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FGCU professor wins international award for career in wetland research and education

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Dr. William Mitsch, director of Everglades Wetland Research Park, has received one of three 2015 Ramsar Convention Awards of Merit.

Professor Mitsch is the author of the innovative textbook Wetlands, which has been described as the “wetland bible”. The book has essentially defined the field of wetland science since its first edition in 1986.

Professor Mitsch designed, built and managed from 1992-2012 one of the most productive riverine wetland research laboratories in the world. In 2008 the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park became the 24th Ramsar site in the USA. In 2012 he became a professor and Eminent Scholar at Florida Gulf Coast University and Director of Everglades Wetland Research Park in Florida. The laboratory has already established a reputation as a major destination for visiting wetland scientists from around the world and a place to address large-scale ecosystem restoration in areas such as the Florida Everglades.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.

Photo source: FGCU

Information about all 2015 Ramsar Convention award winners »


UF survey: Floridians want to conserve water, but only if it doesn’t cost too much

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Floridians remain concerned about water and are willing to make changes to conserve it, at least until their efforts cramp their lifestyles, according to an annual University of Florida study on state residents’ attitudes about this precious resource.

For the second consecutive year, an annual online survey conducted by UF’s Center for Public Issues in Education shows that water ranks third on a list of 10 topics people consider important -- behind the economy and healthcare and ahead of public education and taxes. Eighty-three percent of 749 respondents indicated water is an important or extremely important issue.

Yet while three-quarters of them said they were likely to vote to support water conservation programs and nearly as many said they would support water restrictions issued by their local government, only 42 percent were willing to take action to conserve water if it meant their lawns would suffer.

”From our 900 miles of dazzling beaches to the crystal-clear cold waters of 700 named springs, water is all around us, and Floridians understand its importance,” said Jack Payne, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “But we must also help to educate them about protecting this natural resource.”

For full article continue on UF’s website here »


2015 Central Florida Invasive Species Workshop is Feb. 25th

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Photo: Coral ardisia by Orange County EPD

Join the Heartland Invasive Species Management Area for a daylong workshop to stay up to date on thelatest information related to the exotic species in our area and how to manage them!

This event is FREE and CEUs are available. (Maximum 5)

Where: Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland
When: 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.


  • Welcome and Introduction
  • How FNAI can help improve the Heartland CISMA’s EDRR capabilities
  • Bee‐friendly pesticide application
  • Potential use of cows as biological controls for Praxelis clematidea in Florida
  • New water plants that stink Praxelis clematidea–emerging problem?
  • Nuisance exotic species prioritization
  • What’s new with the Lygodium moth?
  • Intro to the afternoon
  • Breakout sessions:
    • Efforts to monitor and manage the Argen􀆟ne tegu in central Florida.
    • Invasive plant ID
  • Hot herps in the trade
  • New plant; is it invasive?
  • Latest in wildlife law enforcement in the Heartland CISMA
  • Wrap Up

Invite your friends: Event flyer

Register online at EventBrite.com »


DEP adopts restoration goals for four lakes in the Peace River Basin

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted water quality restoration goals to reduce nutrient pollution in four Polk County lakes within the Peace River Basin—Lake Bonny, Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Lena and Deer Lake. The restoration goals, known as total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), specify the pollutant reductions necessary to restore the waterbodies to health.The scientifically-derived restoration goals will act as the target and driving force for the development of a long-term restoration plan.

“We have developed these restoration goals using site-specific data and a careful study of the waterbodies,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “Adopting these goals allows us to craft the best possible restoration plan.”

These waters have been identified as impaired by nutrient pollution, or an abundance of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous in the water. Nutrient pollution can cause rapid algal growth, which can in turn lead to other complications such as habitat smothering or a depletion of oxygen in the water. Nutrient pollution can come from a variety of sources including stormwater, wastewater and farming activity.

Lake Bonny and Lake Hollingsworth are located in the city of Lakeland, while Deer Lake is located in the western area of Winter Haven and Lake Lena is located in Auburndale. The lakes are host to several public parks and popular recreational destinations for activities like walking, boating and bird watching.

Information about the Florida DEP TMDL program »

An Edition of wateratlas.org
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