This blog is dedicated to the environmental well-being of our Florida coastal habitat.

This blog is
dedicated to the environmental well-being of coastal habitat.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Midnight Pass - Past

In days of yore, Midnight Pass, at the south end of Siesta Key, was an open pass. There are several stories about its closing in 1983. Today, the closed pass has become a destination for kayakers and small boaters. Check out the Littoral Society kayak trip on July 31.



Report ranks florida 9th in beachwater quality
- Tampa Bay Online

Venice beaches are critized
- Sarasota Herald Tribune

July 31 sunset/moonlight paddle

On July 31 , a Kayak Sunset/moonlight paddle is scheduled for 7-9:30pm.

Cost is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

Call John at (941)966-7308 for reservations. .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Acorn Barnacles

These pale gray acorn barnacles live all over the rocks along the shore at Casperson Beach.

They attach themselves permanently to a hard surface growing their shells directly onto the rocks here.

The shells are usually constructed of six plates — and reach into the water column with modified legs. These feathery appendages beat rhythmically to draw plankton and detritus into the shell for food.

This Wikepedia video of barnacles feeding is too good to miss:

Would the snails here eat the barnacles if they could? You bet!

Landowners balk at Fort Myers Beach dunes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shark's teeth

The beaches south of Venice, Florida, are known for shark teeth. The teeth range from those of serrated (white sharks) to lanceolate (sand sharks). Most of the teeth are less that half an inch long.
Photo by Melissa Hlinka

In places nearby, megalodon teeth can be found. The megalodon was a giant shark that lived in prehistoric times and could grow to more than 60 feet long. Fossil evidence has revealed that megalodon fed upon large marine animals. The teeth found are up to 4 inches long. See:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ALS Kayak Trip - July 29

We'll explore the Inland WaterWay near Caspersen Beach and Lemon Bay on July 29 from 8:30am-11:30am.

Call John at (941)966-7308 for reservations.
Cost is $20 members, $25 for non-members

Members who own a kayak and life vests are welcome to go on this trip for a $5 donation to ALS.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Casperson Beach - July 2009

On Casperson Beach, south of Venice and south of where the paved road ends, bathers wade on and swim off the unrestored beach.

A rocky beach lies north where restoration was attempted.

This ramp once provided access to a sandy beach.

Sharks teeth still abound among the rocks and offshore shallows...

... and kids hunt for small crabs and other sea life.

Occasionally, a gopher tortoise gets confused and wanders down from the high, sandy woods

to the seaweed on the shoreline and

Gopher photos by Melissa Hlinska

looking very confused, decides to head back to the high and dry bushes.

Thanks to Melissa Hlinka, from Germany, for the Casperson gopher photos.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Florida Stingray

Stingrays sometimes hide under the sand in shallow water.
This stingray was caught on a line on a St. Petersburg, FL beach.

Photo by Melissa Hlinka

Bottom view
Photo by Melissa Hlinka

Tail barb
Photo by Melissa Hlinka

The Stingray Shuffle will go a long ways to preventing an injury. "Scoot" your feet along the bottom the minute your toes hit the ocean water. Try to it do hard enough to "make noise". The vibrations frighten rays and they will move off away from what they perceive as threatening activity.

See also:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kayak Trip - Little Manatee River

Kayak with the SE Littoral Socety July 25 on the Little Manatee River 9am-1pm. The charge is $30 for members and $35 for non-members. Call John at at (941)966-7308 for reservations. (Members who own a kayak and life vests are welcome to go on this trip for a $5 donation to ALS.)

The Little Manatee River begins in a swampy area near Fort Lonesome and flows almost 40 miles before emptying into Tampa Bay. The river has been designated an Outstanding Florida Water and is part of the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve.

What is an Outstanding Florida Water?

"An Outstanding Florida Water, (OFW), is a water designated worthy of special protection because of its natural attributes. This special designation is applied to certain waters, and is intended to protect existing good water quality.

Most OFWs are areas managed by the state or federal government as parks, including wildlife refuges, preserves, marine sanctuaries, estuarine research reserves, certain waters within state or national forests, scenic and wild rivers, or aquatic preserves. Generally, the waters within these managed areas are OFWs because the managing agency has requested this special protection." -- Florida Environmental Protection Agency

Clam calamity in Caloosahatchee
- Fort Myers News Press

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lemon Bay Park: Watersheds and Aquatic Preserves

Lemon Bay Park Center in Englewood

Lemon Bay Park
is in the Lemon Bay Watershed and part of the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves.

"A watershed is the land area that drains water into a canal, stream, river, bay or other body of water. All rain falling in Sarasota Bay either falls into the ground, or flows over land and becomes part of a larger body of water. How we treat the land affects the quality of the land - and our quality of life." - Lemon Bay Park

Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve

See: Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve

See also: Lemon Bay Conservancy

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lemon Bay Park Gopher Tortoise

This gopher tortoise was photographed at Lemon Bay Preserve near Englewood. The sandy, pine woods near the Bay serves as a perfect habitat.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance launches a Florida-focused website

You are invited to enjoy an interactive website to celebrate the Gulf of Mexico. Usually called “The Gulf” by locals like you, the Gulf of Mexico brings a bounty of seafood, jobs, and economic stimulus to the Sunshine State.

Celebrate and learn about The Gulf, and it’s importance to Florida and the Nation through this renovated website brought to you by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance – a federal, state, and local partnership program dedicated to the environmental and economic health of The Gulf.

The website includes:

· Gulf of Mexico Minute podcasts

· A media center for journalists

· Links to dozens of videos and online games

· List of Gulf-friendly events

· Interviews with real scientists studying The Gulf and its cool critters

Sarasota Seagrass Survey

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bay Life Search : July 18, Lemon Bay Park

Explore the sea life near our beaches with American Littoral Society biologists. We’ll be searching shallow shorelines and sea grass beds, observing, collecting, and discussing the natural history of some of the many interesting fishes and other animals that inhabit Sarasota Bay. No charge but donations always welcome.

Call Bruce at (941) 493-5087 for reservations.

**Directions to Lemon Bay Park:
o south on I 75 to Jacaranda Blvd. Proceed south on Jacaranda to 776. Turn left toward Englewood. Proceed about 5 mi. and take right fork onto Old Englewood Rd. Go south about 1.5 mi. and turn right on Stewart St. Proceed west on Stewart to the end and turn right on Bay Park which will take you to the entrance of Lemon Bay Park. Park in far NW corner of parking lot.

Study: Seagrass decline severe
- Florida Keys News

Duel in the Sand

Shell Beach - North Siesta Key
Directions: (from the north) : Take the Siesta Drive bridge west from Sarasota ; follow Higel Drive south to Shell Road. Drive west to the small, sandy parking lot at the end.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2nd Annual Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search

Come join Sarasota Bay Watch by participating in the 2nd Annual Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search on Saturday, August 8 at the Sarasota Outboard Club on City Island, Sarasota.

To help determine and monitor the local scallop population, Sarasota Bay Watch is seeking water enthusiasts and supporters of marine life to spend a few hours searching for scallops at pre-determined locations. The event is free and includes a Sarasota Bay Watch t-shirt and lunch. Participants must bring snorkel gear and are asked to provide their own boat and crew. Sarasota Bay Watch will provide all other equipment and training.

The event begins with at Captains' Meeting at 8:30 a.m. at Sarasota Outboard Club on City Island. The Search will commence immediately following the Captains' Meeting and will conclude at noon. The general public is welcome to attend the post-search event from noon - 1 p.m. to learn about scallops and to see the results from the 2nd Annual Sarasota Bay Great Scallop Search.

Because this is a boating event, only a limited number of participants can be accommodated. To register call 941.953.5333, visit and go to CONTACT US or email

Here's a report from last year:

Midnight Pass BEACH

The closed-up Midnight Pass, south of Siesta Key, has become a destination for small boaters who cross over to the beach to sun bathe and picnic.

Turtle Beach Erosion

December 2007 web article: 'Temporary Reprieve at Turtle Beach, Sarasota, Florida"
"Storm surges carried away both sand and structure in preceding months. (Note the caved-in swimming pool in front of the house on the left.) The sand was recently replaced and the surroundings repaired.

We estimate the whole problem will recur within a decade. For the time being, however, you can park at Turtle Beach and walk to Palmer Point (Midnight Pass)."


In the following early 2009 Google Earth photo, beach erosion has occured and the swimming pool is on the water.

July 5, 2009 - The swimming pool has been removed. (photo taken at low tide)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Santuary panel tries to balance bay plan

War heats up over beach access
- Sarasota Herald Tribune

Take our Littoral Society survey:
At which beach access areas do you have parking difficulty?
(middle of right-hand column, this page)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Recreational Harvesting of Florida Bay Scallops
- Florida Sea Grant

Live Bay Scallop - Photo by Dave Bulloch

Bay Scallops - Harvesting Regulations
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Doctors Reef Completed
- Naples Daily News

Casperson Beach Erosion

A visit to Casperson yesterday verified the erosion shown in the following photos:

Many people were on the beach that is left. They were searching for sharks teeth and shells among the rocks. A number of marked turtle nests were in evidence at the southern access point.
One small turtle was walking down to the shore, having its photo taken by numerous tourists, and returning to the upper vegetation.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shell Key Kayak Trip .... plan ahead

Shell Key Preserve, in Pinellas County, is a lovely place to kayak. Join John and the gang on July 11, 9am-1pm. The cost is $30 for members or $35 for non-members.

Call John
at 941-966- 7308 to reserve a spot.

See for maps and information.

U.S. money going for reefs
- Miami Herald