web banner for Bay Post Script 

September-October 2014                                                                                                    
In Memoriam:
Roger Stewart


Photo from Tampa Tribune

Tampa Bay lost one of its effective and dedicated champions recently with the passing of environmental icon Roger Stewart. 

Roger galvanized public support for improving water quality in Tampa Bay in the early 1970s, first as a biologist in the Hillsborough County Health Department and then as the first director of the county's Environmental Protection Commission -- a post he held until his retirement in 2000.

At a recent memorial service, TBEP Director Holly Greening presented Roger's family with a proclamation declaring Roger to be a "Champion of the Bay" for his role in advocating for better sewage treatment, protection of coastal wetlands, and creation of a baywide, nationally recognized water quality monitoring network.

He will be long remembered as a leader in protecting and restoring the bay he loved so well.
minigrant workers
Restoring natural habitats is one way grant funding can be used.


TBEP Bay Mini-Grant Applications Due October 1

Annual grant proposals for community-led bay improvement projects are due October 1. TBEP's Bay Mini-Grant program encourages neighborhood and community groups, schools, non-profits and others to submit projects that help to protect or restore Tampa Bay while involving the local community. Proposals can address habitat restoration, education, pollution prevention (including reduced fertilizer use), or climate change
  •     Grant award limit: $5,000 
  •     Deadline: October 1 by 3:00 pm
  •     Award Date: Mid-December
Groups and organizations from Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties as well as sections of Pasco and Polk counties may apply.
Project must be in the Tampa Bay watershed.

To view criteria, download an application and read about winning projects from past years, go to tbep.org/minigrants.html

tarpon tag
License Fees Rolled Back
Save Money, Restore Tampa Bay!

Auto tag fees statewide dropped by $17-$25 per vehicle on September 1. Revenues from the Tampa Bay Estuary license tag support our Bay Mini-Grants. Please support the only specialty license tag whose revenues stay solely within our community and our bay!

TBEP Joins Regional
Climate Adaptation Effort

TBEP Environmental Science and Policy Manager Lindsay Cross is participating in a regional working group aimed at supporting local governments in their efforts to plan for a changing climate.

The Regional Climate Adaptation Group is a scientific advisory board consisting of representatives from TBEP, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Committee, NOAA, US Geological Survey, Southwest Florida Water Management District, EPC-Hillsborough County, USF-St Petersburg, University of Florida, and FDOT, along with Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Manatee counties. The committee meets monthly and is led by Libby Carnahan, Sea Grant agent for UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension.

Among the group's goals:  
Creating accurate scenario mapping models for regional sea level rise and flooding;

Assisting with planning and policies to address sea level rise among the various counties and cities; and

Working with other regional groups to address climate change impacts.



TBEP and Sea Level Rise


TBEP has recently adopted the following policy statement to guide our involvement in this issue of paramount importance to the region:



"Official tide gauges in Tampa Bay have recorded water levels rising at the rate of one inch per decade since the 1940s, a rate that scientists predict is likely to increase. By the end of the century, rising water levels in Tampa Bay are projected to inundate substantial portions of low-lying shorelines in the watershed, resulting in either the degradation, change in composition, or loss of some key coastal habitats. These coastal habitats support commercially and recreationally valuable fish and wildlife resources. Through research, technology transfer and public education, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program will promote the scientific understanding of potential impacts of sea level rise on coastal habitats and support development of appropriate management actions to protect and improve the ecological and socio-economic resources of the estuary."


Coastal Planning Course Set For December in Venice

A Coastal Community Planning course will be held December 3-4  at the Venice Community Center, 326 Nokomis Ave. S.,  Venice. Jointly hosted by the Charlotte Harbor, Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay  national estuary programs, the workshop will be conducted by staff from NOAA's Coastal Services Center. This in-depth training explores alternatives to traditional development, natural hazard resiliency and land-use planning issues specifically in coastal communities.  The training is ideal for local planners, elected officials, developers, emergency managers, realtors, community groups and concerned citizens. Cost to attend is $40 and includes lunches and refreshment breaks; register online here.
facebook icon  
Join Our Mailing List

  youtube icon  

Quick Links



TBEP Staff On The Go


It's been a busy summer for TBEP staffers, both inside and outside the office! 

Director Holly Greening went on a cycling trip in Italy with her husband and friends.

Program administrator Ron Hosler not only survived, he had a blast driving an RV through the Rocky Mountains -- visiting Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Badlands National Parks.

Before his road trip, Ron traveled across Florida to give a presentation to the new Indian River Lagoon Advisory Committee about TBEP's financial and organizational structure.

Environmental Science and Policy Manager Lindsay Cross ventured north and south, first to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and then to Panama, where she visited Panama City, the Panama Canal and the San Blas Islands -- and bought a Panama hat!
Lindsay snorkeling on a sunken ship off
 Isla Perro in Panama

Senior Scientist Ed Sherwood went diving for lobster with family in the Florida Keys.
Charlie Sherwood, right, and cousins Ty and Connor enjoy Lobster-mania in the Keys

Ed also attended a meeting in Houston to discuss the expansion of the Gulf Coast Oceans Observing System. TBEP is a founding member of GCOOS.

Project manager Misty Cladas and husband Ron spent a memorable and intensive weeklong staycation learning how to sail in Tampa Bay. They are now certified to operate up to a 45-foot sloop!
Nanette O'Hara gave a presentation on the Be Floridian campaign in July at an international Social Marketing Conference sponsored by USF's College of Public Health in Clearwater Beach. She also found some time to fly fish for snook in the Everglades.


Tampa Bay Estuary Program


Study Shows Bay Is A
Powerful Economic Engine

One in every five jobs in the Tampa Bay watershed depends on a healthy Tampa Bay, according to the results of an economic assessment jointly conducted by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

 A clean bay also contributes an impressive 13%, or $22 billion, of the total economic activity over the larger, 6-county Tampa Bay region, the study found.

Jobs in the Tampa Bay Region
Nearly half of the jobs in the Tampa Bay watershed are influenced by the bay, with 1 in 5 dependent on a clean bay, the study shows.

And, maintaining and increasing the valuable marshes and seagrasses of the bay ecosystem provides a substantial cost savings - about $24 million per year - in avoided wastewater treatment costs, since those habitats reduce nitrogen pollution levels naturally.

These are among the key findings of the first economic valuation of Tampa Bay since 1999. The assessment, led by the Regional Planning Council (RPC), looks at employment, real estate, food services and lodging in the Greater Tampa Bay region, encompassing all or parts of six counties from Hernando to Sarasota. A detailed survey also was given to 76 professionals working in industries affiliated with the bay in some respect, to determine the importance of clean water to various industries. 

"The study shows that the Bay's watershed is a significant economic driver for industries within our region, both directly and indirectly," said Manny Pumariega, the Planning Council's Executive Director. "The economic value of the Bay has generally gone unquantified until the completion of this study. It is evident based upon the results that without the attraction of the Bay our region's economy would not be what it is today."

Overall, more than two million people work in the 6-county bay area, with 68% of those working directly in the Bay's watershed. One out of every five jobs within the watershed is dependent on a healthy bay, a reflection of the value of clean water in luring -- and sustaining -- tourists, residents, retirees and businesses.

Not all industries require clean water - ships do not require clean water just to get from one port to another, for example. But the high-tech industries that community leaders increasingly seek to attract, as well as the region's robust tourism and real estate sectors, are critically linked to a bay in good condition. So are the recreational opportunities that rank high on lists of "quality of life" considerations.

Fortunately, said TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening, seagrasses in Tampa Bay have rebounded in recent years, and water quality is as good as it was in the 1950s.

"This study reinforces that a healthy economy and a healthy environment are mutually beneficial, and not mutually exclusive," Greening said.


Homes directly on the bay, or even a quarter-mile away, have significantly higher home values than those not near the water.

In the case of real estate values, proximity to the bay pays dividends - and costs a premium. Homes directly on the bay waterfront generate roughly four times the property tax revenue of those not on the waterfront, the report shows. Even homes within a quarter-mile of the bay generate double the tax revenues of those farther away.

Similar differences are found in lodging, where a 3-star hotel situated on the bay costs an average of 45% more per night.


Placing a price tag on the value of Tampa Bay's "ecosystem services" - such as pollution mitigation, flood storage, ability to absorb carbon, or provide homes for fish and wildlife - is more challenging. In addition to the economic impact research, the Estuary Program and the RPC also have participated in an effort led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to value these ecosystem provisions.  


That work has shown, among other benefits, that the presence of more underwater seagrasses and more shoreline marshes and mangroves means about $24 million less money spent each year on wastewater treatment plants to reduce nutrient pollution in the bay. As the cost of removing nitrogen from both wastewater and stormwater increases, future savings may be $100 million per year.


Click here to read the full study. 



The Art of Being Floridian

The "Art of Being Floridian" traveling flock of fabulous flamingos painted by 20 regional artists touches down in Manatee County for the month of September at the Arts Center Manatee, then moves to the Largo Cultural Center for October, Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg and the Dunedin Fine Arts Center for December.

The whimsical birds were on exhibit in July at the Safety Harbor Library and during August at the Oldsmar Public Library.

The colorful ambassa-birds for our Be Floridian fertilizer campaign encourage homeowners to skip lawn fertilizing in the summer to prevent pollution of the waterways that make living here so much fun.

Their regional tour runs through August 2015, with a grand finale at the Tampa Bay History Center as part of the Center's "American Backyard" special exhibit in summer 2015.

Meet the entire flock at BeFloridian.org and follow their migration on Facebook.

Volunteers Needed to Give a Day for the Bay
Saturday, September 27
Fort DeSoto Park, Pinellas County
Celebrate National Estuaries Day with Tampa Bay Estuary Program on September 27 as we kick off our 'Give a Day' volunteer workday program for 2014-15.

We need a big crew at Fort DeSoto Park where we will be planting 10,000 sea oats, along with with other dune plants such as beach elder, railroad vines, and dune sunflower. There also will be trash to pick up along the beach (unfortunately) and fire ants to eradicate -- in short, something for everyone!

To show our appreciation for our wonderful volunteers on National Estuaries Day, participants will receive a free lunch and t-shirt! Children should be age 12 and up and accompanied by an adult. Registration is required; Sign up here or email misty@tbep.org.
CAC Spotlight: Citizens Committee Launches Initiative For College Students

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is hard at work developing a new educational presentation which will target regional college students. CAC members want to raise awareness of issues affecting Tampa Bay, and inspire the students to become involved in local cleanup and monitoring efforts. 

"We'll be targeting incoming students, fraternities, sororities and student groups that may not be aware of environmental issues," said TBEP Project Manager Misty Cladas, staff coordinator for the CAC. "At the same time, we'll be promoting events like beach cleanups and Give A Days in hopes of recruiting new volunteers."

Spearheading the development of the program is a new Education Subcommittee comprised of CAC members Mike Herdegen (chair), Stephanie Ammons, Ronald Porter, Joan Pynes and Grant Craig. The team will
present a plan to the CAC this fall. Once approved, members will be responsible for implementing the program.

"Into The Streets" with Eckerd College students 
Dr. Ron Porter, back row, is a new CAC member as well as the Director of Service Learning for Eckerd College. He invited CAC staff coordinator Misty Cladas, third from right, to join a team of Eckerd students on an "Into The Streets" field day along the Hillsborough River in Tampa. They learned about the restoration of UIele Spring, participated in water sampling, visited the "living shoreline" at Steward Middle School and cleaned up litter along the river's edge. This project is an example of the hands-on service learning that our citizen-advisors may showcase in their new initiative to engage college students in bay improvement.

We're growing!

TBEP welcomes seven new members to the Community Advisory Committee: Jan Allyn, Catie Wonders, Ronald Porter, Joan Pynes, Grant Craig, Joanne Lentino, and Brian Niemann. Thanks for giving your time to support our mission!

Toast The Coast on Sept. 27!

Raise a glass to Tampa Bay on September 27 in honor of the 25th anniversary of National Estuaries Day!

Tampa Bay is one of only 28 "estuaries of national significance" designated by Congress. Join the nationwide "Toast The Coast" campaign to celebrate estuaries, the special bays, bayous and lagoons where fresh and salt meet to produce some of our most ecologically and economically important areas. There are two ways to participate:

1. Post a photo of you and your friends toasting Tampa Bay on our Facebook page. A Tampa Bay prize pack awaits one lucky winner!

2. Share your love for Tampa Bay by tweeting to

Here are just a few of the million or so reasons we love Tampa Bay:

  • More than 200 species of fish spend all or part of their lives in Tampa Bay, including premier sportfish such as snook and tarpon.
  • Islands in and near the bay annuallu host up to 50,000 breedings pairs of waterbirds, from the  rare reddish egret to the familiar brown pelican.
  • Hundreds of manatees live in Tampa Bay year-round. TECO's Big Bend Power Plant in Apollo Beach is one of the most important winter refuges for these gentle giants in West Central Florida.
  • Tampa Bay provides a major economic boost to our region, with 47% of all the jobs in the watershed influenced in some way by the presence of the bay.
  • Steadily improving water quality makes Tampa Bay a GREAT place to fish, boat, sail, paddle, watch birds and other critters, or just admire a beautiful sunset over the water.

Tell us why the bay is special to you via our Facebook photo contest or Twitter post. Cheers!

Members of the Tampa Bay Manatee Awareness Coalition, coordinated by TBEP, in front of a special trailer used to transport  manatees. The MAC recently toured the FWC's Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab, located on the Eckerd College campus. This facility, led by Andy Garrett (second from right), conducts almost all of the manatee necropsies in Florida and coordinates rescues of sick or injured manatees.

About the Tampa Bay Estuary Program


 The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is an intergovernmental partnership dedicated to restoring and protecting Tampa Bay, Florida's largest open-water estuary. TBEP is one of 28 "Estuaries of National Significance" designated by Congress.


Our Policy Board is comprised of representatives from Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties; the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater; the Southwest Florida Water Management District; the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.