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UN Summit On Climate Change In New York City

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This coming September leaders from around the world will be coming to New York City (NYC) for the United Nations (UN) summit on the climate crisis. Representatives from dozens of countries will discuss goals, plans, and initiatives to dramatically reduce global warming pollutants.

"With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we'll take a stand to bend the course of history. We'll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities."-Eco-Voice

A march on climate change is set for Sunday September 21st in NYC

Image sourced from: GlobalChange

To register for the march on climate change click here


CHNEP offers Public Outreach Grants; Application Deadline Sept. 3rd

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To further the partnership to protect and restore the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system and watershed, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program CHNEP) offers Public Outreach Grants to citizens, organizations, businesses, government agencies, schools, colleges and universities. The maximum grant request is $5,000 but most applications are funded in the $2,500 to $3,000 range. Public Outreach Grant-funded projects may begin no earlier than November 2014.

The CHNEP has supported many types of initiatives with Public Outreach Grants but all have furthered the Program's plan to protect the natural environment from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven. The descriptions of each project supported, the number of applications received each year and the applications funded each year are posted at www.CHNEP.org. The CHNEP also offers micro-grants (up to $250) year round.

Both application deadlines must be met for an application to be considered:
• Draft applications must be received by 5 P.M. on September 3, 2014.
• Final applications must be received by noon on September 15, 2014.

Grant application, including guidelines »

Contact Information
Maran Hilgendorf, Communications Manager, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, mhilgendorf@swfrpc.org, 1926 Victoria Drive, Fort Myers, FL. 33901-3414
phone: (239) 995-1777 ext 240.

State of Florida considering water-quality credit trading program

Can A Version Of Cap-And-Trade Reduce Water Pollution? Florida Hopes So

By Jessica Palombo

Florida plans to go statewide with a water-quality program that lets polluters partially off the hook if they buy credits for extra cleanup others have already done. The credit-selling program has critics in Jacksonville, the city where it started.

A few years back, the polluted St. Johns River became the test case for the voluntary water-quality credit program. The theory, state regulators say, was to foster regional cooperation by adding an economic incentive for water cleanup.

Director of the State Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, Tom Frick, says credits are one tool to push polluters toward meeting their cleanup obligations.

“That allows water quality restoration to occur quicker. It also allows water quality restoration to occur more cheaply,” he says.

The city of Jacksonville was the credit buyer and private utility company JEA was the seller. Both were already required to clean the river a certain amount, but JEA had gone above and beyond its duty. Jacksonville, which can’t clean as cost-effectively, bought credits from JEA, paying for that extra work, rather than fulfill its entire obligation. Frick says the river still got the total required amount of cleaning—and it happened faster.

But Lisa Rinaman, head of the nonprofit St. Johns Riverkeeper, says the river isn’t benefiting long-term from the program.

Continued on news.WFSU.org »


Register by Sept. 2nd for Conservation Lands Workshop

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The Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program's (CHNEP) third annual workshop is available for everyone interested in conservation lands. Speakers and the topics are diverse, ranging from the power of GIS using the CHNEP Special Places Map as an example, prescribed fire outreach toolkit, “Ding” Darling’s phone app, understanding the relationship between our environment, economy and quality of life, carrying capacity, Southwest Florida Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, Florida’s bonnetted bat, environmental psychology, restoration in the Charlotte Harbor watershed, and Mosaic’s compensatory mitigation and conservation lands.

Jim Wohlpart, Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Environmental Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University, will give the keynote presentation Remembering Sacred Reasons: Finding Our Way in the 21st Century. Dr. Wohlpart’s research focuses on how we are “placed” on Earth, and how we might be “replaced” in more nourishing ways—physically, emotionally, spiritually.

This program is free thanks to the speakers, to CHNEP’s financial partners and to the workshop sponsors that, as of June 12, include Mosaic, Jelks Family Foundation, Estero Bay Buddies and the Friends of Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Inc.

To learn more and register (by Sept. 2nd), visit eventbrite.com.

Workshop flyer with detailed agenda

Contact Information
Maran Hilgendorf, Communications Manager, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, mhilgendorf@swfrpc.org, 1926 Victoria Drive, Fort Myers, FL. 33901-3414
phone: (239) 995-1777 ext 240.

Plastic a serious threat to our oceans, seas, and waterways

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Plastics were invented in the 1800s but their mass production began in the 1950s and has since taken off around the globe. While it is possible to recycle most types of plastic, it is estimated that only about 25% of plastics are recycled worldwide. A great deal of the plastic ends up in our oceans, seas, and waterways. Research has shown severe impacts on our environment and our economy from this type of pollution. Marine life such as sea turtles, whales, seabirds and other marine life are eating the plastic and dying. Scientists are looking at long term impacts of pollutants consumed by fish and their potential effects on human health. It has become such an environmental concern that a little over a decade ago a science of marine debris began the study of garbage in our waters. A recent study showed the global magnitude of this problem.

The Malaspina expedition of 2010 was a nine-month research project to study the effects of global warming on the oceans and the biodiversity of the deep ocean ecosystem. Andres Cozar and his team were to study the small fauna living on the ocean surface. He was reassigned when plastic fragments kept turning up in water samples to assess the level of plastic pollution. Using that data and the data gathered by four other ships he and his team of researchers completed the first ever global map of ocean trash.

Photo: Start1.org

Continued at Start1.org... »


Recreational Bay Scallop Season Opening Soon

Open through Sept. 24th- 25th. All Currently imposed size and bag limits apply. Each person can keep up to 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of meat. A single vessel has a limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half gallon of meat. To harvest scallops you may use your hands, a landing or a dip net. No commercial harvesting of bay scallops! Be safe when diving for scallops. Use a divers down flag on or around your vessel. Stay within 300 feet of your vessel. Have fun and enjoy the your scalloping.


FIU and SFWMD Partner to Study Nitrogen in Caloosahatchee River

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"The study will examine the interplay between nitrogen and a range of naturally-occurring bacteria in the water." Cassondra Thomas district senior sentist said "Some forms of organic nitrogen include DNA, ammonic acids". So, they’re are a lot more complex, they’re bigger molecules and it takes a lot more to break them down.”

This study is just one part of the Districts plan to develop new Stormwater Treatment Area's (STA's). STA's are typically wetlands that are engineered to remove nutrients from water as it flows through the area.

Article published by Topher Forhecz.
Photo credited to Nikoretro/Flickr

For more information click here


Webcast on Green Infrastructure and Smart Growth

Learn about communities that are successfully leveraging green infrastructure as part of broader planning and community development initiatives. Practitioners will discuss land-use strategies for clean water, including green streets, local code review, and stormwater banking. This webinar is part of the EPA Green Infrastructure Program's 2014 Webcast Series, and qualifies for 1.5 certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.

Caran Curry, Grants Manager, City of Little Rock, Arkansas
Melissa Kramer, Senior Policy Analyst, EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities
Heather Nix, Director, Clean Air & Water Program, Upstate Forever

Register at:GoToMeeting

For more information visit the EPA''s website here


See the Sea Monsters at Traveling Exhibit

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The Sea Monsters traveling exhibit from Mote Marine Laboratory, a marine science institution based in Sarasota, is on display at J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The exhibit features:

  • Monster Makeover panel where visitors can see themselves with different monster attributes.
  • Fold-down Sea Puzzle with large tiles that visitors move to make up a picture of extreme animals.
  • Jaws panel featuring a mako shark jaw and tooth-diet matching activity.
  • Central gallery with shark skin that can be touched, model of a colossal squid beak, small diorama of bioluminescent animals, and scale sized eyeball models for giant squid, blue whale and cow.
  • An inflated giant squid sits on top of the exhibit.

  • Visitors will be able to interact with the free, temporary exhibit, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily through Aug. 18. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive in Sanibel. Phone (239) 472-1100 for more information, or visit dingdarlingsociety.org.


Restoring Florida Bay: Sponges the foundation for thriving ecosystem

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"Prior to the 1990s the Florida Keys sponge community was a lively underwater city for fish and invertebrates. Curious divers could hear the snap, crackle and pop of snapping shrimp. The noisy bottom was a sign of health for the organisms that provide nursery habitat to juvenile marine species.

Researchers at the University of Florida and Old Dominion University, along with more than 40 volunteers from around the world have joined together for an ecosystem intervention. John Stevely, a sponge researcher and Florida Sea Grant agent emeritus, said transplanting sponge cuttings is a way to speed up nature so the ecosystem doesn’t reach a point of no return.

Marine sponges are not only a valuable commercial asset to the state, they are also critical to Florida marine life. Researchers suspect that the biotic sounds caused by the inhabitants that occupy the sponges may help guide the larva of fish and invertebrates to safe habitat, similar to coral reef communities..."

(Article by: Becca Burton)

Full article on the FL Sea Grant website


Sea Level Rise and Climate Change Survey

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"1000 Friends of Florida is identifying communities using planning strategies to lessen their contributions to climate change and/or build community resilience to address the effects of climate change, including sea level rise. If your community is taking steps to address sea level rise and/or climate change we hope you will take a few minutes to complete 1000 Friends' 10-question survey. Your responses are anonymous, unless you chose otherwise. Please note, this survey is not intended to be statistically significant but rather to gather information on current planning efforts in Florida. 1000 Friends is also compiling information on sea level rise and climate change plans and studies around the state."

Take the survey »

Contact Information
1000 Friends of Florida, friends@1000fof.org, P.O. Box 5948, Tallahassee, FL. 32314

650 acres of conservation land approved for acquisition by ARC

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Acquisition of Bond Ranch parcel will enhance current restoration plans

TALLAHASSEE – Today the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) voted to amend the existing boundary line of the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Florida Forever Project to include Bond Ranch, a 650-acre parcel. This step enables the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands to move forward with the acquisition of the parcel. Acquisition of conservation land is generally limited to Florida Forever project boundaries.

DEP’s Division of State Lands worked with the South Florida Water Management District and the Trust for Public Land to fast-track the boundary amendment to place it on today’s ARC agenda. The division will partner with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), which has committed $1.5 million for acquisition of the parcel.

“Adding the Bond Ranch parcel to the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods project will augment the current restoration efforts for Charlotte Harbor and the Caloosahatchee River watershed,” said Kelley Boree, director of DEP’s Division of State Lands. “I appreciate our partners recognizing the importance of this acquisition happening quickly and in concert with FDOT’s I-75 widening project.”

Bond Ranch is vital in the multi-phased regional hydrologic restoration effort. The restoration initiative will not only restore the original flow of water across Charlotte County and into Charlotte Harbor, but will also reduce the flow of excess water south into Lee County and the Caloosahatchee River watershed. The reduction will result in better flood protection for North Fort Myers as well as reducing nutrient loads to the Charlotte Harbor Estuary.

This parcel is integral to the success of the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Initiative, a multi-agency, multi-year effort to return this watershed’s waterflow to its historic westward direction. Multiple local, state and federal agencies are participating in this initiative that covers approximately 90 square miles and five sub-watersheds. Acquisition of the parcel, which is adjacent to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, will also result in immediate increased wildlife habitat.

ARC is a 10 member group of representatives from various agencies with land conservation experience tasked with the responsibility of evaluating conservation lands for possible state acquisition and management. Along with the addition of Bond Ranch, ARC voted to update five management plans and considered five proposals for possible addition to the December 2014 Florida Forever list.

Source: Florida DEP News Release

Learn more about the Charlotte Harbor Flatwoods Initiative


Mote and FWC release snook into Sarasota Bay

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On Aug. 15, 2014, scientists with Mote Marine Laboratory and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released hatchery-reared juvenile snook into the wild as part of an ongoing program designed to find the most effective methods to replenish and enhance wild snook populations.

The species is one of Florida’s most popular sport fish and plays an important role in drawing recreational anglers to the state. According to the American Sportfishing Association, Florida is the top-ranked state in economic output from recreational fishing, which draws $8.6 billion to the economy annually. Saltwater fishing alone generates 80 percent — $6.8 billion — of that income.

Snook, along with red drum, are the main test species for restocking efforts statewide. This project — which involves tagging and then releasing more than 2,200 snook into Sarasota Bay during over three days — is designed to determine whether snook that have been conditioned for release at Mote have better growth and survival rates in the wild.

This event is a key example of Mote’s efforts to develop and support public-private partnerships for the conservation and sustainable use of our marine resources. The snook release is possible now thanks to a private donation to Mote and from funding provided by FWC. For more than 25 years, Mote and FWC scientists have partnered on studies designed to increase the effectiveness of stock enhancement in Florida; their work on the topic is followed globally.

Continued on Mote Marine Laboratory’s website...


DEP approves three first-magnitude spring systems to SWIM priority list

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officially approved adding three first-magnitude spring systems — Weeki Wachee River, Chassahowitzka River and Homosassa River — to the Surface Water Improvement Management (SWIM) Program priority list.

In January, The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board began the process of officially adding those systems to the existing SWIM Program priority list which includes two first magnitude spring systems: Rainbow River and Crystal River/Kings Bay. With the DEP’s approval, all five of the District’s first magnitude springs are now on the SWIM Program priority list.

District staff will now craft a SWIM management plan for each of the first magnitude springs systems with the newly formed Springs Coast Steering Committee to identify management actions, estimated costs, and responsibilities. Staff will then implement the strategies with our District partners.

Improving northern coastal spring systems is one of the District’s priorities. Adding these springs on the District’s SWIM list allows the District to better prioritize projects, programs, and funding to improve the water resources. These spring groups are important for their ecological value and their economic impact.

A first-magnitude spring or spring group discharges 64.6 million gallons of water per day or more. Together, all five of the District’s first-magnitude springs discharge more than one billion gallons of water per day.

Source: SWFWMD news release

Learn more about springs in west-central Florida...


Registration open for “Water Words that Work” training

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Florida's west coast National Estuary Programs invite you to a training led by Water Words That Work (www.WaterWordsThatWork.com) on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, at Sarasota County Extension. Everyone with an interest in environmental education in southwest Florida should attend in order to:

• Network
• Collaborate
• Brainstorm
• Learn

Environmental writing can be a frustrating challenge but the Water Words That Work message method makes it easier to succeed. It's designed to turn passive "environmental awareness" into pro-environmental behavior. Eric Eckl's methods will help you create and deliver messages to reach your target audience and inspire them to action. This training walks you through Water Words That Work's six-step Environmental Message Method to relearn the language that everyday citizens use. You will become more confident and successful as you set out to enlighten the uninformed and persuade the undecided to take a stand or take action on behalf of our rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans.

Please register by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 2 via EventBrite (link below). You may register after this date but please understand the food order will have already been placed. Registration will be limited to 80 people. There is a registration fee of $20 and an additional $20 fee if you would like refreshments and lunch provided. (We don't recommend you leave for lunch and a refrigerator won't be available if you bring your own.) This program is made possible because of the generosity of our sponsors but we ask those who are able to also make a donation. Any donation of $100 or more will be acknowledged as a sponsor.

Workshop location:
Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension
6700 Clark Road
Twin Lakes Park
Sarasota, FL 34241

This program is made possible by support from the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program, Mosaic, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and the Friends of Charlotte Harbor Estuary, Inc.

Full agenda and registration form at eventbrite.com...

Contact Information
Maran Hilgendorf, Communications Manager, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, mhilgendorf@swfrpc.org, 1926 Victoria Drive, Fort Myers, FL. 33901-3414
phone: (239) 995-1777 ext 240.

Learn to be a fishing guide or charter captain Sept. 9th

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Attention charter captains, fishing guides and wannabes!
Florida Sea Grant is giving a one-day workshop that will help grow your fishing business!

Sept. 9, 2014, 8:45 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Workshop topics will include:
• Developing a winning business plan
• Increasing market visibility
• Essentials of social media marketing
• New fisheries conservation research findings and gear
• Becoming a partner in fisheries research
• Law enforcement updates

The workshop will be held at the
Charlotte County Environmental Campus,
25550 Harborview Rd, Port Charlotte, FL 33980.

The cost is $25 and includes materials, lunch and refreshments.

Register with your Sea Grant Agent:
Betty Staugler, Charlotte County, staugler@ufl.edu, 941-764-4346
Joy Hazell, Lee County, jhazell@leegov.com, 239-533-7518
Bryan Fluech, Collier County, fluech@ufl.edu, 239-438-5594


Volunteers still needed for 7th Annual Great Bay Scallop Search

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Boaters are needed!
Non-boaters will be placed on boats as space permits.

Why: To annually monitor our bay scallop populations and to support the scientific study of scallops.
Where: Meet at the Mar Vista Restaurant, 760 Broadway Street, Longboat Key, FL
When: Saturday, August 23. Captains' meeting at 8:30 am. Scallop search begins at 9:00 am sharp and ends around 12:30 pm with a complimentary lunch courtesy of the Mar Vista Restaurant.
What To Bring: Able bodied swimmers with sunscreen, hat, dive gloves, mask, snorkel, fins, and water. Weight belt, optional but recommended. We will attempt to get those without boats onto vessels, space permitting.
Registration:    Required. This event fills to capacity every year

»» This is a NO HARVEST event ««

Sign Up Today »


Be safe... Be aware of rip currents this summer!

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Gulf Coast beaches are great places to relax and to swim in the Gulf of Mexico. But before taking a dip, beachgoers should be aware of rip currents.

According to the United States Lifesaving Association, rip currents are the leading surf hazard for beachgoers and can occur at any beach with breaking waves.

The association says swimmers should avoid areas that show signs of rip currents, which include a channel of churning, choppy water, an area with a notable water color difference, a break in the wave pattern and a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily out to sea.

“Swimming at a lifeguard-monitored beach is the best way to stay safe,” said Katherine Cleary, aquatics supervisor with Pinellas County. “When conditions indicate rip currents may occur, we put up warning flags or in some cases close beaches to swimming altogether.”

While some beaches have lifeguards, not all do. If a swimmer is at a beach with no lifeguard on duty and gets caught in a rip current, the Association has a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Don’t fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline or float and calmly tread water until out of the current.
  • Once out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If unable to reach shore, draw attention and yell for help.

More about rip currents »


Health officials urge awareness of potential bacteria in coastal waters

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Sarasota County reports two cases - one resulting in a death

SARASOTA COUNTY – The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County urges area residents and visitors with certain health conditions to avoid eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to seawater and estuarine water, which may harbor bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus.

A total of 41 cases of Vibrio vulnificus were reported statewide during 2013, and there have been at least 11 cases and several deaths (as of 7/25/14), due to the infection of an open wound or from consuming raw shellfish.

In Sarasota County, there were no cases reported in 2013. However, there were two cases reported during July, resulting in one recent death not included in the statewide report. Both individuals were middle-aged and had medical compromising conditions. Health officials are saddened by the death and say that unfortunately those living with chronic health conditions are at increased risk for adverse outcomes. Both individuals are believed to have gotten infected with the bacteria entering through an open wound.

Occurring naturally in the warm coastal waters, particularly during the summer months, Vibrio vulnificus has the potential to cause serious illness. Persons who have wounds, cuts or scratches and wade in estuarine areas or seawater where the bacteria might be present can become ill. Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus in wound infections typically include swelling, pain and redness at the wound site.

Other symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection include; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills, and the formation of blistering skin lesions. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Individuals with liver disease, including Hepatitis C and cirrhosis, are most at risk for developing serious illness from Vibrio vulnificus. Others who should avoid consuming raw shellfish are those with hemochromatosis (iron overload), diabetes, cancer, stomach disorders or any illness or treatment that weakens the immune system. Thoroughly cooking oysters, either by frying, stewing, or roasting eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses in the meat. Consuming raw oysters that have undergone a post-harvest treatment process to eliminate the bacteria can also reduce the risk of illness.

Resources for more information:
Our Gulf Environment (please see water quality tab and then click on the bacteria tab)
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' website

Source: Sarasota Dept. of Health news release


Volunteer help needed for Punta Gorda oyster reef restoration project

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Pilot project seeks volunteer help to restore estuary habitat

The Nature Conservancy is collaborating with Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves and the City of Punta Gorda to launch an oyster reef restoration project adjacent to the Trabue Harborwalk.

Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of this project:
• Fill bags with oyster shells (You must be able to lift 30 lbs. to make oyster bags.)
• Deploy the materials in the water

There's something for everyone! Civic groups, schools, clubs, boating groups, recreational clubs, church groups—or anyone looking for a fun way to help restore the estuary are welcome to participate.

It is the first oyster restoration project in the northern portion of the estuary and three methods will be tested here: oyster mats, oyster bags and loose shell secured by a perimeter of oyster bags. These materials will provide a foundation for oyster larvae to settle and grow.

The three-dimensional structure of an established oyster reef can help protect the project site's mangrove shoreline from the future impacts of erosion and sea level rise and provide valuable habitat and food for other species such as fish, crab, shrimp, and birds. Oyster reefs have the potential to also benefit the juvenile stage of the endangered smalltooth sawfish, a species that relies on healthy red mangrove habitat for food and shelter in the Charlotte Harbor region. This project will add to the scientific understanding of how oyster reefs might also benefit sawfish.

Kate Aug, Florida DEP- Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves Community Outreach Coordinator is still in need of volunteers interested volunteering to make oyster bags as a part of the Trabue Harborwalk Oyster Habitat Creation Project.

She will be bagging at the Burnt Store location Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8:30 am to 10:30/11:00, through August 20th. If you are interested in lending a hand, please contact Kate directly. Individuals and groups are welcome. You can reach Kate by phone (941-575-5861) or by email (preferred method) Katherine.Aug@dep.state.fl.us

Contact Information
Katherine Aug, Community Outreach Coordinator, DEP Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves, katherine.aug@dep.state.fl.us
phone: 941-575-5861 ext. 117.

Public workshops scheduled for estuary NNC and water quality credit trading

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has scheduled public workshops for two separate rulemaking efforts:

(1) estuary-specific numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for estuaries, and
(2) revisions to Chapter 62-306, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Water Quality Credit Trading.

Public workshops are scheduled as follows:

NNC Estuaries

DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Martinez Center, Room 609, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee**
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Panhandle and Big Bend estuaries from Upper Escambia Bay to Cedar Key, Fenholloway and Econfina River estuaries

DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: The Captain’s House at Goode Park, 1300 Bianca Drive NE, Palm Bay, FL
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Southwest estuaries from Anclote Bayou to Moorings Bay, and the southeast Florida estuaries up to and including Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.

DATE AND TIME: Thursday, August 28, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: Northeast Florida Regional Council, Soforenko Board Room, 6850 Belfort Oaks Place, Jacksonville, FL
AREA TO BE DISCUSSED: Estuaries in northeast Florida from the Upper Halifax River to the St. Marys River, as well as additional coverage of the Fenholloway and Econfina River estuaries

The overall scope of this rule development will address estuary-specific numeric nutrient criteria (NNC) for total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chlorophyll a in the following estuaries: portions of the Big Bend from Alligator Harbor to the Suwannee Sound, Cedar Key, St. Marys River estuary, Southern Indian River Lagoon, Mosquito Lagoon, several portions of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) connecting estuarine systems, a variety of small gaps between estuaries with adopted NNC, and parameters for estuaries not currently covered by their adopted nutrient Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), including Upper Escambia Bay, Lower St. Johns River, Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie Estuary, and Caloosahatchee Estuary. Nutrient criteria for these estuaries were included in an August 1, 2013 report to the Governor and Legislature. Pursuant to Chapter 2013-71, Laws of Florida, the Legislature directed the Department to establish these estuary NNC by rule or final order by December 1, 2014.

Water Quality Credit Trading

DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bob Martinez Center, Room 609, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee**

DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: The Captain’s House at Goode Park, 1300 Bianca Drive NE, Palm Bay, Florida

Rule development will update the Water Quality Credit Trading Rule in Chapter 62-306, F.A.C. Pursuant to Section 403.067, Florida Statutes, Chapter 62-306 was adopted in 2010 to establish the requirements for a pilot water quality credit trading (WQCT) program among pollutant sources in the Lower St. Johns River Basin. Chapter 2013-146, Laws of Florida, revised Section 403.067 to, among other things, eliminate the requirement that WQCT be limited to the Lower St. Johns River Basin and authorize the Department to implement WQCT on an ongoing basis in adopted basin management action plans or other applicable pollution control programs. This rulemaking is intended to amend Chapter 62-306, F.A.C., consistent with the statutory changes, as well as update the rules to reflect knowledge gained during implementation of the pilot program.

** The Tallahassee meeting for both NNC Estuaries and Water Quality Credit Trading can also be accessed via GoToWebinar at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/585558034. Parties can register to attend that webinar via their personal computers and will be able to listen using their speakers connected to their computer. Webinar access will not be available for the other workshop locations.


Mote Marine Lab robots help researchers, forecasters monitor red tide bloom

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By Hayley Rutger

Underwater robots “Waldo” from Mote Marine Laboratory and “Bass” from University of South Florida (USF) have been hard at work monitoring the offshore bloom of Florida red tide and surrounding ocean conditions since they were deployed on Aug. 1. Their results are helping shape short-term bloom forecasts.

The bloom was recently reported to be 80 miles long and 50 miles wide, reaching from Dixie County to southern Pasco County, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) statewide update on Aug. 1.

Robot results:
During the past few days, the robots have reported:

Waldo: At 40 miles from the Pasco/Hernando border, red tide was detected at the surface and to depths of about 25 meters (82 feet) in areas where it was indicated by satellites.

Bass: At the outer edge of the bloom, elevated chlorophyll associated with the red tide was present in waters as deep as 40 meters (131 feet).

Both: The bloom water is “stratified” (layered) with denser, cooler water below and lighter, warmer water on top. Waldo will complete his mission this week or early next, while Bass will finish in two to three weeks.

The robots’ data are feeding into short-term forecasts of the red tide bloom developed by the Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides, a partnership effort between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and USF.

More info and forecast findings, from Mote Marine Laboratory »

Contact Information
Mote Marine Laboratory, educate@mote.org, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL. 34236
phone: (800) 691-MOTE.

80 mile-long red tide bloom still evident in northeast Gulf of Mexico

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Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was detected in background to medium concentrations in several water samples analyzed this week from offshore of Hernando and Pasco counties and in background concentrations in one sample collected offshore of Okaloosa County. Several additional samples collected this week offshore of Pinellas County ranged from background to low concentrations.

Satellite images from the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida show a patchy bloom approximately 80 miles long and up to 50 miles wide 40 to 90 miles offshore between Dixie and southern Pasco counties in northwest Florida. Although satellite images are not available for regions offshore of Pinellas County, sampling confirmed K. brevis populations at depth 33 miles west of Caladesi Island and 13 miles west of Madeira Beach, both offshore of Pinellas County. This bloom has caused an ongoing fish kill in the northeast Gulf of Mexico. FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline has received reports of thousands of dead and moribund benthic reef fish including various snapper and grouper species, hogfish, grunts, crabs, flounder, bull sharks, lionfish, baitfish, eel, sea snakes, tomtates, lizardfish, filefish, octopus, and triggerfish. Reports of water discoloration have been received and respiratory irritation has been reported offshore in the bloom patch. Additional samples collected throughout Florida this week did not contain red tide.

Detailed red tide status from MyFWC.com for the entire state of Florida

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