Monthly Archives: December 2012

Oysters: Safety on a Halfshell

seafood_oysters2Florida has a long history of harvesting oysters from its coastal waters. Today, it continues to be a major producer of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and is, on average, responsible for 10% of the national harvest. The majority of Florida’s production of oysters occurs along the Gulf coast – primarily in the Panhandle and Big Bend regions. Apalachicola Bay in particular accounts for approximately 90% of Florida’s oyster supply.

 Oysters are a low-calorie, low-cholesterol source of protein and are also an exceptional source of zinc, a mineral associated with strengthening the immune system. Additionally, they are a prime source of omega-3 fatty-acids, and are high in calcium, iodine, and vitamins A and E. Despite these health benefits, oysters, as with any animal protein, may pose as a potential health risk when consumed raw or partially cooked.

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Are You Smarter than a Stone Crab: January 23, 2013

It’s that time again for another round of “Are You Smarter than A Stone Crab? The next tour will be Jan 23, 2013. This time the tour will begin at the Evergaldes City Museum so participants can learn more about the heritge associated with commercial fishing in Everglades City. This program is a great way to learn more about the economic and cultural importance of one of Florida’s most valuable fisheries. Hope to see you there! To register click on the flyer below.

From the Tailpipe to Tampa Bay – Air Pollution Research Reveals Impact of Cars

A comprehensive study that investigated the sources and extent of nitrogen fallout on Tampa Bay shows that cars, trucks, and other mobile vehicles deposit four times more nitrogen oxide, or NOx, in Tampa Bay than power plants.

Overall, power plants are the major sources of air emissions in the bay area. But mobile sources have a disproportionately larger impact, because emissions from cars, trucks and boats are generated closer to the ground, and more of their emissions wind up in the bay. The tall stacks of power plants, on the other hand, send emissions higher into the atmosphere, where a substantial portion is carried outside the bay watershed.

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In the News! Why Are Numeric Nutrient Criteria Important to You?

This is a simple diagram showing how nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all living things, enters our coastal waters. Too much nitrogen can result in poor water quality conditions. Florida Sea Grant image

Numeric nutrient criteria? What is that?

Not really a catchy phrase, that’s for sure. But this is an important concept that you may have been reading about in newspapers recently.

First, a little background. For years our standards for protecting the quality of inland and coastal waters have been based on qualitative descriptions, rather than hard numbers. However, a number of environmental organizations took exception to this approach, claiming that it was vague and that the Environmental Protection Agency was not fulfilling its role in fully implementing the Federal Clean Water Act. Those groups and the EPA said Florida needed specific, measurable numeric water quality standards that protected all bodies of water from environmental damage.

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2012 Southwest Florida Bay Scallop Update

Exciting things are happening!

There was a full slate of scallop searches in southwest Florida this past year. Here are the results.

Scallop Searches

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Tampa Bay

624

674

32

5

12

Sarasota Bay

947

136

15

10

93

Charlotte Harbor

N/A

94

163

24

20

Pine Island Sound

N/A

N/A

335

1026

400

Total SWFL

1571

904

545

1065

525

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All

All of us with the southwest Florida Sea Grant Extension Program wish all of you a great holiday season. It is truly an honor and privilege to work with so many dedicated citizens and scientists along the coast. As the years pass, change occurs. However, one thing that doesn’t change is the great nature of the folks we work with. We hope 2013 is good to all of us.

Become a Florida Master Naturalist

Registration is currently being accepted. The University of Florida/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Program will be teaching the Upland Habitats module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) beginning February 22nd, 2013 and running each Friday (all day) through April 5th, 2013 (minus Sat. before Easter). The Florida Master Naturalist Program (FMNP) is an adult education program developed by the University of Florida (UF) and provided by participating organizations. FMNP training will benefit persons interested in learning more about Florida’s environment, seeking educational contact hours, or wishing to increase their knowledge for use in education programs as volunteers, employees, and ecotourism guides. The program includes courses in three subject areas – Freshwater Wetlands, Coastal Systems and Upland Habitats. In each Module you will learn through classroom instruction and field trip experience. Instruction is provided on general ecology, habitats, vegetation types, wildlife, and conservation issues. Each module is a standalone program and graduates of each module are recognized (certificates of achievement, patch and pin) as Coastal, Wetlands, or Upland naturalists. Special recognition for completion of all three programs will include a special Florida Master Naturalist plaque and pin.
Cost: $225 – includes 40 contact hours, 5 field trips, patch and pin, and certificate of achievement. Class Location – Charlotte County Eastport Environmental Campus, 25550 Harborview Rd., Port Charlotte, FL 33980. For more information about the course or to register visit: http://www.masternaturalist.ifas.ufl.edu/. Registration ends February 14th or when full.

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