Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
Polk Environmental Lands Program Names Photo Winners
If you want to see some outstanding photos of the flora and fauna found in the network of Polk Environmental Land Program sites, check out the link below.
After a slow start, the contest attracted more than 500 entries.
The winning photos are being displayed at Circle B Bar Reserve’s Polk Nature Discovery Center to highlight the beauty and diversity found here.
Photo contest winners »
USGS Issues Revised Framework for Hydrogeology of Floridan Aquifer
USGS scientists have updated the hydrogeologic framework for the Floridan aquifer system that underlies Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.
The Floridan aquifer system is the principal source of freshwater for agricultural irrigation, industrial, mining, commercial, and public supply in Florida and southeast Georgia. The extensive underground reservoir currently supplies drinking water to about 10 million people residing across the area as well as 50% of the water that is used for agricultural irrigation in the region.
By describing the hydrologic and geologic setting of an aquifer, a hydrogeologic framework enables appropriate authorities and resource managers to monitor an aquifer more accurately, improving their ability to protect these critical resources and determine the near- and long-term availability of groundwater.
As the first update of the framework for the aquifer in over 30 years, the revision incorporates new borehole data into a detailed conceptual model that describes the major and minor units and zones of the system. Its increased accuracy is made possible by data collected in the intervening years by the USGS; the Geological Surveys of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina; the South Florida, Southwest Florida, St Johns River, Suwannee River, and Northwest Florida Water Management Districts; and numerous other state and local agencies.
The USGS is releasing two reports as part of its current assessment of groundwater availability of the Floridan aquifer system.
The first report documents the revised framework.
The second report provides datasets that describe the surfaces and thicknesses of selected hydrogeologic units of the Floridan aquifer system. The data depict the top and base of the aquifer system, its major and minor hydrogeologic units and zones, geophysical marker horizons, and the altitude of the 10,000-milligram-per-liter total dissolved solids boundary that defines the approximate fresh and saline parts of the aquifer system.
Source: US Geological Survey news release »
Volunteer for Project EAGLE Lakes Cleanup this Saturday, Apr. 25
Project EAGLE – (Enhancing A Great Living Environment) is a chain of lakes clean-up co-sponsored with the City of Winter Haven and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is held the last Saturday in April from 8 a.m. to noon. The main registration is located at Lake Shipp Park.
Project Eagle Saturday at Lake Shipp Park in Winter Haven, the base for an annual lake cleanup in the Winter Haven area.
The event includes environmental exhibitors, live entertainment, ski show by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team and more.
Event sponsors are Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful, Inc., the City of Winter Haven, Anglers with Attitude, Lakeside Adventures, Kissimmee River Valley Sportsman Association, Lakes Education/Action Drive, Old Man Franks, Tanner’s Lakeside, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program. For more information, call or email Janis Jones, Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful, Inc.: (863) 427-5184.
Source: The Ledger »
A Rising Tide Affects Us All-2015 Southwest Florida Sea Level Rise Summit
Register for A Rising Tide Affects Us All--2015 Southwest Florida Sea Level Rise Summit, on Thursday, May 7, 2015, 9am to 5pm, at Florida Gulf Coast University Student Union Ballroom at the Cohen Center, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Lee County Florida and the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition. A prominent panel of speakers will cover topics including sea level rise charting, legal and planning challenges to adapting to sea level rise, and proactive solutions to address rising tides.
Admission is free, but space is limited. Reserve your seats at http://flcoastalandocean.org/events/southwest-florida-sea-level-rise-summit/.
2015 Scholarship and Grant Applications Now Being Accepted
APPLICATION DEADLINE: MAY 15, 2015
AWRA Florida has a mission to support education through the Rosanne Clementi Education Program and awards scholarships and grants to pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, environmental education centers, high school seniors, and undergraduate and graduate college or university students.
The J.B. Butler Science Grant is awarded to pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers and/or environmental education centers to aid in water resources education. Each year, approximately five $500 grants are awarded.
The William V. Storch Award is given to graduate and/or undergraduate college or university students to support educational activities. There are two $1,500 awards available each year.
The Sanford N. Young Scholarship is designed to provide funding for at least one $2,000 scholarship each year. It is available to both graduate and undergraduate college or university students.
The High School Scholarship is given to Florida high school seniors who have an intent to pursue academic studies at a Florida college or university. At least one $1,000 scholarship is available each year.
Click here for more information and to download application forms and instructions. All applications must be complete and submitted electronically as one pdf document to firstname.lastname@example.org.
House Speaker says water bills closer, advisory council could be sticking point
By Bruce Ritchie
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Wednesday that the Senate is getting closer to the House on a comprehensive water bill but some differences remain.
SB 918 was rewritten in a committee on Wednesday in response to requests by business groups and environmentalists, both of whom had raised concerns. Both sides still have issues, with environmentalists still more critical of the Senate and House bills than business groups.
The Senate bill would establish springs protection zones, provide consistency in pollution regulations dealing with Lake Okechobee and incorporate Central Florida water supply planning in state law.
Continued on StPetersblog.com »
Lake Cleanup Saturday, April 11, at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes
The Kissimmee River Valley Sportsmens Association will be combing the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Saturday for trash during an annual cleanup.
They will be based at Coleman Land at Shady Oaks on Lake Kissimmee this year.
There will be a general countywide cleanup this summer during Lakes Appreciation Month in July, which is coordinated by the Lakes Education/Action Drive.
Any effort to keep trash out of our waterways or to remove it once it gets there is commendable.
Source: The Ledger
Multiple satellite eyes to track algal threat to U.S. freshwater
Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms.
The $3.6 million research project is a collaborative effort among NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USGS. Using methods and technology established to analyze ocean color satellite data, scientists from the four agencies will work to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and build an information distribution system to expedite public health advisories.
Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and noxious taste and odor in drinking water. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.
“Harmful algal blooms have emerged as a significant public health and economic issue that requires extensive scientific investigation,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. “USGS uses converging lines of evidence from ground to space to assess changes in water quantity and quality, ecosystems, natural hazards, and environmental health issues important to the nation.”
Ocean color satellite data are currently available to scientists, but are not routinely processed and produced in formats that help state and local environmental and water quality managers. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms developed by the partner agencies will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals.
US Geological Survey news release continues...