Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
Save the date! 3rd Annual Scallopalooza Aug. 3rd
When:Saturday, August 3, 2013: 6pm cocktails (cash bar), 7pm dinner
Where: Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL
Tickets: $85 per person includes dinner, entertainment, and auction.
A limited number of tables: 10 persons for $750, 8 persons for $600.
Dress: Coastal Casual
Please join Sarasota Bay Watch in partnership with the Sarasota Yacht Club for the 3rd Annual Scallopalooza - an exciting evening of food and fun to raise funds for scallop restoration.
The scallop population in Sarasota Bay has been drastically reduced over the years. Based on scientific expertise Sarasota Bay Watch launched a ten-year restoration program raising scallops hatcheries and releasing the larvae onto our local sea grass beds. Our ultimate goal is a self-perpetuating scallop population.
Over the past two years, Sarasota Bay Watch has raised funds and distributed 24 million scallop larvae into Sarasota Bay. Now in our 3rd year of this ten year restoration plan Sarasota Bay Watch remains strong in our commitment. Fish and Wildlife Research Scientists consider our efforts to be 'the most aggressive scallop restoration in the state of Florida".
Join us this year and help us sustain this initiative!
To register: go to http://sarasotabaywatch.org/ before July 29
to be a part of this unique restoration effort!
For corporate sponsorship opportunities contact Ronda Ryan: (941) 232-2363.
USACE will increase Lake Okeechobee releases
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has announced plans to increase the water releases from Lake Okeechobee as part of efforts to manage the rising lake level.
The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake. Today, the lake stage is 13.92 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band. Runoff from heavy rains in the area has prevented any discharges from the lake since June 6. As runoff subsides, lake water will gradually be released until target flows are achieved.
The Corps has developed a release schedule for seven days that will begin on Monday (June 17). The average target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary over the seven-day period has been increased to 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 950 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock near Stuart. The target flows will include lake water, and any runoff that might be collected in the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie canal.
“Managing water in south Florida requires a well-coordinated response with our local partner, the South Florida Water Management District,” said Col. Alan Dodd, Jacksonville District Commander. “The Water Management District has maximized its capacity to send water to the south of the lake and we are working to ensure minimal flows are coming from the north out of the Kissimmee basin.”
Additional increases in the discharge rate may be necessary if the lake continues to rise. The Corps will continue to monitor and make adjustments as necessary.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management page at the Jacksonville District website.
Submit your artwork for the CHNEP 2014 calendar
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) has produced an annual calendar
since 2005. You can have your artwork published in the 2014 calendar. The
CHNEP encourages you to submit up to three images that capture the
beauty of the natural environment found within the CHNEP study area.
The images could have been captured by the young or old, amateur or
professional, today or 50 years ago, and in any medium (photography,
oil, illustration, etc).
The goal is that the 2014 calendar will depict the
diversity and beauty of the natural environment found within this geographic
area, which may include estuaries,
rivers, streams, native plants, native wildlife, native landscapes, weather events and people enjoying these resources.
To enter your images, complete a release form and submit your images by 5 P.M., July 15, 2013. There is no fee to
Guidance on image submission and link to release form
Gulf of Mexico Alliance Invites Public to Learn About Gulf Restoration Progress, Partnerships
The 2013 "All Hands Meeting" will be June 25-27 at Tampa's Grand Hyatt hotel
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS – The Gulf of Mexico Alliance will hold its 8th Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL on June 25-27, 2013. The overall theme for the three-day meeting is "Collaboration is the Key to Successful Gulf Restoration." The meeting will focus on how the Alliance is working to expand and maintain partnerships to enhance the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico. The meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and is open to the public. Links to registration and a full schedule of events are available at www.GulfofMexicoAlliance.org.
As Gulf restoration is a key topic at the meeting, there will be an update on the RESTORE Comprehensive Plan and how Alliance partners are addressing restoration opportunities. The week will begin with a public meeting Monday evening, June 24, 2013, from 4:00 until 6:00 p.m. on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring and Technology Program (RESTORE Act Science Program).
The following two days of the meeting will provide information and updates on several topics of interest including a presentation on conservation economics by Scott Burns of the Walton Family Foundation. Moderated sessions will explore the state of science in the Gulf, Gulf restoration/conservation needs, and the incorporation of new networks into the Alliance. Keynote speakers include the newly appointed Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as state environmental agencies. Each agency will give updates on current priorities.
The two-day plenary meeting will be followed on Thursday by concurrent sessions on the Alliance's Priority Issues: water quality, nutrient impacts, ecosystem integration and assessment, habitat conservation and restoration, coastal community resilience, and environmental education. These working sessions will engage participants in the Alliance's goals and actions at the community level and leaders from around the Gulf Coast will share knowledge and expertise. The Alliance plans to build on discussions from the previous days and take advantage of broad membership to further integrate with regional priorities.
"I Love Sarasota Bay" Photo Contest open to adults and children
SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Water Festival encourages photography enthusiasts of all ages to prepare entries for the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest. The winning submissions will be displayed at the regional festival on Saturday, November 2 at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota. Festival visitors will also have an opportunity to vote on a People’s Choice award. The photo contest celebrates the beauty and importance of Sarasota Bay. Contest guidelines are posted on the Festival's website (see link below).
“Photography is a terrific way to express the emotional connection many people feel about Sarasota Bay,” said Randy Moore, the festival director. “That can include photos of birds, aquatic life and other wildlife as well as images of people enjoying water sports and recreational activities.”
The contest winners from the three age divisions in 2012 included Makeala Frankford of Sarasota, Mary Lou Johnson of Longboat Key, Victoria Holcomb of Sarasota, Kristina Carreras of Bradenton, Caroline Griffith or Sarasota, Larry George of Lakewood Ranch, Dick Plaff of Sarasota, Ronald Hecox of Parrish, and Terry Frankford of Sarasota. Makeala is Terry’s granddaughter.
Other highlights planned for this year’s water festival include the first Dragon Boat Races on Sarasota Bay, live music, artists selling unique gift items, practical workshops that promote Bay-friendly living, food trucks and local restaurants, vintage boat displays, activities for kids, and exhibits promoting recreational boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle board sports, scuba diving, cycling, birding, and other fun activities associated with Sarasota Bay.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Presenting Sponsor and HDR, Inc. is the Host Sponsor for 2013. Online applications from prospective sponsors and exhibitors are now being accepted at the Festival's website.
Festival sponsors include: Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, City of Sarasota, Whole Foods Market, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Manatee County, The Old Salty Dog, Sierra Club, Mote Marine Laboratory, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Caldwell Trust Company, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, West Coast Inland Navigation District, Town of Longboat Key, Scheda Ecological Associates, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, City of Bradenton, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Save Our Seabirds, Around the Bend Nature Tours, High Five Dragon Boat, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Sun King Disc Sports, and Triple 3 Marketing.
Festival organizers are seeking additional sponsors and exhibitors. Sponsor donations support the festival and SBEP education and volunteer programs benefiting Sarasota Bay. Details about sponsorship and exhibiting are posted at the Festival's website.
Photo: Bald eagle by Sandy Hedgepeth
Sarasota Bay Water Festival website
Submissions invited for 2014 CHNEP Watershed Summit; Deadline July 26th
Call for Abstracts for the CHNEP Watershed Summit 2014: "Our Vision in Action" to be held March 25-27, 2014 in Punta Gorda at the Charlotte Harbor Even & Conference Center.
Abstracts are due July 26, 2013 & early submittal is strongly encouraged. The theme of the Watershed Summit 2014 is "Our Vision in Action" & topics include research, restoration & stewardship. Please see the attached Call for Abstracts for details. Abstracts must be submitted electronically to Judy Ott starting as soon as possible, before July 26, 2013.
A Watershed Summit Steering Committee will help review the abstracts & group them into the conference sessions. To participate in the abstract review Steering Committee, please contact Judy Ott.
SBEP to host urban planner Andres Duane June 18-19
Visit includes public presentation to City of Sarasota and Sarasota County Commissions
SARASOTA – Andres Duany, a leader of the New Urbanism Planning Movement, is visiting Sarasota June 18-19 to introduce the Light Imprint engineering technique. He will be the guest at a 6pm dinner on Tuesday, June 18 hosted by the Downtown Sarasota Alliance (DSA). Mr. Duany will also give a public presentation to a joint meeting of the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County Commissions beginning 1:30pm on Wednesday, June 19. The presentation will be held in the Commission Chamber on the first floor of the Sarasota County Administration Building located at 1660 Ringling Blvd in downtown Sarasota.
The dinner will be held in The Francis Ballroom at Louie's Modern, a restaurant located at 1289 North Palm Avenue. The cost is $50 and can be paid via PayPal or credit card on the DSA website.
Andres Duany is a founding principal at Duany Plater-Zyerk & Company (DPZ). DPZ has completed designs for close to 300 new towns, regional plans, and community revitalization projects. The Light Imprint initiative is a comprehensive approach for the placement of development with engineering practices and New Urbanist design techniques. Light Imprint provides a toolkit for stormwater management using natural drainage, traditional engineering infrastructure, and filtration practices.
Environmentalists missing from state's water-management boards
By Kevin Spear
For the first time in nearly three decades, none of the Florida's water-management agencies — which are supposed to safeguard the state's wetlands, rivers and aquifers — has a board member who is an environmentalist.
Environmental activists are troubled because the boards are dominated by representatives of agribusiness, real estate and development industries.
"It is indeed a concern that there are no environmental representatives on any of the boards, when other interest groups are adequately and sometimes abundantly represented," said Rae Ann Wessel, policy director at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. "Because Florida's economy depends on its unique environment."
Gov. Rick Scott recently chose not to reappoint for a second term on the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District a University of Florida water-law expert known for his environmental advocacy.
It was the latest move by the governor to make the state's water-management agencies smaller, weaker and, now, less environmentally minded; none of the five water districts' combined 49 board seats is filled by someone readily identifiable as an active environmentalist.
Continued on the Orlando Sentinel online...
Underwater art gallery to debut off southwest Florida coast
The USS Mohawk, an historic WWII warship and artificial reef, to be transformed into underwater art gallery off of Sanibel Island on June 1, 2013
SANIBEL ISLAND, FL (May 31, 2013) – The USS Mohawk CGC, a 165-foot World War II warship that is now a living reef thriving with exotic marine life – will be transformed into an underwater art gallery on June 1, 2013.
Celebrated photographer Andreas Franke of Austria is leading a team 28 nautical miles off the coast of Sanibel Island, near Fort Myers, to install 12 images that will become a gallery within the ship’s inner spaces and remain on display through Sept. 14, 2013.
For this project, Franke exhaustively researched the history of the Mohawk, which launched 14 attacks against German U-boats and rescued 300 torpedoed ship survivors. Based on his research, he will envision the life of sailors past aboard the Mohawk – their daily lives and dreams of home — and will superimpose images of models in period clothing onto original photography.
Each image measures roughly 2.5 by 3.5 feet and will be encased in steel-framed Plexiglas. During their time at sea, the photos will evolve with accumulation of marine life, which will give them a seaworthy patina and life of their own.
For divers, the artwork will come into stunning view, as the destination is in the midst of its peak dive season. In the clear waters, divers will enjoy 50-70 feet of visibility, perfect for viewing the ethereal images.
“This is a very exciting time for The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, said Tamara Pigott, executive director, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. Nearly a year ago, the USS Mohawk CGC became our newest artificial reef and has since attracted exotic marine life, including numerous whale sharks. Now for three and a half months, divers will be able to view artwork on the Mohawk.”
At the end of their underwater exhibition, “The Sinking World” images will rise to the surface for display at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts galleries in Fort Myers on Oct. 4, 2013, which marks the opening night and cocktail reception. The images will remain on display until Oct. 26, 2013.
EPA: $384B needed for drinking water infrastructure by 2030
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released results of a survey showing that $384 billion in improvements are needed for the nation’s drinking water infrastructure through 2030 for systems to continue providing safe drinking water to 297 million Americans.
EPA’s fifth Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment identifies investments needed over the next 20 years for thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks and water distribution systems, which are all vital to public health and the economy. The national total of $384 billion includes the needs of 73,400 water systems across the country, as well as American Indian and Alaska Native Village water systems.
“A safe and adequate supply of drinking water in our homes, schools and businesses is essential to the health and prosperity of every American,” said EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe. “The survey EPA released today shows that the nation’s water systems have entered a rehabilitation and replacement era in which much of the existing infrastructure has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life. This is a major issue that must be addressed so that American families continue to have the access they need to clean and healthy water sources.”
The survey, required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to be submitted to Congress every four years by EPA, was developed in consultation with all 50 states and the Navajo Nation. The survey looked at the funding and operational needs of more than 3,000 public drinking water systems across the United States, including those in Tribal communities, through an extensive questionnaire. In many cases, drinking water infrastructure was reported to be 50-100 years old.
The assessment shows that improvements are primarily needed in:
- Distribution and transmission: $247.5 billion to replace or refurbish aging or deteriorating lines
- Treatment: $72.5 billion to construct, expand or rehabilitate infrastructure to reduce contamination
- Storage: $39.5 billion to construct, rehabilitate or cover finished water storage reservoirs
- Source: $20.5 billion to construct or rehabilitate intake structures, wells and spring collectors
EPA allocates Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants to states based on the finding of the assessment. These funds help states to provide low-cost financing to public water systems for infrastructure improvements necessary to protect public health and comply with drinking water regulations.
Since its inception in 1997, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has provided close to $15 billion in grants to all 50 states and Puerto Rico to improve drinking water treatment, transmission and distribution. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program has also provided more than $5.5 billion to protect drinking water in disadvantaged communities.
EPA is committed to utilizing the tools provided under the Safe Drinking Water Act to assist states and to better target resources and technical assistance toward managing the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. In addition to Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants, EPA awarded nearly $15 million in funding in 2012 to provide training and technical assistance to small drinking and wastewater systems – those serving fewer than 10,000 people – and to private well owners to improve small system operations and management practices and to promote sustainability. EPA also works with states, municipalities and water utilities to strengthen the resiliency of drinking water systems against the potential impacts of severe weather events and climate change.
Read detailed results from the survey
Rip Current Safety Awareness Week is June 2-8, 2013
Although tropical cyclones, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are often the first that come to mind when thinking of “most dangerous weather phenomenon in Florida”, there is another weather-related hazard that ranks as the deadliest. Florida’s beaches attract millions of residents and tourists each year. However, while there may be beautiful weather in the sky, there are unseen dangers in the waters.
Rip currents, sometimes erroneously referred to as rip tides or undertows, occur naturally and affect many Florida beaches year-round. Since 1995, rip currents have accounted for more than 300 drownings along Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic beaches. In fact, rip currents kill more people in Florida in an average year than hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning combined. In 2012, 22 people lost their lives due to rip currents: 8 along the Florida Panhandle coast, 8 deaths occurring along the Florida East Coast and 5 deaths along the Florida West Coast. In addition, 2 people died in 2011 from high surf not associated with a rip current. Many of these drowning incidents occur on days when the weather is quite pleasant, with a nice breeze blowing onshore. This catches beachgoers by surprise since fair weather is usually associated with pleasant ocean conditions.
Learn more about rip currents and summer beach safety
Entries sought for CHNEP Song Contest
Do you have a song to share about our natural environment?
It doesn't take much prompting for people to recall Suwannee River, the official state song of Florida since 1935. The state's official anthem was designated in 2008 — Florida, Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky — after a contest that received 243 submissions.
Have you written an original composition that captures the beauty or issues of the natural environment of southwest Florida (as defined by the CHNEP)? The CHNEP would like you to submit your songs for use on the CHNEP Citizens Academy and elsewhere. Prizes up to $600 will be awarded.
The rules are simple. Each person may submit up to three entries by Aug. 1, 2013. Complete an online entry form and submit the digitized audio performance and lyric or sheet music either electronically to Maran Hilgendorf or by mail to: CHNEP Songs, 1926 Victoria Ave., Fort Myers FL 33901.
There is no fee to enter. This contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters of any age. You retain ownership of the songs submitted. By entering this contest, you are allowing the CHNEP to use the songs in its materials and at events and allow others to perform your song for CHNEP purposes. You will be asked to perform at select events.
The songs must be original but can be of any genre and must be two to ten minutes long. An entry consists of:
- a digitized audio performance,
- a lyric sheet or sheet music, and
- an entry form available at www.CHNEP.org/songs.html.
A music video may be submitted but is not required to participate. The song writer can have others perform the song. There is no requirement as to when the song was written or recorded.
The winning entries will be selected by the CHNEP Citizens Advisory Committee in August. Submissions will be judged on lyrics, likeability, creativity, originality, melody and arrangement. Production/recording quality and vocal ability may also considered.
The CHNEP will email all entrants to confirm their entry was received and to announce the entries selected for recognition.
Get your foot tapping!
SBEP announces recipients of 2013 Bay Partners Grants
SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) has awarded grants to nine local organizations as part of the 2013 Bay Partners Grant Program. The fully-funded projects include Anna Maria Elementary School, Ballard Global Studies Magnet School, New College of Florida, Plymouth Harbor, and Save Our Seabirds. The partially-funded projects include Keep Manatee Beautiful, Mote Marine Laboratory, Nature’s Academy, and Sarasota Audubon Society.
The SBEP has awarded nearly $232,000 in Bay Partners Grants to support 113 organizations since 2003. A subcommittee with the SBEP Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) selects the recipients. The next deadline for submitting grant applications is March 1, 2014.
Visit SarasotaBay.org to learn more about the Bay Partners Grant Program
Endangered sea turtle feeding grounds discovered in Gulf
Turtles dine in waters affected by oil spills, fishing and oxygen depletion
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The favored feeding grounds of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle coincide with some Gulf of Mexico waters that are subject to oil spills, extensive commercial fishing and oxygen depletion.
These first-of-their kind details on foraging locations and migration patterns of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle are from a new National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey study, providing resource managers new information on how best to manage the species.
Scientists do not know why the turtles feed where they do, how human influences may affect turtle health or behavior, or whether human impacts on their chosen feeding areas might change their future foraging behavior.
The researchers identified the feeding grounds of the Kemp’s ridley, considered the most endangered and smallest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world, by analyzing 13 years of satellite-tracking data. The researchers tagged turtles at nesting sites between 1998 and 2011 and tracked them as they went on to foraging locations throughout the Gulf. Turtles from two major nesting sites in the study fed at specific locations off the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi and at other locations in the Gulf.
Donna Shaver, chief of the National Park Service’s Sea Turtle Science and Recovery Division at Padre Island National Seashore, said, “Protecting feeding grounds for adult female sea turtles is important for the recovery of the species and this new information is important for future planning and restoration decisions.”
Cooperative efforts between Mexico and several U.S. agencies have helped increase the population of this species of sea turtle. Species support includes protection of nesting turtles and their eggs on nesting beaches and reducing threats from fishing. The number of Kemp’s ridleys nesting in the region has increased from 702 nests in 1985 to about 22,000 in 2012.
The research, in which dozens of adult female sea turtles were tagged after they nested on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore offers a “first glimpse” of how and when the turtles feed, said Kristen Hart, a research ecologist for the USGS Southeast Ecological Science Center. “We were able to decipher Kemp’s ridleys foraging behavior in space and time using a combination of satellite telemetry and new statistical techniques.”
Previous tracking studies generally showed Kemp’s ridley migration from nesting beaches along the Gulf of Mexico coastline to northern Texas and Louisiana with some turtles migrating as far as peninsular Florida. Until the current study, it was not known whether turtles displayed movement behavior indicative of foraging or migration at a particular location. The modeling done as part of the study has allowed scientists to pinpoint where these turtles may be feeding, a key finding in terms of identifying important at-sea habitats for these imperiled turtles.
Continued on USGS.gov...
Draft Gulf Coast Ecosystem Comprehensive Restoration Plan released
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council marked significant progress today with the public release of the Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy and accompanying Draft Environmental Assessment for formal public comment. The Draft Plan provides a framework to implement a coordinated region-wide restoration effort in a way that restores, protects, and revitalizes the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Draft Plan establishes overarching restoration goals for the Gulf Coast region; provides details about how the Council will solicit, evaluate, and fund projects and programs for ecosystem restoration in the Gulf Coast region; outlines the process for the development, review, and approval of State Expenditure Plans; and highlights the Council’s next steps. The Council expects to release a Final Plan this summer.
Along with the release of the Draft Plan, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Council Chair announced today that Justin Ehrenwerth will serve as the Executive Director of the Council. These steps signify the Council’s efforts to ensure that it is ready to move efficiently and effectively to implement a restoration plan once funds are received.
“As Chair of the Council, I am proud to announce that my Chief of Staff, Justin Ehrenwerth, will move into the role of Executive Director of the Council. I can think of no better person to help the Council continue to move forward with implementing a plan that ensures the long-term health, prosperity, and resilience of the Gulf Coast,” said Council Chair Blank.
In order to ensure robust public input throughout the entire process, the Council is hosting a series of public engagement sessions in each of the five impacted Gulf States in June to give the public the opportunity to provide input on the Draft Plan and the Council’s restoration planning efforts. The 30-day formal public comment period for the Draft Plan and associated documents begins May 23 and ends June 24.
Public meeting dates, link to online comment form, background information
Florida DEP Announces TMDLs for Caloosahatchee River Basin
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is initiating rulemaking to establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for surface waters within the Caloosahatchee River Basin. The Notice of Rulemaking does not specify which water bodies will be included. However, it is anticipated that this rulemaking will result in the setting of TMDLs for nutrients and DO, as applicable, for the entire Caloosahatchee River Basin, plus those impaired tributaries. The Notice specifies that these waterbodies previously have been identified as impaired for specific pollutants and included on the Department’s verified list of impaired waters. Further, the Notice states that these nutrient TMDLs, if adopted, are intended to constitute site specific numeric interpretations of the narrative nutrient criterion set forth in paragraph 62-302.530(47)(b), F.A.C. This is important for purposes of compliance with the NNC criteria.
The FDEP concurrently noticed a workshop to discuss progress on the Caloosahatchee tributaries nutrient TMDLs and to discuss the Caloosahatchee TMDL rulemaking. The details on the workshop are:
DATE AND TIME: June 5, 2013, 1:30 p.m.
PLACE: Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, First Floor Conference Room, 1926 Victoria Avenue, Ft. Myers, Florida
Source: Florida Environmental Law Blog
SJRWMD: Get ready for hurricane season
Hurricane season preparation tips, storm contacts, flood information available in one location
PALATKA – Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and the St. Johns River Water Management District has added valuable information to its website to assist the public and local governments access resources before, during and after severe storm events.
The web pages (floridaswater.com/storm) include links to flood statements and warnings, river stage and flooding data, and local government emergency contacts. Also included are links to the National Weather Service, Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Geological Survey's interactive map of current conditions in the state.
Florida's many waterways and extensive coastline make the state especially vulnerable to floods. When hurricanes and other storms bring high volumes of rain in short periods of time, flooding can result.
The District works closely with local governments year-round to develop improved flood management plans, and to help communities establish and implement strategies to deal with floods once they occur. Local governments are the primary entities responsible for implementing state-of-emergency declarations, evacuations and rescue efforts during flood-related disasters.
Partnerships between the public and government entities are necessary to minimize flooding impacts, protect personal property and assist flood victims during and after storms.
In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the District assists local governments by issuing emergency orders that allow for the pumping of water to alleviate flooding when public health and safety are at risk. The District also issues emergency orders to authorize repair, replacement or restoration of public and private property.
To prepare for hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, the public can protect themselves and their property by:
- Keeping debris out of storm drains and ditches
- Reporting clogged ditches to local governments
- Cleaning out gutters and extending downspouts at least four feet from the home
- Building up the ground around the home to promote drainage away from the foundation
- Obtaining flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program
High Five seeks local teams for Sarasota Dragon Boat races this fall
The races will be part of this year's Sarasota Bay Water Festival
SARASOTA – High Five Dragon Boat, LLC is seeking local teams from Sarasota and Manatee County to compete in the fun dragon boat races to be showcased at the 2013 Sarasota Bay Water Festival. The regional event will be held at City Island’s Ken Thompson Park on Saturday, November 2.
High Five provides registered teams with boats, paddles, life vests, a steerperson, and training prior to the event. Training includes practicing the proper paddling techniques and racing etiquette. Each dragon boat is 42-feet in length and coed teams consist of 20 paddlers with a minimum of 8 being female. Participants must be 14-years of age or older. The races involve three race heats during the day on a 350-meter course. Participants can enjoy activities at the Water Festival between the scheduled heats.
“This is a great way for local businesses and other organizations to encourage team-building while promoting their brand,” explained Christine Canevari with High Five. “We already have teams committed from the Tampa Bay area and our goal is to add additional new teams from Sarasota and Manatee County.”
Dragon boat racing is popular worldwide with hundreds of events each year throughout the U.S. and many other nations. Most participants race for fun, but there are also highly-competitive club level teams. The world championship was held in Tampa in 2011. Registration information and helpful guidelines is available at sarasotabaydragonboat.com.
Other highlights for this year’s Water Festival include live music, fine artists selling unique gift items, workshops that promote Bay-friendly living, food trucks and local restaurants, vintage boats, activities for kids, and exhibits promoting recreational boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle board sports, scuba diving, cycling, birding, and other fun activities.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Presenting Sponsor and HDR, Inc. is the Host Sponsor for 2013. Other sponsors include Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, City of Sarasota, Whole Foods Market, Manatee County, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Mote Marine Laboratory, West Coast Inland Management District, Caldwell Trust Company, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Town of Longboat Key, Triple 3 Marketing, City of Bradenton, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Save Our Seabirds, Around the Bend Nature Tours, High Five Dragon Boat, Suncoast Waterkeeper, and Sun King Disc Sports.
Festival organizers are seeking additional sponsors and exhibitors. Sponsor donations support the festival and SBEP education and volunteer programs benefiting Sarasota Bay. Details about sponsorship and exhibiting are posted at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com.
Governor approves $32 million in water projects; vetoes total of $27.3 million
TALLAHASSEE – Florida governor Rick Scott used his line-item veto authority to veto $368 million in spending from Florida's 2013-2014 budget, including a number of projects related to wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and water resource protection. These included:
- Bonita Springs ‐ Oak Creek Restoration ‐ Sediment & Exotic Plant Removal, $250,000
- Charlotte County ‐ Regional Reclaimed Water Expansion ‐ Phase 2, $500,000
- DeSoto County ‐ Lettuce Lake/Oak Haven MH Park Utility MCL Water Supply Improvement Projec,t $90,000
- DeSoto County ‐ Lake Suzy Utility Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements, $350,000
- LaBelle ‐ Wastewater Recycle Project, $1,812,500
- Lake County ‐ Umatilla Sewer System, $1,225,000
- Lakeland ‐ Skyview Water and Wastewater System Modification, $3,750,000
- Manatee County ‐ Wastewater Clarifier Retrofit ‐ Southwest Water Reclamation Facility, $1,000,000
- St. Johns River Restoration and Economic Impact Study, $7,000,000
- Tampa ‐ Met West Ditch Stormwater Project, $125,000
For a complete list of the approved and vetoed water projects, see the link below.
Water project vetoed/approved list (prepared by The Florida Current/LobbyTools)