SECTION A - News & Regulations from COE, FWC and others, including Bridge information

The latest Navigation Report can be found at: www.saj.usace.army.mil which goes to the Jacksonville District.

General Information for the Okeechobee Waterway can be found at South Florida Operations Office web page.

Information from COE

The latest Navigation Report can be found at: www.saj.usace.army.mil which goes to the Jacksonville District.

General Information for the Okeechobee Waterway can be found at South Florida Operations Office web page.

 

NOTICES FROM FWC

Notes on Fishing Rules and other announcements

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (a/k/a FWC) keeps us up to date on changes that fishermen (cruising-fishermen included) should know, and other items of interest to boating people. As the audience is somewhat varied, we give a quick note on the news and suggest that those interested in specific topics check it all out at the FWC web site.
There's also information on boating, parks, ramps, etc., etc. and we'll hope to include news on anything we think you'll want to know about.

FWC’s website is www.myfwc.com
 

REPEATING IN JULY

Suggested Tweet: Get your snorkel &mask! Bay #scallop season opens June 28 @MyFWC: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/bf91db #Florida

BAY SCALLOP SEASON JUNE 28 - SEPTEMBER 24

Get your bay scallop bags and shucking tools ready. The recreational bay scallop season opens in some Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) starting June 28, three-days earlier than the season was slated to start. The portion of Gulf state waters is from the Pasco-Hernando county line north and west to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

The season will remain open through Sept. 24, with the first day of the closure on Sept. 25. Gov. Rick Scott asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to open the 2014 season early to provide additional opportunities to Florida’s residents and visitors who flock to the coast to partake in this activity. The season is an economic draw to the coastal counties within the open region. This change is not expected to harm the scallop population.

All size limits and bag limits remain the same. The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half-gallon of meat. Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.

Scallops cannot be taken ashore outside of the open area.

There is no commercial harvest for bay scallops in Florida.

The average number of scallops observed during 2013’s post-season surveys suggests similar or slightly rising abundances for 2014 in Homosassa, St. Joseph Bay and Steinhatchee. The St. Marks average has been decreasing since June 2012, which is most likely due to increased storm runoff in recent years.

Be safe when diving for scallops. Stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag when scalloping in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.

Done for the day? Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at http://svy.mk/bayscallops. Harvesters can indicate where they harvest scallops, how many they collect and how long it takes to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.

Learn more about our new index-based graph, which illustrates long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”



Gone Coastal



For immediate release: June 26, 2014
Photos available on FWC Flickr site: Go to https://flic.kr/s/aHsjBiA5CJ.
 
Video available on FWC YouTube site: Go to http://youtu.be/dwxL70RT4Ls.
 
Suggested Tweet: Have a family-friendly fun #scalloping. Learn more @MyFWC Gone Coastal: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/c04368
#Florida  
 
SCALLOPING OFFERS FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN

I’ll never forget my first time scalloping. It was 2008 and there I was, face down in the water, sun warming up my back, seagrass tickling my feet and legs, searching for hidden treasure and trying not to look up, lest there be something larger than me swimming about. A boat loomed above us, dive flag displayed, warning others that folks were in the water. In the distance, the Steinhatchee coast sat, waiting for our return. That was the day I fell in love with the sport of scalloping.

There is something calming about intensely looking through plot after plot of identical grass for a hidden shell.

You may not believe it, but I even enjoy the cleaning part (something that makes me quite popular with the scalloping crowd).
It is easy to see why the season is touted as a family-friendly activity. Anyone who can snorkel can participate, and if they don’t want to be in the water, relaxing in the boat is not bad either. Cleaning time is great for catching up on the latest gossip or fishing tale. And then, after all is said and done, you get to take your bounty home and make a delicious family meal.
The economic benefits of the season are huge: boatloads of people flock to the open region, often staying a few nights, renting boats, eating in local restaurants and purchasing tackle and gear while enjoying the opportunity to harvest a great food from numerous access points. The open region includes all Gulf state waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. While scallops can be found outside of these open areas, it is within this region that bay scallops are found in large enough numbers to be sustainably harvested.

This year, Gov. Rick Scott asked the FWC to open the bay scallop season June 28 instead of July 1. This way the season would open on a weekend and visitors and residents alike would be free to take full advantage of the beginning of the season.

Don’t feel rushed though, while the beginning of the season is exciting, there are plenty of opportunities for success mid to late in the season. By then, scallops have gotten bigger and are sometimes easier to find.

Interested in participating? While a boat will provide you with the most access to scalloping areas, there are places you can walk to from shore. At the very minimum, you will need a mask or goggles, a recreational fishing license (unless you are exempt), something to hold your scallop catch in such as a mesh bag, and something to make sure you don’t go over your limit, which is 2 gallons of whole scallops in the shell, or one pint meat per person.

Have a boat? The maximum vessel limit is 10 gallons of whole scallops in the shell or ½ gallon of meat. The daily per-person bag limit still applies but, for example, if you have more than five people aboard (each being able to take 2 gallons whole), you still cannot have more than 10 gallons total. Bag limits help ensure the scallop population remains sustainable.
A divers-down flag is also required when scalloping from a boat to ensure other boaters are aware that there are people in the water. Stay safe this season and remember to use your divers-down flag. To learn more about these requirements, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and click on “Boating Regulations” and “Divers-Down Flag.”

Once onshore, cleaning scallops is a cinch. Use an old spoon or knife (just be careful) to pry the shells slightly apart and then run the spoon along the inside of one of the shells, which will separate the meat from the shell. Once open, you will see the white scallop meat in the middle, surrounded by the darker guts. Run the spoon around the edge of the guts and then pull it up and off, leaving only the scallop meat attached to the shell. Finally, use the spoon to separate the meat from the shell. This is just one way to do it (another fan favorite involves a shop-vac), so feel free to do some research before getting started.

Bay scallops are great sautéed and tossed in with pasta, or eaten over a bed of lettuce. There are tons of recipes out there, and looking for them is almost as exciting as searching for the scallops.

I hope you can get out on the water and experience this wonderful season yourself. If you do, don’t forget to send us your photos at Saltwater@MyFWC.com.

News from USCG

BRIDGE NOTICES:
We attempt to include here only notices regarding serious bridge operating schedules. We have discontinued listing temporary changes that draw attention to semi-serious delays such as (most) painting projects, marathons, charity runs,  single-leaf operations, etc.
An exception to the above may be made because of seasonal traffic and items previously included may be kept w/updates.

REPEATING - July through October unless new information is received. 

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY - PALM BEACH SHORES TO WEST PALM BEACH - FLAGLE MEMORIAL BRIDGE:

Bridge Construction/Waterway Restrictions/Temporary Bridge
Regulation Changes/Update.

The Florida Department of Transportation has advised that the Flagler Memorial Bridge will be placed in the open to navigation position for a six month period. Mariners are reminded that the horizontal clearance at the Flagler Memorial Bridge is currently set  at 70 feet and will remain until the new bridge is built and this bridge is removed.

The current schedule for the Flagler Memorial Bridge will remain in effect until it is placed in an open to navigation position. The Flagler Memorial Bridge will open once an  hour on the quarter-hour except that from 8:16 AM to 9:14 AM and from 4:16 PM to 5:14 PM the bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation with no exemptions except for emergencies.

With the Flagler Memorial Bridge left in the open to navigation position from May 12, 2014 until October 31, 2014, all vehicle traffic will be detoured to the bridges south of this structure. For this reason, the Royal Park Bridge will be on an hourly schedule at the quarter-hour (open once an hour on the quarter past the hour) from 6:16 AM until 8:14 PM Monday through Friday, except that from 7:16 AM to 9:14 AM and from 4:16 PM to 6:14 PM this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation. At all other times including Federal Holidays this bridge will open on the quarter-hour and three-quarter hour.

The Southern Boulevard Bridge will remain on the twice an hour schedule (top of the hour and bottom of the hour), except that from 7:31 AM to 9:29 AM and from 4:01 PM and 5:59 PM this bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation.

PCL Construction will be working on the new Flagler Memorial Bridge and will have floating equipment in the vicinity of the Flagler Memorial Bridge. Any and all channel restrictions/closures in support of this new structure will be published in future Local Notices to Mariners and Broadcast Notices to Mariners. This bridge construction is anticipated to be completed by September 1, 2016.


REPEATING,  JULY through DECEMBER

FLORIDA - ST JOHNS RIVER – MAIN STREET BRIDGE - JACKSONVILLE: Bridge Repairs.

The Coast Guard has approved a temporary change to the operating schedule of the Main Street Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida, due to bridge repairs. From January 24 through December 30, 2014, the Main Street Bridge will open with a two hour advance notice between 6:00 a.m. and 6:59 p.m. to the bridge tender either via VHF-FM channel 9 or by calling 904-891-2191.

Between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. a four hour advance notice to the bridge tender will be required to receive an opening.

During the painting operation the contractor will be placing scaffolding under the bridge which will reduce the vertical clearance of the bridge up to 10 feet.
Chart: 11491

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER (SOUTH FORK) – I-95 BRIDGE: Bridge Repairs/Vertical Clearance Reduction.
 
Seminole Equipment is working on the I-95 Bridge across the South Fork of the New River, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Due to painting operations the vertical clearance will be reduced by 5 feet from January 7, 2014 through July 31, 2014. The containment system can be retracted by two feet if 24 hours notice is provided to the contractor.
 
V&M Erectors will be working on another section of the I-95 Bridge across the New River. This work will close the navigation channel at night from 10:00 p.m. through 5:00 a.m. daily, April 6 through September 1, 2014. Mariners requesting passage at night should call 954-290-1877 and provide a two hour advance notice. V&M Erectors may be working on the bridge during daylight hours; but the floating equipment will be placed outside the channel limits.
 
Mariners are request to use caution when transiting through this area as there are currently three projects on going in this congested area.
 
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER (SOUTH FORK) – CSX RAILROAD BRIDGE: New Bridge Construction/Temporary Regulation Change/Horizontal Clearance Reduction.
 
The contractor working on the CSX Railroad Bridge replacement across the South Fork of the New River mile 2.8, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida has requested to temporarily change the regulation governing the existing CSX Railroad Bridge. This temporary regulation change has been approved and has placed this bridge to an on demand schedule whereas the bridge will be placed in the closed to navigation position during certain portions of the construction operations with an open on demand schedule. Mariners are requested to contact the bridge tender on VHF-FM channel 9 for opening and passing information.
 
The pile driving operation began on February 14, 2014 on the north side of the channel with completion scheduled for July 30, 2014. The pile driving operation on the south side is scheduled to begin in September 2014. The estimated completion date for this project is June 2016.
 
FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER (SOUTH FORK) – CSX RAILROAD BRIDGE: New Bridge Construction/Temporary Regulation Change/Horizontal Clearance Reduction.

The contractor working on the CSX Railroad Bridge replacement across the South Fork of the New River mile 2.8, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida has requested to temporarily change the regulation governing the existing CSX Railroad Bridge. This temporary regulation change has been approved and has placed this bridge to an on demand schedule whereas the bridge will be placed in the closed to navigation position during certain portions of the construction operations with an open on demand schedule. Mariners are requested to contact the bridge tender on VHF-FM channel 9 for opening and passing information.

The pile driving operation was scheduled to begin on February 14, 2014 on the north side of the channel with completion scheduled for June 3, 2014. The pile driving operation on the south side is scheduled to begin in August 2014.
The horizontal clearance of the CSX Railroad Bascule Bridge across the New River (South Fork) mile 2.8, Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida has been temporarily reduced to 56 feet.

FLORIDA – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – WEST PALM BEACH TO MIAMI – NEW RIVER (SOUTH FORK) – I-595 BRIDGE: Fender Repair.
 
Sieg & Sons, Inc. has advised the Coast Guard that they are replacing the fender system under the I-595 Bridge across the New River (South Fork), Fort Lauderdale, Florida from June 16, 2014 through December 30, 2014. There is floating equipment restricting the navigable channel. The horizontal clearance will be reduced to 30 feet from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The barge can be removed with 45 minutes advance notice to Ms. Dayana Iglesias at 954-920-5989. There are no vertical clearance restrictions.

New FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER – FT DENAUD BRIDGE: Bridge Discrepancy.
 
Due to an equipment failure the Ft Denaud Swingbridge will only open every 2 hours on the top of the hour between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily. The bridge will remain closed to navigation from 8:01 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Mariners are advised that this bridge is opening and closing very slowly, please proceed with caution.
 

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July 2014 Section A

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