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Trailmix: Outdoors bits and bites

Last month: Do you wear your PFD (personal flotation device) under way?

No:83 percent Yes:17 percentTotal votes: 80

New question:

Which of these do you fear the most?

>> Sharks

>> Lightning

>> Snakes

>> Spiders

>> Stingrays

>> Being lost/alone

Vote at


"If I'm lucky, I'll be 95 years old, stand up on a wave with a big grin on my face … and die. Then I'll float out to sea, get eaten by a shark and become part of nature."

Kelly Slater, nine-time world champion surfer, in EXPN Magazine

Dragons run the pirates out of Tampa for a day

The waters of Garrison Channel in downtown Tampa will be churned up Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races take off from Cotanchobee Park in front of the Marriott Waterside. More than 50 decorated boats with more than 1,000 paddlers are expected to participate. Each boat is about 45 feet long, seating 20 paddlers side by side in 10 rows. In the stern, a steersperson guides while a drummer sits in the bow keeping the stroke rate for the paddlers. Each team will race three times, ultimately crowning champions in seven divisions. For information, go to

Magnet for a day keeps the crocs away?

In Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists are conducting a study in which magnets are strapped to the heads of captured crocodiles in an effort to throw off their "homing" ability. Many times captured and relocated crocs navigate their way back, though many more are killed when crossing roads during the attempt. So now crocodile trappers are taping magnets to both sides of the croc's head at the capture site and removing them at the release point. The hope is that the magnets will disorient the crocodiles and disrupt their navigation. "Scientists in Mexico have reported success in using magnets to break the homing cycle," FWC crocodile response coordinator Lindsey Hord said in a release. "The results of the study are promising." So far in Florida, two crocs have been relocated with magnetics strapped on. One was killed crossing a road (going in the general direction of its capture point) and the other's location is still not known.

People | Peter Clark

What I do: Executive director (and a founder) of Tampa Bay Watch (, a nonprofit environmental group based in Tierra Verde working to protect and restore the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary.

Age: 49. Lives: Tierra Verde

Hobbies, interests: Shrimping, lobstering, fishing, kayaking and snow skiing. "I enjoy exposing my kids (12- and 15-year-old boys) to new sports and activities."

Vacation spot: Florida Keys, but "anywhere were we can get over a coral reef."

Beginnings: Started Tampa Bay Watch in a bedroom in his house in 1993 after learning about the Hudson's Riverkeeper program. Wanted to organize the community on a wide-scale basis to restore the bay. "One of the first things we did was salt marsh plantings. At first we borrowed from healthy areas and transplanted to other areas. Now we have 17 schools and 20 wetland nurseries growing salt marsh grasses." Eighty-nine acres have been planted in 15 years.

Success: The water quality in Tampa Bay is the best it has been since the early 1970s when officials began measuring water quality. The Great Bay Scallop Search is a TBW program that has revealed evidence of that improvement. "People get it; they understand; if they help out with restoration projects, they see the benefit in the bay."

Pet peeve: "What we need to address is stormwater runoff — the pollution that gets carried off driveways and lawns into the bay. People do not realize that the cigarette they flick out the car window floats downstream all the way to the bay when it rains."

Five things every citizen can do to help: 1) Look to see what you are doing in your day-to-day life that affects water usage and consumption. 2) Participate in local community projects (like a beach cleanup, or a salt marsh planting) with one of the many environmental organizations. 3) Vote for the environment. 4) Get kids involved. "They ultimately get to share in successes or failures of our actions today." 5) Be responsible boaters and understand the health of the bay depends on your actions.

People would be surprised to know: "Tampa Bay is one of the few estuaries in the world, because of the money spent, we are able to see measurable differences. The natural resources are responding to the changes. We have a strong success story here, and we need to share that with other places."


{outdoors-related bits and bites}

Trailmix: Outdoors bits and bites 04/30/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 30, 2009 4:30am]
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