Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Environment Publications, September 2016

September’s Environment #EDISPubs offerings include:

·         Planning waterway access in rural coastal communities

·         Planning trails, bridges, and boardwalks

·         Building coastal dunes using “surrogate wrack”

·         Spanish air potato fact sheet: Control Biológico Clásico de la Batata Aérea en la Florida

·         Climate variability & cyanobacteria blooms

·         Primary Screwworm, recently confirmed in Florida key deer in Monroe County



Planning for Recreational Waterway Access in Rural Coastal Settings

Increasing demand for waterfront land throughout the United States is a long-term trend with a profound impact on the public's ability to access coasts and waterways for recreation. Overcrowding at beaches, boat ramps, and popular destinations in Florida's densely populated coastal areas leads more Floridians and tourists to consider recreating in rural coastal communities that still offer the solitude and natural settings desired by many. According to a recent report sponsored by the Outdoor Industry Association, the provision of public water access has increased outdoor recreation tourism, which could bring much-needed economic benefits to rural areas. However, many of these communities lack planning resources to measure local support and user needs and to estimate the benefits that investments in public-access infrastructure might bring. This 6-page fact sheet written by Corina Guevara, Charles Sidman, Robert Swett, and Alan Hodges and published by the Florida Sea Grant College Program describes an approach those communities can use to characterize user needs and to quantify local economic benefits derived from public-access infrastructure with a focus on boat ramp facilities.

Trails, Bridges, and Boardwalks

Trails represent a landowner’s main routes for recreational activities such as walking, sightseeing, horseback riding, and bicycling. They provide access to, and through, forest land and other natural resources. They play an important role in protecting and preserving soil, water, and wild plants and animals. They can be the source of endless hours of enjoyment and relaxation. This 13-page fact sheet written by Alan Long, Anne Todd-Bockarie, Taylor Stein, Keith Bettcher, and Chris Demers and published by the School of Forest Resources and Conservation will help you plan your trails wisely and construct them carefully so that you and your guests can enjoy them to the fullest.

Ecosystems and Species

Building Coastal Dunes with Sea Oats and Surrogate Wrack

Perennial coastal grasses such as sea oats have long been recognized as the biological engineers of our increasingly stressed beaches and coastal dunes. Sea oats build dunes by capturing blowing sand and stabilizing it, and they’re often planted after dunes have been eroded, fragmented, or destroyed. Managers have tried commercial fertilizers and water-absorbing gels to ensure planted sea oats survive and thrive, but these products are not always effective and can be expensive. Removal of natural beach litter, called “wrack” and defined as “algae, grasses, driftwood, fruits, seeds, and carrion, along with cultural litter,” has frequently had the undesired effect of weakening the establishment and growth of sea oats. A relatively cheap and effective method to restore them is to reproduce the beneficial effects of this beach litter with “surrogate wrack.” This 4-page fact sheet written by Natalie Hooton, Debbie Miller, Mack Thetford, and Sean Claypool and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation describes the promising results of a study into the feasibility and effectiveness of surrogate wrack to help sea oats become established and grow more quickly and vibrantly to restore dunes and beaches.

Control Biológico Clásico de la Batata Aérea en la Florida

La batata aérea (Dioscorea bulbifera) es una enredadera herbácea y perenne que puede alcanzar longitudes de 20 metros o más, permitiéndole cubrir y ahogar a la vegetación nativa. En 1999, la batata aérea fue reconocida como un transformador de comunidades de plantas por el desplazamiento de especies nativas, cambios en la estructura de las comunidades y alteración de funciones ecológicas.
This is the Spanish language version of Classical Biological Control of Air Potato in Florida. Written by T. D. Center, W. A. Overholt, E. Rohrig and M. Rayamajhi and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, May 2016.

Facts about Wildlife Diseases: South Tick Associated Rash Illness or "STARI"

Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) is a human tick-borne disease that occurs following the bite of Amblyomma americanum, the lone star tick, which is the most common and aggressive human-biting tick in the South, accounting for over 90% of human tick bites in the region. STARI is often described as a “Lyme-like illness” because it causes a rash like the “bulls eye” rash associated with Lyme. Other symptoms of STARI that are similar to symptoms of Lyme disease include headache, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain. Scientists know the tick vector and that some wildlife species play a role in maintaining the disease in nature, but very little else is understood about this mysterious illness. This 4-page fact sheet written by Katherine Sayler, Carisa Boyce, and Samantha Wisely and published by the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation provides the basic facts we do know, the differences between STARI and Lyme disease, plus advice for tick-bite sufferers and strategies to avoid tick bites.

Natural Climate Variability Can Influence Cyanobacteria Blooms in Florida Lakes and Reservoirs

During the summer, many of Florida's nutrient-enriched lakes and reservoirs experience proliferations of cyanobacteria commonly called “blooms.”. Cyanobacteria are natural in Florida lakes and reservoirs, but when they grow to high levels and bloom, they become a big problem. They look awful, smell bad, and can poison fish and other animals in the water. To help resource managers considering costly remediation projects or evaluating the effectiveness of nutrient reduction strategies to manage the problem, this 7-page fact sheet presents the results from 15 years of studies observing three large, nutrient-rich lakes in Florida (Lake Harris, Lake George, and Lake Okeechobee) to study the relationship between rainfall and cyanobacteria blooms and learn causes of year-to-year bloom variability. Written by Karl E. Havens, Mark V. Hoyer, and Edward J. Phlips and published by the Florida Sea Grant College Program

Primary Screwworm Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel) (Insecta: Diptera: Calliphoridae)

In October of 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture confirmed that the primary screwworm, also called the New World screwworm, has returned to Florida. The fly was found infesting Key deer on Big Pine Key. Key deer are an endangered species found only on the Florida Keys, and unfortunately several have died from the 2016 screwworm infestations, but the screwworm is not only a problem for deer and other wildlife. The pest poses a serious threat to all warm-blooded animals, including livestock, pets, and people, and it cost the US livestock industry billions of dollars before it was finally eradicated decades ago. This four-page fact sheet provides more information about this dangerous pest and how to spot it, as well as what to do and whom to contact if you suspect an infestation in your livestock or pets or in a wild animal. Written by Phillip E. Kaufman, Samantha M. Wisely, and Jennifer L. Gillett-Kaufman and published by the Entomology and Nematology Department.

If you suspect an infestation of screwworms in an animal, do not move the animal (to prevent spreading the infestation). Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) inside Florida. Non-Florida residents should call (850) 4120-3800.


New World Screwworm topic page

Primary or New World Screwworm is the subject of a USDA alert October 3, 2016. A new EDIS topic page directs searchers to authoritative information sources or the IFAS home page ( for additional information as it becomes available.

External Links




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