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May-June  2016                                                                                                                                           www.tbep.org

Public-Private Grant Program Awards $314,000 for Bay Protection, Restoration and Research                        
 
An innovative public-private grant partnership will provide more than $314,000 over two years for projects to protect or improve natural resources in Tampa Bay.  
   
 Five organizations or agencies are approved for grants from the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund (TBERF). The Fund is managed jointly by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Restore America's Estuaries (RAE). 
 
TBERF leverage s local public and private funds with funds obtained through national philanthropic gifts.  Funding comes from the Southwest Florida Water Management District; The Mosaic Company Foundation; Hillsborough County; Pinellas County; US Fish and Wildlife Service, Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission, and Tampa Electric Company
 
Because TBERF grants require a 1:1 match, the grants awarded will result in more than $600,000 in benefits to the bay.
The Newmans Branch Creek restoration is among the projects made possible by the TBERF grant program. Here, invasive plants were removed and native wetland plants installed in 24 acres along a re-established winding tidal creek that had been severely altered by ditching and draining for farming. TBEP staff toured this restoration project recently by kayak.   
TBEP will manage the following grant projects:

Little Manatee River Corridor Restoration ($100,000)
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will design a comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan for 7,166 acres of publicly owned land along the Little Manatee River in southern Hillsborough County. 

Seagrass Habitat Improvement using Native Clams ($59,150)
Gulf Shellfish Institute, Inc. will conduct a pilot project to test the effectiveness of using native clams to create water and sediment quality conditions that foster seagrass regrowth.

CCMP Local Government Comprehensive Plan Crosswalk ($30,000)
Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council will  provide technical assistance to local governments to incorporate priorities in TBEP's Management Plan for the bay into local comprehensive land use plans.



Restore America's Estuaries will manage the following projects:

McKay Bay South Oyster Reef Creation ($75,011)
Tampa Bay Watch will create 3,170 linear feet of new oyster bars and two large oyster beds along more than a mile of shoreline in McKay Bay. 
A roseate spoonbill flies by a sign posted at the bird-nesting islands at the mouth of the Alafia River

Colonial Waterbird Management in the Tampa Bay watershed ($50,000 for one year of support) 
Audubon Florida staff will post, monitor, survey and manage bird nesting colonies in the Tampa Bay watershed that support 50,000 pairs of 31 species of birds.

A total of $652,500 was available, but not all the proposals received were deemed apprpopriate for funding by the selection committee. Another call for proposals will be issued in June to allocate the remaining funds in this year's TBERF grant pool.   
 


 
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TBEP Earns Top Future of the Region Awards

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program, and its executive director, received top awards at the recent Future of the Region Awards luncheon in St. Petersburg.  This was the 24th year of the awards program, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
 
 
TBEP's successful intergovernmental partnership to restore the bay's seagrasses was given the ONEBay McIntosh Award as the overall winner of the competition, which highlights projects, programs and individuals whose contributions benefit the regional community.

The McIntosh Award recognizes the principals of the ONEBay Livable Communities vision and is named after the late Charles A. McIntosh, Jr., a true statesman who dedicated a major portion of his life to improving the quality of life in the Tampa Bay region.  TBEP's innovative partne rship of local governments, scientists and citizens has played a major role in restoring seagrasses in the bay to 1950 s levels -- a goal that was surpassed in 2015.
 
TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening received the Herman Goldner Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership of the TBEP partnership. The award is named for the four-term Mayor of St Petersburg who was a founding father of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Holly has been with the Estuary Program since its inception in 1991, starting as our Senior Scientist and becoming Executive Director in 2008.
   
                                                                                                                       
 
Bay Mini-Grants Deadline Moves to September 1
Application and Funding Guidelines Now Online

This year's deadline for applying for a Bay Mini-Grant is September 1.

Mini-Grants of up to $5,000 will be considered for restoration or education projects in the Tampa Bay watershed that demonstrate strong community involvement. Schools, neighborhood associations and community organizations are eligible to apply. 
 
An online application form and funding guidelines are available in the Bay Mini-Grants section of our website, along with examples of previously awarded grant proposals. 
 
Funding for the Bay Mini-Grants comes from sales of the Tampa Bay Estuary license plate, the only specialty tag in Florida that solely benefits our local environment.
                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                   
Give A Day For The Bay Ends Season With A Splash
 Volunteer Workdays Resume In Fall 2016
 
 
 
A big thank you to the 90 volunteers who planted 8,000 plugs of marsh grass in April along the shoreline of a
restored tidal wetland at Perico Preserve in Manatee County. 
 
This was our final Give A Day For The Bay workday until cooler weather returns this Fall. All told, more than 350 volunteers of all ages worked to remove invasive plants, build oyster reefs, pick up trash,  maintain trails or install native plants over the past few months at parks and preserves in Clearwater, Tampa, Ruskin and Bradenton. 
 
Follow us on Facebook, sign up for our email list or contact misty@tbep.org to learn about upcoming workdays
as we schedule them. And enjoy this 2-minute slideshow highlighting the amazing work of our volunteers at
Perico Preserve!

 
 
 
                                                                                       
Welcome new Policy Board member from Clearwater
 
Welcome to the newest member of our Policy Board, Councilman Bob Cundiff from the city of Clearwater. Councilman Cundiff has a personal interest in the health of Tampa Bay because he enjoys "opening my blinds in the morning and seeing Cooper's Bayou," a beautiful area in the upper bay. 

He was elected to Clearwater City Council in March 2016. On our Board, Mr. Cundiff replaces Councilman Jay Polglaze, whose service and support is greatly appreciated.


                                                                                                                   
Updates Continue to Tampa Bay Management Plan: 
Join The Conversation!
 
We are continuing to update our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Tampa Ba y, called " Charting The Course ." Final drafts of actions addressing Bay Habitats, Wastewater, Spill Prevention, Public Health, Toxics and Dredging are  are posted at tbeptech.org. Comments on any of the draft actions may be sent to nanette@tbep.org.
  
New Action Plans are being developed for review quarterly. The final document, slated for adoption in early 2017, will guide bay restoration, research and education efforts for the coming decade.
 
Your input is important to ensure we make meaningful and measurable progress in improving Tampa Bay. We look forward to hearing from you!  

 TBEP Welcomes New Staff Member, Bid Farewell to Another
 

Maya Burke
Maya Burke
Please join us in welcoming new TBEP staff member Maya Burke, who will
manage a variety of grant projects for us, as well as provide planning expertise in areas like sea level rise and sustainable development.

Maya has spent more than 10 years working in water resource project management, regulatory compliance, land acquisition, and environmental land use planning for the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Prior to joining the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, she coordinated the Agency on Bay Management, ONE BAY Resilient Communities Working Group for sea level rise adaptation planning, and the Northwest Hillsborough and Hillsborough River Basin Boards of the Water Management District. Maya also serves as the President of the Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and enjoys sailing, paddling and hiking. She is a graduate of New College of Florida (Political Science and Environmental Studies, 2005) and a native Floridian.
 
 
Longtime TBEP staffer Lindsay Cross left us in April to become the Executive Director of the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a non-profit organization supporting efforts to create statewide travel and migration pathways for our state's wildlife. Lindsay had been a part of the TBEP team for a decade, and we wish her much success as she takes on new challenges in the environmental arena. TBEP Ecologist Gary Raulerson is assuming many of Lindsay's responsibilities for us.  
 
                                 



TBEP Director Featured in Oral History Project

Our Executive Director, Holly Greening, is among the prominent bay restoration scientists and advocates featured in a Tampa Bay Oral History Project conducted by the University of South Florida and housed in USF's Special Collections Library. 

The project, funded by TECO Energy, is helping to preserve a public record of the impressive community-led effort to revitalize the Tampa Bay environment, by recording the memories and perspectives of people who have been intimately involved in the bay's resurgence. Project sponsors note that many of these bay stewards are retiring from active employment in Florida in the near future, and "the state's historical memory has been vastly enriched by recording and preserving their stories."  

The video interviews provide scholars and community leaders access to unparalleled knowledge of a success story that directly addresses food and water security, public health, and the protection of critical natural resources.

Other leaders interviewed include TBEP 's first director, Dick Eckenrod: former Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt; Tampa Bay Watch Director Peter Clark; prominent ecologist Robin Lewis; Audubon bird sanctuary manager Ann Paul; and commercial crab fisherman Gus Muench. 

Click here to learn more and watch video interviews.

                                                                                                                        

We're An All-Star, Again!

TBEP has been named a 2015 All-Star Award winner by Constant Contact®, Inc. , for the fifth year in a row!
 
Only 10% of Constant Contact's 500,000 email marketing customers earn this annual award recognizing successful and ethical use of email marketing tools to inform and engage their organization.
 
We use Constant Contact to provide timely news about TBEP and our many partners -- including via this e-newsletter. We also use the platform for volunteer and event registration. Our email list is opt-in only and you can easily unsubscribe at any time. We promise not to spam you with loads of unwanted emails!  Click here to sign up for our monthly e-blasts and quarterly newsletters.
                                                                                                                        

TBEP Staff On The Go

TBEP's entire staff recently took a guided tour of an impressive habitat restoration just south of TECO's Big Bend power plant in Apollo Beach.

The Newmans Branch Creek restoration covers about 100 acres of former wetlands purchased and placed under a permanent conservation easement by TECO. The land had been ditched, drained and overrun with invasive plants for decades. A coalition of non-profits and public agencies, led by EcoSphere Restoration Institute, designed and implemented a multi-phase project to reconnect the original creek to the bay and recreate adjacent marshes,  mangroves and upland habitats. Tidal streams like Newmans Branch are important nursery areas for fish such as snook. TBEP contributed funding for the restoration work.


We toured the newly dedicated Center for Conservation jointly managed by FWC, TECO and The Florida Aquarium, and then kayaked a paddling trail through the restored creek, stopping to climb up an observation tower with fantastic views of the restored creek and the bay. Thank you to Tom Ries of Ecosphere, Stan Kroh of TECO and Kathy Guindon of FWC for giving us such a thorough "immersion" in this unique public-private partnership!
(The kayaks we used were provided by FWC; they are used in their educational programs for youth through the adjacent Center for Conservation).

Gary with Elsa Schwartz of Restore America's Estuaries, left, and
 Nancy Norton of the Southwest Florida Water  Management District

TBEP Ecologist Gary Raulerson led two whirlwind tours of the bay
watershed recently. Gary took our EPA liaison Felicia Burks on a watershed expedition in March, when Felicia visited us from Atlanta. They visited projects supported by federal RESTORE Act grants, using money from fines ass ociated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.
 
In April, Gary and Restore America's Estuaries' project manager Elsa Schwartz visit ed 11 environmental projects in two days. The projects were partly financed by grants from the Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund, and managed by either TBEP or Restore America's Estuaries.
 
And, Gary made his new office mates jealous with his amazing opportunity to attend the historic baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National team in Havana in March. Gary and his mom, Lucy, were part of the Cuba contingent from St. Petersburg.  
 
 Wow, he's been busy since  he joined our staff just a few months ago!
 
Gary and Mom in Havana for the ball game!
TBEP Executive Director Holly Greening and Program Scientist Ed Sherwood both presented at the National Association of Water Quality Monitoring Programs annual conference, held in Tampa in May.
 
Outreach Coordinator Nanette O'Hara presented on results and lessons learned from the Be Floridian fertilizer education campaign to attendees of EPA's Spring meeting for National Estuary Programs in Washington DC in February. Nanette also coordinated two informative field trips. M embers of TBEP's Manatee Awareness Coalition toured the  Manatee Hospital at Lowry Park Zoo, and Hillsborough Master Gardeners toured the expansive Rock Ponds habitat restoration on the Hillsborough-Manatee border. 

Nanette, kneeling in bright pink shirt, and her fellow Hillsborough County
Master Gardeners at Rock Ponds.
 
Project Manager Misty Cladas coordinated a hands-on learning experience for a group of Eckerd College students in March. They spent part of their  Spring Break learning about urban runoff in Tampa Bay. The students traveled along St. Petersburg's Booker Creek from Tropicana Field, seeing firsthand how trash gets into the creek, and then the bay, with rainfall.  They cleaned out the trash-collecting "Water Goat" by the TBEP office in St. Pete. Misty is a proud Eckerd College graduate herself! Our Office Manager Ron Hosler also helped with this day-long educational field trip.
Eckerd College students cleaning trash out of the "Water Goat" by our office on Bayboro Harbor in St. Petersburg.
    
                                                                                                                       
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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.