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Environmental Times Spring 2021 - Volume 26 Issue 1 Published by the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management

Protecting Palm Beach County’s Nesting Sea Turtles & Hatchlings From Too Much Light

SEA TURTLE-FRIENDLY LIGHTING

Palm Beach County beaches attract a lot of nesting sea turtles. In 2020 the county recorded over 36,000 nests, making it one of the most densely nested coastlines in the state. Sea turtles typically nest at night and prefer beach locations that are dark and follow proper sea turtle lighting standards. The Department of Environmental Resources Management (ERM) is responsible for the compliance and enforcement of coastal lighting regulations in unincorporated areas and municipalities that fall under the jurisdiction of ULDC Article 14, Chapter A, Sea Turtle Protection and Sand Preservation. ERM monitors 10 municipalities with more than 300 properties along 14 miles of shoreline to ensure artificial lighting, that may disrupt nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, is not visible from the beach.

SHIELDED LIGHT: fixtures that are downward directed, meet or exceed full cutoff that shield bulbs from being directly visible

To expand on these efforts and raise awareness for sea turtle conservation, ERM partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to host a free virtual sea turtle lighting workshop for code enforcement, building professionals, oceanfront property management and residents of Palm Beach County’s coastal communities on March 11, 2021. More than 100 participants attended to learn about best management practices for lighting on sea turtle nesting beaches and the Palm Beach County sea turtle lighting ordinance regulations. Turning off unnecessary interior and exterior lights is the simplest, most effective and energy efficient solution to preventing sea turtle disorientations. In situations where lighting is required for human safety and security, low mounted, shielded fixtures equipped with long wavelength light sources are the sea turtle-friendly choice.

LOW LIGHT: fixtures mounted low to the ground and use lowest wattage necessary

ERM staff have been completing lighting compliance surveys since March and continues to coordinate with properties in order to reduce ambient lighting, especially those associated with pools and common areas at larger resorts and condominiums. As an example, multiple properties on Singer Island have added red light sources to pools and exterior common areas in an effort to eliminate bright white light sources that reflect off of buildings. Fixes like these are often easy, cost effective and have provided significant improvements for coastal properties. Learn more about Palm Beach County’s sea turtles here: https://discover.pbcgov.org/erm/Pages/Sea-Turtle.aspx

LONG WAVELENGTH LIGHT: bulbs produce long wavelength (greater than 570 nm) such as amber, orange or red LED

By Teal Kawana

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER


Environmental Times

Lake Worth Lagoon American Oystercatcher Banding Update

Happy 4th Birthday Currie Park Living Shoreline

May 19, 2021

Since 1999, over 6,000 American oystercatchers have been banded in the U.S. and Mexico. Banding individual birds helps researchers learn about movement, demographics and habitat requirements. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has been placing leg bands on Lake Worth Lagoon American oystercatcher chicks since 2019. So far this year four nesting pairs on Lake Worth Lagoon estuarine restoration projects have hatched six chicks. On May 13 FWC staff banded two chicks at Grassy Flats in the central lagoon. Red Y97 and Red Y98 are now close to flight capable and will be on their own in a few short months. We expect the remaining lagoon chicks to be banded in the next few weeks.

The Currie Park Living Shoreline planters in West Palm Beach along Lake Worth Lagoon are looking very lush and green on their four year anniversary. Thousands of red mangroves and Spartina grass seedlings were installed in seven planters in early 2017. Check out the progression of the "green wave" of mangroves and grasses over the past four years. Living shorelines integrate natural plant and animal communities into designs to control erosion for property owners and managers around coastal Florida. They provide essential habitat for fish and other animals, create feeding areas for wading birds and improve water quality. Additional Living Shoreline planters can be found at Bryant Park in Lake Worth Beach. Learn more about Living Shorelines at https://floridalivingshorelines.com/. Learn more about Lake Worth Lagoon at https://discover.pbcgov.org/erm/Pages/ Lake-Worth-Lagoon.aspx.

By Dave Carson

March 25, 2017

Ready for a leg band 2

March 25, 2017

April 21, 2021

April 21, 2021


Spring 2021

Lake Worth Lagoon Fishing Challenge Update Congratulations to the 2021 Winter Fishing Challenge winners: Youth Overall: Ruby Lockhart (caught 44 fish) Adult Overall: Samuel Shannon (caught 116 fish) Adult Sportfish: Travis Williams (caught 58 sportfish - all snook) Scientist Choice: Joe Pitts (caught 110 fish) Week 2 Random Draw Winner: Willie Puz During the two week Lake Worth Lagoon 2021 Winter Fishing Challenge 46 anglers logged 737 approved submissions of 65 species. Thanks to all the participants for sending in your fisheries information. This data helps the Department continue to preserve and protect Palm Beach County's largest estuary. A special thanks to the generous donors that made this tournament happen - West Palm Beach Fishing Club, Angler Action Foundation, MANG, MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife, Engel Coolers, and Coastal Angler Magazine Palm Beach County. Winter 2021 Fishing Challenge Results By Region

Winter 2021 Fishing Challenge Results

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Environmental Times

Palm Beach County Mosquito Control Tests Two New Insecticides to Help ‘Fight the Bite’ Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management’s Mosquito Control Division works to enhance the health and quality of life for residents and visitors by reducing mosquito populations. An important part of mosquito control is monitoring the effectiveness of insecticides. Division staff collect egg samples and send them to the University of Florida Medical and Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) for insecticide resistance testing. The mosquitoes sampled are the yellow fever and southern house mosquitoes, both of which has the ability to transmit diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus. FMEL rears eggs to adult mosquitoes and exposes them to six insecticides to gauge resistance. Division staff have collected egg samples at 27 locations since 2019. During this past winter they focused on the southern house mosquito. This species prefers occasionally polluted habitats such as catch basins and storm water systems during dry spells, which are prime treatment targets for Division field staff during those times. Results from testing are used to support operations and choices of insecticides within the county. FMEL reached out in March to ask for the Division’s participation in a field trial. The trial tested two insecticide products against local mosquito populations using truck mounted ultra low volume spraying equipment. The Division collaborated with FMEL and ADAPCO, a distributor of insecticide products, to plan and coordinate the field trial. A six by three grid of field stations, with each field station containing three cages of mosquitoes, was set the night of the trial. The grid was located downwind of a spray path so the spray plume would pass through the caged mosquitoes. Two spray runs were completed, one using Fyfanon EW (malathion product) and another using Permasease 3-15 (permethrin product). After 15 minutes, the caged mosquitoes were transferred into clean holding cages. Mortality was recorded at specified intervals to determine whether successful control had occurred. The Mosquito Control Division plans to add a new insecticide to the program due to the results of the trial. To learn more about Palm Beach County’s Mosquito Control Division visit https://discover.pbcgov.org/erm/Pages/MosquitoControl.aspx. By Steven Fazekas

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Top photo: Field station with three cages Middle photo: Close up of a cage Bottom photo: Recording mosquito mortality


Spring 2021

A Revamped Tri City Trailblazers Program Brings Students and Nature Together

After a year of virtually no in-person outreach events, the Department resumed the Tri City Trailblazers Program in January 2021 in partnership with the county’s Youth Services Department. The program works to engage middle and high school students with the following goals: Expose students to new hands-on experiences in outdoor settings Educate students through exploring ecological habitats Encourage a positive connection with nature that has many health benefits

Family Time - Florida Sandhill Crane Style

A family of Florida sandhill cranes moves through the grasslands at Pine Glades Natural Area. Within 24 hours of hatching, the young are capable of following their parents away from the nest. Together, they forage for seeds and roots, crop plants such as corn and peanuts, insects, snakes, frogs and occasionally young birds or small mammals. The chick may remain with its parents for 9 to 10 months. Florida sandhill cranes can also be observed at Cypress Creek and Loxahatchee Slough natural areas. Visit pbcnaturalareas.com for more information about these sites.

With the down time in 2020 due to COVID-19, staff began to reassess the structure of the program to see what could be done to improve the participants experiences. The new and improved Tri City Trailblazers Program provides more opportunities for outings. Instead of four days per year, there will now be monthly outings all year long. It also allows more students to participate as all three Palm Beach County Youth Empowerment Centers - Belle Glade, Lake Worth and Riviera Beach – are participating in the program. The main focus of the 2021 Tri City Trailblazers Program is to show the students that nature is within their reach and they don’t have to travel far to find it. Many of the field trip destinations are planned for restoration projects and natural areas located close to the Youth Empowerment Centers and where the students live and go to school. So far in 2021 three field trips were conducted and 21 students from the Lake Worth and Riviera Beach Youth Empowerment Centers participated in programs at Lantana Scrub and Lake Park Scrub natural areas. The students learned about the fragile and endangered scrub habitat and how lucky they are to live near it. They discovered how to orienteer using a compass and identify birds. Future trips will feature topics including reptiles, insects, wetlands and life in the estuary. By Samantha Corr

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Environmental Times

ERM’s Virtual Field Trips Bring the Great Outdoors to Students Stuck Indoors During the Long Season of COVID -19 The Department began working with Ms. Heather Magill from Palm Springs Community Middle School to do virtual field trips for Palm Beach County students in April 2020. The program was so successful that we continued with "cyber field trips" through the fall 2020 semester and into 2021. The most recent virtual field trips were held at Pine Glades (2/18), Winding Waters (3/30) and Loxahatchee Slough (4/29) natural areas. During the Pine Glades field trip, students revisited the area they witnessed being burned during the January field trip to see how plants and animals adapt to prescribed fire. Also during this field trip roseate spoonbills, wood storks and other wading birds were highlighted. For the March field trip at Winding Waters the focus was on reptiles and amphibians. One of the reptiles students learned about was the non-venomous banded watersnake. Wetland plants were highlighted during the April Loxahatchee Slough field trip. Topics included monocots vs. dicots, photosynthesis and carnivorous plants such as the yellow bladderwort. These live virtual field trips get a second life on YouTube. Some of the field trips have each been viewed over 800 times! Just search for ERM Virtual Field Trip on YouTube to find these videos. The Department has two more virtual field trips planned so that students stuck indoors can still experience the great outdoors.

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Pine glades natural area

Winding Waters natural area

Loxahatchee Slough natural area

Winding Waters natural area


Spring 2021

ERM and FWC volunteers removed 500 pounds of invasive love vine from Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area in April.

KEEPING IT CLEAN AND GREEN

VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION During the first four months of 2021 Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management volunteers donated 697 labor hours to help preserve the county’s precious environment. More than 250 volunteers worked on 26 projects in county-owned natural areas and restoration projects. They removed 8,720 pounds of trash and planted 1,400 grasses. By Ann Mathews

Staff from iTHINK Financial Group, and their families, removed 200 pounds of trash from Lantana Scrub Natural Area in February.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions employees planted 500 sand cordgrass seedlings in Yamato Scrub Natural Area in April.

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Students from Spanish River High School in Boca Raton planted 220 sand cordgrass seedlings at Pondhawk Natural Area in January.

Staff from SOLitude Lake Management, and their families, removed 250 pounds of trash from Winding Waters Natural Area in March.

Department volunteers removed 600 pounds of nonnative invasive plants from Juno Dunes (oceanfront) Natural Area in February.

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Environmental Times

By Jena McNeal

This spring the Andrew Red Harris Foundation (ARHF) donated 2,500 tons of reuse concrete culverts that were placed 1.5 miles northeast of the Jupiter Inlet in 55 feet of water. The culverts were used to extend the Andrew Red Harris Foundation artificial reef to the south and better connect existing artificial reef material. This exciting addition makes the entire artificial reef at this location nearly a mile in length and showcases six different types of artificial reef material. This amazing underwater habitat would not be possible without the donations from the ARHF over the past six years. After this year’s deployment, the ARHF will have donated nearly $1 million in artificial reef material and deployment costs, an unmatched donation in the history of Palm Beach County’s artificial reef program.

Artificial reef locations, including this one highlighted in the article, can be found at pbcreefs.com

Volume 26 Issue 1 Published quarterly by the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management 2300 N. Jog Road - Fourth Floor West Palm Beach, FL 33411-2743 561-233-2400 pbcerm.com www.facebook.com/pbcerm Deborah Drum..........Department Director Michael Stahl...................Deputy Director Ann Mathews...................Editor/Graphics

Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Dave Kerner, Mayor Robert S. Weinroth, Vice Mayor Maria G. Marino Gregg K. Weiss Maria Sachs Melissa McKinlay Mack Bernard Verdenia C. Baker, County Administrator

Profile for pbcerm

Environmental Times Spring 2021  

This quarterly newsletter published by Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management highlight's the local environmental restoration...

Environmental Times Spring 2021  

This quarterly newsletter published by Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management highlight's the local environmental restoration...

Profile for pbcerm
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