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February 21, 2007

Two Hernando County projects were awarded Community Education Grants from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The grants, which are up to $5,000 each, will help fund projects that provide communities the opportunity to learn about water resources.

This year the District awarded 49 grants Districtwide for a total of $171,444. This is the 10th year Community Education Grants have been available.

The overall goal of the Community Education Grant Program is to actively engage adults in water-related issues pertaining to conservation, protection and preservation. Funded by the District’s Basin Boards, the program is intended to motivate communities to get involved in water protection through various activities and educational formats.

The following project is funded by the District’s Coastal Rivers Basin Board, which includes portions of Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties.

The Nature Coast Botanical Gardens/Spring Hill Garden Club will receive $5,000 to remove invasive plants from the botanical gardens and restore the area with native plants. Citizens, educators, the native plant society and the Extension office will be involved in “remove and replant” days. After participating in the project, homeowners will be encouraged to apply what they have learned in their own yards. The project has the potential to reach 100,000 people.

The following project is funded by the District’s Coastal Rivers Basin Board and Withlacoochee River Basin Board, which includes portions of Pasco, Sumter, Hernando, Citrus, Marion, and Levy counties.

The Hernando County Groundwater Guardians will receive $5,000 to hold a one-day workshop to educate participants on the impact of storm water in
their communities. The goal is to show participants that storm water is linked to water quality, natural systems and floodplain management and to illustrate how developments and their stormwater treatment have a lasting impact on water resources. Approximately 135 people will attend the workshop.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s 2008 Community Education Grant Program will begin its application process in June if funding is approved by the Basin Boards. To be added to the mailing list to receive the 2008 application, call the District’s Communications Department at 800-423-1476 or 352-796-7211, ext. 4757.

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