A recent publication from Florida Sea Grant should be required reading for Florida residents. Karl Havens, Gary Lytton and William Seaman have done an outstanding job of describing how Florida’s estuaries provide Florida residents and visitors with outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities and economic benefits.
Florida estuaries are popular destinations for canoeing, kayaking, bird watching or just plain old nature watching. They also provide the resource to support large commercial and recreational fishing opportunities.
In stormy weather estuaries are protectors of the coast as they dissipate wave energy created by the storms and lessen the damage to property. In the author’s words, “estuaries are coastal treasures.”
Many questions are answered in this booklet from Florida Sea Grant. What is an estuary? What role do mangroves and seagrass play in the scheme of things? What aquatic animals are found in Florida’s estuaries? How do humans impact the estuaries? After answering these and many more questions the authors create a recipe for estuary friendly living.
One of my favorites related to practicing estuary-friendly boating. Count them up, and Florida has more than a million registered boats. While those boats are being used to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the great outdoors damage can be done, often times inadvertently. Plenty of things can be done to prevent the damage and the booklet points out many.
Fuel spills, for example, are a big problem, but one that can be reduced significantly with a little common sense. When you consider that one quart of oil leaked into the water can create a two-acre oil slick it is easy to see why precautions are in order.
“Keep your boat in top running condition,” say the authors. “Use extreme caution when fueling. Accidental overfilling of fuel tanks is one of the most frequent causes of fuel leaks into estuaries. Check with your local marine supply store for devices that can be used to prevent fuel spills.”
Readers will find many more ideas, related to many circumstances, where they can become better stewards of Florida’s outdoor resources. Knowledge is power and the knowledge found in this 24 page document can help readers enjoy estuary friendly living while contributing to estuary longevity.
Click here to read the full document which is also available for iPad and Kindle.
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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.