Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Alabama supports Florida in Water War

The state of Alabama filed a brief on Friday in support of Florida’s federal lawsuit to cap Georgia’s water use from federal reservoirs in the Apalachicola Chattahoochee Flint River system.

The state cited its “long experience combating Georgia’s excessive withdrawals” and said Georgia “has largely chosen not to invest its resources in reservoirs and other infrastructure” as the population of Atlanta has outgrown its water supply.

The US Supreme Court will hear the arguments in the ongoing water war between Florida and Georgia starting next week.

The court has set an October 31st trial date.

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, Georgia and Alabama have been fighting over water use from the river system for over 20 years, and the three states have not been able to agree on a way to share the resource.

The State of Florida sued Georgia in 2014 to try to reduce the amount of water Georgia is taking from the River System.

Florida wants the supreme court to order Georgia's water withdrawals to be capped at 1992 levels and for a special master to be appointed to oversee how the waters in the river basin are divided.

The Metro-Atlanta area primarily gets its water from the Chattahoochee River with withdrawals totaling 360 million gallons per day.

Georgia’s consumption is expected to nearly double to 705 million gallons per day by 2040, if Atlanta’s population and water consumption grows unchecked.

Florida believes that Georgia’s excessive consumption has brought historically-low water flows into the Bay and has caused oysters to die because of higher salinity, increased disease and predator intrusion in the Bay.

Until recently, Apalachicola Bay accounted for approximately 10 percent of the nation’s Eastern oyster supply.

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

Franklin County seeks grant for derelict vessel removal

Franklin County Commissioners are applying for money to remove a number of derelict vessels from local waters.

The board has agreed to apply for a little over 215 thousand dollars to remove 15 derelict vessels.

If the funding is approved it would come from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; The vessel removal will likely be done in the fall..

The county would be required to kick in about 70 thousand dollars of its own money which it has available in its boating improvement trust fund.

Its likely the county won't get everything it wants.

There isn’t much money available; because of the demand for limited funding, it’s likely that Franklin County will get about 100 thousand dollars to remove as a many bats as it can afford to.

The board said it will also look at applying for additional money from an environmental clean-up fund to hopefully remove more of the boats.

Franklin County puts finishing touches on phase 1 of Armory renovation project

Franklin County has just put some of the final touches on phase 1 of the Fort Coombs Armory renovation.

The armory kitchen equipment has been installed; that includes an icemaker and convection oven, a warming cabinet and insulated storage cabinets as well as a warming serving table and storage racks.

The warming kitchen is part of a much larger renovation project at the Armory designed to make the armory a convention center and a destination for private events like weddings.

Over the past few years the county has installed a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the historic building.

There are also new handicapped accessible restrooms and many of the original windows have been repaired.

The county is now taking bids for phase 2 of the renovations which will include foundation and floor issues, more window renovations and more ADA improvements.

Bids for phase 2 are due by November the 14th.

You can already rent the Armory, though.

The armory can be rented for private events for 250 dollars a day or 600 dollars for a weekend from Friday through Sunday plus a refundable 150 dollar key and cleanup deposit.

October 2016 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Update

 For Immediate Release
October 26, 2016
Gulf Council Update - October 2016
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Biloxi, Mississippi, October 17 - 20, 2016, to discuss a number of fishery issues, including a gray triggerfish rebuilding plan, data reporting for federally permitted for-hire vessels, and appointments for the Ad-Hoc Private Recreational Advisory Panel.
The Council took final action on Mackerel Framework Amendment 5 which addresses restrictions that are unique to commercial king and Spanish mackerel permit holders. The Council chose to remove restrictions on the retention of the recreational bag limit of king and Spanish mackerel on vessels with federal commercial king or Spanish mackerel permits when the commercial season is closed. The framework amendment will be transmitted to the Secretary of Commerce for approval and implementation.
The Council discussed Coastal Migratory Pelagic Amendment 29, which considers allocation-sharing strategies between the recreational and commercial sectors and recreational accountability measures for Gulf migratory group king mackerel. The Council selected preferred alternatives that would conditionally transfer 10% of the stock allocation to the commercial sector for the next fishing year if less than 75% of the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) is harvested. If the commercial sector does not land at least 90% of its ACL, the transfer will not occur. The Council also selected an alternative that would replace the current in-season accountability measure (AM) with a post season AM. If both the recreational ACL and Stock ACL are exceeded in a fishing year, the length of the following recreational fishing season will be reduced by the amount necessary to ensure the landings do not exceed the recreational ACL.  The Council plans to host public hearings on the amendment before the end of the year.
Data Collection
The Council reviewed a proposed generic amendment to modify the frequency and method of reporting for federally permitted charter vessels and headboats fishing for reef fish and coastal migratory pelagics in the Gulf of Mexico. After hearing a summary of the Data Collection Technical Committee and reviewing public comments and recommendations from the Ad-Hoc Red Snapper Charter For-Hire and Reef Fish Advisory Panels, the Council selected a preferred alternative which would require charter and headboat operators to submit fishing records via NMFS approved hardware/software with minimum archived GPS capabilities that provides vessel position.
The Council also initiated the development of an amendment that considers implementing mandatory electronic logbook reporting for commercial vessels.
The Council continued work on Shrimp Amendment 17B which considers shrimp permit issues such as setting a minimum threshold number of Gulf shrimp vessel permits and whether to create a Gulf shrimp vessel permit reserve pool, specification of optimum yield, and a transit provision in federal waters. The Council made numerous modifications to the document and is slated to review a public hearing draft at their January 2017 meeting.
Proposed Regulations on the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Expansion
The Council reviewed proposed fishing regulations for the expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) along with comments from the Reef Fish Advisory Panel and the Law Enforcement Technical Committee.  Council staff has prepared a white paper containing recommendations for each of the proposed expansion areas including different types of endorsements and anchor related regulations.  The Council decided to forward the white paper and recommendations to the FGBNMS by the December 2016 deadline.
Mutton Snapper and Gag
The Council reviewed a draft framework action that considers revising the mutton snapper annual catch limit and other management measures and the gag commercial minimum size limit. Revisions made to the draft document include elimination of commercial trip limit alternatives for mutton snapper and a revised range of alternatives for a minimum size limit at 16, 18, and 20 inches total length. The Council plans to review an updated draft of this framework early next year.
Red Snapper Management for Charter Vessels and Reef Fish Management for Headboat Survey Vessels
The Council reviewed drafts of Amendment 41, which considers creating a red snapper management plan for federally permitted charter vessels and Amendment 42, which considers creating a management plan for federally permitted headboats fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The Council plans to convene the Ad-Hoc Red Snapper Charter For-Hire and Ad-Hoc Reef Fish Headboat Advisory Panels before the January meeting.
Gray Triggerfish
The Council reviewed a draft of Amendment 46 - Gray Triggerfish Rebuilding plan, which considers revising annual catch limits and targets along with commercial and recreational management measures. After reviewing recommendations from the Scientific and Statistical Committee and the Reef Fish Advisory Panel, the Council selected preferred alternatives.  The Council selected alternatives that would establish a 9-year rebuilding period, retain the current gray triggerfish annual catch limits and targets, and to modify the recreational regulations by adding a January and February closed season in addition to the current June 1-July 31 closed season during the spawning season. The Council also selected preferred alternatives that would reduce the bag limit to 1-fish per angler within the 20-reef fish aggregate, and increase the recreational minimum size limit to 15 inches fork length. Additionally, the Council has decided to express commercial trip limits in numbers of fish rather than in pounds and add an alternative that would consider a 16 fish trip limit.  The Council choose locations for public hearings which will be held after the January 2017 meeting.
Modifications to Commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program
The Council discussed a draft of Amendment 36A, which considers making modifications to the commercial IFQ program including hail-in requirements, inactivated shareholder accounts, mid-year quota changes, and dealer offload notification requirements. The Council selected preferred alternatives for each action, and plans to review a public hearing draft in January before sending a direct mailing to commercial permit holders and shareholders and hosting a webinar to solicit public comments.
Ad-Hoc Private Recreational Advisory Panel
The Council appointed 25 members to the newly formed Ad-Hoc Private Recreational Advisory Panel. The charge for the Advisory Panel will be: to provide recommendations to the Council on private recreational red snapper management measures which would 1) provide more quality access to the resource in federal waters, 2) reduce discards, and 3) improve fisheries data collection. Advisory Panel appointees are listed on our website at:
The Council will host a Post Council Wrap-Up Webinar to review the Council meeting. Join us at 6:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, October 26, for a quick presentation followed by a question and answer session. Register for the webinar here:
More Information
For more information about any of the amendments discussed during the Council meeting, visit and scroll down to the amendment of interest to find the draft document, video, guide, and other information.

About the 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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Celebrate Halloween in Lanark Village

Cooler, dry air increases wildfire risk

Forestry officials are asking the public to be careful with outdoor fires as recent cold, dry weather has increased the chances of wildfires.

Lower humidity and windy conditions coupled with the lack of rainfall are creating drier conditions with a strong potential for increased wildfire activity.

But the same conditions that increase our wildfire risk also make it more pleasant for people to be outdoors.

Forestry officials are asking for vigilance to ensure your weekend fun doesn’t go up in smoke:

Remember to build your campfires in an open area away from trees and overhanging branches and never leave a fire unattended.

And remember to completely extinguish your fire with water before leaving it.

And if you are using a propane grill, try to stay over bare dirt or pavement – away from dead grass and weeds and never transport or dump live coals from a grill.


Press Release Banner


CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 


~Conservation land will protect 10 springs and provide recreational opportunities~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott and the Cabinet members agreed to purchase the 11,027-acre Horn Spring property, located within Leon and Jefferson counties. The property is a major wildlife corridor, connecting St. Marks River Preserve State Park, Fanlew Preserve, Aucilla Wildlife Management Area and Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. The project will protect water resources, with 10 known springs on the property, protect 12 known historic sites, and provide a variety of public recreational and educational opportunities.
“Acquiring the Horn Spring property is a prime example of efforts to focus taxpayer resources on projects that provide a direct benefit to the environment and local communities,” said DEP Secretary Jon Steverson. “This is the largest Florida Forever acquisition since 2006, and it will provide numerous benefits to our springs while offering recreation for Floridians and visitors.”
The property is located within the Upper St. Marks River Corridor Florida Forever Project, ranked number 9 in the Florida Forever Critical Natural Lands project category, and the St. Joe Timberland – St. Marks Springs site Florida Forever project, ranked number 3 in the Florida Forever Climate Change Lands project category. The ranking was approved by the Board of Trustees on April 26, 2016. The property will be purchased from Natural Bridge Timberlands, LLC, a subsidiary of AgReserves, Inc.
“As farmers and ranchers, we look to the long term in everything we do,” said Don Sleight, CEO, AgReserves, Inc. “That this land will be preserved in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy is especially gratifying for us. We are glad to see the ecological treasures on this property come under the ownership and care of Florida Forever.”
The southern portion of Horn Spring will be added to the existing Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park and will be managed by the Florida Park Service. The northern portion of Horn Spring will be managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District in coordination with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“The District appreciates the efforts by Governor Scott and DEP to further protect and preserve special places like this in Northwest Florida,” said Brett Cyphers, Executive Director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. “We look forward to working with DEP and FWC for the long-term preservation of this vital natural resource.”
“This acquisition presents an unparalleled opportunity to assist in the protection of the tremendous natural resources of the St. Marks River ecosystem,” said Greg Knecht, The Nature Conservancy. “I applaud the state for their work to protect wildlife habitat and preserve water quality in this vital area of Northwest Florida.”
“Natural Bridge is among Florida’s most valuable conservation lands. We commend the state’s efforts to protect the river and springs for the benefit of people and wildlife,” said Eric Draper, Executive Director of Audubon Florida.  
"The board and staff of Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy support this project," said George Willson, Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy board member. "It is a remarkable water resource and river habitat conservation action by DEP and the private landowner which preserves a regionally significant hydrologic corridor from the Red Hills of Tallahassee to tidewater."

NOAA Seeks Comments on a Proposed Rule to Modify the Gear Requirements and Fishing Year for Yellowtail Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico

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

(Gulf of Mexico) 

October 24, 2016     
NOAA Seeks Comments on a Proposed Rule to Modify the Gear Requirements and Fishing Year for Yellowtail Snapper in the Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would modify the gear requirements and fishing year for the harvest of yellowtail snapper in the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf).
This rule would:
  • Remove a requirement to use circle hooks when fishing with natural bait for the commercial harvest of yellowtail snapper south of Cape Sable, Florida, in the Gulf.
  • Adjust the commercial and recreational fishing year for yellowtail snapper in the Gulf from January 1 through December 31, to August 1 through July 31 to coincide with the fishing year for this species in the South Atlantic.
Yellowtail snapper are primarily caught around the southern half of Florida, with the majority of landings coming from the Florida Keys. Circle hooks are required when fishing with natural bait for reef fish, including yellowtail snapper, in federal waters of the Gulf. The use of circle hooks is intended to reduce discard mortality caused from fish being gut-hooked by J-hooks. For the commercial harvest of yellowtail snapper, the fishermen attract the fish to the surface using chum and then use small hooks with natural bait and cane poles or spinning reels to catch yellowtail snapper. Using J-hooks when fishing this way reduces handling times. This increases the efficiency of commercially harvesting yellowtail snapper and is likely to reduce discard mortality rates.
This rule would also modify the yellowtail snapper fishing year in the Gulf, making it consistent with the new South Atlantic fishing year. Having the same fishing year would benefit fishermen that harvest yellowtail snapper in both the Gulf and South Atlantic.
How to Submit Comments:
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rule no later than November 16, 2016.  For more complete information, NOAA Fisheries encourages constituents to access the proposed rule and the Framework Action with its Environmental Assessment at: the e-Rulemaking Portal:
You may submit comments on the proposed rule, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0058, by any of the following methods:
Electronic Submission: 
Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.  Go to, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
 Submit written comments to Cynthia Meyer, NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505.
Instructions:  Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.  All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change.  All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.  NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments (enter "N/A" in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

Help needed bear-proofing garbage cans in Lanark Village

Franklin County library facing severe staffing shortage

Franklin County is facing a staffing shortage at the public libraries in Eastpoint and Carrabelle.

Mrs. Eugenia Butler will retire as library assistant at the end of this week; she has held that job for nearly 6 years.

Library director Anne Birchwell resigned her position last month, leaving the Eastpoint library with only one staff member.

Michael Moron, who is serving as the interim library director, said the biggest fear is that with only one staff member, the library will have to be closed if that worker gets sick or has to take a day off.

While there are plenty of volunteers, volunteers cannot keep the library open unsupervised.

Commissioner Cheryl Sanders said the library has been closed before so that shouldn't be a problem, and commission chairman William Massey added that there has long been a staffing shortage in Carrabelle and it has more visitors than the Eastpoint branch.

The county is seeking applications from county workers for the library assistant's job – if no county workers apply, the job will be advertised to the general public.

The county is also seeking applicants for a new library director.

Wakulla County Announces Improvements at Medart Recreation Park

Type 2 Diabetes Education Class Offered October 28

PORT ST JOE, FLA. – Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with diabetes? Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf invites you to join the next Type 2 Diabetes education class on Friday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free community seminar will be held in Conference Room A/B at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf located at 3801 E. Hwy. 98 in Port St. Joe, FL.
Led by John Griggs, Clinical Nurse Educator and Diabetes Educator, the class is open to adults with Type 2 diabetes and their families who are looking for ways to manage their disease. Key topics include measuring your blood sugar, meal planning and exercise, and tips to protect your feet and eyes.
Classes are limited to 30 people; a light lunch will be provided. For more information or to register for the class, please call the diabetes educators at (850) 229-5620.
For more information about Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf, please visit

Wakulla county Fall festival this Saturday

FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report October 14, 2016 through October 20, 2016

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Division of Law Enforcement

 FWC logo and law enforcement badge
Weekly Report
October 14, 2016 through October 20, 2016
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past two weeks; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.

Patrol, Protect, Preserve




While working offshore patrol in federal waters aboard the FinCat, Officers Allgood, Cushing, Land and Manning stopped several vessels and found violations for possession of red snapper, gray triggerfish and greater amberjack during the closed season. A total of ten federal citations were written to address the violations.

While conducting resource inspections in state waters, Officer Allgood stopped and conducted an inspection of a charter vessel. During the stop, it was determined the captain did not have a valid charter license. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued.

While conducting resource and license inspections near Three Mile Bridge in Pensacola Bay, Officer Allgood stopped a recreational vessel. During the inspection, seven undersized red snapper were discovered in a cooler. The season for red snapper is closed and all of the fish measured less than 13 inches. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued.


While working aboard the offshore patrol vessel Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Nelson and Robb boarded a large offshore commercial shrimping vessel in nearshore and inshore waters. The vessel was trawling with four large otter trawl nets. Further inspection of the vessel revealed an active and in-use brine tank. Once the nets were brought aboard, an inspection was conducted. The net mouth circumference was nearly twice the lawful limit of 66 feet and the overall square footage of the nets were in excess of four times the legal limit with a size exceeding 2,200 square feet. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued for the violations and the nets were seized as evidence.

While conducting oyster enforcement efforts in the East Point area, Officers Boyd and Nelson stopped several commercial oyster vessels. One stop resulted in the occupants of the oyster vessel found to be in possession of 30% undersized oysters. The oysters were returned to the water alive and the violations were addressed with the appropriate citations and warnings.

While working aboard the offshore patrol vessel Guardian, Lieutenant Marlow, Officers Nelson, Robb and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Officers Harwell and Widener conducted a detail regarding shrimping nets and turtle excluder devices (TEDs). The officers boarded several vessels and noted some minor violations. While on patrol, they observed two large offshore commercial shrimping vessels operating in nearshore and inshore waters. They stopped both vessels and conducted resource and gear inspections. The first vessel was trawling with four large otter trawl nets and was in possession of an active brine tank. Inspection of the nets revealed the net mouth circumference was well in excess of the lawful limit of 66 feet and square footage legal limit with a size exceeding 2,700 square feet each. The other vessel had several violations related to the legal parameters of the TEDs. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued for the violations and the nets were seized as evidence.

While working in the Apalachicola Bay area, Officer Robb received a call regarding a guide fisherman keeping undersized spotted sea trout. With a description of the vessel, Officer Robb located four individuals matching the description returning to a boat ramp in Apalachicola. Officer Robb spoke to the captain and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, multiple undersized spotted sea trout were located in a cooler. Officer Stephens arrived and assisted with interviews. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued for the violations.


While aboard the offshore patrol vessel Vigilance and approximately 15 miles south of Destin in federal waters, Officers Rockwell and Trueblood boarded a 46‑foot vessel. During the boarding, eight red snapper and four gray triggerfish were located. The season is closed for both red snapper and gray triggerfish and seven of the snapper were undersized. The appropriate federal citations and warnings were issued for the violations.


While on patrol in the early morning hours in the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Officer Ramos was contacted by a local landowner that several trucks were off‑roading in the WMA. The landowner stated that it sounded like they were mud bogging. Once in the area, Officer Ramos encountered three trucks, two of which were heavily coated in fresh, wet mud. The trucks left a fresh mud trail to a closed area of the WMA where the trucks had dug deep, muddy ruts. After speaking with the subjects, Officer Ramos cited them for destruction of public lands. A traffic citation and three separate warnings were issued for other minor violations.

Officer Roberson was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier when he observed an individual who was standing next to a rod and reel and a cooler. Officer Roberson asked the individual if he could look inside their cooler and the individual gave him permission. Upon inspection, the individual was in possession of seven undersized Spanish mackerel. The individual was issued a misdemeanor citation for the violation.

Officer Hutchinson was patrolling in the Blackwater State Forest in the early morning hours when he observed a light being shined from the cab of a vehicle into the woods. He watched the vehicle and observed the driver of the vehicle shine the tree line and the ditch along a roadway as he drove very slowly along the road, stopping several times. Once the truck reached an intersection, he observed the light being shined into an open field area. Officer Hutchinson pulled to the intersection with his headlights on. He visually identified the driver of the vehicle as being a male subject who he had previously arrested for driving with a suspended driver license. He knew the license was still suspended. The subject turned onto the roadway and Officer Hutchinson turned around and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. When he made contact with the driver, he observed a hunting rifle leaning against the passenger seat and a flashlight lying in the subject’s lap. He asked him for his driver license and the subject informed him that he did not have one and that it was suspended. After further investigation, Officer Hutchinson discovered that the rifle was loaded and had a bullet in the chamber. After further questioning, the subject admitted to using the handheld light to look for deer and bobcat. The subject was placed under arrest and transported to the Santa Rosa County Jail. He was charged with possession of a gun and light at night. He was also charged with driving with a suspended driver license.

While patrolling a dirt road leading to a boat ramp along the Escambia River, Officer Hutchinson observed a vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed. He pulled behind the vehicle and followed it a short distance before the vehicle pulled over. He made contact with the driver who informed him that he stopped because he thought he was getting pulled over. After speaking with the subject, Officer Hutchinson turned around and drove in the direction from where the vehicle came. While driving along the dirt road, he observed several areas where fresh ruts and spin-out marks were in the roadway. Officer Hutchinson noticed the tire tracks in the ruts matched the tire tread on the subject’s vehicle that he had just stopped. After photographing the damage to the roadway, he turned around and drove back and made contact with the subject again. After questioning, the subject admitted to spinning out and tearing up the road with his vehicle. Officer Hutchinson issued him a notice to appear citation for damage to public lands while using a motor vehicle.

Officer J. Rockwell received a call from dispatch advising there was a car accident in Blackwater State Park. When he arrived at the intersection of Deaton Bridge Road and Boat Ramp Road, he made contact with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office who advised him that all the vehicle occupants were juveniles and all refused medical treatment from Emergency Medical Service. Officer Rockwell separated the driver and three passengers to obtain sworn statements. Officer Clark arrived on scene to assist. Upon interviewing the driver and passengers, Officers Rockwell and Clark determined alcohol was a contributing factor. The driver submitted to a portable breath test and her blood alcohol content was .013. Officers Rockwell and Clark charged the driver and passengers with possession of alcohol by person under the age of 21. Warnings were issued for no seat belt. The driver was also charged with careless operation of a motor vehicle.


A 911 call was made by a woman who became lost in the Eglin WMA. Her vehicle was stuck on a sandy road and the sun began to set. She told dispatchers that she was low on fuel and her cell phone was about to die. She was unsure of her location and was requesting help. Officers Ramos, Land and Tolbert responded to the area and began searching. Based on her cell phone location, the officers located her shortly after sunset and removed her vehicle from the sand. She was escorted back to the main highway.


FWC officers conducted a detail targeting illegal hunting in the Eglin WMA. Lieutenant Berryman along with Officers Jones, Land and Ramos concentrated their efforts in the area where a 48‑hour hog hunt was occurring in the WMA. While officers checked several hunters, no violations were found.



Officer Cushing spoke to a group of 20 Cub Scouts at the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Pensacola station. They were preparing to earn a badge for fishing. Officer Cushing spoke and answered questions about the agency’s mission and different types and species of fish they hoped to catch.

Florida DEP permit activity for Summercamp, St. George Island and Port St. Joe

DEP Logo
Florida Department of
Environmental Protection

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

Carlos Lopez-Cantera
Lt. Governor

Jonathan P. Steverson

Permitting Application Subscription Service

Subscriber email address:

  Profile Name: Oyster Radio

Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 348445
Location Name: AMM ST GEORGE ISLAND OGC 16-1271
County: Franklin
Application Number: 348445-001

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 221593
County: Franklin
Application Number: 221593-020

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 221593
County: Franklin
Application Number: 221593-019

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 275962
County: Gulf
Application Number: 275962-004

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 274349
Location Name: PORT ST. JOE PORT-EAST SIDE OF US 98 - DREDGE OCL-001,2,3,5
County: Gulf
Application Number: 274349-010

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 274349
Location Name: PORT ST. JOE PORT-EAST SIDE OF US 98 - DREDGE OCL-001,2,3,5
County: Gulf
Application Number: 274349-011

For further information, please contact the Northwest District permitting office in Pensacola at (850) 595-8300
Permit: Water - ERP Exemption Permit
Location Id: 221593
County: Franklin
Application Number: 221593-021

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Local unemployment mostly unchanged in September

Local unemployment remained basically flat in October.
Franklin County unemployment was 4 percent last month, up slightly from 3.9 percent the month before.
Franklin County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Florida; only 2 counties have lower unemployment rates than Franklin County.
195 people were looking for work in Franklin County in October, just one more than in August.
The workforce also decreased by 19 people.
Gulf County unemployment was also flat last month at 4.3 percent.
269 people were looking for work in Gulf County.

Wakulla County unemployment remained at 4.1 percent last month, in Liberty county unemployment ticked up to 5.5 percent.

Wakulla County Commissioners Opposes the Policy Underlying Amendment 1

Crawfordville, Florida – On Monday, October 17, 2016 the Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners unanimously adopted a Resolution disapproving and opposing the policy underlying Amendment 1 entitled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice”. Amendment 1 is on the November 8, 2016 General Election ballot.  This Amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use.  

Additionally, Amendment 1 will insert in the Florida Constitution an unsupported, misleading, and inaccurate presumption that solar rooftop customers are “subsidized” by solar customers which can be used to weaken or eliminate the State’s net metering policy.

Proponents say that this amendment promotes solar energy in Florida while allowing for common sense consumer measures that protect Floridians from scams.  However; opponents say Amendment 1 opens the door for utilities to charge solar users a fee under the guise of ensuring solar users are not subsidized, which is currently allowed in Florida and that this enshrines the status quo in the Constitution.

“This amendment is worded to make voters believe it is good because it uses good words such as solar energy, choice and consumer rights. But the amendment is designed to help electric companies, not consumers,” said Commissioner Kessler, who presented the Resolution.

Consumers for Smart Solar is primarily bankrolled by the State’s big power companies that oppose current net metering policy. “Voters who want to advance the use of solar on homes must vote NO on Amendment 1,” Kessler said. 

For additional information related to this story, please contact Jessica Welch, Communications & Public Services Director at (850) 926-0919 ext. 706 or

Guardian Ad Litem training starts Thursday in Sopchoppy

The Guardian Ad litem program is looking for people to take part in a training program beginning this Thursday.

The volunteer training will be held on October 27th from 4 to 8 pm at the Sopchoppy United Methodist Church in Sopchoppy.

The Guardian Ad Litem program represents the best interests of children in court, generally in non-criminal court cases like divorces.

Many of the thousands of children using the program statewide are the victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect.

Volunteers spend 8 to 10 hours a month volunteering, ensure local children receive the services they need while in the child welfare system.

They speak up for the children in the court, schools and community.

Currently there are about 10 Franklin County children being represented by a Guardian Ad Litem – there are 5 local volunteers in the program.

More volunteers are needed.

To get involved, contact Sara Blumenthal at 850-606-1213 or

You're invited to the Elder Care Community Council of Franklin County First Annual Meeting

Gulf, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween by the Sea

Free workshop this week on Caring for Trees

Thursday, October 27th5:30-7:00 pm.
Trees play an import role in Apalachicola’s appeal. Whether it is a 200 year-old moss draped oak tree, or a huge magnolia our urban forest contributes aesthetically to the city’s overall appeal and our historic landscape. Trees also provide shade, add value to our homes, and they have many ecological benefits. Come hear tree experts Stan Rosenthal and Sam Hand discuss tree biology, tree care above and below the ground. They will discuss common problems and how to solve them, plus modern dangers trees face.  Join us on October 27th5:30-7:00 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, Benedict Hall on 6th Street and Avenue D. This workshop is sponsored by the Apalachicola Area Historical Society, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, Apalachicola Planning and Zoning Board, and the City of Apalachicola.  For more information, call Anita Grove at (850) 670-7708 or

Stan Rosenthal retired from the University of Florida-IFAS/Leon County Extension as a Forestry Extension Agent where he had worked since 1995.  Prior he worked for the Florida Division of Forestry in Leon County beginning in 1988. He also worked for the Florida Division of Forestry in other areas of Florida. He has a BS degree in Forest Management from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.  Stan Rosenthal certifications include being TRAQ certified by ISA (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification) (International Society of Arboriculture) Mr. Rosenthal has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Forester of the Year.
Sam Hand is an Associate Professor of Extension Florida A&M University. A Registered Landscape Architect, a Registered Consulting Arborist with the American Society of Consulting Arborists and a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture.