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"Don’t Feed The Monster!" video uses humor to educate about proper fertilizer use

The City of Sanibel has posted an educational video titled, “Don’t Feed the Monster!” on the City's website. The video was produced by the Fertilize Smart Education Consortium which includes the City of Sanibel, City of Bonita Springs, Charlotte County, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Lee County, City of Fort Myers, City of Cape Coral, The Islands of Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce, and the South Florida Water Management District.

The video portrays a fertilizer algae monster resulting from improper amounts of fertilizer that is carried by run-off and redirected to our shores, bays, rivers, and lakes.

According to the city's website, "It is vital that we fertilize properly to keep our sanctuary island and pristine waters clean. The actions we take in our homes and yards affects our water quality and wildlife resources."


Public workshop on "water reservations" in Kissimmee River Basin July 30th

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Maintaining the availability of water is a key component of environmental restoration and management affecting the Upper Chain of Lakes and the Kissimmee River and floodplain. Together, these remarkable Central Florida water bodies shelter 52 species of fish, 98 species of wetland-dependent and wading birds, 24 species of reptiles and amphibians and mammals including the marsh rabbit, river otter and round-tailed muskrat. Ultimately, all of these species are dependent on water and the success of other wildlife in their shared habitat.

To assure water for the protection of fish and wildlife within the Upper Chain of Lakes and restored Kissimmee River and floodplain, the South Florida Water Management District is developing rules to reserve water for those purposes. The District, State of Florida and the United States government have provided substantial support for restoration of these ecosystems. To date, Florida has invested $400 million in headwaters projects encompassing lakes, the river and its floodplain. This accounts for 25,000 acres of wetland habitat critical to the protection of fish and wildlife, including endangered or threatened species. When implemented, the reservation will guarantee that the water needed to keep these ecosystems thriving will not be allocated for consumptive use.


When: July 30, 2014, 10 a.m. to noon

Osceola County Commission Chamber
Fourth Floor (Room 4100), Administration Building
1 Courthouse Square
Kissimmee, FL 34741

Related Links:

Reservation Rule Development Activities 2008-2009:

Source: South Florida Water Management District

More information about the Kissimmee River Basin


Gulf Stream gold: Mining green energy from Atlantic currents

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The Gulf Stream meanders clockwise from the Gulf of Mexico, past the mid-Atlantic coast toward Europe. It is one of the most powerful currents in the world, and it is full of life. Landbound humanity is hoping to capitalize on the Gulf Stream’s fast-flowing waters, eyeing them as a potential source of endless power and a possible solution to Florida’s energy needs. A pilot project to test a variety of electricity-generating turbines right in the middle of the Gulf Stream has been given the go-ahead in the form of a five-year lease to Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The lease covers 1,000 acres right in the flow of the current.

The environmental upside is obvious. It is believed the Gulf Stream has the potential energy — from a clean and renewable source — to supply Florida with 35 percent of its electrical needs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The full article is at America.Aljazerra.com

Written by: Patricia Sagastume
Connect with her on twitter: @PatSagastume

Imagery provided by: FAU / SNMREC


Cleanup at Lake Wire this Friday, July 25th

The Month of July is Lakes Appreciation Month! The North American Lakes Management Society (NALMS) has designated July as Lakes Appreciation Month to recognize the importance of lakes for drinking water, energy production, food production, and for aesthetic and recreational value.

The City of Lakeland’s Lakes & Stormwater division is asking citizens to participate in a lake cleanup in July as part of Lakes Appreciation Month. The final cleanup will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: July 25 at Lake Wire, 20 Lake Wire Drive, Lakeland. Please contact Stephanie Witherspoon for more information.

The City's Adopt-A-Lake program involves a group "adopting" a specific lake, and commiting to at least four cleanup events a year. After the first year, an Adopt-A-Lake recognition sign of the city will supply and install a sign of recognition in honor of the volunteer or group adopting the lake.

Adopt-A-Lake Brochure
Adopt-A-Lake Application Packet

City of Lakeland Adopt-A-Lake web page

Contact Information
Stephanie Witherspoon, City of Lakeland, Stephanie.witherspoon@lakelandgov.net
phone: (863) 834-8438.

Lakeland’s lake managers stress vitality of clean waters

By Tom Palmer

LAKELAND | If you spend any time on or around Polk County's lakes, it's hard to miss the flotilla of cups, bottles, cans and other debris that bobs among the cattails and pickerelweed.

But as volunteers head to Polk's waterways this month to participate in a nationwide litter cleanup campaign called Lakes Appreciation Month, some may wonder whether the effort is justified or useful.

Local lake managers think so.

"Our downtown lakes need help,'' said Curtis Porterfield, Lakeland's lakes and stormwater manager, explaining anything tossed on the street in downtown Lakeland is likely to end up in Lake Wire, Lake Morton or Lake Mirror.

"In Lakeland, it's the most visible sign of pollution,'' he said.

Litter is certainly an aesthetic issue, but it can also affect the safety of wildlife and people, said Jeff Spence, Polk's director of parks and natural resources.

Read the full article in The Ledger...


Learn how to protect drinking water from HABS at July 16th webinar

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"How to Protect Your Drinking Water From Harmful Algal Blooms"
July 16, 2014, 1 p.m.–3 p.m. EDT

On July 16, 2014, EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds will host a webcast focused on the impact of algal toxins to drinking water, entitled "How To Protect Your Drinking Water From Harmful Algal Blooms." Karen Sklenar from The Cadmus Group and Tom Conry from Waco Water Utilities Services will continue the series with a discussion of the impact HABs can have on drinking water sources, the extent to which treatment facilities can remove toxins, and ultimately how people can help to reduce the environmental, health, and economic problem in the future.

This webcast series is a part of a broader outreach effort that aims to focus public attention on HABs, which are associated with nutrient pollution, and can sicken people and pets, devastate aquatic ecosystems, and be a detriment to the economy.

Click here to register for the webinar...


Average Dead Zone Predicted for Gulf of Mexico

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Scientists are expecting an average, but still large, hypoxic or "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico this year. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-supported modeling is forecasting this year's Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone to cover an area ranging from about 4,633 to 5,708 square miles (12,000 to 14,785 square kilometers) or about the size of the state of Connecticut.

The Gulf of Mexico prediction is based on models developed by NOAA -sponsored modeling teams and individual researchers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University ,Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences/College of William and Mary, Texas A&M University, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and relies on nutrient loading estimates from the USGS. The models also account for the influence of variable weather and oceanographic conditions, and predict that these can affect the dead zone area by as much as 38 percent.

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico affects nationally important commercial and recreational fisheries and threatens the region's economy. A second NOAA-funded forecast, for the Chesapeake Bay, predicts a slightly larger than average dead zone in the nation's largest estuary.

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192

More Information on the USGS Website...


Recycling Rates In Florida Continue To Climb

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This year's new 2013 recycling data released by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection shows Florida's official recycling rate is now 49 percent, up one percent from last year. This represents a substantial increase in the amount of solid waste recycled -- from 9.7 million tons in 2012 to 11.8 million tons in 2013.

“As we get closer to the 2020 deadline for the 75-percent recycling goal, we need all Florida residents to step up recycling efforts,” said Division of Waste Management Director Jorge Caspary. “While we have made modest improvements again this year, it is still critical for the commercial sector to increase its recycling efforts before the goal can be achieved.”

Lets keep up the great work Florida and achieve the 75% recycling goal by 2020!

Top 10 Counties for Total Recycling Rates:
  1. Hillsborough, 73%
  2. Lee, 70%
  3. Hendry, 68%
  4. Pasco, 67%
  5. Pinellas, 63%
  6. Collier, 60%
  7. Sarasota, 58%
  8. Martin, Palm Beach, 56% (tie)
  9. Monroe, 55%

Top 10 Counties for Traditional Recycling Rates:
  1. Sarasota, 58%
  2. Alachua, Martin, Collier, 54% (three-way tie)
  3. Brevard, 52%
  4. Manatee, 48%
  5. Orange, 47%
  6. Lee, 46%
  7. Duval, Leon, 45%(tie)

Read The Full News Release Here


USF & UF Approved For Grants to Support Climate Resilience and Green Infrastructure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the 2014 USDA Forest Service’s National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant recipients. The grants provide funding that will help enhance urban forest stewardship, support new employment opportunities, and help build resilience in the face of a changing climate. Close to 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and depends on the essential ecological, economic, and social benefits provided by urban trees and forests. Climate and extreme weather events pose threats to urban trees and forests requiring increased investment in management, restoration and stewardship.

The grant proposals were recommended by the Secretary’s National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council and will address urban forest resiliency to extreme weather events and the long-term impacts of climate change; strategies for bolstering green jobs; and opportunities to use green infrastructure to manage and mitigate stormwater and improve water quality.

The University of South Florida was approved for their project, "From Gray to Green: Tools for Transitioning to Vegetation-Based Stormwater Management Program"

Description of Program Purpose: Many communities lack systematic strategies to transition from the existing conventional (gray) drainage systems to green infrastructure. This project will provide natural resource managers, planners, and engineers with decision-support tools to aid the strategic planning process for transitioning to green infrastructure systems that emphasize trees and urban forests.
Federal Grant Amount: $149,722

The University of Florida was approved for their project, "Mobile Tree Failure Prediction for Storm Preparation and Response Program".

Description of Program Purpose: This proposed modeling system will assist urban forest managers in predicting tree failure during storms by developing a data collection model and a mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping application to quantify tree risk in communities. The results and a best management practices manual will be made available to all researchers and professionals through the International Tree Failure Database, providing the standardized data needed to enhance our understanding of wind-related tree failure.
Federal Grant Amount: $281,648

US Forest Service grant announcement

Contact Information
U.S. Department of Agriculture , 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC. 20250
phone: (202) 720-2791.

Who's Making Polk More Livable? You tell us!

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Polk County is growing and evolving. The Polk Board of County Commissioners and its co-sponsors are celebrating positive, constructive change in our communities!

They are asking you to help give proper due to organizations, businesses and people who are impacting Polk in an exceptionable fashion.
To learn more about the award categories and/or to nominate projects or programs that deserve distinct recognition for making our county a more sustainable, enjoyable place to live, go to Who’s making Polk more livable

The 2014 Livable Polk Awards will be part of Polk Vision's Annual Meeting on August 27. Location is TBA

If you want to know more about the categories specifically or would like to register go here

In the meantime, feel free to check out the video of the Judge's Choice Award winners from the 2012 Livable Polk Awards by clicking here


2014 Harmful Algal Bloom State Survey

Toxic algae outbreaks, or Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a widespread problem across the U.S., but few states have programs dedicated to monitoring or reporting on these outbreaks. That’s the top finding in a 50-state survey conducted in spring 2014 by Resource Media and the National Wildlife Federation.

Survey created by: Resource Media & The National Wildlife Federation"

Assessing the Seriousness of HABs
• 71% of responding states reported that HABs are either a “somewhat serious” or a “very serious” problem
• No responding states reported that HABs are “not an issue”
• More than half (20) of responding states reported that “HABs occur every year in many lakes and/or other fresh water bodies in my state”
• 49% (19) of states reported actively monitoring some public access lakes/water bodies that have experienced HABs in the past
• One state (Nebraska) actively monitors all public access lakes/water bodies for HABs
• 56% (22) of responding states reported relying, at least in part, on local municipalities and members of the public to report HABs to 31% (12) of responding states reported relying solely on local municipalities and members of the public to report HABs
• 38% (15) of responding states reported not tracking any of the impacts of HABs
• Of states that do track HAB impacts, the most commonly reported impact to be tracked/studied was animal mortalities (54%)
• Two states (Oklahoma and Virginia) reported tracking or studying Emergency Room admissions
• Three states (Hawaii, Kansas and Oklahoma) reported tracking or studying tourism statistics in relation to HABs
• 77% (30) of responding states reported that they do not have a HAB hotline for the public to report HABs.
• This includes 11 of the 12 states that reported relying solely on local municipalities and members of the public to report HABs

Public Information
• 73% (27) of responding states reported that they “provide information to those who request it”
• 4 states (Alabama, Alaska, New Mexico and Utah) reported that they “provide information to those who request it”, but do not disseminate information to the public in any other way
• The following methods of communication with the public received between 46% and 49% popositive responses:
• My state alerts the local media about HABs and/or health advisories with a press release or press advisory
• My state provides information about the location and/or severity on a publicly available website
• My state posts signs at HAB impacted beaches/lakes/communities to educate local residents and visitors
• My state provides general education to the public about what to do if they suspect a HAB
• Two states (Kansas and New York) reported using Facebook and/or Twitter to announce information about HABs, health advisories or beach closures
• More than half (20) of the responding states reported tracking historic data on HABs and all but two of those states reported providing public access to that data

• 12 states reported running a HAB program (i.e. with dedicated staff, a budget, a planning process).
• 3 of those states (New York, Virginia and Washington) reported that their HAB programs have dedicated funding
• 47% (18) of responding states reported “actively addressing known causes of HABs”
• 4 states (Alaska, Maine, Nevada and New Mexico) reported taking no action on HABs, past, present or future

More Information On The 2014 Harmful Algal Bloom State Survey...


Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences- WaterWorks Newsletter June 2014

The School of Forest Resources and Conservation - Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (SFRCFAS) publishes a bi-yearly newsletter to update the community on current research and events.

Each newsletter is 8 pages long. Previous issues can be found on the SDRCFAS website. New publications, posters, videos, etc. are also mentioned in the each newsletter.

Articles in the issue:
• Greeting from the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program
• Yes, Bass Learn To Avoid Lures
• Time & Kim: Two Careers And One Family Forever Linked To A Small Fisheries Lab At UF
• Students United in the Research of Fisheries (SURF)
• Vision Award To Florida LakeWatch
• Congratulations to the FAS
• 18th Annual UF Fisheries/FWC
• Tournament at Cedar Key
• 2013-14 Award Winners
• Student Spotlight
• Upcoming Events
• Recent Publications By SFRCFAS Faculty

FAS- WaterWorks Newsletter June 2014


Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences- WaterWorks Newsletter June 2014

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The School of Forest Resources and Conservation - Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (SFRCFAS) publishes a bi-yearly newsletter to update the community on current research and events.
Each newsletter is 8 pages long and previous issues can be found on the SDRCFAS website. New publications, posters, videos, etc. are also mentioned in the each newsletter.
Vist the The School of Forest Resources and Conservation

Articles in the issue:
• Greeting from the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program
• Yes, Bass Learn To Avoid Lures
• Time & Kim: Two Careers And One Family Forever Linked To A Small Fisheries Lab At UF
• Students United in the Research of Fisheries (SURF)
• Vision Award To Florida LakeWatch
• Congratulations to the FAS
• 18th Annual UF Fisheries/FWC
• Tournament at Cedar Key
• 2013-14 Award Winners
• Student Spotlight
• Upcoming Events
• Recent Publications By SFRCFAS Faculty

Contact Info:
Name: Mike Allen, PhD, Associate Director, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program
Email Address: msal@ufl.edu
Phone: (352)-846-0850
Address:136 Newins-Ziegler Hall Gainesville, Florida 32611 (PO Box 110410)

FAS- WaterWorks Newsletter June 2014


Groundbreaking held for $12.5M water quality project for Little Wekiva River

Today state and local partners gathered for a groundbreaking celebration to introduce A-FIRST, an innovative water preservation initiative, which is expected to significantly help improve water quality, help the region reuse reclaimed water more efficiently and save the state an estimated $15 million. The project will also create an estimated 4.5 million gallon per day (MGD) alternative supply of reclaimed water.

Altamonte-FDOT Integrated Reuse and Stormwater Treatment (A-FIRST) is the first partnership of its kind in Florida. The project combines traditional alternative water supply measures with innovative ap-proaches to stormwater management for a highly urbanized area and a major FDOT highway project (the Interstate 4 widening project). Over 4.5 MGD of alternative water supply will be created in the planning horizon by 1) transmitting excess reclaimed water from the Altamonte Springs Regional Water Reclamation Facility (also known as project Apricot) and by 2) collecting, treating, and reusing storm-water generated from Cranes Roost (a landlocked basin with pumped discharge) and from impervious areas associated with the Interstate 4 widening project. The overall project results in 4.5 MGD of alternative water supply and a substantial pollutant load reduction to the Little Wekiva River; 28,043 lbs/yr of TP and 62,659 lbs/yr of TN. Some of the project benefits include:

  • Alleviates unmet water supply demands in west Central Florida (Apopka area)
  • Substantially reduces groundwater augmentation pumping of reclaimed water in Apopka and Altamonte Springs springshed which will benefit spring flows
  • Significantly reduces nutrient loading from non-point (surface waters/Cranes Roost) and point sources (RWRF) to the Little Wekiva River
  • Addresses national NNC and TMDLs as well as the State’s regional Wekiva Parkway Protection Act goals for the area
  • Addresses stormwater treatment needs for Interstate 4 in Altamonte Springs

More Information the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Website...


Congress approves funding for research on toxic algae

Congress has authorized $82 million for new research aimed at controlling toxic algae outbreaks. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sponsored the bill. The Senate agreed Tuesday to a House amendment to the bill.

Nelson said the legislation will "help battle the algae that's been choking off life in Florida's waterways," causing economic, environmental and health problems for state residents.

This bill was passed by Congress on June 17, 2014 and goes to the President next. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 19, 2014 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).
Link to the complete bill

Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 - (Sec. 3) Amends the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 to revise the membership requirements for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to require the Task Force to have a representative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The bill requires that the follow guidelines and standards be met:
(Sec. 4) Requires the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, acting through the Task Force, to: (1) establish maintain, and periodically review a national harmful algal bloom and hypoxia program, and (2) develop and submit to Congress a comprehensive research plan and action strategy to address marine and freshwater harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

Establishes additional Task Force functions, including: (1) expediting the interagency review process; and (2) promoting the development of new technologies for predicting, monitoring, and mitigating harmful algal bloom and hypoxia conditions.

Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to have primary responsibility in administering the Program.
Establishes the Under Secretary's duties, including administering merit-based, competitive grant funding to: (1) maintain and enhance baseline monitoring programs established by the Program, (2) support the Program's projects, and (3) address the research and management needs and the Action Strategy's priorities.

Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) research the ecology and impacts of freshwater harmful algal blooms; (2) forecast and monitor event response to freshwater harmful algal blooms in lakes, rivers, estuaries, and reservoirs; and (3) ensure that activities carried under this Act focus on new approaches to addressing freshwater harmful algal blooms and are not duplicative of existing research and development programs authorized by this Act or any other law.

Requires the collection of monitoring and observation data under this Act to comply with all data standards and protocols developed pursuant to the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009.

(Sec. 7) Requires the Administrator, through the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force, to report to appropriate congressional committees and the President on the progress made by activities directed by the Task Force and carried out or funded by EPA and other state and federal partners toward attainment of the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan 2008 within 12 months after this Act's enactment and biennially thereafter.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Task Force to: (1) submit within 18 months to Congress and the President an integrated assessment that examines the causes, consequences, and approaches to reduce hypoxia and harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes; and (2) develop and submit to Congress a plan, based on such assessment, for reducing, mitigating, and controlling such hypoxia and blooms.

(Sec. 11) Authorizes the departments and agencies represented on the Task Force to participate in interagency financing and share, transfer, receive, obligate, and expend funds appropriated to any member of the Task Force for the purposes of carrying out the Act.

Source: The US Congress

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