June 12, 2007

Who:Representatives from the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Alafia River Basin Board, the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program, Tampa Electric Company, Protecting the Environment through Ecological Research (PEER,) the Pinellas County Environmental Fund and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

What:Volunteers will participate in planting 6,000 marsh grass and upland plants before a tree planting ceremony to dedicate the Newman Branch Creek Restoration Project.

When:Saturday, June 16, 8:30 a.m. planting, 10:30 a.m. dedication

Where:The Newman Branch Creek property is owned by the Tampa Electric Company and is located just south of the company’s Big Bend power plant and the Manatee Viewing Center in southwest Hillsborough County.

Why:The District and its partners will celebrate the completion of this public-private partnership to restore approximately 12 acres of coastal fisheries habitat.

District Contacts:Robyn Hanke, 800-423-1476, ext. 4770 or Brandt Henningsen, 813-985-7481, ext. 2202 or 813-917-0108 (cell)

Directions:The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center at the corner of Dickman Road and Noonan Branch Road in Apollo Beach

Newman Branch Creek Restoration Project

The Newman Branch Creek restoration site is approximately 12 acres of coastal fishery habitats, freshwater wetlands and uplands. The site is owned by Tampa Electric Company and is located south of the company’s Big Bend power plant and the Manatee Viewing Center.

Newman Branch Creek was a meandering stream flanked by mangroves and salt marshes until it was ditched and channeled about 60 years ago. The area was later excavated for a fish farm and invasive plants moved in, impacting the coastal resources.

The restoration process began in April and involved restoring freshwater and brackish wetlands by recontouring the creek.

Restoration of the Newman Branch Creek site is public-private partnership among the District’s Alafia River Basin Board, the state Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program, Tampa Electric Company, and Protecting the Environment through Ecological Research (PEER.)

The Tampa Electric Company has placed the restoration site under a permanent conservation easement to protect the restored habitats and will assume all maintenance responsibilities for the site.

Funding for the restoration project costs approximately $261,602. Funding for the project is divided among state SWIM funds, the Alafia River Basin Board and PEER, which secured grants from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association (NOAA) and the Pinellas County Environmental Fund.

Volunteers who participate in planting 6,000 marsh grass and upland plants will receive a t-shirt and lunch.


 
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