Water Quality Forums in April

Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here

Everyone acknowledges that the interaction between water quality and coral reefs, seagrasses, and marine creatures in the Florida Keys is a complicated issue. Climate-change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, and overfishing all contribute to the health of local waters. Recognizing the importance of water quality, Last Stand and Everglades Law Center are scheduling free forums in April, bringing together a panel of water quality, hydrology, and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys.

Speakers include the director of South Florida Natural Resources Center for Everglades National Park, Bob Johnson, and the director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation, Tom Van Lent, Ph.D. Also on the program are Andrew Baker, Ph.D., associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Jerry Lorenz, director of research for Audubon Florida, and Billy Causey, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The first forum will be in Key Largo on Wednesday, April 16, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Key Largo Public Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy.

The Key West forum will on Tuesday, April 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eco-Discovery Center at 33 E. Quay Road, at the foot of Southard Street in Truman Annex.

This informational sessions are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

 

REEF Fishinars and upcoming events

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Check out the Friends in Focus Schedule – December Thru March in Marathon

www.sanctuaryfriends.org

Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival

Witness the magnificence of the Florida Keys’ spectacular fall bird migration during the 15th annual Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival set for Tuesday, Sept. 24, through Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.

The six-day festival includes a variety of activities from Key Largo to Key West.  Signature events include an excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park, guided birding and butterfly walks and talks, wildlife photography workshops, a free all-day wildlife fair, citizen science with Florida Keys Hawkwatch and boat trips into the backcountry. This behind-the-scenes tour of the wild places of the Florida Keys will be an adventure participants won’t soon forget.

This year’s keynote speaker, Rafael Galvez, is the director of the Florida Keys Hawkwatch, the southernmost migration monitoring project in the continental United States. Hawkwatch documents as many as 25,000 diurnal birds of prey of 18 species during the fall, and more than 120 species of waders, shorebirds and songbirds migrating over the Keys.

Festivalgoers are encouraged to join Hawkwatch at Curry Hammock State Park, as well as joining Galvez on numerous guided bird

Rafael Galvez

Rafael Galvez

walks and two evening presentations. A talented illustrator, Galvez has participated in conservation and education projects in Florida, Latin America and Eurasia.  He is a member of the Miami-based Tropical Audubon Society board of directors, for which he focuses on Everglades conservation issues, and is the publisher of the organization’s print publication.

In addition to migrating hawks and falcons, festivalgoers will witness migrating songbirds, rare endemic bird and wildlife species and the beautiful tropical habitats of the Florida Keys. Festival participants will explore many Keys natural gems while being guided by birding, butterfly and photography experts from throughout South Florida.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, Key West birding guide Mark Hedden and South Florida photographers Dick Fortune and Sara Lopez of Through the Lens Gallery will lead two separate groups on daylong trips via ferry to the Dry Tortugas, 70 miles out from Key West.

For the full festival schedule and registration details, visit www.keysbirdingfest.org. Advance registration is required for many of the events because of limits on the number of participants.

The Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

For more information about the event or registration, contact Kristie Killam at 305-304-9625  or email flkeysbirdfest@gmail.com.

Ocean Life Series – Sept 27

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Town Hall Meeting – August 22 – LAST STAND

For Immediate Release                                                 Last Stand Contact:         Mark Songer (305) 394-3807

Last Stand and Keys Keeper Sponsor Town Hall Meeting August 22nd

Everyone is invited to learn more about the condition of the coral reef, the Lower Keys fishery and economic impacts of water based tourism from the experts on Thursday August 22nd at the Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton Street beginning at 7:00pm.  Admission is free and tickets will be distributed first come, first served beginning at 6:00pm.

Sean Morton, Superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, will speak on the status of new coral species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act and current sanctuary regulations.

Dr. David Vaughan, Executive Director of Mote Tropical Research Laboratory, will provide information on the current status of corals in and near the Key West Harbor and the connection between tourism and healthy coral reefs.

Dr. Aaron Adams, Director of Operations of the Bonefish Tarpon Trust, will describe the overall status of the Lower Keys fishery and present information from a recent study on the economic impact of flats fishing in the Florida Keys.

Jenna Stauffer, Host of Channel 19 Good Morning Florida Keys, will moderate the panel and questions from the audience following the presentations.

“We are excited to have assembled this outstanding panel to provide Key West voters with the facts about the coral reef, tourism impacts on our near shore waters and economy in advance of the October 1st referendum on the channel widening feasibility study,” said Keys Keeper director Steve Trippe.  “None of the speakers will offer an opinion on the referendum, but these experts will discuss important facts Key West voters should consider before the election.”

“Tourism in Key West has always been associated with the natural environment surrounding the Florida Keys.  Last Stand is pleased to partner with Keys Keeper and the Tropic Cinema to allow interaction with experts on the coral reef and the protections the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary provides to sustain it,” said Last Stand President Naja Girard.  “We’re encouraging everyone who needs more information to join us in the Tropic Cinema Carper Theater at 7:00pm on August 22nd for this free public forum.”

For more information, contact Mark Songer, Last Stand Secretary, at (305) 394-3807.

Ocean Life Series – free admission

Sponsored by FIU and the Friends of the Key Largo Cultural Center, the last event of the Ocean Life Series for the season, Living with Coastal Hazards, will be offered FREE to the public. On Friday, July 19th at the Murray Nelson Government & Cultural Center at 7 p.m., Dr. Stephen Leatherman will discuss major research focus and storm impact on coastal areas. Hurricane and storm surge flooding will be key in the discussion. Social Meet and Greet at 6 p.m. More information (305)396-7000.
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GLEE’s Lower Keys Green Drinks – June 2013

Lower Keys Green Drinks meets the third Thursday of the month at The Wharf Bar and Grill on Summerland Key. 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Lower Keys Green Drinks meets the third Thursday of the month at The Wharf Bar and Grill on Summerland Key. 5:30-7:30 p.m.

19th Annual Earth Day Celebration

Located at Bahia Honda State Park

Date: April 12, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Description:

Bahia Honda State Park is having its 19th Annual Earth Day Celebration on April 12, 2014 from 9AM – 2PM. There will be live music, food and activities including: face painting, fish printing and a sand sculpture contest. We’ll also have environmental exhibits and booths, a marine life touch tank and children’s activities. For more information, please call the Bahia Honda Sand and Sea Nature Center at (305) 872-9807. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Fees: Free with park admission

Contact: (305) 872-9807

Directions:

•Bahia Honda State Park is located in the Florida Keys 12 miles south of Marathon on U.S. Highway 1 at Mile Marker 36.8, ocean side.

Bahia Honda State Park 2nd Annual Sport Lobster Season Mini-Event

Date: July 23, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Description:

At the Bahia Honda Boat Ramp

Get information about lobstering, fishing, diving and boating.

Spin the Rainbow Wheel of Knowledge to win a prize!

Tour a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, Free Vessel Safety Checks

View local environmental booths.

*Additional information will be added when it becomes available*

Fees: Free with park admission

Contact: (305) 872-9807

Directions:

•Bahia Honda State Park is located in the Florida Keys 12 miles south of Marathon on U.S. Highway 1 at Mile Marker 36.8, ocean side.