Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has officially ended, wrapping up a record breaking season that miraculously had very little impact on our area

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has officially ended, wrapping up a record breaking season that miraculously had very little impact on our area.

This was the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever with thirty named storms.

That beat 2005's record of 28.

A normal hurricane season averages about a dozen named storms.

There were so many named storms that in September the World Meteorological Organization ran out of storm names and had to use the Greek alphabet for labels for the first time since 2005.

The last storm was named Iota.

There were 13 full-fledged hurricanes, which was the second highest number in recorded history behind 2005.

12 of the storms made landfall in the US, but somehow none of them came our way.

In Florida, Franklin, Wakulla and Jefferson counties weren’t impacted by tropical storm-force winds this year. 

According to NOAA, this is the fifth consecutive year with an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with 18 above-normal seasons out of the past 26.   


Franklin County's coronavirus relief program is now out of money

Franklin County's coronavirus relief program is now out of money.

The program, which began in the early fall, announced Monday that it has now distribute all of its funding.

Franklin County recieved 175 thousand dollars in federal money to help low income residents who were hit hardest by the coronavirus.

The money was dedicated to assist low to moderate income households with housing needs including back rent, mortgage payments, deposits and utility payments.

Initially families were allowed 2500 dolars in assistance, that was later increased to 4000 dollars.

The program helped over 80 Franklin County households meet their financial needs.


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold a virtual meeting on December 16th and 17th where they intend to take final action on a moratorium on oyster harvesting in the Apalachicola Bay

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold a virtual meeting on December 16th and 17th where they intend to take final action on a moratorium on oyster harvesting in the Apalachicola Bay.

The moratorium actually began on August the 1st but the final rule has not yet been approved.

The moratorium was created in an effort to help restore the wild oyster population in the Bay.

The rule also prohibits the possession of oyster tongs or other oyster harvesting equipment on the water.

The rule does not affect perpetual leases or aquaculture.

There is a five-year sunset provision in the rule, but if monitoring finds at least 300 bags of harvestable-sized oysters in a significant portion of the Bay, the bay could reopen sooner.

The Commission discussed the issue in October but held off on final acton to address concerns raised by officials in Gulf County.

The Apalachicola Bay once produced 90% of Florida’s commercial oyster harvest.

The oyster industry in Apalachicola collapsed in 2012 leading to a Commercial Fisheries Disaster Declaration from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2013. 

The dockside value of wild oysters harvested from Apalachicola Bay has declined by 98 percent since 2012.


Florida DEP permit activity for Gulf County

DEP Logo


Environmental Protection

Bob Martinez Center
2600 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

Ron DeSantis


Jeanette Nuñez

Lt. Governor

Noah Valenstein


Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address: manager@oysterradio.com

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Modifications
Location Id: 138810
County: Gulf
Application Number: 138810-005

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300


Stories from the Seaside - An E-Newsletter from the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab

Gulf World Visits Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
A big thank you to @gulfworldmarineinstitute for dropping by! Nancy Evou and Barb Van Stavern visited us on Tuesday afternoon to transport Marina to their facility in Panama City. Marina will be continuing her rehabilitation there to continue her treatment of her severe fibropapilloma. APSTP director, Michelle Darpel who brought Marina to us joined us as well to say goodbye. We have worked with Gulf World over the years for a number of marine animal strandings and we know that Marina will be in safe hands.
Marina is a juvenile green sea turtle who was found floating at Alligator Point Harbor by Ted Donham, manager at Alligator Point Marina. When temperatures drop under 55 degrees, sea turtles can become hypothermic and lose the ability to swim or dive. This can result in them getting pushed to shore by strong waves which is what probably happened to Marina. In addition to fibropapilloma, an infectious disease commonly found in green turtles, Marina was found with hundreds of leeches on her tumors. Considering, the leeches and the severe fibropapilloma, Marina was very active. We wish her well as she continues her rehabilitation at Gulf World.
GivingTuesday: 100% Matched Donations
Today is #GivingTuesday! Help us continue to provide accessible marine education and experiences to our local communities. All proceeds raised will be used to help build our new education building, the Anne Rudloe Memorial Education Center. Our mission has and always will be to protect our oceans and the best way to do that is through education. Through our aquarium and marine education programs, we have served the local community for 57 Years and have inspired many to protect our marine ecosystems. We work with hundreds of universities throughout the country and we have thousands of visitors that come from all over the area. Our volunteers and college interns have gone on to work in the STEM field as researchers, teachers, aquarists and more. Each one contributing through their own bright ideas, skills and talents to help better our planet. We’ve also had many young visitors through our school field trips that experienced the wonders of the ocean for the very first time through our touch tanks. We hope to create more invaluable experiences and opportunities like these as we continue to grow and expand with your support.

For today only, Facebook will match 100% of any donations to our fundraiser. What this means is, if you donate $100, Facebook will match by giving us another $100. If you were waiting for an opportunity to contribute, this is the perfect time. All donations made today will go the extra mile and help us build a better environment for our future.
Joel Sartore's Visit
Joel Sartore visited us on the first week of November where he added over 60 critters to his PhotoArk project. These critters will join the PhotoArk with 10,000+ more animals from all over the world. Joel's favorite animal out of all the critters he photographed over the weekend was a plumed worm, also known as Diopatra. If you have been to Bald Point State Park or Mashes Sands at low tide you probably have seen them. They are often overlooked because of their size and drab appearance .

If you would like to support his project, you can buy the PhotoArk book in our giftshop. He has signed limited copies for us so get yours, while stocks lasts! All aquarium members get a 10% discount at our gift shop.
A marine tube-worm (Diopatra cuprea) at the beach.
Watch our LIVE Q&A video clip of Joel and Jack on YouTube here:
Rudloe Ramblings:
Let's Grow Oysters on Trees
Photograph by Saige Roberts
A year ago, oyster producers in Apalachicola were starting to pack oysters in barrels and ship them north. Then came Hurricane Michael, which not only trashed the town and fledgling oyster industry, but put an end to the thriving timber market.

Although there is little literature to support this view, I conjecture that many of today’s oyster bars were enhanced, if not created, by the 1851 sunken log jam, because the logs provided a substrate upon which oysters grew. The Apalachicola oysters of today may be the great, great, great-grandchildren of those oysters that settled on submerged trees more than a hundred years ago (Read More..).
In Loving Memory of Pat Tollefson...
Our longtime volunteer, Pat passed away in her home in Georgia last week. Pat has volunteered with us faithfully for over 10 years where she helped fed our critters and gave aquarium tours to groups of school children and visitors. Here are a few words from Leslie, our volunteer coordinator to commemorate her strong-willed spirit and her love for animals.
"When I first met Pat, she drove up to the lab on her small motorbike and took off her helmet to reveal a grayish blond ponytail. She had on shorts and her Gulf Specimen t-shirt and tennis shoes. Already, in her late seventies she was eager to get to work and invited me to join her on a field trip for second graders. She took me to the back and thawed out some fish, so she could feed the sharks on her tour. During the tour it was clear she enjoyed the reactions of the young students as she encouraged them to pick up crabs, and starfish and snails. She smiled as she showed them how to squirt a sea squirt; and willing spent an hour or hour and half shepherding her charges around the aquarium. She loved to interact with people and her wrinkled sun weathered face would brighten up the room when she talked about the octopus or the sea turtles. Her last two years here she helped on feeding days. She worried whether Bucky (a large sheepshead) that she had been acquainted with from the beginning of her 13 year volunteer career. Was he getting enough food now that he was in the tank with the young sharks?
Pat’s volunteer work at GSML was not her first volunteer rodeo, she volunteered for 20 years with the zoo in Minneapolis. Pat felt strongly that she had been privileged in not having to work and therefore she should give back by making herself available to organizations that needed her help. Here, she worked with the Turtle Patrol at Alligator Point twice a week as well as GSML. Pat was always reliable and she often came in to cover a tour when the staff was up to their neck in alligators. When I asked her to volunteer on Sunday’s because there was only one staff person scheduled, she was happy to do so, giving up her weekends because she was needed. Pat started her volunteer life at GSML with Anne Rudloe as her supervisor. I was not at the aquarium when Anne Rudloe was alive and so I know her only by reputation and the memory of others. But Pat, assured me, she hung the moon, and although she was not reticent to speak her mind and give voice to frustrations about what she saw as things that could be better at the lab; her praise and admiration for Anne, her mentor and teacher never diminished. I will miss her energy and spirit and cute smile. She was an inspiration and a friend." - Leslie Breland, Volunteer Coordinator
NEW! Guided Aquarium Group- Feeding Tours:
Looking for something to do over the weekend? Learn about our interesting critters from an experienced aquarium docent and participate in a shark and ray feeding. Our guided tours cost an extra $5, call or email us for reservation and availability. Our knowledgeable aquarium guide will teach you about our marine life and answer any of your questions about the ocean. This tour is great for small groups, friends, families and individuals looking for an unforgettable experience with sea life.
Meet Our Fall 2020 Interns:

Every semester, Gulf Specimen offers a unique college internship program. This program has helped many young college students experience on-the-job type training that explores the field of biological supply, aquarium husbandry, sea turtle rehabilitation and marine life education.

Blane Parker
Blane Parker is a junior at Eckerd College in St Petersburg. He is an environmental studies major with a minor in marine science. As a child, he grew up visiting the lab with his family on rainy weekends and have been members of the aquarium for many years. His interest in marine life started when his father taught him how to fish, the biggest fish he has ever caught is a 49 inch Red Drum when he was just 14. Blane's future career plans include working in the marine conservation field to protect our coastal wetlands. His favorite part about being an intern is being able to interact with different animals and collect specimens on the boat because you'll never what you'll find out there! Blane's favorite fish is Greg, our fiesty triggerfish.
Shyanne Brown
Shyanne Brown is a senior in Wakulla High School and plans to study marine biology in Nova Southeastern University. She is particularly interested in researching nurse shark biology and behavior and wants to be a shark biologist when she grows up. Shyanne is an animal lover and has had pet pigs, goats, horses, cats, rabbits, and dogs . Her favorite part about being an intern is feeding our nurse sharks during tours as well as participating in our sea turtle rehabilitation program. Shyanne's favorite animal at the aquarium is of course, the nurse sharks.
Wonders of the Gulf:
Creature Feature
North Florida is gifted with an amazing array of diverse animals where we find fascinating creatures. Our exhibits change every season. Check out some of the amazing finds we've had this past month.
Flame Streaked Crab
Calappa flammea

This peculiar crab is also known as the "Shame- Faced Crab" because of its giant claws that appear to hide its face. They are found in deeper waters from offshore crab traps. If you find a ripped open seashell, you might have stumbled across a victim of the flame-streaked crab. They typically eat snails and hermit crabs.

Cownose Rays
Rhinoptera bonasus

Cownose rays or "nose-winged bisons" are a type of eagle ray that can usually be found mass migrating by the hundreds in Port St Joe Bay during the fall. They eat hard-shelled invertebrates like clams and oysters by crushing them in between their strong plate-like teeth. They find food buried in the sand through special electroreceptors located in their snouts. Once they locate their prey, they flap their powerful "wings" to uncover it in the sand. Come see our new pair of cownose rays that share a tank with our blind turtle, Lil Herc.
Gulf Specimen Marine Lab | (850) 984-5297| gulfspecimen.org
Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories | 222 Clark DrivePO Box 237 Panacea, FL 32346



Good Morning Members!

Do you have the Zoom meeting link for Saturday?

Please email us to request this link. You can respond to this note, "send Saturday's link." We can check your membership status for you, too. Perhaps, for Giving Tuesday, you'll consider renewing your annual membership early? Or gifting a membership for a loved one?

We're delighted we'll be able to meet virtually for our Annual Meeting, allowing members near and far to join in the discussion. We'll update you on Riverkeeper happenings, including the Slough Restoration Project, and uplift you with some down home foot-stompin' tunes. Cheers to YOU!

Pour your favorite beverage and see you there, via Zoom on December 5.
Apalachicola Riverkeeper| Website