FWC Seeks Input on Possible Changes to Red Drum Rules

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is continuing a series of public workshops to review its analysis of the latest red drum (redfish) stock assessment and discuss possible red drum rule changes.

The FWC wants to hear what people think about its proposals to create regional management areas for red drum and raise the daily bag limit from one fish to two per person in northern Florida.  The Commission also wants to receive comment on possible red drum rule changes in southeastern Florida.

Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens 2nd Anniversary

In celebration of its 2nd Anniversary, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens will proudly open to the public its newest trail, the Rosemary Ridge Trail, on Sunday, November 21st, 8:00AM – 5:00PM.

At 1 mile in length, the Rosemary Ridge Trail is the longest of the Arboretum’s six trails and runs through habitat unlike any other in the park.  Named for the native rosemary that grows there, the trail traverses a Xeric Hammock that offers expansive salt-marsh views and a Sandhill community of lofty pines and seasonal pond.  A side trail allows visitors to see the environmentally sensitive area where the native rosemary and deer moss grow.

Duval County Public Schools Creating a Green Culture

Recently, the Duval County School Board approved the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) proposal of nearly $800,000. The funded amount will continue to expand efforts within three categories: school retrofit, waste reduction activities and low emission vehicles.

Keeping Critters out of Your Home

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- They can cause the kind of damage that can lead to costly home repairs. They are the four-legged critters looking for a place to stay warm.

"There are rodents, squirrels and raccoons always around this time of year looking for nesting sites," said Jeff Saylor.

Saylor, with Arrow Exterminators, said those nesting sites are in First Coast homes.

Saylor the entry points are easy to find; just look near the air conditioning systems.

"Service lines are easy access points for rodents to get into your home," said Saylor.

He said another weak spot is the soffit, the area under the eaves of the roof. 

"Rats can get through an area the size of a quarter, mice can get through about the size of a dime," he said.

Even a tree near your home can become an access point.

Saylor's advice is pay attention to the surroundings.

Killer Bee Hive Removed From Mandarin Woman's Yard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hanging 30 feet in the air in Sara Hatt's backyard is a bee hive, bigger than a basketball.

"A residential neighborhood, a backyard is no place to have a wild bee colony," said Richard Martyniak. ""No reason to leave this here."

When the city refused to remove it, Hatt called On Your Side and was put in touch with All Florida Bee removal.com and  Martyniak, an entomologist and stinging insect expert. Today, he arrived to remove the bees from Hatt's home.

A lab will have to confirm that this hive was built by aggressive African bees, but it had all of the characteristics, said Martyniak.

"African bees tend to build these external nests more frequently than European bees." he said.

Killer Bee Colony Invades, Calls Mandarin Backyard Home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's an intimidating sight, even from a distance - high in a tree 30 feet above the ground.

"It started out small. We thought it was a small bird's nest, didn't think anything of it, but now it is really big," said Sara Hatt.

The hive is in her backyard and she recently had a pest control expert look at the big bee hive in her tree and the results scared her.

"He said it was an African honey bee hive," said Hatt.

It is so menacing, it is restricting the use of her backyard. "We can't use one side ...we can't get the lawn crew to cut the yard. We can't let the dogs out to one side of the yard,"  she said.

Recently one of her dogs got stung and was rushed to an animal emergency room.

"By the time I got him there he was almost dying; they kept him for about six hours. It took him a week to come back from it," said Hatt.

New Blood Perks Up Florida Panther Population

USA Today - By the early 1990s there were only 20 to 25 Florida panthers left out of what was once a large and thriving population – and those that remained were sickly and inbred, destined for extinction within 20 years, experts estimated. So in 1995 conservation managers moved eight wild-caught female pumas from Texas to the area – a reintroduction so successful that between 1995 and 2008 a total of 424 panther births have been documented.