The Friends of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges will hold a Group Paddle and Picnic in the Town of Suwannee. Join us for an easy (beginners welcome), short (3.8 miles, 2 hours), fresh water paddle on Lock Creek, through riverine swamp along the Suwannee River.
Boaters eager to get out on the Suwannee River will have trouble launching at public ramps this holiday week. The ramps have been closed in Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties by their sheriffs due to high waters resulting from Tropical Storm Debby that are carrying heavy amounts of debris down the river.
The Levy County Suwannee River boat ramps located at Clay Landing, Camp Azalea and Fowlers Bluff closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, and are likely to remain closed all week.
After determining that two years of season extensions did not significantly impact the bay scallop population, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) decided June 28 to permanently extend the recreational season by adding two weeks to the end.
The decision was made at the Commission meeting in Palm Beach Gardens. Commissioners also directed staff to look into the possibility of a future commercial harvest of bay scallops. The commercial harvest of bay scallops has been closed in Florida state waters since 1994.
The rising water levels caused by Tropical Storm Debby are forcing many critters to find higher ground. Snakes, alligators and fire ants top the list of displaced wildlife.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions the public that snakes can be on the move as they flee flooded areas.
“When you are out in your yard, especially if you have standing water, be focused on your surroundings and be on the lookout for snakes,” said Eric Dennis, FWC biologist.
From the Levy County Sheriff's Office:
NWS Tallahassee has advised that local flood warnings are still in effect for the Suwannee River basin. Sheriff Johnny Smith has decided to re-open all launch sites in the county. Should that prediction of rising water begin to cause problems on the Suwannee River, it could prompt a second closure. The situation will be closely monitored daily and advance warning of any impending boat ramp closures will be announced.
The Friends of the Lower Suwannee & Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges will hold a Group Paddle and Picnic in Cedar Key. All are welcome. Bring your own kayak or rent one in town. Bring a lunch and we will gather after the paddle at the Cedar Key Park to eat together.
Last year, nine people died from boating accidents related to alcohol and drug use in Florida. That represents 13 percent of the state’s fatalities for 2011.
“Alcohol- and drug-related boating accidents are preventable,” said Capt. Tom Shipp, of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Boating and Waterways Section. “Even one death is too many.”
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge will be hiring four students for Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) this summer, according to Refuge Manager Andrew Gude.
The Youth Conservation Corps is a summer employment program for young men and young women, ages 15 through 18, who work and learn together by accomplishing needed conservation projects on public lands.