District Recognized at Regional Awards

Projects of Distinction

Award winners

More award winners

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council recently recognized the District during its 13th Annual Future of the Region Awards program.

One District Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) project and two education projects were honored during the ceremony, recognizing notable achievements in resource planning and management in the region.

Port Redwing Habitat Restoration/ Fred & Idah Schultz Preserve
The Port Redwing Habitat Restoration/Fred & Idah Schultz Preserve received second place in the environmental category. The project is part of a cooperative effort between the District and Hillsborough County to restore a 204-acre ecosystem known as the “Kitchen.” The area earned the nickname because fish, crabs, shellfish and birds were abundant throughout the variety of habitats. The Kitchen includes Port Redwing, Dug Creek and the Davis Tract. The District’s project manager was Senior Environmental Scientist Brandt Henningsen, Ph.D.

The Schultz Preserve consists of 120 acres of restored estuarine and freshwater wetlands, artificial reefs, transitional communities and uplands in the northern portion of Port Redwing. Restoration was completed in August 2004. The preserve is named in honor of Tampa Bay’s first Audubon wardens and is maintained by Hillsborough County. When the preserve is fully open, the public will be able to use it for several recreational activities, including picnicking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, snorkeling and nature study. The preserve will also be used for educational purposes and have beach access.

The District and Hillsborough County’s Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program purchased the land in 1995. The restoration project was a cooperative effort among the District’s Alafia River Basin Board, the SWIM program and the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department. Additional funding for the project includes grants from the Gardinier Trust Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and IMC-Agrico. Scheda Ecological Associates, Tampa Contracting Services and the National Audubon Society were also instrumental in the project, along with 17 groups of volunteers.

“Bringing Back the Bay” Video
The “Bringing Back the Bay” video received second place in the education category. This 30-minute video looks at the recovery of Tampa Bay and some of the challenges ahead. The improved status of Tampa Bay is the result of a cooperative effort among many agencies in the region.

The video was distributed to government and public access cable television stations in the region. Individual copies were distributed to schools, libraries and other public gathering places. The video is also available upon request by calling the District’s Communications Department at
1-800-423-1476, or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4757.

The District’s SWIM section and Alafia River, Hillsborough River, Manasota, Northwest Hillsborough and Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Boards funded the project. The project manager was Senior Public Education Coordinator John Walkinshaw. SWIM Program Manager Lizanne Garcia and her staff provided technical support.

Brooker Creek Watershed Education Program
The District’s Brooker Creek Watershed Education Program received honorable mention in the education category. This pilot education program for the Brooker Creek watershed was developed after the District conducted public opinion surveys and gathered focus group input. Project components can be used for other watershed education programs within the District.

The Brooker Creek watershed is located in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, just north of Oldsmar.

The District’s Pinellas-Anclote River and Northwest Hillsborough Basin Boards funded the project. John Walkinshaw was the project manager and Kenna Harrison was the graphic designer.