Friday, December 15, 2017

The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce Presents Butts & Clucks Cook-Off

The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce Presents Butts & Clucks Cook-Off
We would like to announce the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce's newest event. The Butts & Clucks Cook-off on the Bay, this event has been sanctioned by the Florida BBQ Association and is now a regional championship BBQ Cook-off with the winner moving on to the Jack Daniels Championship with over $10,000 in prizes to be awarded. The event will be held on January 26th and 27th in Battery Park in Apalachicola. Include there will be a Judging seminar on Thursday, January 25th for anyone interested in being a state certified BBQ Judge. 

Also, during the event we will be having a Deviled Egg (The Cluck that came from the Butt Contest) contest to be judged on Saturday the 27th anyone that is interested go to for more information.

On Saturday at 3:30 we will also having a concert by local band "Southern Flood" to continue until awards ceremony at 5:00pm.

 The Butts & Clucks, like all sanctioned events in the BBQ world will have multiple teams coming in from all over the state as well as Georgia and Alabama. Currently we have teams that have signed up from Orlando, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach and Americus Georgia. This is an annual event now for the Chamber of Commerce which we hope will get larger and larger each year bringing a much-needed boost to the area in a typically slow time of year. These teams travel all over competing in these events bringing family and friends which most will be new to our area.

We would like to offer the opportunity for businesses and individuals to sponsor this event. The Chamber as always will do its very best to showcase the sponsors leading up to the event and during the event with Newspaper Mentions, Radio Mentions, Multiple posts on Facebook, listed in the newsletters, visibility in the park during the event and information included in all the teams and judge's welcome packets. We also will be including the sponsors logos and names on the T-Shirt for the event which you can see the logo on the top left of this page. As well as all sponsors names and logos will be included on the main page of the website. The Sponsorships are as follows:

_____Chicken Sponsor $250.00
Name of Business on T-Shirt, 1 T-Shirt, Radio Mentions, Newspaper Mentions, Multiple Posts on Facebook, Newsletter, Visibility in the park during the event, listed on main page of website and sponsor information provided in welcome packets for all judges and Teams.

_____Pig Sponsor $500.00
Business Logo on T-Shirt, 2 T-Shirts, Radio Mentions, Newspaper Mentions, Multiple Posts on Facebook, Newsletter, Visibility in the park during the event at Concert and Main stage, listed on main page of website and sponsor information provided in welcome packets for all judges and Teams.

_____Cow Sponsor $1,000.00
Prime location Logo on T-Shirt, 4 T-Shirts, Awards Sponsor, Radio Mentions, Newspaper Mentions, Multiple Posts on Facebook, Newsletter, Visibility in the park during the event at Concert and Main stage During awards ceremony, listed on main page of website and sponsor information provided in welcome packets for all judges and Teams. 12X12 location in park for a booth during the event.

For more information or questions please call John Solomon or Samantha Gilbert at 850-653-9419 or email us at . 

Return this form with digital copy of your logo to by January 19th.

Please make check payable to Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce. Sponsorship can be mailed to 122 Commerce St. Apalachicola, fl 32320

Thank you
John C. Solomon, Executive Director 

NOAA Fisheries Announces New Management Measures for Gulf of Mexico Gray Triggerfish

The following notice from NOAA Fisheries is provided as a courtesy to our subscribers. 

****The previous announcement cited the wrong recreational minimum size limit. This version shows the correct minimum size limit change to 15 inches. 

CONTACT:  Lauren Waters,

NOAA Fisheries Announces New Management Measures for Gulf of Mexico Gray Triggerfish 
NOAA Fisheries announces new management measures to rebuild the gray triggerfish stock in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf), which is currently overfished (stock abundance is too low). The actions will modify the recreational fixed closed season, reduce the recreational bag limit, increase the recreational minimum size limit, and increase the commercial trip limit. The new regulations will be effective on January 16, 2018

  • The current established recreational annual catch limit of 241,200 pounds (1b) whole weight (ww) and annual catch target (quota) of 217,100 lb ww and the commercial annual catch limit of 64,100 lb ww and annual catch target (quota) of 60,900 lb ww will not change.

  • For recreational fishermen:
    • In addition to the current recreational fixed closed season of June 1 through July 31, an additional recreational fixed closed season of January 1 through the end of February will be in place.
    • The recreational bag limit will be 1 gray triggerfish per angler per day within the 20-reef fish aggregate bag limit.
    • The recreational minimum size limit will be 15 inches fork length.
  • For commercial fishermen:

    • The commercial trip limit will be 16 gray triggerfish per trip.
  • These measures are expected to rebuild the gray triggerfish population in 9 years, or by the end of 2025.
FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: NOAA-NMFS-2017-0080, published December 15, 2017.
Why are the new rules necessary?
  • A population assessment for Gulf gray triggerfish indicated that the gray triggerfish stock is no longer undergoing overfishing (rate of removal is not too high), but the stock remains overfished (stock abundance is too low).
  • NOAA Fisheries notified the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) that the gray triggerfish stock was not making adequate progress toward rebuilding as required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
  • Within 2 years of the notice, the Council must prepare and implement a plan to rebuild the stock as quickly as possible, but not to exceed 10 years.
Why are changes being made to decrease harvest for the recreational sector, but the commercial trip limit is increasing?
  • The recreational sector has exceeded its annual catch limit in recent years, whereas commercial landings of gray triggerfish have been below the commercial quota for the past 3 years.
  • The recreational management changes will help prevent the recreational sector from exceeding their annual catch limit, and should allow for harvest later in the year.
  • Gray triggerfish are primarily landed by recreational anglers, and the current allocation is 79% recreational and 21% commercial. Therefore, modifications to the recreational sector will have a greater overall impact on rebuilding the population.
  • A commercial trip limit increase will allow the commercial sector to achieve optimum harvest while still making progress to rebuild the population.
Where can I find more information?
By Mail: Lauren Waters
NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
By FAX: (727) 824-5308
By Phone: (727) 824-5305
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.

Gulf gray triggerfish reopens March 1, 2018

Recreational harvest of gray triggerfish will remain closed in Gulf state and federal waters through Feb. 28, 2018, reopening March 1. The season will also close June 1 through July 31.

When the season reopens, the daily recreational bag limit will be one fish per person (lowered from two fish earlier this year), and the minimum size limit will be 15 inches fork length (increased from 14 inches fork length earlier this year). Similar changes were approved for Gulf federal waters.

These changes should help maintain fishing opportunities for gray triggerfish in state and federal waters for 2018 and the future.

For more information on gray triggerfish, visit and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Triggerfish.”

Franklin County Humane Society Pet of the Week

ROSCOE is a 1-2 yr old Plott Hound/Coonhound mix.  He is a sweet, social and chill hound with a beautiful bay.  Roscoe will make a great pet for someone looking for a dog to sit at their feet or in their lap while watching tv or reading.  He's just wonderful!

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 

Mill Road project scaled back due o budget constraints

Roberts and Roberts Construction out of Panama City has been awarded the bid to widen and resurface Mill Road along the Carrabelle River.

The company was the lowest bidder for the project at over 2.1 million dollars.

Even that bid was more than the county has to pay for the work, which is about 1.5 million dollars, so the project has been scaled back so it can be done within budget.

The original project included widening and resurfacing about 1.7 miles of Mill road as well as about 3.1 miles of new construction, striping, signs, and minor drainage improvements.

To bring the project within budget the new construction was scaled back by about a mile and a quarter.

Commissioners said that shouldn't be too much of a problem because very few people live in that area.

County redrawing plans for SGI restrooms

The plans to renovate the public restrooms at the St. George Island public beach are going back to the drawing board – literally.

The Franklin County commission voted this month to redraw the plans for the bathroom project so that the scope of work falls within the county's budget of 120 thousand dollars.

The new plan will prioritize making the bathrooms handicapped accessible.

County coordinator Michael Moron said there should also be enough money to replace the roof, replace all of the fixtures, add some indoor and outdoor lighting, and add an outside shower.

The architects are working on the new plans new plans – so it will likely be next year before the work can be bid out for construction.

Agenda for December 19th Franklin County Commission meeting

Here is the agenda for the December 19th Franklin County Commission meeting - remember, it will be held at the Carrabelle City Hall starting at 9 AM

FWC asks public to report Northern bobwhite quail sightings

 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking for the public's help in restoring the state's Northern bobwhite quail population.

Northern bobwhites occur throughout Florida but there have been population declines as the bird's habitat has disappeared.

Bobwhite quail populations in Florida have declined by an estimated 82 percent over the past 50 years, primarily due to loss of habitat.

The Northern bobwhites can be found in upland pine forests and fallow agricultural fields and at the edges of cultivated grain fields.

At one time, this was a common habitat in Florida and abundant quail populations were a by-product.

Now the state is asking for private landowners to report sightings of bobwhite quail on their land.

The FWC wants to record sightings of wild quail and would prefer sightings within the past year.

Hearing bobwhite quail calls also qualifies as a sighting.

The information collected will be useful to biologists who work with private landowners on the restoration of bobwhite quail habitat.

Landowners can go to a new FWC web page to record when and where they see northern bobwhite quail on their property at

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Get involved in the Franklin County Kids Tag Art Program

Seeing northern bobwhite quail on your land? Report sightings to help conservation efforts

To help restore the state’s northern bobwhite quail populations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is asking private landowners to report sightings of bobwhite quail on their land.
Landowners can go to a new FWC webpage to record when and where they see northern bobwhite quail on their property:
Hearing bobwhite quail calls also qualifies as a sighting.
The information collected will be useful to biologists in the FWC’s Landowner Assistance Program, who collaborate with private landowners on the restoration of bobwhite quail habitat. Bobwhite quail populations in Florida have declined by an estimated 82 percent over the past 50 years, primarily due to loss of habitat.
“I encourage landowners to get involved and let us know when you see or hear bobwhite quail on your land. The more landowners who decide to report their bobwhite quail sightings to the FWC’s new webpage, the more data we will have on the current locations and abundance of bobwhite quail throughout the state,” said Morgan Richardson, who heads the FWC’s Landowner Assistance Program. “Your participation will help us improve our efforts to restore bobwhite quail populations in Florida.”
The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative in its State of the Bobwhite 2017 report mentions how FWC’s private lands biologists “provided technical assistance and cost share opportunities to landowners, creating roughly 8,000 acres of new bobwhite habitat throughout the state – nearly doubling last year’s acreage total.”
More than 19 million acres of Florida’s nearly 35 million acres are in private ownership. The land management practices encouraged by the FWC to maintain and restore bobwhite quail habitat include:
  • Planting low-density longleaf pine forests (less than 500 trees per acre).
  • Frequently doing prescribed burns.
  • Planting and maintaining field borders with native plants, providing food and cover for bobwhite quail.
The FWC wants to record sightings of wild quail, not pen-raised quail that are released for hunting. Sightings of bobwhite quail that are current or within the past year are preferred, but older sightings may be reported if the year and month are known.
Learn more about the Landowner Assistance Program at where you can contact an FWC private lands biologist.
The FWC also relies on citizen scientists to report sightings of other species. Go to and click on “Citizen Science” and then “Sightings.”

Franklin County Commissioners oppose leasing public forestland to private businesses

 Franklin County commissioners have agreed to write a letter to the state expressing their general opposition to property in Tate's Hell State Forest being leased to private enterprise.

The issue was first raised in November when two Carrabelle businessmen asked for county support to expand a limerock mine on state forest property north of Carrabelle.

The county did not agree to write the letter of support.

Now commissioners want it on record that they oppose the idea of public land being leased to private companies that would keep the public from using the land.

Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said most of the State forest was purchased with public money from private landowners and it was purchased for environmental protection and public use.

Cheryl said the county strongly supported the purchases at the time and she represented the county commission before the governor and cabinet to voice that support.

She said the county can't now change to support a business that would keep the public from the land.

The commission agreed unanimously.

The letter will be sent to the Governor and Cabinet, the Department of Agriculture, and the Division of Forestry.

Franklin County updating Personnel Policy and Procedures manual

Franklin County commissioners are adopting a policy that will keep county workers from maintaining their current salaries if they move to a lower-paying county job.

The county is in the process of updating its Personnel Policy and Procedures manual.

As part of the update the commission will spell out that county workers are not allowed to transfer their current salary to a lower paying vacant position.

If a current employee is hired for a lower paying position, he or she will be paid the salary designated for that position.

The county has never allowed employees to transfer their salaries, but has also not had a written policy against it which has led to some misunderstandings.

Commission chairman Smokey Parrish said the policy is needed so you don't have long time workers making 50 thousand dollars a year move into jobs the county only intends to pay 25 thousand dollars a year to do.

County coordinator Michael Moron recommended the county adopt the policy- it was approved unanimously.

Graham Creek Bridge replacement scheduled for 2020

The Florida Department of Transportation is designing plans for replacing Graham Creek Bridge on Highway 65.

The bridge is about 13 miles north of Highway 98.

It was built in 1948 and is past due to be replaced.

A bridge inspection in 2014 found the bridge to be structurally deficient and in critical need of repairs.

The state plans to replace the bridge and roadway as well as improve the bridge approaches.

There will also be some reconstruction of the boat ramp there.

The state has about 3 million dollars budgeted for the project – construction is slated to begin in 2020.

FSU Coastal & Marine Lab Fall 2017 Newsletter

Director's Report
Announcing Plans for Discovery Hall, a New Research Building  

We are very pleased to present you our plan for a new research building, currently known as Discovery Hall. This building will provide a significant increase in research space and support state-of-the-art technology, faculty offices, a graduate student office complex, and a conference room that will be transformative for our faculty, our students, our alumni, and our partners.  It will also have a lobby with interactive displays, coupled with significant event space - currently called The Gallery of Florida Art and Auditorium - that will enhance our community engagement in the region with secondary school students, state and federal agencies, legislative bodies, and the general public.  Further, it will allow Florida State University to increase its impact on science, art, and education locally, nationally, and globally.  This marvelous new building will define our future not only to our students and faculty but to our many collaborators and users. Help us make it a reality.  

Here's to the future of Florida State University's marine lab!

If you have questions, please contact me, Dr. Felicia Coleman, Director, by phone 850.697.4137 or by email  

Research & Highlights at the FSUCML

The Faculty

Dr. Sandra Brooke
FSUCML Research Influences White House Drilling Ban - 
Dr. Brooke's discovery of Lophelia pertusa in the mid-Atlantic contributed  to the White House decision to protect the region from drilling.  Read more.
18-day West Florida Shelf Expedition Aboard The Nancy Foster -
See the daily mission logs of discoveries from 50m to 550m deep on this remarkable research cruise. Read more. 

Dr. Dean Grubbs 
Endangered Sawfish Mating Grounds  - Dr. Grubbs and his team documented a female smalltooth sawfish giving birth.  Also for the first time in 17 years of Florida-based research, the Grubbs team discovered a mating ground for sawfish.  Read More.

Chesapeake Bay's misguided war on the Cownose Ray.  By compiling research from a range of disciplines, Dr. Grubbs and his team, found a vastly different picture of the Chesapeake Bay rays.  Read More 
Dr. Jeroen Ingles 
Antarctic Ecosystem Workshop - An international group of polar scientists met here to discuss the Antarctic ecosystem and effects of ice shelf collapse. They thoroughly engaged local school children as ambassadors in the The 
Polar Academy. Read More 

Dr. Felicia Coleman
Coleman named among 11 Women You Should Know to keep informed about Florida's environment She is noted as being among those who have made their careers by communicating and inspiring nationwide interest in environmental issues facing Florida.  
2017 Graduate Student Spotlight 
The students at the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Lab are swimming in recognition this year! Check them out on the web here:  

PhD students Abbey Engleman and Bryan Keller received Florida Sea Grant Scholar awards. Abbey's research employs 3-D printing technology to restore coral reef habitats while Bryan's work focuses on the use of magnetic navigation and migratory patterns in coastal sharks.
Save Our Seas Grant for his work with sharks goes to Bryan Keller.  

Ph.D. students Bryan Keller,  Brian Moe, and Cheston Peterson receive Guy Harvey Scholarships.  They represent the 8th, 9th, and 10th recipients of this award by FSUCML-mentored graduate students.  This is the second time that Peterson has received the Guy Harvey award. Well done, all.
FSUCML Coastal & Marine Conservation Research Award.  Brian Moe is the 1st recipient of this award., which provided him with a Research Assistantship for the entire summer so that he could focus on his work filling information gaps regarding deep-water sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. Thank you to Tommy Warren and Kathy Villacorta for making this award possible and for their continuous support of the graduate student research.
FSUCML Graduate Research Scholarship Recipients 
Maggie Vogel, Kevin Olsen, and Austin Heil. Bryan Keller, and Chris Malinowski. 
FSUCML Matt Beard Award for Excellence in Research - for the student in the FSU scientific diving community that best embodies the spirit of former FSU student Matt Beard -- goes to Abbey Engleman.  
New Folks Around the Lab
We have a number of new faces around the lab you need to know!
Chris Peters, Dive Safety Officer
Chris is a native of Tallahassee and is proud to be back at FSUCML. Chris graduated from FSU with a Master's Degree in Geography and worked at FSUCML with Dr. Coleman and Dr. Koenig. He left Tallahassee to surf big waves and dive with sharks in Hawaii. Since returning to FSUCML, he has completely reorganized and re-invigorated the Scientific Diving Program. His scientific diving course was a big hit with 14 students from the departments of Biological Science, Anthropology, and Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences.  A highlight of the course included a dive on K-Tower, a new experience for many of his students.  To learn more about the program, visit the website here: Diving Into Science
Travis Mohrman, Facilities Director
Travis started at the FSUCML in February. He came with considerable experience working in a remote field station-clearly good preparation for life at the lab. His previous experience was decidedly inland at Tyson Research Center, at Washington University in St Louis, MO, where his background in botany and experience as an arborist suited him well as the lands manager. He has adapted quite nicely to saltwater and warm weather and makes solid use of his expertise in restoring the North 70 longleaf pine forest.  His primary duties include running general facilities and marine operations while helping coordinate research activities among researchers. He is the go-to person when you need a difficult situation resolved because when he says, "No problem,"  he means it. 
Katrina Bayliss, Marine Technician
Katrina arrived at the lab in early April to take up the reins as  primary marine technician. She is responsible for maintaining research equipment across the laboratory and is available to all FSU and visiting researchers who need help in the field or in the laboratory. Katrina grew up in Ohio and relocated to the east coast of Florida for college in 2010. She graduated from Florida Institute of Technology in 2013 with a B.S. in Marine Biology. After finishing an internship during her last semester of college she worked in the Benthic Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce for 3.5 years.  
Tianna Forbes, Administrative Assistant 
Tianna grew up in Tallahassee, FL, and is not entirely new to the lab. As a teenager, she participated in the Saturday-at- the Sea Summer camp program where she gained an interest in biology.  Her interest in botany and experience working in plant nurseries led to her to the University of Central Florida where she graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.  Her duties here at the lab include serving as the assistant to the Director which includes working with the Board of Trustees, various advisory boards, and the Foundation. She is responsible for proposal submissions and works closely with volunteers and docents. 
Open House April 22,2017: Coastal Literacy - Connecting Marine Science to Society  
This year's event highlighted the importance of improving human awareness of the tight linkages between healthy ecosystems and healthy societies. Active engagement in protecting our oceans and coastlines is something we all can do.  Click Here for photo gallery.
2017 Whatever Floats Your Boat Regatta was "Irma-rupted! 
We were all ready for the race.  Until Hurricane Irma reared her head with other ideas, forcing us to cancel this year's regatta.  Your efforts in boat building were not in vain as the 2018 Regatta will be on April 21, 2018. Click Here for more information and registration.  Get your boats ready!
2018 Conservation Lecture Series - Mark your Calendars - Two Great lectures to start the year. 
"Florida's Invasive Lionfish:  Be the Predator!" -
By Hanna Tilloston, Biologist, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For information Click Here

"Sharks, Cancer & Fake News"  
By Dr. Gary Ostrander, Vice-President for Research, FSU.  For Information Click here  

The Florida State University 
Coastal & Marine Laboratory