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Sunbow Bay Condo Association to Host Open House March 24th

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SARASOTA -- Sunbow Bay Condo Association will host an open house this Saturday, March 24 to showcase recent efforts to create Bay-friendly landscaping on the property located at 3805 East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. Part of the funding for the retrofitting came from a Bay Partners Grant provided by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP). The open house runs from 2-4pm and the public is invited.

Girl Scout Troop 536 from Bradenton will sell water and lemonade at the open house to raise funds for a camping trip. The troop visited Sunbow Bay March 10 to do some volunteer work and learn more about Bay-friendly landscaping.

The goal of the project was to improve the quality of runoff from Sunbow Bay’s ten acres of turf dominated landscape. The property borders Anna Maria Sound, Sarasota Bay and Grassy Pointe Preserve. It contains a tidal estuary stream, lagoon, swales, as well as detention and retention ponds. The water’s edge features red and black mangroves, tidal flats, seagrasses and oyster beds.

Sunbow Bay volunteers have been working to convert the landscape to be more Bay-friendly since 2009. “Our plan is to continue enhancing the property while improving the quality of water running into the Bay,” added Denise Elliott. “We were able to plant 3,500 square feet of native plants on or near the waters edge using Florida-friendly practices with funding support in 2010 and 2011 from SBEP ($5,500 total) in addition to a $3,000 in-kind contribution from Sunbow Bay.”

Ms. Elliott credits local professionals for technical guidance on the project including Sara Kane with SBEP, Michelle Atkinson with the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program, and Jim Derwenko, the association’s green-certified landscaper. Ms. Kane and Ms. Elliott spoke to association members in January 2011 to explain the benefits of Bay-friendly landscaping.

SBEP has provided more than $150,000 in grants to more than 90 organizations since 2002 as part of its annual Bay Partners Grant Program. The purpose of the program is to promote environmental education, awareness and stewardship that benefit Sarasota Bay and its tributaries. Funding is available for local projects that focus on Bay education, Bay restoration or Bay-friendly landscaping. All of the grants require an education component that encourages Bay-friendly stewardship.

Photo: A girl scout with Troop 536 of Bradenton was part of the team that did some gardening at Sunbow Bay recently while also learning about Bay-friendly landscaping. Photo Credit: Don Elliott