Welcome to the Coastal Roundup. Every Friday, we’ll post a combination of local events and links to interesting articles relating to coastal ecology, fishing/ seafood, and tourism- basically everything relating to the ecosystems we cover (salt marsh, oyster reef, and seagrass bed). Leave a comment below if you’d like us to include your upcoming events.
Rebecca Wilkerson WFSU-TV
Gulf Coast: Preparing for Extreme Weather Forum
Now that we are in the midst of hurricane season it is important to make sure that Gulf coast communities are safe during extreme weather conditions. The Gulf Coast Forum of the Risk Mitigation Leadership Series will take place July 24th – 25th in New Orleans. Read the Gulf Coast Forum agenda for more information.
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance of Northwest Florida State College will be holding another volunteer day for those interested in helping to build oyster reefs. Volunteers will meet on July 27th at the College’s South Walton Center. Visit the Choctawhatchee Alliance event page to learn more about volunteering opportunities.
Audubon of Florida is also in need of volunteers. Shorebird stewards are needed to locate and monitor nests around the Panhandle Coast. There will be opportunities for trained and untrained stewards. View the Florida Wild Mammal Association Facebook post on the Shorebird Steward Program or visit the National Audubon Society site for more information.
Mexico Beach Marina’s 8th Annual Offshore Classic
This two-day offshore fishing tournament will take place July 27th – 28th and will be divided into three categories: King Mackerel, Wahoo and Dolphin. Cash prizes will be awarded at the end of the tournament. All competitors must register at Mexico Beach Marina or through an online entry form. Visit the 8th Annual Mexico Beach Offshore Classic page for more information.
Spiny Lobster Sport Season
The special two-day Spiny Lobster Sport Season will be open July 25th-26th. The regular Spiny Lobster recreational season will open on August 6th. For more information on license requirements and possession limits visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife page on spiny lobster seasons. (Photo copyright Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
Bay Scallop Season will remain open until September 25th. For more information on licensing and catch limits, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife page on scallop season. To read more about the Florida scalloping experience, from planning your trip to preparing your catch for dinner, check out this blog post from Authentic Florida about the sport of scalloping.
It is always important to know which species are currently in season when planning a fishing trip. You can view the 2012 Recreational Seasons Chart for the Gulf of Mexico to see which seasons are open every month. You can click on each species for more specific information on its season.
As we quickly approach August, Grouper is among the species that will remain in season. August 15th will also mark the 100th birthday of cooking legend, Julia Child. Watch her prepare Salmon and Grouper (chapter two of the video) with Patrick Clark during the Julia Child: Cooking With Master Chefs series.
All waterfowl hunters 16 years and older are required to buy and carry current Federal Duck Stamps. Others buy the stamp as a conservation investment. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar used to purchase these stamps are put towards buying wetlands. You can see in the video from our trip to the St. Marks Refuge that healthy wetlands, such as salt marshes, give migrating birds a place to stay during their journey north. Duck stamp sales since 1934 have raised more than $750 million to protect more than 5.3 million acres of wetlands in the United States. You can also bring the stamps to National Wildlife Refuges to get free admission. In our area, this includes the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. For more information visit the Duck Stamp site or the National Wildlife Refuge System page on Federal Duck Stamps.
Expedition Florida 500
Next year is Florida’s 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s first contact with Florida. In celebration various groups are coming together to take on a year-long, modern-day exploration of Florida’s coastline, waterways, and aquatic ecosystem as experienced by the waterman. The primary focus of the journey is to show the importance of stewardship efforts related to the ocean, coastlines, and the marine ecosystem. The paddling team will be looking for volunteers in various locations throughout their adventure. The XF500 team will blog daily, posting videos and photos, while filming a documentary. To follow the expedition visit the Expedition Florida 500 Facebook page or the Mother Ocean XF500 site.
Angle to Key West
On June 11th, Daniel Alvarez set out on a 4,000 mile kayaking trip. Starting his trip at the Northwest Angle of Minnesota and paddling until he reaches Key West, Florida, Daniel is working towards a healthy Gulf. With a few helping hands, he is using his journey to show viewers the beauty and tragedies of the Gulf of Mexico, hoping to raise awareness and put forth a call to action. Visit the Gulf Restoration Network to read more about Daniel’s trip. For a day-to-day account of his adventures, visit his blog, Predictably Lost.
Even if your adventures aren’t as large-scale as a 4,000 mile kayaking trip, it’s very important to stay cool and safe during outdoor summer activities. Listen to this Science Friday podcast (if you missed it last week on WFSU-FM) for tips on staying cool in the summer heat.
In the Grass, On the Reef is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation