Current News Items (within the last 30 days)
Draft Gulf Coast Ecosystem Comprehensive Restoration Plan released
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council marked significant progress today with the public release of the Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy and accompanying Draft Environmental Assessment for formal public comment. The Draft Plan provides a framework to implement a coordinated region-wide restoration effort in a way that restores, protects, and revitalizes the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Draft Plan establishes overarching restoration goals for the Gulf Coast region; provides details about how the Council will solicit, evaluate, and fund projects and programs for ecosystem restoration in the Gulf Coast region; outlines the process for the development, review, and approval of State Expenditure Plans; and highlights the Council’s next steps. The Council expects to release a Final Plan this summer.
Along with the release of the Draft Plan, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Council Chair announced today that Justin Ehrenwerth will serve as the Executive Director of the Council. These steps signify the Council’s efforts to ensure that it is ready to move efficiently and effectively to implement a restoration plan once funds are received.
“As Chair of the Council, I am proud to announce that my Chief of Staff, Justin Ehrenwerth, will move into the role of Executive Director of the Council. I can think of no better person to help the Council continue to move forward with implementing a plan that ensures the long-term health, prosperity, and resilience of the Gulf Coast,” said Council Chair Blank.
In order to ensure robust public input throughout the entire process, the Council is hosting a series of public engagement sessions in each of the five impacted Gulf States in June to give the public the opportunity to provide input on the Draft Plan and the Council’s restoration planning efforts. The 30-day formal public comment period for the Draft Plan and associated documents begins May 23 and ends June 24.
Public meeting dates, link to online comment form, background information
Pinellas County Utilities to perform routine maintenance on water system May 29-June 17
WHAT: Pinellas County will conduct a routine maintenance program on the water system in order to optimize water quality. The method of water treatment will be temporarily changed from chloramine to chlorine disinfection.
WHEN: May 29 - June 17, 2013
WHO: This change will affect all Pinellas County water customers, as well as the water customers of Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, and Tarpon Springs.
Many utilities using chloramine for water disinfection
routinely switch to chlorine for a short period in order
to maintain system integrity.
Customers will not experience low pressure
or disruption of service. The water will continue to
meet federal and state standards for safe drinking
water. The only noticeable change may be a
slight difference in the taste and/or odor
of the water.
Kidney dialysis patients should not be impacted, but
should contact their dialysis care provider for more
information about chlorine treatment. Fish owners
should not be affected if they already have a system
in place to remove chloramine, but they should contact
local pet suppliers with any questions.
King Tide Photo Exhibit Debuts June 6; Display Raises Awareness About Rising Sea Levels
The Sarasota Bay and Tampa Bay Estuary Programs have partnered to present "Chasing the Waves: The King TIde Photo Exhibit." The free traveling exhibit will launch Thursday, June 6 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Federal Building in downtown Sarasota at 111 S. Orange Ave. The photos will be on display during June and July before traveling to other venues in Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas Counties.
The goal of the exhibit is to raise awareness about the effects of sea level rise on our shorelines, structures and communities. Images will include winning submissions to the King Tide Photo Contest held last year by SBEP and TBEP. The exhibit will also include photos from the U.S., Australia, and small Pacific Island nations, showing the global impact of rising seas. A rough schedule for the exhibit is:
- Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota: June – July 2013
- South Florida Museum, Bradenton: September – October 2013
- Sarasota Bay Water Festival, Sarasota: November 2, 2013
- Weedon Island Preserve, St. Petersburg: TBD
- Robinson Preserve, Bradenton: January – February 2014
for updates on exhibit dates and locations.
What are King Tides?
High Five seeks local teams for Sarasota Dragon Boat races this fall
The races will be part of this year's Sarasota Bay Water Festival
SARASOTA – High Five Dragon Boat, LLC is seeking local teams from Sarasota and Manatee County to compete in the fun dragon boat races to be showcased at the 2013 Sarasota Bay Water Festival. The regional event will be held at City Island’s Ken Thompson Park on Saturday, November 2.
High Five provides registered teams with boats, paddles, life vests, a steerperson, and training prior to the event. Training includes practicing the proper paddling techniques and racing etiquette. Each dragon boat is 42-feet in length and coed teams consist of 20 paddlers with a minimum of 8 being female. Participants must be 14-years of age or older. The races involve three race heats during the day on a 350-meter course. Participants can enjoy activities at the Water Festival between the scheduled heats.
“This is a great way for local businesses and other organizations to encourage team-building while promoting their brand,” explained Christine Canevari with High Five. “We already have teams committed from the Tampa Bay area and our goal is to add additional new teams from Sarasota and Manatee County.”
Dragon boat racing is popular worldwide with hundreds of events each year throughout the U.S. and many other nations. Most participants race for fun, but there are also highly-competitive club level teams. The world championship was held in Tampa in 2011. Registration information and helpful guidelines is available at sarasotabaydragonboat.com.
Other highlights for this year’s Water Festival include live music, fine artists selling unique gift items, workshops that promote Bay-friendly living, food trucks and local restaurants, vintage boats, activities for kids, and exhibits promoting recreational boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle board sports, scuba diving, cycling, birding, and other fun activities.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Presenting Sponsor and HDR, Inc. is the Host Sponsor for 2013. Other sponsors include Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, City of Sarasota, Whole Foods Market, Manatee County, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Mote Marine Laboratory, West Coast Inland Management District, Caldwell Trust Company, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Town of Longboat Key, Triple 3 Marketing, City of Bradenton, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Save Our Seabirds, Around the Bend Nature Tours, High Five Dragon Boat, Suncoast Waterkeeper, and Sun King Disc Sports.
Festival organizers are seeking additional sponsors and exhibitors. Sponsor donations support the festival and SBEP education and volunteer programs benefiting Sarasota Bay. Details about sponsorship and exhibiting are posted at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com.
Governor approves $32 million in water projects; vetoes total of $27.3 million
TALLAHASSEE – Florida governor Rick Scott used his line-item veto authority to veto $368 million in spending from Florida's 2013-2014 budget, including a number of projects related to wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and water resource protection. These included:
- Bonita Springs ‐ Oak Creek Restoration ‐ Sediment & Exotic Plant Removal, $250,000
- Charlotte County ‐ Regional Reclaimed Water Expansion ‐ Phase 2, $500,000
- DeSoto County ‐ Lettuce Lake/Oak Haven MH Park Utility MCL Water Supply Improvement Projec,t $90,000
- DeSoto County ‐ Lake Suzy Utility Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements, $350,000
- LaBelle ‐ Wastewater Recycle Project, $1,812,500
- Lake County ‐ Umatilla Sewer System, $1,225,000
- Lakeland ‐ Skyview Water and Wastewater System Modification, $3,750,000
- Manatee County ‐ Wastewater Clarifier Retrofit ‐ Southwest Water Reclamation Facility, $1,000,000
- St. Johns River Restoration and Economic Impact Study, $7,000,000
- Tampa ‐ Met West Ditch Stormwater Project, $125,000
For a complete list of the approved and vetoed water projects, see the link below.
Water project vetoed/approved list (prepared by The Florida Current/LobbyTools)
Tampa Bay Water has a new general manager
CLEARWATER – Tampa Bay Water's Chairman and General Counsel have successfully completed contract negotiations with Matthew W. Jordan, P.E., and he has accepted the position as Tampa Bay Water's new general manager. The contract will go before the Board of Directors for consideration at its June 17 regular board meeting. Pending board approval, Mr. Jordan will start work on July 8, 2013.
Mr. Jordan currently serves as Chief Executive Officer at the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, in North Carolina. He also worked as the Director of Public Works for the City of Gastonia, North Carolina.
Mr. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering technology from the University of North Carolina, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Architectural Drafting, and is a Professional Engineer in the State of North Carolina.
Tampa Bay Water's Board of Directors began the search for a new general manager after Gerald J. Seeber informed the board in February of his intentions to leave the agency.
More than 180 applications were received. Of those, 52 met the minimum criteria and were reviewed by a screening committee, which included the agency's three officers, the outgoing general manager, representatives from each member government, and the chairman of the board.
Tampa Bay Water's board interviewed the top five candidates on April 29, 2013 before beginning negotiations with Mr. Jordan.
Tampa Bay Water will hold its regular board meeting on Monday, June, 17 at 9:00 a.m. This meeting is open to the public and will be held at Tampa Bay Water's administrative offices at 2575 Enterprise Road, Clearwater, FL 33763.
Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa. To learn more about Tampa Bay Water, please visit www.tampabaywater.org.
Water projects left off Florida TaxWatch's "turkey" list this year
By Bruce Ritchie
Florida TaxWatch spared local water projects totaling $59.4 million from its list of "turkeys" in Legislature's 2013-14 state budget.
The group each year lists projects that it says were placed in the budget without proper public review and debate. The group says it doesn't condemn the projects but it does request that the governor consider them for vetoes.
In 2011, Scott vetoed more than $600 million of what he described as "special interest earmarks" including $16.5 million in water projects.
Last year, Florida TaxWatch labeled as turkeys 23 local water projects totaling $19 million. Scott eventually vetoed $12.6 million in water projects.
TaxWatch last year also called on the Legislature to establish a review process for water projects and the Legislature did so, said Kurt Wenner, the group's vice president for tax research.
Continued on The Florida Current...
Reservoirs language stripped from federal bill while Florida groups support alternative approach
By Bruce Ritchie
Georgia's U.S. senators have stripped from a bill language apparently supported by Gov. Rick Scott to require congressional approval of water for the Lake Lanier reservoir north of Atlanta.
Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been fighting in federal court over water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system since 1990. Cities, farmers and industry upstream depend on the water while Florida says it needs flow to support fish and wildlife in the Apalachicola River and the seafood industry in Apalachicola Bay.
Continued on The Florida Current...
Clearwater's new water plant will use deep well to dispose of brine
By Charlie Frago
CLEARWATER – Clearwater is moving closer to producing nearly all of its own water as it prepares to build a second reverse osmosis water treatment plant.
The facility, projected to open by the end of next year, will treat millions of gallons of slightly salty water per day through a process that purifies water by removing salt and other materials.
The $34 million plant, set to begin construction in June, will be able to produce a maximum of 6.25 million gallons per day, although it will pump out about 5 million gallons on an average day, said Nan Bennett, assistant director of public utilities.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will provide $15.2 million for the project. City water revenue will cover the rest.
Continued on the Tampa Bay Times website...
Foundation will direct $356 million from oil spill criminal cases to Florida for natural resource pr
By Bruce Ritchie
Natural resource projects in Florida will receive $356 million from plea agreements in criminal cases involving the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced the establishment of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund and allocations Monday to five Gulf states. The foundation, created by Congress and overseen by federal agencies, will administer and monitor $2.5 billion provided by plea agreements.
The foundation says on its website that it will consult with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as well as with federal agencies identify projects in Florida.
Applications for projects are being accepted and those that have been submitted for other oil spill funds will automatically be considered, said Doc Kokol, a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman.
Continued on The Florida Current...
USGS Study: Spring 2012 earliest on record
March 2012 set records for warm temperatures that promoted early leafing and flowering across large areas of the United States. A team of scientists at the USA National Phenology Network, which is sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, have published a study which shows that 2012 was the earliest spring over the 48 U.S. states since 1900 when systematic weather data began to be available for the entire area.
Phenology is the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle stages, especially their timing and relationships with weather and climate. Assessing the severity and impacts of such extreme climatic events, either in the past or as they happen, requires consistent indicators of variability and change that can be mapped both nationally and historically.
The USA National Phenology Network provides a suite of "spring indices" based on the accumulated warmth needed to end dormancy and initiate growth in many native and cultivated plants. These complex, evidence-based algorithms can be calculated for any weather station that records daily maximum and minimum temperatures. Spring indices are independently validated using historical observations of leafing and flowering in lilac and honeysuckle nationwide.
The historical trend of spring indices suggests that the 2012 growing season advanced as much as 20-30 days in the East and Midwest from the 1900-2012 long-term mean.
"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the great importance of long-term monitoring of natural processes. A long record allows us to identify patterns of change that we might otherwise miss," said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director.
Today the response of vegetation to temperature and precipitation can be readily observed across wide areas by Earth-observing satellites at intervals of only a few days. USGS scientist Julio Betancourt, a co-author of the study, noted, "Indicators such as spring indices and satellite-based evaluations of vegetation growth will become essential tools for assessing climate variability and change and their impacts."
Satellite data show that the cumulative effects of the unusually early 2012 spring were most pronounced across the Corn Belt, the western Great Lakes region, and the northeastern U.S.
The beneficial effects of spring's quick start in 2012 were subsequently offset by a late spring frost and summer drought. In fact, the unusually early spring combined with late frosts in April to produce a so-called "false spring" that damaged fruit trees across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions.
The study appears in EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union.
Read the study
USGS Study: Deficit in nation's aquifers accelerating
A new U.S. Geological Survey study documents that the Nation's aquifers are being drawn down at an accelerating rate.
Groundwater Depletion in the United States (1900-2008) comprehensively evaluates long-term cumulative depletion volumes in 40 separate aquifers (distinct underground water storage areas) in the United States, bringing together reliable information from previous references and from new analyses.
"Groundwater is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. It provides drinking water in both rural and urban communities. It supports irrigation and industry, sustains the flow of streams and rivers, and maintains ecosystems," said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. "Because groundwater systems typically respond slowly to human actions, a long-term perspective is vital to manage this valuable resource in sustainable ways."
To outline the scale of groundwater depletion across the country, here are two startling facts drawn from the study's wealth of statistics. First, from 1900 to 2008, the Nation's aquifers, the natural stocks of water found under the land, decreased (were depleted) by more than twice the volume of water found in Lake Erie. Second, groundwater depletion in the U.S. in the years 2000-2008 can explain more than 2 percent of the observed global sea-level rise during that period.
Since 1950, the use of groundwater resources for agricultural, industrial, and municipal purposes has greatly expanded in the United States. When groundwater is withdrawn from subsurface storage faster than it is recharged by precipitation or other water sources, the result is groundwater depletion. The depletion of groundwater has many negative consequences, including land subsidence, reduced well yields, and diminished spring and stream flows.
While the rate of groundwater depletion across the country has increased markedly since about 1950, the maximum rates have occurred during the most recent period of the study (2000–2008), when the depletion rate averaged almost 25 cubic kilometers per year. For comparison, 9.2 cubic kilometers per year is the historical average calculated over the 1900–2008 timespan of the study.
One of the best known and most investigated aquifers in the U.S. is the High Plains (or Ogallala) aquifer. It underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the Nation's midsection and represents the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in this major agricultural area. Substantial pumping of the High Plains aquifer for irrigation since the 1940s has resulted in large water-table declines that exceed 160 feet in places.
The study shows that, since 2000, depletion of the High Plains aquifer appears to be continuing at a high rate. The depletion during the last 8 years of record (2001–2008, inclusive) is about 32 percent of the cumulative depletion in this aquifer during the entire 20th century. The annual rate of depletion during this recent period averaged about 10.2 cubic kilometers, roughly 2 percent of the volume of water in Lake Erie.
Read the study
Pinellas Land Development Code update begins
Plans are under way to update the Pinellas County Land Development Code. This document contains regulations that govern how land is developed in the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County.
The code affects the everyday lives of people in our community in many ways. It addresses everything from zoning, site development, the natural environment and stormwater management. It extends to parking, sidewalks, landscaping and energy efficiency.
The county is now in the process of updating its Land Development Code. Pinellas County is almost built out, and most of “development” activity is actually “redevelopment.”
Each new project provides an opportunity to improve the community. New approaches are being considered to guide the development process in a way that will enhance the condition of the county’s natural and built environments, promote economic opportunity and help us achieve a more sustainable future.
More information about the project, and how you can be involved
Register now for 7th Symposium on Harmful Algae
Students, established HAB researchers and policy makers, managers and scientists from NGO, academic institutions, and local, state and federal agencies are invited to participate in the 7th Symposium on Harmful Algae in the U.S., in Sarasota. Everyone who works on HAB issues should attend the only national conference focused exclusively on HABs. Whether your focus is freshwater or saltwater, microalgae or macroalgae, basic research or policy and management, this conference is relevant to your work.
Important Dates & Info
- Early registration and abstract submission closes at midnight EDT May 24. Please make sure all co-authors have reviewed your abstract prior to submission.
- Your abstract WILL NOT be reviewed if you are not registered for the meeting by May 24.
- Registration ends Sept. 6.
- The Symposium will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota. Book your room early to guarantee the special conference rate of $132 per night for non-government employees or $87 per night for government employees.
- While Symposium registration ends Sept. 6, you may still book your hotel at the special rate if rooms are still available through Sept. 27.
Tampa biologist gets national award for restoration work
By Yvette Hammett
APOLLO BEACH – Pride, for biologist Tom Ries, comes in the form of meandering wetlands, native grasses and flowers and a flourishing nursery for Tampa Bay’s prized fish. All on private land.
He calls the projects P3s—public-private partnerships—restoration where it’s needed, not just where public land is available.
For years, Ries worked for various agencies whose mission was to restore or recreate wetlands. In 2003, he added another layer, creating a non-profit group to specifically target private landowners willing to partner on restoration projects and give up future development rights.
He was recognized for his work last week when he headed to Washington, D.C. to claim the coveted National Wetlands Award for Conservation & Restoration from the Environmental Law Institute.
Ries, executive vice president of Scheda Ecological Associates, was honored at the U.S. Botanic Garden on May 9.
Continued on TBO.com...
Florida Geological Survey receives national grant to map in NE Florida
Grant will increase knowledge of geology, which helps improve land-use planning in northeastern area of Florida
TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Geological Survey has been awarded $193,183 by the U.S Geological Survey to produce a detailed geologic map of a portion of northeast Florida. The STATEMAP grant is the fourth-highest award amount distributed nationwide this year for work that will begin in September and is expected to be publicly available for digital download by December 2014.
“The funding provided by the USGS allows us to produce a geologic map in support of the societal, economic and scientific welfare needs of Florida,” said STATEMAP Project Manager Rick Green. “Our goal is to make these findings readily available and accessible to the public.”
The benefits of this type of mapping include a more comprehensive understanding of the distribution of rock, mineral and groundwater resources, including vulnerability of aquifers to contamination. These maps are also important in providing shallow subsurface geological information that can be used in understanding sinkholes and other geologic hazards.
The mapping effort involves extensive field work over a 12 month period, including visits to accessible rock and sediment exposures in mines and other excavated areas, as well as natural exposures in rivers, streams, sinkholes and springs. To better understand the underlying geologic units, project staff inspect rock and sediment samples from hundreds of wells, including new wells drilled in support of the project to fill data gaps. Extensive data management and map making in a geographic information system platform is also involved.
This work is conducted under the STATEMAP component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, which serves to create a national geologic database that is accessible to the public. The STATEMAP Advisory Council, which is comprised of geologists and engineers in Florida, prioritized the St. Augustine quadrangle as the primary focus for this year’s work.
The approximately 2,000 square mile area was approved due to its location adjacent to current project mapping underway in the Daytona Beach area, as well as an additional project being conducted along the northeast coast of Florida funded by the National Park Service and Florida Geological Survey. This will allow the Florida Geological Survey to maximize its resources and expand upon existing data.
Since its inception in 1994, this component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program has funded more than $4.6 million in support of mapping to benefit Florida’s residents and environment, covering an area of more than 13,000 square miles.
Data gathered by the STATEMAP program is also used by other agencies in Florida. The Florida Department of Transportation used information from mapped STATEMAP projects for an assessment of strategic aggregate reserves in the state and to develop a better understanding of the geology in support of projects, such as the Florida Future Corridors program.
The maps are published annually and released in segments online.
Source: Florida DEP news release
Madeira Beach to work on flooding problem
By Sheila Mullane Estrada
MADEIRA BEACH – For years, residents have complained about severe flooding in their streets.
For some areas, it doesn't take a hurricane to have water lapping at their doorsteps — just a heavy thunderstorm at high tide.
Now the city is preparing to tackle the problem.
For the next six months, Madeira Beach plans to clean and do minor repairs to every stormwater outfall.
Bids for the project, estimated to cost less than $1 million, are due by May 23.
"Let's clean and maintain the outfalls for six months and see where it gets us," City Manager Shane Crawford told the City Commission last week.
Once that is done, he said the city will better be able to evaluate the most severely flooded areas.
According to a recently updated stormwater plan, it would cost more than $23 million to upgrade and repair the entire stormwater system.
Continued on TampaBay.com...
Decades-old nitrate found to affect stream water quality
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hydrologic researchers have found that the movement of nitrate through groundwater to streams can take decades to occur. This long lag time means that changes in the use of nitrogen-based fertilizer (the typical source of nitrate) — whether the change is initiation, adjustment, or cessation — may take decades to be fully observed in streams, according to a recent study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Water quality experts have been noting in recent years that nitrate trends in streams and rivers do not match their expectations based on reduced regional use of nitrogen-based fertilizer. The long travel times of groundwater discharge, like those documented in this study, have previously been suggested as the likely factor responsible for these observations.
"This study provides direct evidence that nitrate can take decades to travel from recharge at the land surface to discharge in streams," said Jerad Bales, acting USGS Associate Director for Water. "This is an important finding because long travel times will delay direct observation of the full effect of nutrient management strategies on stream quality."
Rivers and streams are fed by both groundwater held in underground aquifers and surface water from precipitation runoff. In low streamflow conditions, groundwater sources take a larger role.
In this study, USGS scientists closely examined surface and ground waters at seven study sites from across the nation to determine the portion of stream nitrate derived from groundwater. They found that most of the nitrate observed in streams located in groundwater-dominated watersheds was derived from groundwater sources. To determine the time it takes groundwater to reach a stream in a groundwater-dominated watershed, an age dating tracer study was conducted in the Tomorrow River in central Wisconsin. The findings indicated that decades-old nitrate-laden water was currently discharging to this stream. Consequently, base flow nitrate concentrations in this stream may be sustained for decades to come, regardless of current and future practices.
The slow release of groundwater nitrate to streams may also affect the water quality of large rivers. For example, increases in nitrate concentrations during low and moderate flows in large rivers in the Mississippi River Basin have been observed to be greater than or comparable to increases in nitrate concentrations during high flows. (See USGS website, Nitrate in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, 1980 to 2008.) These findings also suggest that increasing nitrate concentrations in groundwater are having a substantial effect on nitrate concentrations in rivers and nitrate transport to the Gulf of Mexico. Because nitrate moves slowly through groundwater to rivers, the full effect of management strategies designed to reduce nitrate movement to these rivers may not be seen for many years.
Learn more about the nitrate study on USGS.gov
Register Now for "Introduction to Aquaculture" Workshop
Do you have an interest in the development or growth of aquaculture-related businesses? Want more information? Join us for this public workshop. Speakers will present on the status of aquaculture in Florida, pros and cons of specific business ventures, and provide an overview of state regulations and resources.
• When: June 12, 2013, from 10 am to 4 pm
• Where: Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St Petersburg
• Cost: $10
Florida Aquaculture Overview
Cortney Ohs – UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist, Indian River Research and Education Center
Investing in Florida Aquaculture: Pitfalls to Avoid
Chuck Adams – UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Marine Economics Specialist, UF Department of Food and Resources Economics
State Permitting/ Best Management Practices
Chad Evers - FDACS Division of Aquaculture
Shellfish Aquaculture in Florida
Leslie Sturmer - UF/ IFAS Florida Sea Grant Statewide Shellfish Aquaculture Agent
LeRoy Creswell – Florida Sea Grant Regional Marine Education Coordinator
Marine Ornamentals in Florida
Carlos Martinez – UF/IFAS Aquaculture Extension Agent, Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory
Cortney Ohs – UF/IFAS Florida Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist, Indian River Research and Education Center
Fish Health Management
Roy Yanong - V.M.D. UF/IFAS Extension Veterinarian, Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory
More information and online registration
Tampa Bay Water asks public to reduce water use
By Suzette Porter
CLEARWATER – Tampa Bay Water officials are asking the public to reduce water use as much as possible.
The agency, which provides wholesale drinking water to Tampa, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, as well as Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, announced April 17 that it is in a Phase 4 water status, under the agencies modified Water Shortage Mitigation Plan.
Alison Adams, spokesperson for TBW, said the Phase 4 designation is part of a system to monitor of supply and demand.
“It has to do with supply availability, water supply readiness,” she explained “With the reservoir out of service, and as dry as it is now, we have no surface water, which is why we have a level 4 water supply shortage.”
Phase 4 is the highest alert, signifying a critical shortage due to the lack of surface water.
Continued online at TBNweekly.com...
Up to 375 USGS flood gauges to turn off because of fund cuts
Just in time for the spring flood season, the federal sequester is threatening to shut off funding for hundreds of stream gauges used by the U.S. Geological Survey to predict and monitor flood levels across the country.
"The USGS will discontinue operation of up to 375 stream gauges nationwide due to budget cuts as a result of sequestration," the USGS notes on its website. Additional stream gauges may be affected if USGS partners at state and local agencies reduce their funding support.
USGS is quick to point out, though, they won't take out of service the gauges now being used to monitor the heavy floods soaking the Midwest. Robert Mason, deputy chief of the USGS Office of Surface Water, says the USGS plans to prioritize those gauges that are used by the National Weather Service for forecasting, so that the impact of the cuts is minimized.
In all, a total of 682 gauges have some level of funding issues (some of the gauges may not be shut off entirely). The USGS, which operates about 95% of the gauges, is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Continued in USA Today online...