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Check out these major conferences taking place in the Southeast:

2014 Water Education Summit

September 8 - 10, 2014

Crowne Plaza Resort, Asheville, NC

Network with leading educators working to improve water resources protection and management. Topics of discussion will include climate change, water resources management, ecosystem restoration and preservation, watershed planning, and educational programs for elected officials. Presentations, discussions, workshops, and tours will emphasize ways to change behaviors and inspire water stewardship locally. Go to www.h2osummit.org/

America's Watershed Initiative

September 30 - October 2, 2014

Galt House Hotel, Louisville, KY

America’s Watershed Initiative is a collaboration that seeks solutions for meeting the multiple demands placed on the vast and complex Mississippi watershed system by integrating issues, partners and ideas at the full watershed scale. It seeks to build and implement a vision based on collaboration and mutually beneficial outcomes in contrast to single purpose advocacy. The 2014 Initiative Summit will bring together key private, public, and non-profit sector stakeholders to improve governance of the Mississippi Watershed. The summit will provide a dynamic forum for discussion and updates on forthcoming programs. Go to www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/awi

9th Annual Regional Stormwater Conference

October 8 - 10, 2014

Charleston Marriott, Charleston, SC

Earn up to 14 continuing education credits and network with other stormwater professionals in the Southeast. The conference, whose theme is "Improving Water Quality through Relationships, Regulations and Research," offers two tracks of concurrent sessions so you can choose the session that best fits your needs.
Go to www.seswa.org/annual-conference

 

Southeast Forum and Partners Work with City of Tampa on LID

On May 28th, 35 participants gathered along the Hillsborough River in Tampa, Florida to collaborate and share ideas about ways to preserve and protect the lower Hillsborough River through participation in an interactive workshop on, "Exploring Best Practices for the Lower Hillsborough River." Planned in conjunction with the City of Tampa Stormwater Division and the Tampa Planning and Development Department, the program was a collaboration with the Southeast Watershed Forum (SEWF) and its partners, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) and Ecosphere Restoration Institute with a Targeted Watershed Grant from EPA Region 4. The goal was to explore the strategic implementation of low impact development strategies, as the city expands its redevelopment plans.

Tampa
Restoration of Ulele Springs along the Lower Hillsborough River. Photo credit: Lindsay Gardner, SARP

The Hillsborough River flows into Tampa Bay, an EPA priority watershed, and has significant value as fish and manatee habitat. At the center of the city development is the construction of Waterworks Park and the restoration of Ulele Springs, once a drinking water source for Tampa and a green oasis. As the city grew, the spring was piped underground and the natural habitat was degraded. An extensive restoration effort (sponsored by SARP, NOAA, USFWS and others) reconnecting water from the springs to the Hillsborough River is under way allowing fish, manatee and other wildlife access to the fresh water and providing thriving habitat in the heart of downtown Tampa.

Best Practices
Small group mapping exercise to locate areas for LID/best practices. Kathy Beck from the City of Tampa (center), works with a developer, LID specialist, landscape architect and EPA staffer, Connie Roberts (right) at one of mapping sessions.
Photo credit: Christine Olsenius

Workshop participants were asked to keep protections and management of this and other areas of potential "prime habitat" in mind when exploring places to implement best management practices.

The day-long workshop showcased the Ulele Springs restoration project and included city staff providing an overview of planned activities for slated development on the river. Dr. Martin Wanielista from the Florida Stormwater Academy provided an expert presentation on low impact development (LID) techniques and their cost effectiveness and Florida developer, John Rinehart, discussed the economic and environmental benefits of using sustainable building practices. The heart of the workshop was a hands-on small group mapping exercise to identify potential target areas where LID/best practices could protect water quality and habitat.

Ultimately, in addition to providing information about methods, the workshop presentations and discussions helped to raise awareness about the funding and technical support available for implementing best management practices. It also provided a platform for multiple departments at the City to communicate with representatives from federal, state and local agencies, as well as developers about changes to internal processes and programs that would assist in the implementation of best management practices. Lastly, it facilitated communication about ways that the City could potentially encourage and incentivize low impact development for habitat and watershed protection.

Best Practices

Workshop speaker, Nicole Adimey from the USFWS Coastal Program, discusses funding programs for community habitat protection and restoration efforts. Photo credit: Christine Olsenius


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