Letters to the editor with pictures since 0202. Published on Big Pine Key’s garbage days, Tuesdays and Fridays.
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|[Deer Drinking Water] Save Our Key Deer (SOKD) continues to monitor salinity levels at natural freshwater sources within Key deer habitat, and collected the latest data 4/10-11 for Big Pine and No Name Keys. Southern Florida is experiencing one of the worst dry seasons on record (since the eighteen hundreds), with numerous mainland regions having officially been declared being under “severe drought conditions” by the National Weather Service. It is thus no surprise that the number of natural wildlife-palatable water sources in the Keys has rapidly diminished as well, and is creating a stressful situation for many species. SOKD’s latest results:
Big Pine Key: SOKD sampled 19 sites throughout the main island, including sites last sampled in late January. Only 2 sites have water salinities below 15ppt: 1) the “Blue Hole” 12.7-12.9ppt and 2) a large (and deep) artificial pond on private land south of Watson Blvd. Solution holes that had readings below 5ppt at the end of January are now in the 15.4 – 24.4 ppt range. All other sites sampled are either dried up or have salinities above 18ppt, some actually being hypersaline relative to sea water, as they evaporate and concentrate their salt content. We assume there are likely other sites with relatively low salinities, but our sampling results are indicative of their sparsity. SOKD also resampled 6 sites in the vicinity of Long Beach Drive, where no natural wildlife-potable water was found in January. The situation continues, with many of the sites now having salinity twice that of seawater, as they continue to evaporate. The water situation there is now as bad or even worse than after Irma’s passage.
No Name Key: SOKD resampled 14 sites that include both open ponds and solution holes. The ponds, concentrated in the central part of the island, have either dried up or contain salinities above 30ppt (vs. 23-25ppt range in late January). 7 sites in the solution hole area show salinities in the 14-19ppt range, with one notable exception: a relatively deep, large site that showed 5.6ppt in early March and is holding at 6.4ppt. Another site showed 12.3ppt. The ample deer hoof-print trails and raccoon prints around both of these sites indicate that NNK wildlife is heavily dependent upon these two “last stand” water sources.
These results underscore SOKD’s earlier contention that this year’s abnormally dry conditions which followed hurricane Irma’s saltwater inundation of most fresh water containments have created a very critical water situation for wildlife. The fact that singular drinkable water sources still exist in one or a few portions of the two islands does not alleviate the situation and does not, as per comments by long-time Keys residents, represent a relatively normal condition for this time of year. Since none of the natural water sources have flowing water, the greatly increased concentration of animals and birds also raises the potential for disease transmission. This situation will not be alleviated simply by a passage of a thunderstorm or two, and NOAA is predicting continued abnormally dry conditions to persist for the next two months.
SOKD continues to advocate that wildlife-friendly residents provide drinking water on their property, and continues to call upon Refuge management to do so on federal and state lands – which they so far have not done, nor have they, to our knowledge, conducted any salinity testing on their own in recent months.
One final note regarding the widely quoted 15ppt salinity tolerance cutoff for the Key deer: This value is used by the Refuge and cited as fact in recent scientific publications. It should be noted, however, that it is not based on any controlled experiments. Rather, it is based on two initial observations: 1) a 1974 “Final Report to the US Fish and Wildlife Service” by Klimstra et al. in which he noted visual observations of Key deer drinking out of sources as high as 14ppt during draught conditions; 2) M. Folk (a Klimstra protégé) wrote in his 1991 MS thesis that he observed deer tracks leading to water sources with even higher salinity. More recent publications adopted the 15ppt figure and quote these two sources, but no further direct assessments or experiments were ever done. So it is not known how long Key deer can actually survive drinking water with nearly half seawater concentration, since that is generally not sustainable by other mammals.
|[Clean Up] Kudos to the volunteers who cleaned up the north end of Big Pine Key last Saturday. They did a great job clearing out the mangroves in Port Pine Heights
Is Sammy and Dirt the same people as Laura Emery and Dirt? Full Menu > Big Pine Museum > Dirt and Laura
|[“Snot in movies”] Not only do they show snot, but the puke is more gory and discusting. And everyone still dips their finger in blood to see if it’s blood.
|[Friday Joke] A lexophile is a person who loves punny words, such as “you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish”, or “To write with a broken pencil is pointless.” Here are the results of an annual competition by the New York Times for lexophiles.
No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed. I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.
I just can’t put it down.
I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn’t control her pupils?
When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
When chemists die, they barium.
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.
I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I’d swear I’ve never met herbivore.
I know a guy who’s addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.
I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.
A will is a dead giveaway.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.
He had a photographic memory, but it was never fully developed.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she’d dye.
Acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.
|[Can Planet Earth Feed 10 Billion People] Today the world has about 7.6 billion inhabitants. Most demographers believe that by about 2050, that number will reach 10 billion or a bit less. Around this time, our population will probably begin to level off. As a species, we will be at about “replacement level”: On average, each couple will have just enough children to replace themselves. Link
|[Cost Cutting] “It seems so when I have to order 4 to 6 eggs to get a decent sized breakfast. I think some places recycle their French fries into Home fries too!”
That’s because when you move down here to open a restaurant your first order of the day is to turn a profit. Can’t get high quality food shipped down without paying high quality prices. Want to know why the tiki bars serve mahi mahi from South America? Have you figured out that if you’re eating hogfish that’s it’s from Mexico (due to the limits placed upon local fishermen). Have you eaten grouper out of season? Where did it come from? It’s imported! The reality is, gone are the days of meals created with locally sourced product. Those small eggs are cheaper than the extra-large eggs they price the meal upon. You can thank this trend to the gurus of the restaurant business who preach smaller portions, inexpensive ingredients and substitution. How many Key Lime groves do you see in the Keys? Where do they get the Key Lime juice to make all those Key Lime pies? Yo creo Mexico!
|My neighbor just had his sewer trenched and the pipe laid, but it must be some sort of holiday for the inspector to show up to check things out and allow closing of the site. Like “at your leisure, sir”, even though we pay your salary and give you beaucoup benefits. You do work for us citizens, not the other way around. Typical in the Keys. Get to work!
WTF? Well, it made me laugh, but then again I’m easily amused.
|The only time I’m happy is writing. ~Tennessee Williams
[Napoleon in a Nutshell] Napoleon had an Egyptian slave as a bodyguard who always slept leaning against his bedroom door, closed all newspapers in Paris, pardoned immigrants, killed his opponent Louis XVIII; said, “Power is the appearance of power.” Used to wipe his pen nib on his white breeches, Once his friend–always his friend, shot 4 men as traitors to consolidate his power. Said, “It always comes down to a bit of luck in the end.” He took charge of everything about him–including the facts. Died at 5:49 pm.
|The next meeting of our Big Pine Computer Club is coming up this Saturday, April 14, 10 am at the senior center. Hope to see you there!
[Spearfishing] That’s got to hurt!
|Why isn’t it considered prostitution when a woman sues for sexual her-ass-ment and gets paid for it?
Sometimes I question my sanity. Occasionally it replies.
|[Veteran’s Artists in Residence Programs] All military veteran artists, poets, VR, writers, performance, dance, etc. All art forms accepted. Link
$10 discount at Winn Dixie Weekly ad. Link
|[Other Cities Have Toll Bridges Why Not Us] I read an article about the Mackinaw Bridge, 5 miles long, 60 years old, and the longest in the Western Hemisphere. Anyway, they charge $2 per axle or $4 per car. All others, $5 per axle, to cross from the Lower or Upper Michigan Peninsulas–one way. You can purchase a Mac Pass Discounted Toll Card. $90 minimum / 1 time $10 purchase fee / $80 crossing credits. Minimum subsequent deposits $50 purchase online with credit card or cash or credit card at toll booth. 4 million motorists crossed the bridge last year, generating 22.7 million in revenue. They really could apply it to the Keys. Can’t afford $4? Then you can’t afford the Keys.
|The Florida Keys Southernmost Car Club (FKSCC) holds its monthly Show & Shine this Sunday, April 15th. Noon to 3pm. This free event is for the lovers of classic, custom, and street rod automobiles of all years and makes. Fords, Chevys, trucks, Ratrods, lowriders, and chrome loaded motorcycles. If it cool and on wheels it will be here.
This fun afternoon event is free to all. The event continues at the Sugarloaf Lodge, on Sugarloaf Key, MM17. Prizes, good food and cold beverages are available. The Club’s sound system will provide 50’s and 60’s music. Bring the kids to enjoy these beautiful relics of the auto world.
Club members are seeking new members. Join Sunday and get the a club shirt and sticker. For more information contact Dick Moody 305-942-1758
|[Garbage Day] I find it fitting that Deer Ed publishes the CT on garbage days.
|[Sunscreen Killing Coral] Recent studies that link the active ingredients in protecting skin from damaging ultraviolet rays to coral bleaching has led to a global push for more reef-safe sunscreens. Chemicals in sunscreen that come off while swimming or travel through sewage systems when washed off in the shower are “bigger than climate change,” in causing coral reef damage, In 2015, researchers found that oxybenzone, a common chemical found in sunscreens, is toxic to the symbiotic algae that live within corals, which provides their color and performs other vital duties, and also stunts the growth of corals.
|The Rotary Club of Key Largo recently presented Take Stock in Children with a $10,000 check, in spite of its 18th annual fishing tournament in September 2017 being canceled due to Hurricane Irma.
Rotarians raised funds through local residents’ participation in a virtual tournament including an online silent auction and sales of “Tom Tharp Cooler of Cheer” raffle tickets. A large number of sponsors and anglers agreed to give dollars already paid to support local scholarships in lieu of receiving refunds. The next tournament will be held September 28-30, 2018.
The Ocean Reef Community Foundation was a hurricane relief superhero, giving a special $25,000 award to Take Stock in Children, the college scholarship and mentor program of the Monroe County Education Foundation, specifically replacing the Rotary Club of Key Largo’s historical post-tournament gift. After a State of Florida match, this will result in a total of $70,000 to the mentorship program, important in a year with a record number of participating students.
Free tuition is available from the Key Largo Rotary for certificate programs, classes, or online courses to help Upper Keys residents of any age advance in their current jobs, land better jobs or start new careers here in the Keys. Studies could include job skills for law enforcement, EMT/paramedics, firefighting, marine mechanics, HVAC/electrician, nursing, culinary arts, and other trades. Applications are available at KeyLargoRotary.org and are due on April 21
Photo Left to Right: Coral Shores High student Brandon Rowland, Take Stock in Children Monroe program director Chuck Licis, and Key Largo Rotary president Dennis Caltagirone. Brandon has been in the Take Stock in Children program for three years, and will be attending the University of South Florida to study civil engineering. His mentor is Upper Keys Rotarian Rob Stober.
I was dreaming of the 7 Mile Bridge; we are awaiting our last snow storm!
|[Faith] Reading Tuesday’s CT confirmed my feelings about how religious people live in dream worlds and are more dangerous than terrorists. Reality is not their norm!
[Selfie] I have never been a big fan of “selfies” but this one is pretty cool. A U-2 spy plane flying near the edge of space surrounded by the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
|[Roosters] Deer Key West, if you are annoyed by the roosters please call the Mayor’s office. I personally find them offensive and for the money that my boss pays for rent his workers should not be annoyed during work hours for such a noise nuisance.
In unincorporated Monroe County, there is an ordinance on the books that allows no live stock in a residential area. If you have roosters, please call Code Enforcement and get them to come pick them up. I have no idea why someone would want such a nuisance animal near their home. To me these roosters are not glamorous, they were release from the breaking up of the cock fights.
|Housing project on the rich side of the 7 Mile Bridge. This project is a dead ringer for the 5 year Stalinistic housing projects that went up during the 50’s all over Russia. I think that the wanna-be-never-will-be tourists destination took a giant step into sleeze and anyone of us who’ve been here for a while remember the stench of rotten sea grass as you approached Marathon from the south. It’s still there as a reminder and it’ll never go away. Any government that kicked out the disabled veterans from their building at the west end of the airport will forever be cursed and will be known as a looser.
|Why do the developers who live here want to make this place look like the tenement areas of New York City? Because that’s where they’re from! First, they move here and ruin a neighborhood, then they destroy an island. It doesn’t matter to them because they don’t live in the Keys full-time and seek only a positive return on their investment.
[Locals] Doesn’t this guy play guitar in a rock band in the lower keys? He sure looks familiar. Or maybe I am just thinking of a Jersey girl I met last month.
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