The Tampa Bay Estuary Program recently announced the winners of the 2014 Tampa Bay Environmental Restoration Fund. Nearly $625,000 was awarded to nine agencies or organizations for important restoration, research and education projects in Tampa Bay watersheds.
The 2014 fund is financed with contributions from the District; The Mosaic Company Foundation through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Manatee County; Pinellas County; TECO Energy; the Florida Department of Transportation; and Port Tampa Bay. Governing Board member Wendy Griffin was at the recent recognition ceremony and congratulated the nine recipients. They are:
- Colonial Waterbird Management in the Tampa Bay Watershed ($36,000), Audubon’s Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuary staff will manage and track population trends and threats in nationally significant waterbird nesting colonies supporting 50,000 pairs of 31 bird species annually.
- Safety Harbor Waterfront Park Habitat Restoration ($70,000), the City of Safety Harbor will remove invasive plants from a planned passive-use public park and replant with native species to restore 6 acres of marsh/mangrove wetlands.
- Mapping of Hard-Bottom Habitat in Tampa Bay ($150,000), the District will inventory and assess the quality of hard-bottom reefs, oyster beds, and tidal flats in Tampa Bay to determine historic extent and develop restoration/protection targets for these important habitats.
- Coastal Blue Carbon Assessment ($100,000), Restore America’s Estuaries will assess the climate mitigation benefits associated with restoring salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass beds in the Tampa Bay ecosystem.
- Rock Ponds Coastal Ecosystem Restoration ($60,000), Tampa Bay Watch will plant marsh grasses using community volunteers to enhance or restore 20 acres of tidal wetland habitat over a two-year period as part of the comprehensive restoration project.
- Oyster Bar Restoration at Robinson Preserve ($53,000), Manatee County will install 7,500-square-feet of oyster beds as part of the comprehensive restoration of a 651-acre county preserve.
- Duette Preserve Hydrologic Restoration ($87,260), Manatee County will restore forested and non-forested freshwater wetlands by removing man-made ditches to recreate natural hydrologic flows in the eastern Manatee River watershed.
- Bay Soundings Environmental Journal ($25,000), The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council will produce, print and distribute one year (four issues) of this popular environmental journal informing citizens about bay management trends, issues and accomplishments.
- MacDill Air Force Base Living Shoreline ($41,000), Tampa Bay Watch will place 137 tons of oyster reefs and plant 1,000 linear feet of salt marsh grass utilizing community volunteers as part of a comprehensive restoration along the southeastern shoreline of MacDill AFB.