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Reclaimed irrigation water coming to Lakewood Ranch from Bradenton and Sarasota

LAKEWOOD RANCH – Lakewood Ranch soon will receive reclaimed water for irrigation from four different sources, through funding agreements established in the past several years with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Braden River Utilities, a subsidiary of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch Inc.

Recycled water from the Braden River Watershed, which will primarily be used to irrigate Lakewood Ranch homes and golf courses, is of a higher quality than groundwater from wells and will help conservation efforts, resulting in less strain on the regional water-supply system.

"Reclaimed water with advanced water treatment is very clean, with little minerals and no salt. The remaining nitrogen and phosphorus in the reclaimed water are both absorbed and utilized by the grass and plant material being irrigated," said Bob Simons, vice president of Braden River Utilities.

Continued on Bradenton.com »


Red Bug Slough to celebrate restoration

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​SARASOTA COUNTY – County staff will host a grand opening Saturday, Nov. 8, to celebrate the completion of a wetlands restoration project in three areas within the 72-acre Red Bug Slough Preserve.

The festivities, scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon at the preserve, 5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota, will include guest speakers, refreshments, environmental education booths and more. Guest speakers include Commissioner Nora Patterson, Dr. Jay Leverone from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Bryan Flynn from Atkins Consulting, Virginia Haley from Visit Sarasota and John Ryan from Sarasota County. Free food and drinks will be provided by Atkins consulting.

Attendees can meet and talk with county and Atkins staff as well as local experts to learn how the new restoration improves wildlife habitat in the preserve and water quality in the slough before it flows into Phillippi Creek and Sarasota Bay.

The project will also enhance existing native habitats and provide improved shoreline habitat for wading birds, fish, turtles and other aquatic animals. In addition, the preserve is home to grey squirrels, marsh rabbits, river otters, an occasional alligator, an assortment of songbirds and wildflowers, including Carolina aster, partridge pea and frostweed.

Red Bug Slough encompasses several miles of hiking trails, a small playground, picnic shelters and a fishing dock. it was purchased in 2000-01 through the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program with funding assistance provided by the Florida Communities Trust.

For more information, contact Jeff Weber at 941-650-8860 or Kathy Meaux at 941-650-1640.

More information about Red Blug Slough »


Near-record sea turtle nesting concludes on Longboat Key through Venice beaches

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By Hayley Rutger

Sea turtles have finished nesting on beaches from Longboat Key through Venice, which hosted a near-record number of nests, according to Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.

The final local nest of 2014 was laid by a loggerhead sea turtle on Sept 6. on Lido Key. Nests continue hatching and rescued hatchlings continue receiving care in Mote’s Hatchling Hospital.

It is important that the public keep beaches dark and clear of obstacles for hatchlings trying to reach the water, according to Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol — a group of scientists, interns and volunteers who monitor 35 miles of local nesting beaches each day of nesting season, May 1-Oct. 31.

All told, the 2014 nesting season on Longboat Key through Venice produced: 2,448 nests from loggerhead sea turtles, nine from green sea turtles and two from Kemp’s ridleys. That adds up to a grand total of 2,459 nests.

This year’s grand total is strong, finishing only 10 nests short of the 33-year record total that Mote documented in 2012. This year, two parts of Mote’s area — Lido and Casey keys — surpassed their individual records.

More information, including detailed nest counts, on Mote Marine Lab’s website »


Florida-Friendly Native Landscape program Oct. 28th

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The Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC), in conjunction with the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, is please to offer the program, “Protecting the Coastal Waterfront with Florida Friendly Natives” by Thomas Becker, University of Florida/IFAS Extension, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road, Englewood, FL on Tuesday October 28, 2014. The program will be immediately followed by a short tour of the Cedar Point Butterfly Garden.

This talk addresses the “how to’s” in creating a Florida-Friendly, low maintenance landscape and plant buffers in order to protect critical habitat. Native plants installed and properly cared for can provide long-term benefits to coastal yards and neighborhoods. Urban landscapes and yards do impact, both positively and negatively, coastal habitats and water quality. The program is FREE but registration is advised. Call 941-475-0769 to reserve your spot!

Cedar Point Environmental Park is a Charlotte County facility located at 2300 Placida Road in Englewood. These lectures are provided through support from the Mosaic Company Foundation, the Mangrove Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, Charlotte County and CHEC. Further information can be obtained by calling (941) 475-0769.


New Study Finds Steep Increase in East Coast High-Tide Floods

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Flooding events may triple in 15 years, increase ten-fold in 30 years for most towns analyzed, science group finds

WASHINGTON – Flooding during high tides—something that rarely occurred in the past—is now common in some places and is projected to grow to the point that sections of coastal cities may flood so often they would become unusable in the near future, according to a report the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) just released, "Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years.”

“Several decades ago, flooding at high tide was simply not a problem,” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, report co-author and climate scientist at UCS. “Today, when the tide is extra high, people find themselves splashing through downtown Miami, Norfolk and Annapolis on sunny days and dealing with flooded roads in Atlantic City, Savannah and the coast of New Hampshire. In parts of New York City and elsewhere, homeowners are dealing with flooded basements, salt-poisoned yards and falling property values, not only because of catastrophic storms, but because tides, aided by sea level rise, now cause flooding where they live.”

The UCS study is based on an analysis of 52 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tide gauges in communities stretching from Portland, Maine to Freeport, Texas, using moderate sea level rise projections. The analysis reveals that in the next 15 years, most of the towns analyzed could see a tripling in the number of high-tide floods each year and in 30 years a ten-fold increase compared to historic levels.

Researchers say the increases in flooding are so pervasive that Atlantic Coast communities not covered by the analysis may need to brace for similar changes.

The study found the problem will rapidly worsen as sea level rises...

News release continues on the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website »


Report: Worldwide mangrove destruction costs up to $42 billion in economic damages annually

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90 per cent of the world’s mangroves are found in developing countries

ATHENS – Mangroves are being destroyed at a rate 3–5 times greater than the average rates of forest loss, costing billions in economic damages and denying millions of people the ecosystem services they need to survive, according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Importance of Mangroves to People: A Call to Action launched on Sept. 29th at the 16th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, describes how emissions resulting from mangrove losses make up nearly one-fifth of global emissions from deforestation, resulting in economic damages of some $6–$42 billion annually. Mangroves are also threatened by climate change, which could result in the loss of a further 10 - 15 per cent of mangroves by 2100.

Found in 123 countries and covering 152,000 square kilometers, over 100 million people around the world live within 10 kilometers of large mangrove forests, benefiting from a variety of goods and services such as fisheries and forest products, clean water and protection against erosion and extreme weather events.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, "Mangroves provide ecosystem services worth around US$33 - 57,000 per hectare per year. Add to that their superior ability to store carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and it becomes clear that their continued destruction makes neither ecological nor economic sense."

"Yet, the escalating destruction and degradation of mangroves - driven by land conversion for aquaculture and agriculture, coastal development, and pollution - is occurring at an alarming rate, with over a quarter of the earth's original mangrove cover now lost. This has potentially devastating effects on biodiversity, food security and the livelihoods of some of the most marginalized coastal communities in developing countries where more than 90 per cent of the world's mangroves are found."

"By quantifying in economic terms the value of the ecosystem services provided by mangroves as well as the critical role they play in global climate regulation, the report aims to encourage policymakers to use the tools and guidelines outlined to better ensure the conservation and sustainable management of mangroves," he added.

The report argues that in spite of the mounting evidence in support of the multitude of benefits derived from mangroves, they remain one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. The report describes financial mechanisms and incentives to stimulate mangrove conservation, such as REDD+, private sector investments, and the creation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions for developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing national capacity.

News release continues on UNEP’s website »


Get the latest news from Florida LAKEWATCH!

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The latest version of the Florida LAKEWATCH newsletter is now available. The LAKEWATCH newsletter is dedicated to sharing water management information and information about the University of Florida/IFAS Florida LAKEWATCH program at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation.

In this issue:
  • Total Color and Total Alkalinity Analysis
  • Innovations in Citizen Monitoring of Aquatic Plants: Passive Mapping with Sonar and Automated Processing
  • LAKEWATCH Welcomes New UF Faculty in Restoration Aquaculture
  • FWC, Partners See Ultimate Coral Reef-building Success
  • Nonnative Fish Provide Exotic Fishing Alternatives; Most Have No Bag Limits!
  • Volume 66 of the Florida LAKEWATCH Newsletter »

    Contact Information
    Florida LAKEWATCH, fl-lakewatch@ufl.edu, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL. 32611
    phone: (352) 392-4817.

    EPA extends comment period on contentious waterways rule

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending the comment period on a controversial water regulation in order to allow the public to weigh in on a soon-to-be-released scientific report, the agency said today.

    The comment period on the proposed rule to clarify the scope of the Clean Water Act will now close Nov. 14, the agency said in a statement, three weeks later than the previous deadline of Oct. 20. This is the second extension the agency has granted on the proposed rule.

    Opponents of the proposed regulation, which would increase the number of streams and creeks that currently receive automatic protection under the 1972 law, have argued that the agency is rushing the process by proposing it before a peer review of the key scientific report was completed. Last week, EPA's Science Advisory Board sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy saying that the regulatory proposal is supported by science and in fact should be more expansive (Greenwire, Sept. 30). But the board is still completing its review of the scientific report that the agency said the proposed rule is based on. It is expected to be completed by the middle of this month.

    The main industry coalition opposing the rule has argued that too many new items have been added to the process during the comment period and has called for the proposal to be withdrawn. Meanwhile, a number of stakeholders have asked the agency to extend the time frame to allow them to digest and comment on the scientific report.

    "EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have always maintained that having the latest peer-reviewed science is an essential part of determining jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act," EPA said in a statement today. "The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) will soon complete its peer review of the report on the connectivity of streams and wetlands. To provide the public with the opportunity to comment on the SAB review and in response to requests for additional time to comment on the proposal Waters of the U.S. rule, the agencies are extending the public comment period to Friday, November 14, 2014."

    The new deadline comes after the midterm elections, when both sides will have a better handle on whether Congress may intervene on the proposal. The House has already voted to block it. Democratic Senate leaders have so far staved off a vote on the issue, although more than half of the chamber is on record in opposition.


    Photographer Clyde Butcher, local water resource experts to appear at Sarasota Bay Water Festival

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    SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) will host four panel discussions and one presentation at the 2014 Sarasota Bay Water Festival set for Saturday, November 1 at Ken Thompson Park. The panel discussions focus on the protection of bay wildlife, the bay’s economic value, water quality and restoration progress, and the problem of discarded plastic harming marine life, birds and other wildlife. Acclaimed Florida photographer Clyde Butcher will also share insights, answer questions and sign his latest book beginning 2pm.

    SBEP is the Founding Sponsor of the Water Festival, HDR, Inc. is the Community Sponsor, and Sea to Shore Alliance is the Host Sponsor. The Water Festival celebrates the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy. Here’s the schedule:

  • Noon – Protecting Sarasota Bay Wildlife – Panelists include James Powell with Sea to Shore Alliance, Jim Cutler with Mote Marine Laboratory, Mark Rachal with Audubon, and Tim Thurman with Longboat Key Turtle Watch.
  • 1 p.m. – Economic Value of Sarasota Bay – Panelists include Paul Hindsley with Eckerd College, Christine Johnson with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Jennifer Shafer with the Science Environmental Council of Southwest Florida, and Sara Kane with SBEP. Professor Hindsley completed the recent two-year Economic Valuation Study of Sarasota Bay funded by SBEP.
  • 2 p.m. – Meet Clyde Butcher, Florida’s Acclaimed Nature Photographer – Clyde will share insights, answer questions and sign his latest book.
  • 3 p.m. – Water Quality & Restoration Report – Panelists include Damon Moore with Manatee County, John Ryan with Sarasota County, and Jay Leverone with SBEP.
  • 3:30 p.m. – Plastic Pollution & Wildlife – Panelists include Sherri Swanson with HDR and David Pilston with Save Our Seabirds. The presentation will also be an opportunity to learn more about this year’s After Party beginning 8pm at Circus City Architectural Salvage in downtown Sarasota. The evening event features live music and the Aqua-Garde Fashion Show Design Contest. Ticket sales benefit Save Our Seabirds and Sea to Shore Alliance, two local nonprofits focused on protecting wild birds and marine species.

  • The 2014 Sarasota Bay Water Festival is being supported by 39 sponsors from the public and private sector. More than 70 local organizations will have exhibits and displays. Other highlights include Dragon Boat Races, local artists and photographers selling gift items for the holiday season, new and vintage boats, a community art mural supported by students from Bayshore High School in Bradenton, and a display of the winning entries to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest.

    Learn more at SarasotaBayWaterFestival.com »


    The Applebutter Express to Headline Sarasota Bay Water Festival November 1

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    SARASOTA – The 2014 Sarasota Bay Water Festival will feature more than five hours of free live music on Saturday, November 1 at Ken Thompson Park. The award-winning guitarist Ben Hammond is the performing emcee for the third consecutive year. The Applebutter Express is this year’s headliner band and the other performers include Serotonic and Ari and the Alibis. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the live music starts 10:30 a.m.

    The Applebutter Express was born in Bradenton when Kyle Biss met his future wife Shannon while working at a local record store. Fiddler Joe Trivette and bass player Matt DeSear joined the duo in 2012. The prolific foursome has performed at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Suwannee Springfest, Hulaween and many other popular music events.

    Serotonic formed in Tampa in 2010 and has quickly developed a regional following with their blend of conventional and innovative music. That includes plenty of funk and jazz. And finally, Ari & the Alibis infuse funk, jazz and samba with blues, soul and tango. The Sarasota band includes singer Ari McManus, guitarist Nicolaas Kraster, bass player Gregg Voorhes, drummer John Walker, and trombonist James DaBone.

    Other festival highlights include local artists and photographers selling gift items, Dragon Boat Races, expert speakers, a presentation by acclaimed nature photographer Clyde Butcher, a display of the winning submissions to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest, food trucks, fun activities for kids, vintage and new boats, an interactive community art mural supported by students at Bayshore High School in Bradenton, and displays promoting kayaking and paddle boarding. A free water taxi service provided by Freedom Boat Club will operate between Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron next to Ken Thompson Park.

    New for 2014 is an after party featuring live music, craft beer samples and the original Aqua-Garde Fashion Show Design Contest. The party will be held at Circus City Architectural Salvage in downtown Sarasota. The doors open 8pm and the fashion show contest is set for 10pm. Ticket information and details about entertainment are posted at WaterFestivalAfterParty.com. Proceeds benefit Save Our Seabirds and Sea to Shore Alliance.

    The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Founding Sponsor of the Sarasota Bay Water Festival. HDR, Inc. is the Community Sponsor and Sea to Shore Alliance is the Host Sponsor. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. celebrating its silver anniversary.

    Other sponsors in random order include Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, Manatee County, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Cannons Marina, City of Sarasota, Mote Marine Laboratory, Save Our Seabirds, Sarasota Bay Watch, High Five Dragon Boat, WUSF Public Media, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Town of Longboat Key, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, WSRQ Talk Radio, City of Bradenton, Around the Bend Nature Tours, The Inner Circle Spa, Sarasota Day, Suncoast Food Trucks, The Old Salty Dog, MindSpa, Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon, Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers, Stantec, Vintage Paws Sanctuary, SUP Sarasota, UF/IFAS Extension, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Circus City Architectural Salvage, N2 Publishing, Friends of Disc Golf, Sun King Disc Sports, Top 10 Sarasota, Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation, ROI Media, and Triple 3 Marketing.

    Visit the Festival website »

    Contact Information
    Bryan Moore, Festival Site Manager, Triple 3 Marketing, bryan@triple3marketing.com

    Sunshine State Survey: Water is environmental issue of greatest concern to voters

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    USF's school of Public Affairs and Nielsen's latest results on their annual Sunshine State Survey were released on Sept. 30th, asking how Floridians feel about crime and environmental issues.

    USF Political Scientist Dr. Susan MacManus said Floridians believe Florida's biggest environmental issue is water.

    "What is the biggest environmental problem facing Florida, hands down it's water, water-related problems," she said. "Specifically, 32 percent - almost the third - mention either the quality or the shortage of water."

    The Sunshine State Survey shows Floridians are now more critical of the state's job protecting the environment since the 2012 survey. Only one-third of those polled believe the state is doing a good job.

    When asked to identify “What is the biggest environmental problem facing Florida today?” 39% of the respondents refer to a problem involving water; 19% cite a pollution problem; 8% mention a political problem; another 7% point to potential disasters stemming from humans or nature; food production-related problems are the top concern of 2%, while 6% cite a wide range of other problems. Almost one-fifth (18%) gave no response to the question, reflecting less general knowledge of environmental challenges than of those in some other policy areas.

    Read the Sunshine State Survey Data Release Summary No. 4 »


    Floating chapel leaves St. Petersburg, anchors in historic Cortez

    ST. PETERSBURG — Three years after America's only floating chapel docked at the Pier, the distinctive blue-roofed attraction is off to a new port of call.

    While it signals an adventure for new Sarasota owners, who hosted their first wedding this weekend, it's lousy timing for waterfront businesses that catered to chapel visitors.

    "We thought it was a great boost for the area," said Peter Ceruzzi, manager of Fresco's Waterfront Bistro. "It's a shame."

    You'll see the chapel for a final month in St. Petersburg starting in late March, when it will sit outside the Renaissance Vinoy Resort.

    But its new home is historic downtown Cortez, on the mainland across from Anna Maria Island, not quite an hour's drive from the Pier.

    It's a third stop for what's billed as the world's largest floating chapel. The creation has been the Tampa Bay area's from the start.

    Continued in the Tampa Bay Times »


    It’s time for the annual LeBarge Historical Cruise and Tour

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    The Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) is hosting its 25th Historical Cruise and Tour of Sarasota Bay on the LeBarge tour boat on Sunday, November 2, 2014 from 11am to 1pm. The cruise will feature narration by popular local historian John McCarthy. Guests can expect a complimentary continental breakfast and a cash bar at noon.

    Norma Kwenski, Volunteer Extraordinaire, grabs the catbird seat on LeBarge, next to our commentator, always-captivating John McCarthy, one of Sarasota's leading historians. This specialty cruise tour has been a favorite with residents and tourists alike who want to learn more about the bygone people and places that have impacted the development of Sarasota County. Guests cruise along the shoreline of Sarasota Bay and enjoy the sunshine and refreshments while John McCarthy paints a picture of the formative years in Sarasota’s growth.

    Tickets are $40 per person. A VIP pass is available for $50 which provides early boarding and a complimentary beverage from the bar (limited to beer, wine and soda). Reservations are a MUST.

    Historical Cruise Guests should be at the LeBarge slip, south of Marina Jack in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park by 10:15am, rain or shine. Proceeds benefit preservation projects and community outreach programs at the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

    Details and how to register »

    Contact Information
    Linda Garcia, Historical Society of Sarasota County , hsosc1@gmail
    phone: (941) 364-9076.

    Mote receives NOAA grant for marine animal rescue and rehabilitation

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    Mote Marine Laboratory recently received a $99,615 grant for its dolphin and whale rescue and rehabilitation efforts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    The grant was part of about $2.7 million total awarded as 35 grants to organizations in 18 states through the 2014 cycle of NOAA’s competitive John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. This Program, established through an amendment to the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, is a vital source of funds for marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation by members of the NOAA-coordinated National Marine Mammal Stranding Network — including Mote.

    "Prescott grants are extremely important to us as a nonprofit organization rescuing and rehabilitating marine animals,” said Gretchen Lovewell, manager of Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program. “These grants are the only direct source of federal funds for members of the National Marine Mammal Stranding Network. As part of this network, we are first responders providing emergency aid to dolphins, whales and other marine mammals that might otherwise have no helping hand."

    Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program provides 24-hour responses to reports of sick, injured and deceased whales, dolphins and sea turtles — all federally protected species — in Sarasota and Manatee counties and is often asked to assist with rescues and large-scale events beyond this designated area due to their extensive experience dealing with stranded animals. The program also helps state biologists respond to sick, injured or deceased manatees, endangered marine mammals living in Florida’s coastal waters.

    Mote responders transport stranded dolphins, small whales and sea turtles to Mote's Dolphin and Whale Hospital or Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment designed to help them recover and return to the wild, while giving deceased animals a detailed post-mortem examination called a necropsy. Necropsy findings help scientists evaluate the long-term mortality trends of these species, especially those relating to disease, injuries and manmade threats such as boat strikes and fishing gear entanglement. Findings offer vital information for resource managers working to protect marine animals.

    Bones of deceased dolphins and small whales are preserved in Mote’s Ruth DeLynn Cetacean Osteological Collection, which contains hundreds of carefully documented bone specimens used in scientific studies.

    The new Prescott funds will support operations, equipment and other key needs of Mote’s dolphin and whale rescue and rehabilitation programs, such as travel to distant rescue sites. It will also strengthen Mote’s diagnostic abilities by supporting the purchase of a MiniXray HF100 + Ultralight Portable X-ray unit.

    “The portable X-ray will help us take images in the field and know sooner whether an animal can be released immediately or needs further treatment, and it can help us work with animals too large or cumbersome to bring into our vet lab,” Lovewell said. “With deceased animals, it will help us look for stingray barbs, fishing hooks or other foreign bodies and take a careful look at the overall body prior to conducting a necropsy or preparing the skeleton for documentation and study,” Lovewell said.

    This year alone, Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program and animal hospitals have responded to more than 80 stranded sea turtles and 40 stranded marine mammals — a challenging task for a nonprofit such as Mote, which relies greatly on grants and support from the community to help animals.

    While Prescott funds are vital to animal rescuers, the overall budget for this federal program has been cut in half during recent years. “Only about half of the proposals submitted were funded this year, so we are very grateful and fortunate to receive these funds,” Lovewell said.


    District to hold public workshop on priority list

    The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) is soliciting stakeholder input on the annual update of the Priority List and Schedule for the Establishment of Minimum Flows and Levels. A workshop will be held at the District’s Tampa Service Office, 7601 Highway 301 North on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

    Minimum flows and levels are limits set by the District Governing Board for surface waters and groundwater that are intended to prevent significant harm to the water resources or ecology of an area that may be caused by water withdrawals. Reservations set aside water from withdrawals for the protection of fish and wildlife or public health and safety. The Priority List identifies water bodies for which the District plans to establish minimum flows and levels and reservations.

    Written comments on the draft Priority List and Schedule are welcome and may be submitted to Doug Leeper, Chief Advisory Environmental Scientist with the District’s Water Resources Bureau via email at doug.leeper@watermaters.org or by U.S. Mail at 2379 Broad Street, Brooksville, Florida, 34604-6899 no later than October 15, 2014.

    The current Priority List and Schedule is posted on the District’s Minimum Flows and Levels (Environmental Flows) Documents and Reports web page at: watermatters.org. The draft FY2015 Priority List and Schedule will be made available at the same web page on September 19, 2014.

    This workshop can also be accessed remotely via conference call and on-line through Cisco WebEx Meetings. For instructions, please visit watermatters.org/calendar and click on the meeting agenda.


    UN Summit On Climate Change In New York City

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    This coming September leaders from around the world will be coming to New York City (NYC) for the United Nations (UN) summit on the climate crisis. Representatives from dozens of countries will discuss goals, plans, and initiatives to dramatically reduce global warming pollutants.

    "With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we'll take a stand to bend the course of history. We'll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities."-Eco-Voice

    A march on climate change is set for Sunday September 21st in NYC

    Image sourced from: GlobalChange

    To register for the march on climate change click here


    Deadline approaching for "I Love Sarasota Bay" Photo Contest

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    Photo: Caroline Griffith’s photo titled Iridescence won an honorable mention ribbon last year in her age division. (Photo by Bryan Moore)

    SARASOTA – October 10 is the last day area photo enthusiasts can submit photos to the 2014 I Love Sarasota Photo Contest. Participants can drop off their entry or entries to Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon located at Chili’s Plaza at 4141 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The four drop off days runs from Tuesday, October 7 through Friday, October 10. The drop off window each day is between 10 am and 6 pm.

    Contest participants can only submit photos taken after November 1, 2011. The winning submissions will be displayed on Saturday, November 1 at the Sarasota Bay Water Festival at Ken Thompson Park. Custom ribbons and other prizes will be awarded. The contest features four age divisions and the rules and guidelines are posted at SarasotaBayWaterFestival.com.

    The photo contest celebrates the beauty and importance of Sarasota Bay and other waterways. Prior submissions have focused on seascapes and landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, people enjoying water recreational activities, boats and boating, aquatic life, birds, and other wildlife. The 2013 winners included Terry Frankford, Sally Twinem, Logan McLeod, Emma Griffin, Karl Ford, Larry George, Francis Twinem, Judith Horn, Caroline Griffin, Michael Oelschlager, Judy Sargent, and Julie Doyle. The 2012 winners included Makeala Frankford, Mary Lou Johnson, Kristina Carreras, Victoria Holcomb, Larry George, Caroline Griffith, Ronald Hecox, Terry Frankford, and Dick Plaff.

    Other highlights of the Water Festival include live music from 11am until 4pm, local artists and photographers selling gift items, Dragon Boat Races, expert speakers, food trucks, activities for kids, vintage and new boats, a community art mural, and displays promoting recreational boating, fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. A free boat taxi service provided by Freedom Boat Club will operate between Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron next to Ken Thompson Park.

    New for 2014 is an after party featuring live music, craft beer and the original Aqua-Garde Fashion Show Design Contest. The party will be held at Circus City Architectural Salvage in downtown Sarasota. The doors open 8pm and the fashion show contest is set for 10pm. Ticket information and details about the music lineup are posted at WaterFestivalAfterParty.com. Proceeds benefit Save Our Seabirds and Sea to Shore Alliance. The sponsors of the after party include the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, MGB Built and Circus City Architectural Salvage.

    The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Founding Sponsor of the Sarasota Bay Water Festival. HDR, Inc. is the Community Sponsor and Sea to Shore Alliance is the Host Sponsor for 2014. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. celebrating its silver anniversary in 2014.

    Other Water Festival sponsors in random order include Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, Manatee County, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Cannons Marina, City of Sarasota, Mote Marine Laboratory, Save Our Seabirds, High Five Dragon Boat, WUSF Public Media, Sarasota Bay Watch, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Town of Longboat Key, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, WSRQ Talk Radio, City of Bradenton, Around the Bend Nature Tours, The Inner Circle Spa, Sarasota Day, Suncoast Food Trucks, The Old Salty Dog, Frank’s Gentlemen’s Salon, Anheuser-Busch Wholesalers, Stantec, Vintage Paws Sanctuary, SUP Sarasota, UF/IFAS Extension, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, SUP Sarasota, N2 Publishing, Friends of Disc Golf, Sun King Disc Sports, Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation, and Triple 3 Marketing.

    Contact Information
    Bryan Moore, Festival Site Manager, Triple 3 Marketing, bryan@triple3marketing.com

    Water main repairs prompt boil water advisory in Venice

    Sarasota County will begin repairs to a 24-inch water main off of Jacaranda Boulevard by I-75 tonight, beginning at 11 p.m.

    This will affect the Hidden Lakes Club subdivision, all of Commercial Court's five restaurants, three hotels and about 41 surrounding business. All those affected will be under a boil water advisory beginning at 11 p.m. tonight.

    County crews hope to have service restored by 6 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25.

    Details of the affected area


    Warm Mineral Springs may reopen as soon as saturday

    NORTH PORT - Warm Mineral Springs could reopen to swimmers as early as Saturday, providing a couple of key meetings go as planned.

    The final closing paperwork needs to be signed with the City of North Port buying Sarasota County’s share of the attraction. City officials also must complete a new management agreement allowing National and State Park Concessions Inc.’s return to run the operation.

    Mayor James Blucher said he did not expect any surprises, joking that a couple of alligators might have found their way onto the property since it closed to the public Aug. 31.

    The opening will not come soon enough for patrons. “This is our social club, it’s not only the lake,” resident Dan Davidson told North Port commissioners Monday. “It’s where we get together, where we can see each other.”

    The closing of the sale is still not firm, but City Attorney Mark Moriarty said Wednesday that a tentative time is at 10 a.m. Friday. The city will pay $2.75 million plus closing costs to buy the county’s half of the 81-acre site.

    For full article continue on to Herald-Tribune »

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