DEP ENCOURAGES FLORIDIANS TO CELEBRATE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FOURTH OF JULY

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2012

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us

DEP ENCOURAGES FLORIDIANS TO CELEBRATE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FOURTH OF JULY

~There are many ways to enjoy Independence Day while protecting Florida's natural resources~

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A flag flies at Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach. Enjoy Florida's state parks and natural resources in a responsible way this Fourth of July.


TALLAHASSEE – As Americans prepare to celebrate our country's independence this Fourth of July, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection encourages all Floridians to celebrate responsibly and while keeping the environment in mind.
Residents and visitors alike can take steps to protect our environment this holiday week. Here are some tips for enjoying an environmentally friendly Fourth of July:
-Carpool to parties or barbeques.
-Recycle and use disposable goods.
-Don't litter, which can be a hazard to wildlife and our environment.
-Be responsible with fireworks and fires.
-Pick up after your pets.
-At the end of your fishing time, don’t forget to reel in and properly dispose of tangled fishing line.
-Use pathways and boardwalks when available to protect dunes and native vegetation
-Dispose of any leftover food properly.
-Follow a “pack in, pack out” philosophy and take everything you brought to the beach back off the beach and into trash cans or recycle bins.
Following Tropical Storm Debby, paying close attention to behavior on the beach is even more important. Because of intense rains and wind from the storm, many sea turtle and shorebird nests were destroyed. The Department's Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas staff estimates that 80 to 90 percent of turtle nests in many coastal locations were lost. However, beach surveys by department staff and volunteers, in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, have shown that after the storm, hundreds of new nests have been created. Beachgoers during the Fourth of July holiday and into the weekend can take some steps to help ensure these new nests are successful:
-Don't leave behind your personal belongings.
-Flatten sand castles and fill in holes.
-Pick up litter.
-Stay off dunes and use designated paths.
-Avoid flashlights, fires and fireworks on the beach.
-Keep exterior lights adjacent to the beach off when not used and comply with local Sea Turtle Lighting Ordinances.
Also as a result of Tropical Storm Debby, visitors and residents should heed to warnings about potential submerged debris as a result of flooding, which state and local agencies are working to clean up. This can be a hazard for boaters as well. Be sure to check with your county emergency management office for updates.