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CHNEP Micro-Grants are now available

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The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) is a partnership to protect the natural environment of Florida from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven. The CHNEP offers two types of grants to help others in their efforts to protect the environment and solve issues of concern as identified in CHNEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP):

  • The CHNEP offers Public Outreach Grants once a year, with applications due in September. The maximum grant request is $5,000 but most applications are funded in the $2,500 to $3,000 range. Guidance for the next cycle will be available by April.

  • The CHNEP offers Micro-Grants throughout the year. Most grant requests are up to $250 but a few requests for more support have been approved. Applications are considered when they are received. Awards are made until all funds for the year have all been obligated. The project must be completed and a final report and invoice received by CHNEP no later than August 31, 2015. Applicants are reimbursed funds once a final report and an invoice for work accomplished are accepted.

Citizens, organizations, businesses, government agencies, schools, colleges and universities may apply for grants to support projects that occur within the CHNEP study area that includes Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Polk Hardee and DeSoto counties. While all efforts supported by CHNEP with a grant help implement the CCMP, they are varied in their purpose and scope. Additional information about the grant-making process will soon be available at www.CHNEP.org". To apply for a grant, email Maran Hilgendorf for the application form; please include “micro-grant request” in the subject line. You will receive the funding decision by email. That email will contain critical information about how to accept the terms of the micro-grant and how to proceed in order to receive reimbursement for your micro-grant. If the request is approved, you must first provide a W-9 form for the City of Punta Gorda, the CHNEP’s new fiscal host. Additional guidance on this will be included with the funding decision notice.


Want to learn more about Polk County lakes?

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Living at the Lakes is a three-class, free program, offered to all Polk County residents to share information on common lake questions. Join us for three, two-hour classes to hear from our local experts and get your questions answered. Space is limited and registration is required.

Session Dates: March 3, 5, and 10, 2015

Program Topics (subject to change):
• Know the Flow! An Introduction to Water in Central Florida
• Why is my Lake Green? An Introduction to Water Quality Issues
• How can I Help Improve Local Water Quality?
• The Importance of Lakefront Vegetation
• Fish and Wildlife of Polk's Lakes

Click here to register on EventBrite.com »


Apply Now for commercial fishing permits at Saddle Creek Park

BARTOW – Commercial fishermen will soon have the opportunity to operate in Saddle Creek Park. The park has been unavailable for commercial fishing for many years.

Polk County is offering 10 one-year permits to qualified fishermen, to harvest Tilapia and/or Brown Hoplo from the park. The permit holders will be determined by a lottery. Permits are $3,000 each and will be valid from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

To enter the lottery, applications may be picked up at the Polk County Parks and Recreation Offices, 515 E. Boulevard St., Bartow or at Saddle Creek’s office at 3716 Morgan Combee Road, Lakeland. Applications may also be accessed online at polk-county.net/parks.

Applications, along with a $100 non-refundable application fee, must be returned to the either the Bartow or Saddle Creek office by 5:00 p.m. on February 28.

The drawing will be held at Saddle Creek office at 6:00 p.m., Monday, March 2. Those selected will have until 5:00 p.m. on March 14 to pay the remaining balance of the permit fee. The $100 application fee will be applied to the balance. Background checks will be performed prior to the final permit being issued.

For additional information, please call (863) 534-4340 or visit our website at polk-county.net/parks.


Save the date: electronic/hazardous waste collection 4/4/2015

FREE Household Hazardous Waste and End-Of-Life Electronics Collection Event

On Saturday, April 4th, 2015 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, the City of Lakeland’s Solid Waste in coordination with the Polk County Solid Waste Division is sponsoring a FREE Household Hazardous Waste and End-Of-Life Electronics Collection Event, located at the Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime Street, in the south parking lot west of WONN Radio Station. This Mobile Collection Event is intended to make it more convenient for our community to safely dispose of their waste and discarded electronic equipment.

Household Hazardous Waste - Accepted Materials
Paints, paint thinners, florescent light bulbs, motor oil, drain cleaners, pool chemicals, insecticides, household batteries, etc.
No biohazard (medical) waste or business waste will be accepted.

End-Of-Life Electronics – Accepted Materials
Computers, monitors, keyboards, terminals, televisions, stereos, printers, fax machines, video games consoles, wireless devices, etc. No more than five items per household please.

Should you have any questions, please call Debbie Almon, Solid Waste Supervisor @ 834-8778.


6th Annual Air Potato Mega-Raid on January 24th!

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Saturday, January 24th, 2015 9:30 AM-11:30 AM*
(* A morning activity, but exact times may vary by specific site.)

Air Potato vines grow FAST and are blanketing shrubs and trees and covering our natural areas.

Please join us in tackling one of Central Florida’s biggest pest plants, help the environment, and have LOTS of fun!

We need volunteers to help us gather the "potatoes" that fall from the vines to keep them from sprouting this next year.

Find the most unusual shape! Look for the largest one!
Gather the most and become an environmental hero!

Bring friends, family, members of an organization you belong to. Help us by sending this link to others! Youth are welcome to participate and get volunteer credit.

We are holding activities at a variety of natural areas throughout Central Florida. Sign up for one location by getting a ticket below. FREE sign up. No need to print your ticket or bring it to the site.

Please bring gardening gloves, a mop bucket or 5-gallon bucket and drinking water (gardening tools are optional).

Click here for more information and to register »

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