Led by Vic Doig and the Lower Suwanee Fire Crew, the Refuge hosted the Annual Fireline Safety Refresher 2-day course. It was attended by about 15 staff members from St. Marks, State of Florida agencies, Crystal River, and our refuge. It included live fire training, training drills, and a chainsaw refresher course.
The Refuge's Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer has been conducting special night details with our State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission partners resulting in 4 arrests, 2 of which involved illegal oyster harvesting with dredges in closed areas that are oyster restoration sites.
Staff member Jason Coates and the Dixie County Work Campers are rebuilding the storm-destroyed Shired Island boardwalk and conducting marsh cleanups in the Salt Creek area. Jason has also cleared the Salt Creek Loop trail and the Natural Pine Forest trail. Both of these beautiful trails are now easy to walk.
Anthony DiMaggio and Josh Havird, both Lower Suwanee Fire Staff, are leaving the refuge in mid February for new positions. This leaves the Fire Program with one staff member, a trainee, and 2 collateral duty fire fighters.
Refuge Forester, Daniel Barrand, continues assisting St. Marks Refuge on forestry operations.
The Refuge is providing office and yard storage space to Mackenzie Russell, UF IFAS Vet School's Marine Stranding Coordinator for Taylor, Dixie, and Levy Counties.