Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Everything you ever wanted to know about oysters on November 25th, 2014




FDOT Seeks Input on Five Year Work Program



For Immediate Release:
November 25, 2014


FDOT Seeks Input on Five Year Work Program

Chipley – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will hold a public hearing session on the department’s tentative five year work program. The hearing will be held to present and receive input on the work program for fiscal years July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020 and consider the necessity of making changes to the program. The session will be held TuesdayDec. 2 in the Florida Department of Transportation District Three Design Conference Room, 1074 Highway 90, Chipley and broadcasted live to the following locations:

·         FDOT Midway Operations Center Conference Room, 17 Commerce Boulevard, Midway
·         FDOT Milton Operations Center Conference Room, 6025 Old Bagdad Highway, Milton
·         FDOT Panama Operations Center Conference Room, 3633 Highway 390, Panama City
·         FDOT Ponce de Leon Operations Center Conference Room, 1723 Sunrise Circle, Ponce de Leon

The hearing will cover the following counties at the scheduled session times, and we anticipate beginning the public comment time approximately 45 minutes after the beginning of each session. 

·         8:00 a.m. (CST)           Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties
·         10:30 a.m. (CST)         Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties 
·         1:30 p.m. (CST)          Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Leon and Wakulla counties

Written comments from transportation planning organizations, transportation planning agencies and other interested parties will be received by the department at the public hearing and within 10 days thereafter. Comments should be addressed to:
Mr. James T. Barfield, P.E., District SecretaryFlorida Department of Transportation District Three
Post Office Box 607
Chipley, FL 32428
Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status. Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Regina Battles at regina.battles@dot.state.fl.us or (850) 330-1270.

For more Florida Department of Transportation District Three information, follow us on Twitter @myfdot_nwfl or like us on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/MyFDOTNWFL.

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Florida DEP permit activity for Wakulla County

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FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
BOB MARTINEZ CENTER
2600 BLAIRSTONE ROAD
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA 32399-2400
RICK SCOTT
GOVERNOR

CARLOS LOPEZ-CANTERA
LT. GOVERNOR

HERSCHEL T. VINYARD JR.
SECRETARY


Permitting Application Subscription Service


Subscriber email address: manager@oysterradio.com

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Noticed General Permit
Project Name: RELOCATION OF POWER POLES
Location Id: 330993
Location Name: CITY OF TALLAHASSEE ELECTRIC UTILITES
County: Wakulla
Application Number: 330993-001

For further information, please contact the Northwest District Branch ( Panama City ) permitting office in Panama City at (850) 872-4375


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’Tis the season for gifts to support Florida wildlife

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)
For immediate release: November 25, 2014
Media contacts: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291
                        Lisa Thompson, 727-502-4971

’Tis the season for gifts to support Florida wildlife 
All year long, residents and visitors to Florida can step outside and find places to watch and photograph wildlife as they hike beaches and trails, steer a boat along rivers and coastlines, fish clear waters, or hunt game in one of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) wildlife management areas.
This holiday season, the FWC hopes people will consider gifts that will make a difference in conservation of Florida’s wildlife and help pass along great outdoors experiences to future generations.
On this checklist are gifts that should please almost anyone who appreciates Florida wildlife:
  • Vehicle license plates supporting Florida wildlife and habitats, including “Protect the Panther,” “Conserve Wildlife,” “Helping Sea Turtles Survive,” “Save the Manatee” and “Go Fishing.” Available at local county tax collectors’ offices, with more information atBuyaPlate.com.
  • Colorful FWC manatee decals and sea turtle decals to stick on boats, bikes, backpacks, guitar cases or computers. Available for a $5 donation at local county tax collectors’ offices, with more options to order at MyFWC.com/Manatee or MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.
  • A Florida fishing license or hunting license purchased online at License.MyFWC.com or in stores. There are licenses for residents and visitors, including a youth Gold Sportsman’s License good until a child turns 17 that locks in the price and gives a young person bragging rights as a card-carrying sportsman.
  • Lifetime Sportsman License for Florida children and young adults covering hunting, and freshwater and saltwater fishing. The license is available at a greatly reduced cost of $500 (plus processing fees) from now through Dec. 31, 2014. Gov. Rick Scott in mid-November signed an execiutive order authorizing the FWC to make this temporary fee reduction. The lifetime license can be purchased for state residents ages 5 to 21 online, by calling 888-347-4356 or at local tax collectors’ offices across the state.
  • Florida wildlife T-shirts, sweatshirts, art or other gifts available at WildlifeFlorida.com. Strutapparel featuring your favorite species!
  • A personal floatation device, also known as a life jacket, to give someone you care about a safe boating experience. A newer model, such as an inflatable belt pack or suspender-style life jacket, could replace an older, bulkier life jacket.
  • Registration of a family member or friend with TrophyCatchFlorida.com, along with the gift of a scale to weigh fish. Just registering that person makes him or her eligible for a drawing for a bass boat, and any time the angler takes a photo of an 8-pound or larger bass and submits it according to TrophyCatch rules, the reward will be at least $100 in gift cards, club shirts, decals and certificates.
Find gifts for people who love the outdoors at MyFWC.com by clicking on “Get Involved” and then “Support FWC.”
Watch the “Unconventional Holiday Gifts from FWC” video on YouTube’s Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission channel.
And for outdoors fun during the holidays, enjoy FWC’s Wildlife Management Areas andGreat Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail; go to MyFWC.com and click on Wildlife Viewing or FloridaBirdingTrail.com.


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FDOT to Suspend Construction for Thanksgiving Holiday

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For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2014


FDOT to Suspend Construction for Thanksgiving Holiday

Chipley – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Three office is suspending highway construction projects on major roadways across Northwest Florida for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  There will be no work on state roads requiring lane restrictions from Wednesday, Nov. 26, though, Sunday, Nov. 30.  All major roads will be open to normal traffic.

Although no construction closures are scheduled over the holiday weekend, existing state highway work zones will remain in effect. Motorists are reminded to use caution while traveling through work zones around barricades and equipment.

FDOT is encouraging drivers to allow extra travel time and to use extra caution in existing work zones along state highways. Drivers are urged to make sure they buckle up, along with their passengers. FDOT and other safety agencies also ask drivers to obey speed limits, get adequate rest before traveling, avoid distractions and never drink and drive.

Drivers also are urged to be prepared for unscheduled highway closures due to accidents, disabled vehicles or other events. Motorists should be alert to changing weather conditions while traveling.

Travelers can access Florida’s 511 service from cell phones, landlines, and the Internet at www.FL511.com to receive updates on travel in the area.  For more Florida Department of Transportation District Three information follow us on twitter @myfdot_nwfl
or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MyFDOTNWFL.



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Monday, November 24, 2014

Audubon Florida raising opposition to changes at SGI state park

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Audubon Florida Advocate
St. George Island State Park - November 2014

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Take Action: Protect St. George Island State Park Wildlife and Habitat

Say NO to increased development on State Park conservation land. Send a letter right now.

Male Snowy Plover by Marianne Korosy
 Snowy Plover
St. George Island State Park in Franklin County is one of a few remaining nesting sites for rare and declining beach-nesting birds like Least Terns, American Oystercatchers and Snowy Plovers, and provides crucial stopover habitat for neotropical songbirds arriving from their long migration nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico.
The park also provides an important, more natural experience for visitors and a glimpse of much what of the windswept barrier islands of the Panhandle looked like before the arrival of coastal development.
The Florida Park Service recently rolled out a draft management plan for St. George Island State Park that included shocking development proposals to expand the park’s infrastructure including:
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St. George Island State Park
  • A 30-slip marina for boat camping with bathhouse and picnic pavilion on the bay side of the island.
  • Six cabins and a support building developed in an area of healthy habitat and requiring a new road.
  • An additional 30-site camping loop in undisturbed habitat
  • An expanded parking area at the kayak launching site and additional parking along roadside pulloffs
  • Paved bike lanes on both sides of the road (where beach-nesting birds have had nests in the past)
  • Additional pull offs and trails in the restricted access area of the point
    Furthermore,
    1. the carrying capacities of the plan appear to have been set based on the number of parking spaces rather than the amount of user pressure the resources could withstand.
    2. The plan does not acknowledge the impacts of human disturbance on the park’s imperiled beach-nesting birds and vulnerable habitats.
    3. The plan did not include any funding requests for additional staffing to manage the increased use or maintain the proposed infrastructure. 
    Beach-nesting birds used to be common along the entire length of St. George Island. Now they are restricted to the state park for nesting, and are struggling even there under the weight of disturbance and predation.
    Audubon contingent SGISP hearing 11.18.2014 sm.jpg
     Audubon staff, members, and supporters attended the public meeting.
    The Tallahassee Democrat quoted Audubon’s Director of Wildlife Conservation Julie Wraithmell as saying, “I don't know anyone who after visiting the state park says ‘that was nice, but too bad there wasn’t more pavement, buildings and another 600 people. This is a place that is special — providing essential habitat for rare and threatened species and a visitor experience that is exceptional. The proposed plan simply assumes ‘more’ is always ‘better.’"
    Last Tuesday, concerned citizens from St. George Island, Eastpoint, Apalachicola, and Tallahassee turned out at the public hearing on the proposal to speak against the plans to add expansive campgrounds, cabins and a marina to this sensitive barrier island park.The public meeting was full, with all speakers expressing concerns with the proposed management plan. The meeting was covered in the Apalachicola Times.

    You Can Help - Send a Letter in Support of St. George Island's Wildlife

    If you weren’t able to attend the public meeting, St. George Island State Park still needs your help! Use Audubon's easy email form to contact Park Planner David Copps. Let them know that you value the natural resources of this park and the wild experiences it offers, and that you do not support these infrastructure expansions which would come at the expense of wildlife and habitat.
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    MEMORANDUM - Flags at Half-Staff for Deputy Christopher Smith

    MEMORANDUM


    TO:                  Sidneia Thompson
                            Division of Facilities and Operations Maintenance
    Andrew Gillum, Mayor, Tallahassee
                            Vincent S. Long, County Administrator, Leon County
                            Larry Campbell, Sheriff, Leon County Sheriff’s Office
                                                   
    FROM:            Governor Rick Scott

    DATE:            November 24, 2014

    RE:                  Flags at Half-Staff
    ________________________________________________________________________

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Deputy Christopher Smith of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Smith lost his life on Saturday, November 22, 2014, when he was ambushed, shot and killed while responding to a house fire. The death of Deputy Smith is a solemn reminder of the risks that law enforcement officers across Florida take to ensure the safety of all Florida citizens.

    In honor of Deputy Smith, I hereby direct the flags of the United States and the State of Florida to be flown at half-staff at the County Courthouse of Leon County, Florida, at the City Hall of Tallahassee, Florida, at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in Tallahassee, Florida, and at the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

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    Tues, 11/25/14 SEAHAWK SCOOP




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    County delays request to oversee Carrabelle sidewalk project

    County commissioners are being asked to help the City of Carrabelle with a sidewalk project along Highway 67.
    Carrabelle has been awarded about a half million dollars to design and construct new 5 foot wide sidewalks along the east and west side of Tallahassee Street from Avenue A to Crooked Creek Road.
    That’s a little over 2.2 miles.
    The design phase will happen soon, the construction will begin in 2017. 
    The problem is that Carrabelle is not actually eligible to administer the project so the county will have to oversee the project for it to move forward.
    Basically the county would act as the project manager even though the project is in the city limits – County administrative director Alan Pierce said that would include selecting the design engineer – approve the design and select the contractor when the construction begins.
    The county has to send a letter to the Department of Transportation accepting the responsibility – but decided to hold off on the request to get more information.
    Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said she wants to what the deadline is and she wants to know if public hearings were held to find out what residents even want the project.



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    Attorney Ralph Lancaster named special master for Florida/Georgia water dispute

    The U.S. Supreme Court has appointed a Maine attorney to serve as a special master overseeing the lawsuit by Florida against Georgia over the use of water in the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint River system.
    The US Supreme Court appointed Ralph Lancaster Jr. to serve as a special master, which means he’ll call witnesses, issue subpoenas, take evidence and submit reports to the Supreme Court.
    He works for a firm called Pierce Atwood LLP, and this is the fourth time Lancaster has been appointed a special master by the Supreme Court.
    This case, which will likely define the future of this area, resolves around how water in the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint River system is shared by Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
    Florida has long contended that Georgia takes too much water from the Chattahoochee to meet the demands of the Atlanta area and water flow is needed to help protect the Apalachicola Bay and its important fisheries.

    Low water flows are blamed in part for the recent oyster fishery collapse.


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    Snook harvest seasonal closure in Gulf starts December 1

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    (Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)

    November 24, 2014


    Snook harvest seasonal closure in Gulf starts Dec. 1

         The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2015, reopening to harvest March 1, 2015. Snook can continue to be caught and released during the closed season.

         This and other regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather. Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, will close Dec. 15 this year through Jan. 31, 2015, reopening to harvest Feb. 1, 2015.

         Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Recreational Regulations” for more information on snook.



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    3rd annual Eastpoint Christmas Parade on Friday, December the 12th






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    DEP COMMITS $4.75 MILLION TO WATER PROJECTS IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA

    Florida DEP Banner

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 24, 2014

    CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us 

    DEP COMMITS $4.75 MILLION TO WATER PROJECTS IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA 

    ~Projects address infrastructure needs as well as water quality~

    TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is providing $4.75 million for six water-related projects in northwest Florida. Thanks to matching local funds, a total of $7.5 million is being invested in the projects located in Bay, Liberty, Jackson and Walton counties. The projects will provide upgrades to potable-water, wastewater and stormwater facilities in the four counties.
    "These substantial upgrades coming to northwest Florida are essential to ensuring our residents have access to the necessary quantity and quality of water," said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. "I appreciate the leadership of Governor Scott and the foresight of the Florida Legislature to make these investments."
    "The economic and environmental health of northwest Florida communities depends on water quality and adequate supplies of water," Sen. Don Gaetz said.  "That's why I appreciate Governor Scott and my legislative colleagues supporting these important projects that I placed in the state budget."
    The city of DeFuniak Springs in Walton County received $417,498 to replace deteriorating water lines and water mains that are crucial to the city’s water system. The project consists of replacing more than 9,800 linear feet of concrete water main with PVC. This replacement will help conserve water by correcting leaks as well as improve water quality and pressure. This project is anticipated to be completed by the end of June 2015. 
    The city of Marianna in Jackson County will be able to continue its ongoing water transmission improvement project thanks to a $665,000 investment. The city recently constructed a new well, elevated storage tank and replaced more than 8,500 linear feet of water main. This funding will go to the creation of a reliable water transmission main connection between the city’s two elevated storage tanks. The project also includes 10 new connections to the distribution system, new fire hydrants and the replacement of approximately 3,500 linear feet of water main. This project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2015.   
    Liberty County is currently experiencing a shortage of storage and well capacity. To address this shortage, the department is providing the county $75,000 to evaluate its current storage tank and well capacity to determine how much additional well capacity can be obtained. The funding will also be used for the design and construction of additional well capacity. This project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2015. 
    The city of Mexico Beach in Bay County received funding for the construction of two new water production wells to supply the city with an alternate water supply in the spirit of preparedness. The current water supply has to travel a considerable distance to the city and therefore is vulnerable in the case of a natural disaster. This project is valued at $1,592,309 and is anticipated to be completed in June 2016. 
    Additionally in Bay County are two wastewater projects to increase protection of St. Andrews Bay. One is in Southport and consists of removing septic tanks and connecting 220 residential and small commercial properties to the Bay County Utility Service. The county is providing $1,220,405 and the department is contributing $1 million. The second wastewater project is focused on the Bay County Road 388 force main. The project will involve diverting wastewater flow from an old package plant to a Class I regional wastewater treatment and reuse facility. The county is contributing $1.5 million for this project and DEP is providing an additional $1 million. This project is anticipated to be completed by the end of November 2016. The Southport project is anticipated to be completed by spring 2016. 


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    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    NOAA Fisheries Approves Final Rule to Modify Catch Limits for Spanish Mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic

    header
      
    Below is a Southeast Fishery Bulletin recently distributed from NOAA Fisheries Service. To see the complete list of Fishery Bulletins visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishery_bulletins/index.html

    SOUTHEAST FISHERY BULLETIN 
    (Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic)
       
    FB14-088      
    Karla Gore, or Karla.Gore@noaa.gov
    727/824-5305, FAX 727/824-5308 
           
    November 20, 2014         


    NOAA Fisheries Approves Final Rule to Modify Catch Limits for Spanish Mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico and 
    South Atlantic
      
    NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule to implement Framework Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Region. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2014 (79 FR 44369) and the comment period ended on September 2, 2014. The final rule for Framework Amendment 1 published in the Federal Register (79 FR 69058) on November 20, 2014, and will be effective on December 22, 2014.

    Recent stock assessments for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic migratory groups of Spanish mackerel indicate the stocks are healthy. A review of the assessments by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committees indicate catch levels can be modified.

    The final rule increases the combined commercial and recreational catch limit for Spanish mackerel in the Gulf of Mexico from 5.15 million pounds to 12.7 million pounds in 2014-2015, and then to 11.8 million pounds in 2015-2016, and 11.3 million pounds in 2016-2017 and subsequent years.


    In the South Atlantic, the rule increases the catch limit for Spanish mackerel from 5.69 million pounds to 6.063 million pounds; with 3.330 million pounds (55%) allocated to the commercial sector and 2.727 million pounds (45%) allocated to the recreational sector.

    Addresses
    Framework Amendment 1 may be obtained from:
    More Information
    For more information on Framework Amendment 1, please click on this link to the Frequently Asked Questions found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/cmp/2014/framework_am1/index.html.
    About Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
    The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The Council prepares fishery management plans, which are designed to manage fishery resources within the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

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    Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
    Public Information Officer


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