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August-September 2017                                                                                                                                  www.tbep.org
   
Students from the Manatee School for the Arts snorkeled in seagrass beds as part of their grant project.
Bay Mini-Grant Applications Due September 15
Informational Webinar Set for August 22

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is again offering grants of $500-$5,000 to community groups for projects that help to improve Tampa Bay. Schools, neighborhood associations, and non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit restoration, education or pollution prevention proposals that advance the mission of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.
 
First-time grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a free informational webinar on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. The webinar will discuss reimbursable costs, eligibility and a new online application form.  To register, contact misty@tbep.org.

Learn more about the Bay Mini-Grants, see FAQs, review summaries of previously funded projects, and apply online at:
 
The Bay Mini-Grants program is funded by sales of the Tampa Bay Estuary license plate. Since 2000, more than $1.6 million in license tag revenues has been provided for bay restoration and education.
                          

                             

TBEP Receives National Award for Nitrogen Partnership

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program's Nitrogen Management Consortium has received the inaugural Coastal Stewardship Award from the  Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation(CERF). The Consortium was honored for its long-standing, innovative public-private partnership to reduce nitrogen pollution in Tampa Bay.

CERF is a national federation of coastal and estuarine scientists and managers dedicated to advancing knowledge and wise use of estuaries and coasts. Every two years, CERF recognizes individual excellence in the fields of coastal and estuarine science, management and education through several scientific and service awards. This is the first year the Federation has honored an organization, project or program as well.

The awards committee noted that Tampa Bay's Nitrogen Management Consortium "demonstrated impressive achievements in all the key criteria considered important in the mission of CERF to promote the wise use of science and management toward the stewardship of estuaries and coasts around the world."

The Consortium, formed by TBEP in 1996, is comprised of  more than 55 public and private entities from throughout the Tampa Bay watershed who work together to maintain water quality and seagrass recovery in the bay. NMC members include cities and counties, regulatory agencies and key industries such as fertilizer manufacturing, electric utilities and agriculture. Since 1996, the group collectively has constructed more than 500 projects to reduce nitrogen loadings in the bay, resulting in water quality equal to that of 1950. Tampa Bay also has regained 16,000 acres of seagrass, surpassing 1950s levels, at the same time our population has grown from 1 million to nearly 3 million.

"I have grown up on the bay and have watched the cycles of change and I know that TBEP has been a key part of its continued improvement. Hillsborough County is proud to have such an excellent program as TBEP contributing to the health and ongoing rehabilitation of the bay," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White.

The Consortium's success in engaging diverse stakeholders also was lauded by a sister watershed management program in Chesapeake Bay.

 "We watched and learned from their extraordinary efforts to reach out and directly engage all the source sectors, local governments, businesses, and advocacy groups, and make them part of the shared decision-making process. They effectively blurred the lines between public and private, turning us and them into we," said Rich Batiuk, an EPA scientist who has been involved with the Chesapeake Bay Program for 25 years.

Learn more about the Nitrogen Management Consortium and all the 2017 CERF Scientific Award Recipients. 



 
Training Session Prepares Area Scientists for Seagrass Surveys

TBEP staffers Gary Raulerson and Maya Burke led an annual hands-on training session in July for Tampa Bay environmental scientists, in the shallow flats near Lassing Park in St. Pete. 

Participants from a variety of agencies and organizations practiced techniques for measuring seagrass abundance, density and health. The scientists are using a standardized method that ensures that all the data they collect about the bay's seagrasses will be consistent and accurate. They'll be collecting seagrass info this fall from about 60 different locations in Tampa Bay.

The transect monitoring provides a fine-scale snapshot of seagrass health annually, while baywide aerial photography coordinated by the Southwest Florida Water Management District every two years gives an overall tally of seagrass acreage and distribution. Combined, the two monitoring efforts present a comprehensive portrait of this key indicator of the bay's condition.

In this short video, Gary Raulerson explains the training basics.

Monitoring Tampa Bay Seagrasses
Monitoring Tampa Bay Seagrasses






Register Now for Florida Birding and Nature Festival
Hillsborough Community College SouthShore Campus
551 24th Street N.E.
Ruskin, FL
 
Don't miss this 3-day festival jam-packed with a variety of workshops, presentations and small-group field trips to some of the best wildlife-viewing sites in West Central Florida!  The Festival coincides with peak migration in Central Florida, when 180 bird species can be found in our region. 

TBEP is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Festival.

There is no general registration fee. Instead, pay for a field trip and get all seminars on that day free. Field trips range from $30-$65 and are guided by expert birders and naturalists. Special trips for photographers are offered.  Fees for keynote programs are additional.

Discount hotel rooms are available at the Harborside Suites at Little Harbor.

Among the activities: 
  • Engaging presentations on nature photography, landscaping for wildlife, reptiles, butterflies, and conservation initiatives. 
  • Field trips by land and water to prime birding, wildflower and wildlife viewing locations throughout West Central Florida. 
  •  A nature expo with artwork and unique gifts for wildlife lovers.
Two special evening events are planned, plus a Sunday afternoon panel, are planned. There is a $25 donation for these, which includes a buffet meal.
  • Friday, October 13 - James "Buddy" Powell, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sea to Shore Alliance, will , talk about the status of Florida's coastal environmental environment and the animals that depend upon healthy waters and shores.
  • Saturday, October 14 - Resee Collins, Regional Eagle Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wil talk about the successful conservation of the Bald Eagle that led to its downlisting from endangered to threatened. 
  • Sunday, October 15 - A panel of experts will report on the social and financial economics of land conservation, the benefits we receive from cleaner air, more and cleaner water, shade, insect control, and more.  
For a complete schedule and registration information, go to  http://fbnfestival.org /           
                    
                                  

Dirty Hands, Clean Bay
Volunteer workdays resume in September

Our annual "Give A Day For The Bay" volunteer workday season will start again in September, with a series of half-day workdays at parks and preserves spanning the watershed. Sign up with misty@tbep.org to receive more information about these Saturday work parties, or join our volunteer email list 

Our first workday is slated for a nature preserve in Manatee County on Saturday, Sept. 23, to coincide with National Estuaries Week. Details coming soon!

Volunteers from TBEP and Tampa Bay Watch plant marsh grasses at Safety Harbor's new Waterfront Park last Spring. The park features restored tidal wetlands, a freshwater pond and a boardwalk with sweeping views
 of Old Tampa Bay.





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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, Pasco 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.