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3/2/2015

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 »

2/26/2015

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 »

2/17/2015

Join the Charlotte County Great American Clean Up March 7th

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It’s time again for Charlotte County’s Great American Clean Up! Interested individuals and groups are encouraged to participate in this annual event scheduled for Saturday March 7 from 9:00 am to noon. We will meet at Cedar Point Environmental Park in Englewood and clean up local parks which may include Cedar Point Environmental Park, Oyster Creek Environmental Park and/or Buck Creek Preserve.

This is our country’s largest community improvement event and engages 4 million volunteers in 20,000 communities nationwide.

Come help clean up your community. Trash bags, refreshments and T-shirts (to first 20 who register) will be provided. Just bring a commitment to help. And remember, do your part every day by picking up trash that you see, not just during special clean ups.

Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization serving the Charlotte Harbor area with environmental education, recreation, research and preservation land management. This Great American Clean-up is sponsored by Keep Charlotte Beautiful and the clean-up locations are a part of the Charlotte County Parks and Natural Resources Department. For additional information and/or to register for the clean-up, please phone (941) 475-0769.

Contact Information
Bobbi Rodgers, Resource Manager, CHEC/Cedar Point Environmental Park
phone: (941) 475-0769.
http://www.checflorida.org/
2/9/2015

CHNEP Technical Advisory Committee to meet Feb. 12th in North Port

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The next meeting of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program's Technical Advisory Committee will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 W. Price Blvd., in North Port.

The agenda and directions are available at the link below.  MAP »

For a full agenda packet, click this link. (7.5 megabytes, Adobe PDF format)

THIS MEETING IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Two or more members of the Everglades West and Caloosahatchee Basin Working Groups may be in attendance and may discuss matters that could come before the respective body.

TAC Meeting Agenda and Directions »

2/6/2015

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 »

2/5/2015

Help is available for neighborhood pond maintenance

Free Workshops for Residents; CEUs for Professionals

FORT MYERS, FL, February 2, 2015 – Thousands of us in Southwest Florida enjoy a beautiful, stress-free lake view from our lanais. Watching wading birds and ducks is both soothing and enjoyable, but for many who volunteer on home/condo owner association boards, the stress levels rise when trying to maintain these common areas.

What does a healthy pond look like?

  • Are algae bad?
  • What type of plants should we add to our ponds?
  • Do we need to reserve funds to dredge our pond?


  • Help is available. Area experts will conduct a workshop around town to help homeowners, association boards, Community Development District (CDD) representatives, landscape committee members, and others learn ways to extend the lives of their stormwater ponds between dredging events, as well as how to use native plants to beautify their ponds and attract desirable wildlife. Presenters will include Karen Bickford, TMDL Coordinator with Lee County Natural Resources; Dr. Ernesto Lasso de la Vega, Pond Watch Coordinator with Lee County Hyacinth Control District; Dr. Serge Thomas, Aquatic Ecologist Assistant Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University; and other water quality experts.

    The next workshop will be offered at Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in the Iona House, 3450 Ortiz Avenue, Fort Myers, FL 33905, on Friday, February 20, from 1-4 pm. More dates are available at www.WetPlan.org.

    Continuing Education Credits are offered:
    1. CORE CEU
    2. AQU/PVT CEUs
    3. CEUs maxmum


    The workshop is free, but preregistration is suggested. Complimentary refreshments will be offered. For more information or to register, please visit www.WetPlan.org or call (239) 273-8945.

    WETPLAN or Watershed Education Training - Ponds, Lakes & Neighborhoods is an education program and resource for anyone interested in improving and caring for their neighborhood lakes and ponds. The program provides workshops several times a year with a panel of experts and assistance for home/condo owners associations and individuals upon request. WETPLAN is a partnership of water quality and lake management experts including members from the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, the City of Bonita Springs, Lee County Natural Resources, Lee County Hyacinth Control District, Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee County Extension Services, the Florida Native Plant Society, and private partners including Conestoga-Rovers & Associates and Kimley-Horn.

    2/5/2015

    Eco-Voice looks to the future: An update

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    From Paul Holmes, president and founder of Eco-Voice:

    I know many of you reading this receive the Eco-Voice Daily Digest every morning with your e-mails.

    In today’s world communication is extremely important. The Daily Digest allows local environmentalists, both as groups and individuals, to communicate with each other. We send out well over 3000 Digests every day and we know that many of them are read by several people, or forwarded to the entire membership of groups interested in a particular topic covered in the Digest. We estimate that the Digest is read on average by about 5000 people every day.

    To improve our communications and to give Eco-voice a face, we have recently had the pleasure of welcoming two new members to our team.

    Dave Moe will be Eco-Voice’s financial coordinator. He will be searching for new sponsors and encouraging all those concerned with the future of the environment in South Florida to make a donation so that Eco-Voice can continue its extremely important work.

    Dave is a resident of Punta Gorda and is currently involved with the Peace River oyster restoration effort. He also serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program and has been helping us at Eco-Voice for some time. Dave can be contacted at Davemoe@eco-voice.org

    The other new member of our team, Carol Newcomb Jones, will act as a sustainability coordinator. Carol will be responsible for the daily operation of Eco-Voice’s Daily Digest, Facebook page, and keeping our membership rolls up-to-date.

    Carol has been deeply involved with environmental matters in our area for many years and is an environmental educator with expertise in many areas including solar energy education and application, distance learning education and curriculum development, sea turtle monitoring, and red mangrove propagation. Carol can be contacted at CarolNewcomb@Eco-Voice.org

    We are currently looking for a membership coordinator to encourage everyone concerned with the environment to subscribe to the Daily Digest, by going to www.Eco-Voice.org and joining our mailing list—of course, it’s free!

    We would also like to recognize Lori Beall for her volunteer admin contributions. Paul Holmes, president and founder of Eco-Voice will continue to coordinate our efforts, monitor the Daily Digest and answer your questions.

    Contact Information
    Paul Holmes, Founder Eco-Voice.org, paulholmes@eco-voice.org
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