Santa Rosa County Extension Service Sea Grant Marine and Environmental information.

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Gulf Sturgeon

The Gulf Sturgeon is a threatened species found in local rivers during the summer months. These are prehistoric fish that migrate to saltwater for the winter. They can grow to be more than 8 feet long, and weigh more than 300 pounds. These fish spawn in the upper portions of the Escambia, Yellow and Choctawhatchee Rivers in the spring. They are awesome creatures. If you are ever fishing on one of these rivers and you hear a large splash, it is probably that of a gulf sturgeon jumping out of the water, you may even be luckily enough to see one jump. Remember, these are listed species and it is illegal to harvest a gulf sturgeon.

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles have started their nesting season on our beaches. Be sure and keep lights that face the Gulf of Mexico turned off, covered, or use turtle friendly lights. If you see a turtle nesting, do not disturb her! The sea turtles that utilize our beaches are threatened species. There are fines involved if a person is caught tampering with a nest or harassing a turtle! Female sea turtles usually come back to the same beach they hatched on to lay their eggs.

Hurricane Season

June is also the beginning of hurricane season. A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is the general term for all circulating weather systems over tropical waters. In the Northern Hemisphere these storms circulate in a counterclockwise rotation. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows: Tropical Depression – Maximum sustained winds less than 39 mph Tropical Storm – Maximum sustained wind from 39 to 73 mph Hurricane – Maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or greater. It is not too early to be prepared! Have an emergency plan ready! If you plan to evacuate, know where you will go, the route you will take to get there, when you will leave and what supplies you will take. Start to prepare an emergency kit now. 

Go Fishing

Take a kid or a friend fishing! What a great way to spend quality time with your family and friends. Some good places to fish from shore in our area Bear Lake, Hurricane Lake, Karick Lake and along the banks of Blackwater, Escambia and Yellow Rivers at public access sites. For saltwater fishing visit the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, Shoreline Park, Ft. Pickens Fishing Pier, the new Pier at Pensacola Beach, Okaloosa Island Pier, or the fishing bridge over Pensacola Bay, along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, or at public access sites along our bays and bayous.


Protecting Our Pollinators in the Landscape

Bees, butterflies and other insects play important roles as pollinators in our environment. Over 50 major crops in the United States and at least 13 crops in Florida depend on honey bees. Many native plants in natural areas also depend on insect pollinators for reproduction. In Florida, over 300 bee species play a role in pollination! Many factors affect the health of our pollinators. One of those factors we can easily control in our own


A Lovely but Troublesome Tree

All along the roadsides and in home landscapes in summer, a profusion of fluffy pink blossoms are adorning trees known as mimosa, or Albizia julibrissin. This native of China was introduced to home landscapes in this country in the 1700’s to enjoy the fragrant, showy flowers and fine, lacy foliage. However, there is a dark side to this lovely tree. After blooming, it produces an abundance of pods each containing 5 to 10 seeds.


Design Your Own Butterfly Garden

Butterflies are not only beautiful to look at in your landscape; they serve as important pollinators and indicators of the health of our environment. Attracting them to your garden and incorporating some features to get them to stay and make it their home involves a little planning ahead of time for optimum results. Choose a location that provides some protection from wind. Trees and shrubs that provide wind protection also serve as a safe