Thursday, July 2, 2015

ANNOUNCEMENT: Florida Association of Counties accepting photo submissions for county calendar

--Submit your favorite photo of ‘Awesome Weather’ in Florida to win one of 15 spots in the 2015 Florida Association of Counties Calendar –
LEON COUNTY, FL: This week the Florida Association of Counties launched their annual photo submission contest for consideration in their 2016 FAC Calendar.  The Annual Calendar is distributed at no cost to county commissioners and key staff in Florida’s 67 counties.  In addition the calendar is available for purchase beginning in October.
The theme for the 2016 FAC Calendar is Awesome Weather.  Any photo taken in Florida is eligible for submission.  There is no limit to the amount of pictures that can be submitted; however each submission can only contain one photo at a time.  Pictures must be at least 2000 pixels, 3000 pixels is preferred, and they must be in .jpeg format to be considered for the calendar.
Photos can be submitted here:
Winners will be announced at the FAC Legislative Conference in Nassau County, FL on November 20th.

NOAA Fisheries Reminds Commercial King Mackerel Fishermen that the Gulf Florida West Coast Northern Subzone Opens October 1, 2015

The following Southeast Fishery Bulletin from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office is provided as a courtesy to our subscribers. 

(Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic)
Susan Gerhart

July 2, 2015    

NOAA Fisheries Reminds Commercial King Mackerel Fishermen that the Gulf Florida West Coast Northern Subzone Opens October 1, 2015

A new rule effective March 1, 2015, changed the fishing year for king mackerel in the Florida West Coast Northern Subzone to October-September beginning October 1, 2015. Previously, the fishing year was July-June.

The Northern Subzone extends east and south from the Florida/Alabama state line to the Lee/Collier County line in Florida. This subzone closed October 27, 2014, and will reopen October 1, 2015.

The fishing years for the Gulf Western Zone and the Florida West Coast Southern Subzone did not change. These areas opened July 1, 2015.
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.

Federal Government will assess the Apalachicola Kingsnake for possible endangered listing

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is taking a closer look at a local snake species to see if it should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The Apalachicola Kingsnake is one of 10 species that will be assessed as to whether they may require federal
The Apalachicola Kingsnake is not poisonous and eats frogs, birds and other snakes, even  rattlesnakes, and is immune to their venom.
It is only found in the Eastern Apalachicola Lowlands in the panhandle between the Apalachicola and Ochlockonee rivers and south of Telogia Creek in Franklin and Liberty counties.
 It is not found outside of Florida.

Other species that are being considered for federal protection include the alligator snapping turtle and the southern hog nosed snake which are also found in our area.

Number of Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting licenses sold is down for the 5th year

Almost 100 fewer oyster harvesting licenses were sold this year than last – continuing a 5 year downward trend.

The Department of Agriculture sold 1172 oyster harvesting licenses this year – that’s down from 1267 last year and over 1560 in 2013.

The highest number of licenses ever sold was in 2010 – the year of the BP oil spill – when 1898 licenses were purchased – the sales period was extended by two months in 2010 because of the oil spill.

One number that is not decreasing is the number of people who wait until the last day to buy their license.

Even though the licenses went on sale in mid-May, nearly 20 percent of the licenses were sold on June 30th.

And while there were nearly 1200 oyster licenses sold this year, that doesn’t mean that there are that many oystermen actively working.

Many local people buy the 100 dollar licenses every year as insurance against future unemployment.

FWC urges the public to steer clear of nesting sea turtles this holiday weekend

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is urging the public to be aware of nesting sea turtles while they celebrate this holiday weekend.

FWC law enforcement officers on patrol this weekend will explain the unintended consequences that can occur when nesting turtles are disturbed by beachgoers. They also will explain the laws in place to protect these turtles.

This year there appears to be a higher than average number of reported false crawls on the area’s beaches. A false crawl is when a turtle comes onto the beach with the intention of laying eggs but returns to the water without nesting.

“False crawls can be caused by a variety of reasons. However, human interaction, including the use of bright lights, is often a cause,” said FWC Capt. John Suggs. “We want to let people know that their behavior can prevent sea turtles from nesting, further jeopardizing these threatened and endangered species.”

The Marine Turtle Protection Act stipulates that it is illegal to injure, harm, harass, capture or attempt to capture any marine turtles, eggs or nests. Any person committing such an offense can be facing a third-degree felony charge.

“We appreciate the public’s interest in these unique reptiles, but we want people to know that an action as simple as shining a light on a nesting female can have serious consequences,” said Suggs. “When you are on the beach, don’t interfere with turtles, and give them ample space and time to complete their nesting process, which can take up to two hours.”

The FWC recommends that people interested in watching a turtle nest on the beach attend a permitted public sea turtle watch. Watches are usually held during June and July, and reservations must be made in advance. For a list of organizations permitted to conduct watches, and click on “Where to view Sea Turtles.”

If you see someone disturbing a nest or turtle, call the FWC Division of Law Enforcement at 888-404-FWCC or *FWC from your cell phone.

Find every beach access point in Florida - on your computer!

The Florida Coastal Management Program has just released the “Florida Beach Access Guide”- an interactive web-based map that enables beachgoers to locate every public beach access point and accompanying amenities throughout Florida.
The map is also available as a mobile app.
More than 2,000 public beach access points along Florida’s coasts are pinpointed with the interactive map.
Features include location, amenities and driving directions, enabling users to explore more of Florida's coastline by identifying beaches that meet their interests.
The “Florida Beach Access Guide” is divided into three regions – Panhandle, Atlantic Coast and Southwest Florida Coast.
Detailed information about each region’s coastal county access points such as parking, ADA accessibility, showers, picnic areas, boardwalks, trails, camping sites, fees and driving directions are provided.
Fishing piers and coastal accesses found within state parks are also provided. 
To check out the web based guide on-line – just follow the link on this story on Oyster and on the oyster radio facebook page.

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report 06/26 - 07/02/2015

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

Division of Law Enforcement
FWC logo and law enforcement badge 
Weekly Report

June 26th, 2015 thru July 2nd, 2015

This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week;
however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.

Patrol, Protect, Preserve



Officer Hutchinson was patrolling the Blackwater River when he observed a small vessel traveling towards him.  As the vessel neared him, it left the river channel and turned into a cove.  He repositioned his patrol vessel so that he could continue observing the vessel and observed the occupants just sitting in the vessel watching him.  He made contact with the occupants and observed that they had been fishing.  They admitted to catching a large sheepshead, but when Officer Hutchinson asked to see it, the subject sitting on the cooler stood up and asked about the size limits for redfish.  Officer Hutchinson told him he first wanted to look inside of the ice chest. The subject opened the ice chest and Officer Hutchinson immediately observed several undersized redfish in it.  After further inspection, he discovered that the three subjects were in possession of seven redfish, five of which were undersized.  They also were in possession of an undersized spotted seatrout.  Two of the subjects admitted to catching and keeping the undersized fish and knowing the size and bag limits for the fish.  Officer Hutchinson seized the illegal fish and charged the subjects with possession of undersized redfish and spotted seatrout and possession of over the daily bag limit of redfish.


Lieutenant Clark and Investigator Williams were conducting a federal fisheries inspection at a local wholesale/retail dealer.  The inspection revealed that two commercial bandit rig vessels offloaded and sold gray triggerfish.  Gray triggerfish is closed for commercial harvest during June and July.  A National Marine Fisheries Service Law Enforcement Officer was notified and arrived on scene.  Both operators of the vessels were identified and issued citations for harvest of gray triggerfish during closed season.

During the same patrol, Lieutenant Clark conducted a state and federal inspection on a charter vessel returning from a paid fishing trip.  The inspection revealed that the vessel’s charter fishing license had been expired since 2014.  Further, the vessel’s federal reef fish permit expired May 2015. A National Marine Fisheries Service Law Enforcement Officer was notified of the expired federal permits.

Lieutenant Hollinhead, Officers Arnette and H. Rockwell assisted Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department, Beach Safety personnel and U. S. Coast Guard (USCG) with a search and rescue on the Blackwater River. A search for eight stranded tubers started at midnight after they were reported being stuck at a large log jam. Due to low water levels in the river, rescue personnel were unable to use vessels to retrieve the subjects. FWC officers searched parts of the river throughout the night by accessing the river through the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area. Later in the morning, a USCG helicopter was requested and responded.  The USCG crew located the subjects and repelled a crew member down to check their condition.  Officers used coordinates provided by USCG to get a patrol vehicle to the subjects to escort them from the river and delivered them to their awaiting family. The tubers were all okay.



Officers Webb and Land spoke to over 70 kids at the Gulf Breeze Community Center. They spoke to the group about boating safety issues, dangerous marine life and first aid.  Officers Webb and Land also brought a patrol vessel and conducted safety demonstrations to the group.


The Wakulla County Tourist Development Council is seeking qualified applicants for the position of Tourist Development Outreach Coordinator to the Wakulla County Tourist Development Council.  This is a 32 hour part time contract position with no benefits.  This highly responsible position requires expertise in administrative, computer and social media skills, marketing and annual planning, management work planning, grant experience including oversight of program contracts and grant documents, financial management; and budget preparation.  The applicant will act as a liaison with the community-at-large, tourism community, county government and county commission to improve the economic impact of TDC activities which may require the need to travel to coordinate with the travel industry and other tourist related organizations including trade shows and seminars and will serve as Wakulla County’s and the TDC’s representative on statewide tourism issues.  

Destination management experience with extensive local knowledge, expertise and implementation of themed events, activities in recreation and nature based activities will be advantageous.  Work is performed under the direction of the Tourist Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners and is evaluated annually on goals set by the Tourist Development Council. Minimum Qualifications: high school diploma or equivalent diploma and BS or BA degree from an accredited college in a related field.  Four years of specialized experience may be substituted for college degree. 

To apply, send a resume to Gail Gilman, Chairman, Wakulla County Tourist Development Council, P. O. Box 1263, Crawfordville, FL 32327.  

For information concerning the position please contact Virginia Dekle at 850.926.0919 ext. 716.  Drug screening and background checks are required. Veteran’s preference will be given to qualified applicants. Starting salary will be $20K plus annually dependent upon qualifications. This position closes Friday, July 17, 2015 @ 5:00 p.m.


Press Release graphic

PRESS RELEASE: July 2, 2015

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 


~July is the perfect time to enjoy Florida’s state parks and trails~

Sebastian Inlet State Park - North Jetty

Visitors enjoy Sebastian Inlet State Park.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites visitors and residents to visit a state park and trail for outdoor recreation, events and family fun throughout July. Governor Rick Scott proclaimed July as Recreation and Parks month, recognizing that parks and recreational opportunities build family unity, strengthen neighborhood involvement and promote cultural diversity.
“There is something for everyone at Florida’s State Parks – whether you’re into hiking, fishing, learning about our state’s rich history or picnicking with family and friends,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “July is the perfect time to get outdoors with family and friends to enjoy all of the natural wonders that our state has to offer.”
Celebrate Recreation and Parks Month by attending any of these events hosted at Florida State Parks:

Americana Under the Stars 
Thursday, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Old Fashioned Picnic 
Saturday, July 4 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Barnacle Historic State Park
Sea Turtle Walks 
9 p.m.-12:15 a.m. – Daily except for Thursdays
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Guided River Tour 
Friday, July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 from 10 a.m.-noon
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Chimney Chit Chat 
Saturday, July 25 from 8-9 p.m.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic 
Friday, July 31 from 10-11 a.m.
Lovers Key State Park
Regardless of where you live in Florida, you are never more than an hour drive away from one of Florida’s state parks or trails. Download the Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger app, available for free at the App Store, to find the closest park to you. The app also provides information on park amenities, facility maps and a real-time calendar of events.
About Florida State Parks, Greenways and Trails
Florida’s 171 state parks and trails inspire residents and visitors with recreational opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 161 parks, 10 state trails, nearly 800,000 acres, 100 miles of beaches and more than 1,500 miles of multi-use trails, Florida’s families are invited to visit soon and often to enjoy Florida’s natural treasures.

Attorney General Pam Bondi Announces Historic Multi-Billion Dollar Agreement with BP on Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi today formally entered a historic multi-billion dollar joint federal-state agreement in principle with BP Exploration and Production, Inc. to resolve the economic loss claims asserted by Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; the natural resource damage claims of the various state and federal trustees; and the Clean Water Act penalties sought by the federal government. Florida stands to receive more than $3.25 billion in total.

“In 2010, our state – and the entire Gulf region – woke up to a story that shook the nation; an oil spill that not only threatened states that depend on the Gulf for their economic livelihood, but their very way of life,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Today, after just five years of negotiations, I’m pleased to announce that Florida has entered into an agreement in principle of more than $3 billion with BP for the state’s economic and environmental recovery which will benefit areas of the state most devastated by the spill. I want to thank all of the people who came together, in common purpose, to do the right thing for our state.”
The State of Florida would receive $2 billion for its economic loss claims, twice the amount of the next closest state and more than 40% of the total economic loss recovery. On April 20, 2013, Attorney General Bondi filed a lawsuit seeking reimbursement for the economic damages suffered by the State of Florida due to the oil spill, including lost tax revenues. The lawsuit was later consolidated with the Multidistrict Litigation case in New Orleans (MDL 2179).
The Attorney General’s Office has likewise advised the State of Florida’s natural resource trustees, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, since the spill. Florida would also receive more than $1.25 billion from the natural resource damage claims and through the provisions of the RESTORE Act under the agreement in principle.
The parties still need to finalize both a Settlement Agreement (for economic loss claims) and a Consent Decree (for Natural Resource Damage and Clean Water Act claims), with the Consent Decree also subject to court approval. The State’s economic damages lawsuit will continue against Haliburton and Transocean.
To view a Deep Horizon Oil Spill Settlement Fact Sheet, click here.

Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

BELLA is a super sweet, social and mellow 5 month old boxer/lab cross. She gets along well with other dogs and children and cats don't phase her.  She's not going to be a real big dog, just that really nice medium size.  Looking for a gentle pup for your family?  Bella may be your girl!

Volunteers are desperately needed to socialize all of our dogs and cats. We are always looking for people willing to bring one of our animals into their home to be fostered for various needs. Anytime you can spare would be greatly appreciated.

Call Karen at 670-8417 for more details or visit the Franklin County Humane Society at 244 State Road 65 in Eastpoint.  You may logon to the website at to see more of our adoptable pets.

New DCF Community Partner Location in Wakulla County

DCF Now Serving Clients at the Wakulla County Library

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) joined the Wakulla County Library to provide residents in need with better access to public assistance services. The partnership was made possible through the DCF Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) Community Partner Network.

The Community Partner Network engages community organizations in helping families achieve economic self-sufficiency and assists clients with applications for food assistance, temporary cash assistance and Medicaid.

Starting July 14, there will be a trained Community Partner available to assist clients in navigating the self-service application and answer general questions about their MyACCESS accounts on the first and third Thursday’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. No appointments necessary.

Customers may continue to access their public assistance information through the online application and MyACCESS account.

The ACCESS Program helps to promote strong and economically self-sufficient communities by determining eligibility for food, cash and medical assistance for individuals and families on the road to economic recovery.

Wakulla County Library
4330 Crawfordville Highway
Crawfordville, FL
First and Third Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Gulf County Commission to hold emergency meeting on Tuesday

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf Welcomes Mary Jim Montgomery, VP of Patient Care Services

PORT ST JOE, FLA. (July 1, 2015) – Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf welcomes Mary Jim Montgomery as their new Vice President of Patient Care Services.
“We are very pleased to have Mary Jim Montgomery join our hospital staff,” said Roger Hall, President of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf. “Mary Jim comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge that will enhance our hospital services.”
Mary Jim received her master’s in Nursing and master’s in Business Administration from Samford University in Alabama; and her bachelor’s in Nursing from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her professional affiliations include the American Organization of Nurse Executives, National Speakers Association, and fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Prior to joining Sacred Heart Hospital, Mary Jim served in a variety of roles to include Chief Operations Officer/Chief Nursing Officer (COO/CNO) for Crisp Regional Healthcare in Cordele, Georgia; COO/CNO of Rehoboth McKinley Healthcare in Gallup, New Mexico; and COO for Bay Medical Center in Panama City, Florida.    
For more information about Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf, please visit

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Franklin County Commission will hold budget workshops this month

Franklin county Commissioners have scheduled their budget workshops for the summer.

The board agreed to hold its first budget workshop on Thursday, July 23 at 9 AM.

They board has also set aside Friday, July 24th in case they need more time to discuss the budget.

The budget workshops give commissioners a chance to hear from department heads to see what major capitol projects like equipment purchases that might come up during the next budget year.

As has been the case over the past few years, the county is asking that county offices not seek any budget increases this year.

Any requested budget increase will have to be justified to the board.

The budget workshops are open to the public, so feel free to come out.

The workshops will be held at the Franklin county courthouse Annex in Apalachicola.

Wakulla County seeks volunteers for Historic Preservation Committee

Wakulla County Board is looking for volunteers to serve on the Wakulla County Historic Preservation Committee. 

This Committee reviews and makes recommendations to the County Commission on the designation, regulation and administration of historical, cultural and architectural resources in Wakulla County.

Two volunteers are needed.

They must be residents of Wakulla County and should have some background in architecture, history, planning, cultural anthropology, landscape architecture or related disciplines. 

The deadline for applying is July 13th.

Interested persons should submit a resume to Somer Strickland at

July 1, 2015 Florida State Parks Newsletter

Summer Header Photo

Florida Department of Environmental ProtectionJuly 1, 2015 Newsletter
July is National Park and Recreation Month
~Join Florida State Parks in celebrating the 30 year anniversary.~   
Recreating at Maclay Gardens State Park
Children fishing at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park.
Each July since 1985, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has celebrated Park and Recreation Month. The annual event celebrates the importance of parks and the need for recreation. Parks serve the public with ways to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate nature while exercising, socializing and having fun.
This year, the National Recreation and Park Association challenges park-goers to celebrate the 30thanniversary in true ‘80s style. We at Florida State Parks suggest creating an ‘80s aerobic dance party with your friends or hosting an ‘80s movie night while you’re camping in one of our award-winning state parks and trails. As an extra incentive to release your inner ‘80s style, the NRPA is awarding an $85.00 Amazon gift card every Thursday to their favorite ‘80s video posted on Instagram. Follow @NRPA and use the hashtags #JulyPRM30 and #JulyTBTChallenge.
Visit a Florida state park or trail this month and enjoy the recreational activities we offer. Show off your ‘80s style recreation at a Florida state park or trail on Instagram by using our hashtag #FLStateParksPRM30 and following FL.StateParks.
Hop into Springs this Summer at Florida State Parks
~Enjoy the cool water of the springs during the summer heatwave.~
Springs at Rainbow Springs State Park
The beautiful springs at Rainbow Springs State Park.
The summer weather is heating up and Florida State Parks know how to keep you cool. Did you know 14 different springs in Florida's state parks offer swimming and an opportunity to cool off? Did you also know that many of these springs remain at constant temperature in the low 70s year-round? With the summer weather throughout Florida reaching into the high 90s, Florida State Parks’ springs are the perfect destination for you and your family and friends to explore.
We offer springs throughout all of Florida, which offer the perfect opportunity to cool down in the crisp waters. Celebrate all summer long by visiting each spring listed below:
Northwest Region
Northeast Region
Central Region
Southwest Region
Explore more swimming destinations in Florida State Parks.
July is Picnic Month
~Celebrate with family and friends during Picnic Month at Florida State Parks.~   
Picnic area at Collier-Seminole State Park
The picnic area at Collier-Seminole State Park.
School is out and summer is in, which means it’s the perfect time to celebrate with family and friends by having a picnic at a Florida state park. July is Picnic Month and Florida State Parks wants you to come out and explore our picnic areas. Florida State Parks offer the perfect scenic views guaranteed to appeal to your guests and keep them wishing they didn’t have to leave.
More than 100 of Florida’s state parks and trails offer picnicking and through a partnership with the Florida Department of Health, Florida State Parks offers recipes you can use to amaze your family and friends. Skip the hot dogs, hamburgers and s’mores, and discover healthy campfire cooking. The recipes showcase foods including campfire shish kabobs, quinoa stir fry and campfire pork chops.
See all the recipes by visiting Healthiest Weight Florida and explore the picnic areas at Florida State Parks.
Celebrate Independence Day
~Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend at a Florida state park.~
Flags flying at Gasparilla Island State Park.
Flags flying at Gasparilla Island State Park.
Fourth of July weekend is quickly approaching and Florida State Parks reminds everyone to remain safe, use sunscreen and have fun. All 171 of Florida’s state parks and trails are open on Independence Day. Remember to be mindful of all wildlife, but especially the nesting and resting birds. Also, keep Florida’s nature and environment in mind and clean up after you enjoy your day. Double check your area as you leave and remove all trash, tents, chairs and additional items. Consider volunteering with a cleanup at a nearby Florida state park on July 5. Call any park’s ranger station to check for opportunities.
Florida State Parks wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.
Other Important Dates
  • July 12 - International Youth Day
  • July 26 - Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary
  • July 27 - National Parents Day
  • July 31 - World Ranger Day
Upcoming Special Events
Other Important News
Mobile App for SmartphonesPlan your state park adventures using the new Pocket Ranger® app for your smartphone. The FREE Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app is available now on iTunes, Android Market and
Shop OnlinePurchase a souvenir of your visit to Florida State Parks online. Our online store will help you purchase shirts, water bottles, backpacks and more.