TALLAHASSEE – Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist, the State Emergency Response Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are actively coordinating and responding to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
Message of the day: Sea Turtle Protection
To ensure that sea turtle hatchlings on Florida beaches do not encounter oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service will be relocating nests today in Franklin, Okaloosa, Gulf and Bay counties. Nest excavations have been occurring on Northwest Florida and Alabama Gulf coasts this past month and will continue throughout the summer.
The plan involves carefully transporting sea turtle eggs that are within a week to 10 days of hatching from the beaches in Northwest Florida to a facility on the central-east coast of Florida. When the eggs hatch at this facility, the hatchlings are released on a nearby beach. This type of action is a last resort in Florida, where every effort is made to leave sea turtle nests in place so that hatchlings emerge naturally and depart from the beach where their mother nested. For more information on the plan to relocate Northwest Florida sea turtle eggs, visit http://www.fws.gov/northflorida. To report sightings of oiled wildlife, call 1-866-557-1401. For more information on sea turtle conservation, visit www.MyFWC.com/SeaTurtle.
· The State Emergency Operations Center is activated at Level 1 or full activation.
· The State continues to focus on mitigating impacts to Florida’s shoreline.
· Tropical Storm Bonnie was located approximately 80 miles south-southeast of Miami with maximum sustained winds of 40mph as of 8:00 a.m. EDT. Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches are in effect for South Florida today as strong, gusty winds and heavy rainfall of 2-3 inches with some areas receiving up to 5 inches. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Western Panhandle for Saturday and Sunday.
· On July 22, Governor Crist sent a letter to NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, requesting expedited action regarding the extension of Florida’s red snapper fishing season. Learn more.
· On July 22, NOAA reopened 26,388 square miles of area it had previously closed in the Gulf of Mexico This leaves approximately 76 percent of Gulf federal waters available for fishing. This federal closure does not apply to any state waters. Learn more.
· On July 22, National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen announced that some response activities at the well head site will be suspended temporarily due to the impending tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Learn more.
· On July 21, Governor Crist issued Executive Order 10-169, authorizing property appraisers to provide interim assessments of properties affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Property appraisers in the 26 counties under the current state of emergency declaration are granted authorization to provide an interim assessment of any property that may have declined in value due to the oil spill.
· Currently Deepwater Horizon is not discharging any oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
· All supplemental Tier 3 boom is being removed in the Northwest Florida counties, due to the impending tropical activity in the Gulf of Mexico.
· State reconnaissance teams operating by air, land and sea continue to identify potential impacts and are actively coordinating with cleanup teams. View the latest reconnaissance reports.
· Four Florida branch offices are fully operational in Northwest Florida. These branch offices bring together federal, state and local agencies to streamline response efforts.
· Isolated impacts are expected to continue in Northwest Florida over the next 72 hours. Nearly 90 percent of Florida’s more than 1,260 miles of coastline remains unimpacted.
· Oil Impact Notices are posted for all Escambia County and Walton County Gulf beaches, as well as designated beaches in Okaloosa County. Signs may remain in place until local authorities determine that beaches are no longer impacted by the oil spill. Learn more.
· A portion of coastal state waters offshore of Escambia County is closed to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp. Learn more.
Learn More About Florida’s Response:
· Visit www.deepwaterhorizonflorida.com to learn more about Florida’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, sign up for daily updates, view tips for businesses and consumers, find a listing of Unified Command, BP and Florida phone numbers, and more.
· The Oil Spill Information Line is available at 1-888-337-3569 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. seven days a week. Persons with disabilities can contact 1-800-955-8771 (TDD) or 1-800-955-8770 (voice).