Rick O'Connor

Author's details

Name: Rick O'Connor
Date registered: April 27, 2012

Biography

Sea Grant Extension Agent in Escambia County

Latest posts

  1. Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey — August 17, 2018
  2. Florida’s Water Quality Woes — August 17, 2018
  3. After Shark Week; What Visitors Should Know About Sharks — August 3, 2018
  4. Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Fecal Bacteria — August 3, 2018
  5. Columbus’s Mermaid; the Florida Manatee — July 6, 2018

Author's posts listings

Our “Seahawk”; the Osprey

As a kid growing up here along the Gulf Coast, I had never heard of an osprey. Now, there is at least one mating pair on almost every body of water in the Pensacola Bay area.  Where did this once unknown bird come from? How has it successfully colonized our coastal waterways? The osprey, like …

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Florida’s Water Quality Woes

Being in the panhandle of Florida you may, or may not, have heard about the water quality issues hindering the southern part of the state. Water discharged from Lake Okeechobee is full of nutrients.  These nutrients are coming from agriculture, unmaintained septic tanks, and developed landscaping – among other things.  The discharges that head east …

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After Shark Week; What Visitors Should Know About Sharks

In recent weeks, the country has heard about shark attacks off the Carolina coast and great whites off the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico – then of course, we just completed “Shark Week”. This sometimes makes visitors to our beaches a bit unnerved about swimming.  Each year we hear about how other activities …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Fecal Bacteria

Of all the issues facing our local estuaries, high levels of fecal bacteria is the one that hinders commercial and recreational use the most. When bacteria levels increase and health advisories are issued, people become leery of swimming, paddling, or consuming seafood from these waterways. I have been following the fecal bacteria situation in the …

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Columbus’s Mermaid; the Florida Manatee

The manatee may be one of the more iconic animals in the state of Florida. In Wyoming, we think of bison and bears.  In Florida, we think of alligators and manatees.  However, encountering this marine mammal in the Florida panhandle is a relatively rare occurrence… until recently. For several years now, visitors to Wakulla Springs …

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An Unwanted Invasive Plant; Beach Vitex

This week’s article is a bit different… it is about nature we hope you DO NOT see – but hope you let us know if you do. Most of you know that Florida, along with many other states, continually battle invasive species.  From Burmese pythons, to lionfish, to monitor lizards, we have problems with them …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Mercury and Public Health

Shrimp, oysters, blue crab and fish have been harvested from the Pensacola Bay System (PBS) for decades, although there has been a decline in all in recent years. Annual landings (in pounds) have ranged from Fish                        66,000 – 4,600,000   (most are scaienids) Brown shrimp    43,000 – 906,000 Oysters                0 – 492,000 Blue crab             400 – …

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Our Magnificent Miner; the gopher tortoise

Just a decade ago, few people would have known what a gopher tortoise was and would have hard time finding one. But today, because of the protection they have been afforded by the state, they are becoming more common.  This is certainly an animal you might see visiting one of our state parks. The gopher …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – Bioaccumulation of Toxins

What is bioaccumulation of toxins?   Our bodies come in contact, and produce, toxins every day. The production of toxins can result during simple metabolism of food.  However, our bodies are designed with a system to rid us of these toxins.  Toxins are processed by our immune system and removed via our kidneys.  Some chemical …

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Restoring the Health of Pensacola Bay, What Can You Do to Help? – A Florida Friendly Yard

We have been posting articles discussing some of the issues our estuaries are facing; this post will focus on one of the things you can do to help reduce the problem – a Florida Friendly Yard. The University of Florida IFAS developed the Florida Friendly Landscaping Program. It was developed to be included in the …

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