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 – firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Panhandle Outdoors LIVE – Webinar – Wednesday Oct 21
You can find a calendar of all presentations at the link below.
You can register for a talk by clicking on the title.
Water Quality Updates
- 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 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”)
- 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|
|Lower Perdido Bay||71||15||15||14|
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
- No fish kills reported this week.
- See 2020 numbers at the end of this newsletter
- Report fish kills to FWC at – https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/health/fish-kills-hotline/.
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 https://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.
- 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 (email@example.com)
- – 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 –
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.
- – 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.
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
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
12:00 – 12:30 CDT
1:00 – 1:30 EDT
Register, and see other webinars, at
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
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.
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/.
Weekly “What is it?” – Sea Nettles
Carrie Stevenson – Escambia County
Weekly “What is it?” – Ghost Crabs
Carrie Stevenson – Escambia County
Reef Fish of the Florida Panhandle
Rick O’Connor – Escambia County
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral? The Sea Cucumber
Shelia Dunning – UF IFAS Okaloosa County
Panhandle Outdoors: Meet Our Authors
Dr. Pat Williams – UF IFAS Wakulla County
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|
|Big Lagoon SP||20||1||1||.05|
|Perdido Key SP||22||0||0||.00|
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|
|Jul||2||NR||Baitfish at Navarre Beach and Perdido Key; probably a discard|
|Sep||2||NR||Fish kills occurred in two ponds (one in Pensacola and one in Gulf Breeze) during Hurricane Sally|