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Summer 2017                                                                                                                                               www.tbep.org
Our Logo Gets a Makeover!

We have a new logo that better represents our focus on working with our community partners to restore Tampa Bay's signature habitat, seagrasses. This logo shows our pride in having reached, and surpassed, our goal of 38,000 acres of seagrass -- in fact, we're at 41,655 acres!

This is the first new logo for TBEP since our inception in 1991. 

The logo is available in various formats for our partners who may need the updated design for websites or other purposes. Let us know what you think!



TBEP Director To Retire in Early 2018

Holly is looking forward to more of this in her retirement
TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening announced her retirement in February 2018. Holly has been with TBEP since the Program formed in 1991, serving 17 years as Senior Scientist and the last 10 as Executive Director.

 "Although I truly believe this is 'the best job in the world', I am ready to explore other avenues and interests," Holly said.

Over the next several months, Holly will work with TBEP's Policy Board to facilitate the selection process for her successor, with the goal of enabling the Board to interview and rank the most qualified candidates at their November meeting. A job announcement will be published in late August or early September.

TBEP's longtime Public Outreach Coordinator, Nanette O'Hara, is retiring a few months earlier than Holly, in November 2017. Nanette has been with the Program for 20 years.

Bay Restoration and Research Grants Announced 

TBEP recently awarded more than $880,000 for bay research and restoration projects through the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (TBERF). 

This year's Fund contributors are the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough County, Mosaic Company Foundation, City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, Tampa Electric Company and Port Tampa Bay.

Nine proposals were recommended for funding by an evaluation committee and approved by TBEP's Policy Board. They are:

  • Boyd Hill Nature Preserve Freshwater Wetland Restoration ($200,000)
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will restore hydrology by modifying and back-filling a network of channels and ditches to create or enhance 30-acres of freshwater wetland habitat throughout a 400-acre natural area in south St. Petersburg.
  • Coastal and Estuarine Acidification Monitoring in the Tampa Bay Region ($147,579)
The United States Geological Survey will establish a near-shore ocean acidification monitoring station west of Tampa Bay's entrance channel and monitor coastal carbon system parameters (pH, O2, CTD, PAR and pCO2) to complement estuarine data collection efforts at a similar station within Tampa Bay near Port Manatee.
  • Evaluation of Sportfish Habitat Utilization, Growth, and Condition at Large-Scale Restorations in Tampa Bay to Inform and Prioritize Past, Future, and Ongoing Restoration Activities ($114,912)
The University of Florida will examine habitat features at large-scale restoration sites that contribute to diverse and healthy native fish communities. Results from this work will be used to inform past, ongoing, and future restoration activities.
  • Hard Bottom Mapping and Characterization within the Tampa Bay Watershed ($52,500)**
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program will map hard bottom habitats in the Pinellas County Aquatic Preserve boundaries between the Skyway and Gandy Bridges. The data collected will inform protection and restoration targets for this habitat within Tampa Bay.
This stretch of river shoreline in Tampa's South Seminole Heights neighborhood, known as Ignacio Haya Linear Park, is badly eroding. A TBERF grant will fund construction of a "Living Shoreline" in a partnership between the City of Tampa and Ecosphere Restoration Institute. Photo by Nanette O'Hara
  • Ignacio Haya Living Shoreline ($76,000)
The City of Tampa will stabilize and restore wetland vegetation by creating a living shoreline along 2,200 linear feet of the eastern bank of the Hillsborough River between Hillsborough Avenue and W. South Avenue.
  • Microplastics in Tampa Bay ($40,000)
Eckerd College will formalize monitoring methods, determine baseline concentrations, and explore sources/sinks of microplastics in Tampa Bay.
  • Mobbly Bayou Habitat Restoration ($200,000)
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will restore and enhance tidal creeks and other estuarine habitats within a preserve located on the northern shore of Old Tampa Bay by hydro-blasting spoil mounds, creating littoral shelves, and establishing ditch blocks.
  • Perico Robinson Connector ($39,333)
Manatee County will enhance 4.5 acres of coastal upland habitat that connects to a larger network of preservation lands near Perico Bayou.
  • Woodstork Stormwater Pond Restoration ($10,000)**
The Shores of Long Bayou Home Owners Association will remove invasive species from the Woodstork Pond and install native plants along the shoreline. 

** These grants will be managed by Restore America's Estuaries instead of TBEP.

Photo by Lauren Clark @flogrownlow
Instagram Contest Showcases Bay's Seasonal Beauty

Images of dolphins, sunsets, birds, and even blueberries were among the 150 photos submitted in the #LTBSpring contest on Instagram. The contest was part of the #Love Tampa Bay bay awareness campaign.

Instagram users were asked to tag photos that illustrate why they love Spring in Tampa Bay. 

Lauren Clark of St. Petersburg was the winner, with a beautiful back and white image of a dolphin along St. Pete's waterfront. She received free kayak rentals from Sweetwater Kayaks and tickets to The Florida Aquarium.

Thanks to all the sponsors and participants!

Follow Love Tampa Bay on  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or on the web at http://lovetampabay.org/  and upload your own photos and videos showing how Tampa Bay inspires you!

Blue Carbon Research Shows Value of Coastal Habitats 

In addition to filtering pollutants, preventing erosion, buffering storm surge and serving as fertile nurseries for seafood, new research is showing that coastal wetlands are highly effective at trapping and removing carbon from the atmosphere -- helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 

The study, involving multiple federal, state and local agencies and organizations, including TBEP,  assessed the climate mitigation potential of "blue carbon" habitats and how sea-level rise will impact these habitats. The report also provides management recommendations for habitat adaptation.

Marshes, mangroves and seagrasses in Tampa Bay can remove more than 73 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 100 years, according to a study involving multiple federal and state environmental agencies and organizations, including TBEP. This equates to taking 160,000 passenger cars off the road every year until 2100, and saving 4.25 million gallons of gas every year from 2007 until 2100.

Blue carbon refers to the ability of tidal wetlands and seagrass habitats to sequester, store or release carbon and other greenhouse gases. 
Blue carbon ecosystems capture atmospheric carbon and store it in the ground at rates 10 times greater than forests on a per acre basis.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), mangrove forests and coastal wetlands may be able to store up to five times more carbon than a tropical forest of equal size. Damaging these ecosystems can harm their ability to continue trapping carbon, as well as release carbon that's already sequestered.

Unlike forests, coastal wetlands store carbon mainly in soils (rather than in foliage or limbs). It can remain locked in soils for centuries or more.  When these ecosystems are drained or degraded, the stored carbon can be rapidly released back into the atmosphere - sometimes releasing centuries worth of stored carbon in only a few decades. Protecting our critical coastal habitats not only protects the ecosystem services they provide (such as improved water quality, storm protection, and wildlife habitat), it can also mitigate climate change.

It's a wrap! Volunteer workdays take a summer vacation

TBEP and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful joined forces for the final "Give A Day For The Bay" workday of the year, a trash cleanup along the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approach.

Our "Gi ve A Day For The Bay" workday season concluded in May with a trash bash along the shoreline near the Blackthorn Memorial on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge approach. More than 70 volunteers removed 1,400 pounds of trash and debris. 

Here is our Give A Day For The Bay 2016-2017 "season of sweat," by the numbers:

  • 504 volunteers participated in six workdays 
  • They donated 2,016 hours of their time
  • They removed 8 tons of invasive plants, trash and debris
  • They installed 20,000 native plants!
  View photos from our volunteer workdays on our Flicker photostream .  

Our workdays will resume in September. Join our volunteer team by signing up here.                          

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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.