Category Archives: GRASI

American kestrel nestling by Larry R. Goodman

Kestrel, American. Nestling. BRSF, FL 061510

Submitted by Peggy Baker of Francis Weston Audubon Society of Pensacola, the society which completed a 2 year study recently of the birds in Blackwater River State Forest (abbreviated report by Peggy Baker posted in this blog, 2013).   The photo of the nestling was taken by Larry R. Goodman.

Peggy writes:

“Here is a picture of the southeastern subspecies of the American kestrel.

“This bird nested all over the SE US at one time.  In the last 80 years it has lost 70% of its population.  Most of these birds nest in the middle of the state.

“This bird was photographed and thus documented in Blackwater by our survey team after FWC put up nestboxes in an area where we saw pair feeding young.  Now there are numerous pairs in these FWC boxes.   We cannot find another record of these birds nesting in Blackwater.  So with the return of the Longleaf/wiregrass habitat, this bird has expanded it range.  Larry Goodman is our our photographer.”

Comment:  GRASI  EIS notes that the open areas of the forest would be advantageous for positioning of temporary camps.   These are the areas in which the birds would be found.  Although the report by the society was available at the time of the initial EIS, no mention of this report is found in the species to be impacted.

Expressions of these forests: comments sent to GRASI

See:  http://www.grasieis.leidoseemg.com

Hit documents.

There are 3 reports cited on top, hit the one in the middle “…Appendices B-1…”

Comments submitted at the GRASI scoping hearings in August, 2013, e-mailed or mailed later are found on sections B113-B179, B182, B 192-93, B 204-209.   A summary on subjects spoke to are found  in B14-B28.

Eglin Air Force Base GRASI document available

 

Just posted on the Federal register:   http://www.//http.grasieis.leidoseemg.com

Hearings on this document which describes how the military plans to use these two state forests for military maneuvers and communications overlay over the forests:

June 3, Tuesday, Carrabelle City Hall 6:00PM

June 4, Wednesday, Apalachicola, Franklin County Commission, Main Court Room, 6:00 PM

June 5, Thursday, Santa Rosa Bagdad Recreation Facility, 6:00 PM.

All comments must be received by June 23.  See document for above for form and comment instructions.

For more information see: http://www.//http:letterstograsi-flofficials.com.

 

 

Military Exercises in BRSF Will Require Amendment and Future Approval

The Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC)  of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)  which approves all management plans and amendments to these plans for state lands entrusted to the Division of Public Lands,  on December 13, 2013, approved the Blackwater River State Forest (BRSF)  10 year management plan with one proviso.  They qualified the paragraph which had to do with military expansion in that forest to require any military exercises, such as that mentioned in the GRASI proposal, would require an amendment to the plan and require ARC approval before the exercises can commence.  I will get the exact wording next week.

There was a very good show of people representing 1) North Florida paddlers (about 14 people with 4 who testified) and a legislative staff aide, 2) The Native Plant Society, 3) Frances Weston Audubon Society (8 with 3 who testified) and State Audubon Conservation Direction Julie Wraithmell, 4) Several other speakers opposed or questioning the military exercises.  The council delayed hearing the BRSF plan till 11 am to enable people from Pensacola to leave for Tallahassee at a reasonable time, particularly since many also attended the “town meeting” the night before in Milton, jointly sponsored by Eglin AFB and Florida Forestry.

The testimony of John Veasey, an Air Force veteran of 24 years and a frequent user of BWSF resulted in a question to the Director of State Forests the next day by Peter Frederick, council member and U of Florida Professor, asking why there were military in the state forest when he was under the impression that this had not been authorized.   Jim Karels, Director of State Forests, replied that under a forestry use permit when Eglin AFB request use for several days, they were usually issued a permit.

At the Apalachicola  “town hall”  meeting that night  John Brown, who has been the main point man for forestry, was asked whether the Tate’s Hell Forestry Plan which does not currently have the military inclusion clause in it would have to be amended before military training is allowed.   He answered in the affirmative.   When asked whether there would be adequate notification of a hearing and adequate time for people to read the amendment, he equivocated.

Forestry claims that the military are users, too, and is issuing permits under an ordinary user request.  Most of the people at both the Milton and the Apalachicola town meetings held on December 11 and 12, 2013, would question that interpretation of “resource-based recreation” user.

Eglin AFB Operations Plan for Military Training on Blackwater River State Forest and Tate’s Hell State Forest

I have excerpted the Annual Operations Plan (and agreement between Eglin AFB and the Florida Department of Agriculture) in the sister blog http://www.letterstograsi-flofficials.com.  It is too long for me to retype it here.

You can also view the 14 page plan at http://www.pnj.com/interactive/article/99999999/NEWS12/131017014/Timeline-Eglin-s-proposed-military-training-Blackwater-River-State-Forest?nclick_check=1

Operational Plan for Eglin AFB in Tate’s Hell and Blackwater River State Forests

See:   http://www.pnj.com/interactive/article/99999999/NEWS12/131017014/Timeline-Eglin-s-proposed-military-training-Blackwater-River-State-Forest?nclick_check=1

Panel 4,  when clicked, will give you the operational plan.