Environment

A Much Needed Road Repair for Safety and Environmental Protection

Bayport, FL--On June 16, 2020 Hernando County Government published a notice stating that the Hernando County Department of Public Works (DPW) has begun work on the reconstruction of Bayou Drive, located near Hernando Beach, for a 90-day work period. Bayou Drive will reopen for public access on September 15, 2020.

License agreement approved for Weeki Wachee dredging project

By LISA MACNEIL
[email protected]

At the Jan. 28, 2020 Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting, the county voted 4-0 to approve the license agreement between the county and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)  for the Weeki Wachee River dredging project. If funding is approved, dredging could begin in the spring of 2021. Commissioner Jeff Holcomb was absent during this meeting. 

HELP donates funds to aid shoreline restoration at Jenkins Creek

Hernando Sun Staff Report

The Hernando Environmental Land Protectors (HELP) has raised $2,000 towards the county’s Florida Sea Grant Extension shoreline restoration and enhancement project at Jenkins Creek.

Chuck Morton, president of HELP, presented Brittany Hall-Scharf, the Sea Grant Extension Agent in Hernando County, with a check at the group’s December 2019 meeting. Hall-Scharf was the guest speaker at at HELP’s Jan. 14, 2020 meeting and updated the group on current and future projects, including the ongoing aquaponics system and the upcoming living shorelines project.

Welcome to the woods, fall wildflowers of the Withlacoochee State Forest

Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN

September 23 was the first official day of fall, but here in Florida, fall doesn’t feel like fall until late October. Cool-weather, pleasant breezes that whisper throughout the forest and the colors of fall begin to appear, fade and reappear during the next couple of months.

Vince Morris, Resource Administrator, and Colleen Werner, Biologist II from the Florida Forest Service, took me on a long-awaited trip to their favorite spots to see the fall colors blooming in the Withlacoochee State Forest.

Wait… A Horseshoe Crab is not a Crab? Things you learn when you volunteer!

On September 13, 2019 the University of Florida/IFAS Extension at Hernando County offered a training program for participation in the Horseshoe Crab Watch Citizen Science Program. Volunteers had the opportunity to learn about the program and especially about horseshoe crabs, which are not crabs. They are closely related to spiders and other arachnids. We all reacted the same way. See what you can learn when you volunteer!

Coastal Cleanup – Save the Date!

Florida Sea Grant and UF/IFAS Extension in Hernando County are teaming up with local businesses, clubs, and county government to host the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup in Hernando County. This International Cleanup began more than 30 years ago when communities rallied together to keep their beaches pristine. Now, thousands of volunteers from around the world can participate in this international cleanup through a location near them. 

Big haul for SCUBAnauts

by LISA MACNEIL
[email protected]

On Saturday, July 20, 2019, the local SCUBAnauts dove the site of the A.H. Richardson Reef to remove tires that served as the foundation for the artificial reef, that began construction in 1977.  Tires as reef material have since been determined to be harmful for marine life.  The SCUBAnauts also retrieved abandoned crab traps, discarded fishing line and rope.  

Additional dives are planned to retrieve more tires, as the carrier boat on this trip reached capacity.

Longleaf Pine Alliance hosts educational program for land managers, private landowners

Article and Photography 
by ALICE MARY HERDEN

The Longleaf Alliance held their Longleaf Academy Program at the Withlacoochee Training Center in Brooksville for staff members from state and federal agencies, forest industries as well as conservation groups, researchers and private landowners.

Longleaf Alliance Technical Assistance & Training Specialist Karen Brown and Vice President of Operations Ad Platt were the instructors of the three-day training program.