Environment

Bird Disease Detected in State

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is currently monitoring a Virulent Exotic Newcastle Disease diagnosis which occurred in Cormorants in Pinellas County last week.  Exotic Newcastle Disease is an extremely contagious and fatal foreign avian disease that affects most bird species but is not life threatening to humans.  Human contact with Exotic Newcastle Disease may cause minor irritations such as pink eye or skin irritations.

Volunteers to Plant 3400 Trees Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rails Trail will be the site Saturday as nearly two hundred  Greenscape volunteers will plant 3500 trees. The trail begins just west of Interstate 295 near Marietta and ends in Baldwin and is part of a linear park system providing varied recreational opportunities including horseback riding, biking, rollerblading and running. Although the park has extensive tree canopy along most of its route, there are several gaps where there are few, if any trees adjacent to the trail. Through the use of volunteer labor and smaller trees, it is possible to plant several thousand trees at a relatively small cost. Trees will be 3 gallon size and some of the species used will be: Long Leaf Pine, Live Oak, Red Cedar, Southern Magnolia, Sweet Gum, Winged Elm, Holly, Redbud, Sweet Bay and others. The trees will be planted as if designed by nature, not overly landscaped.

High School Students: Time to Enter Manatee Art Contest

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) invites high school art students across the state to participate in a contest to create a piece of manatee artwork that will be used on the 2011-2012 manatee decal.

Students in grades 9-12 in Florida should coordinate with their school’s art teacher to submit the artwork, because each school may submit no more than five entries. Home-schooled students also are eligible to enter the contest. Contest details and forms are available online at MyFWC.com/Manatee.

Atlantic Snook Harvest Closes Dec. 15; Catch and Release Still OK

The recreational harvest of snook will close in all Atlantic coastal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, beginning on Dec. 15.  The annual winter harvest season closure of snook in these areas, which normally ends on Feb. 1, has been extended until Sept. 1, 2011, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) due to the prolonged cold weather that impacted snook in Florida earlier this year.

Get to Know the “Five P’s” of Cold Weather Safety

Florida Division of Emergency Management officials are again urging all residents and visitors throughout Florida to prepare for temperatures near or below the freezing mark tonight through Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Hard Freeze Warning for all of North and Central Florida, and also for Glades, Hendry and Palm Beach counties.  A Freeze Warning has also been issued for the rest of South Florida. The entire state is under either a Wind Chill Advisory or Warning, depending on the location.
 
According to Division of Emergency Management Director David Halstead. “It is vital that all residents and visitors remember the “Five P’s” of cold weather safety: Protect People, Protect Plants, Protect Pets, Protect Exposed Pipes, and Practice Fire Safety.”

Red Snapper Fishing is Prohibited in South Atlantic Federal Waters

NOAA Fisheries Service extended the prohibition of commercial and recreational fishing for red snapper in all federal waters of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the Atlantic coast of Florida.  It is illegal to fish for, possess, or harvest red snapper from these waters.

Cold Weather May Lead to Fish Kills

Cold Weather May Lead to Fish Kills

As temperatures drop in Florida, the number of cold-related fish kills is likely to increase. Chilly winter temperatures can lead to fish die-offs in Florida’s marine habitats, rivers and lakes.

The good news is that these events are natural occurrences and typically do not cause permanent damage to the ecosystem or to fish populations. In some cases they are even beneficial, in that they help limit the spread of invasive, exotic species.