  We hear from a local expert at each and will paddle Morrison’s to the Choctawhatchee River and back.  Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/panhandle-outdoor-live-2019-springs-tour-tickets-68053011389

 

 

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

 

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

Month Water Body Good Moderate Poor Health Advisory Issued
Jan Bayou Texar 3 1 1 1
  Sanders Beach 1 2 2 2
Feb Bayou Texar 1 1 2 2
  Sanders Beach 1 2 3 2
Mar Bayou Texar 2   2 2
  Sanders Beach 3   1  
  Bayou Chico     2 2
  Bayou Grande   2    
  Big Lagoon SP 2      
  Casino Beach 2      
  Park East 2      
  Park West 2      
  Perdido Key SP 1 1    
  Quietwater 1   1  
Apr Bayou Texar 2   3 3
  Sanders Beach 3 1 1 1
  Bayou Chico 1 1 1 1
  Bayou Grande 2   1 1
  Big Lagoon SP 3      
  Casino Beach 3      
  Park East 3      
  Park West 2      
  Perdido Key SP 2      
  Quietwater 3   1  
  Opal Beach 1      
  Ft. Pickens 1      
May Bayou Texar 2   2 2
  Sanders Beach 3 1    
  Bayou Chico 1   1 1
  Bayou Grande 1   1 1
  Big Lagoon SP 2      
  Casino Beach 2      
  Park East 2      
  Park West 2      
  Perdido Key SP 2      
  Quietwater 1 1    
  Opal Beach 1      
  Ft. Pickens 1      
Jun Bayou Texar 3 1    
  Sanders Beach 3 1    
  Bayou Chico 1 1    
  Bayou Grande 2      
  Big Lagoon SP 2      
  Casino Beach 2      
  Park East 2      
  Park West 2      
  Perdido Key SP 2      
  Quietwater 2      
  Opal Beach 2      
  Ft. Pickens 2      
Jul Bayou Texar 3   2 2
  Sanders Beach 3 1    
  Bayou Chico 2   1 1
  Bayou Grande 3      
  Big Lagoon SP 2 1    
  Casino Beach 3      
  Park East 3      
  Park West 3   2 1
  Perdido Key SP 3      
  Quietwater 3      
  Opal Beach 3   1  
  Ft. Pickens 1 1    
  Johnsons Beach 3      
Aug Bayou Texar     2 2
  Sanders Beach 2   2  
  Bayou Chico     2 2
  Bayou Grande   2    
  Big Lagoon SP 1   1  
  Casino Beach 2   1  
  Park East 2      
  Park West 2      
  Perdido Key SP 2      
  Quietwater 2   1  
  Opal Beach 2      
  Ft. Pickens 2      
  Johnsons Beach 2      
           
TOTAL 165 115 18 34 25
% OF SAMPLES         .15

 

Health Advisory Frequency

Body of Water # of samples taken # of advisories issued % frequency of advisories
Bayou Texar 33 14 .42
Sanders Beach 35 5 .14
Bayou Chico 14 7 .50
Bayou Grande 14 2 .14
Park West 15 1 .07

Fish Kill Data provided by FWC

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  
June 0 0  
July – Johns Beach report – # unknown Unknown May have been discolored water
Aug 1 Unknown Dead catfish in lower Perdido Bay