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Orlando Wetlands Festival - Saturday, February 20, 2016


Orlando, FL – Come and enjoy the Orlando Wetlands Festival on Saturday, February 20, 2016, from 9am-3pm at Fort Christmas Historical Park. The Orlando Wetlands Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the Orlando Wetlands Park, the City’s 1,650 acre wetland oasis. The event is sponsored by: City of Orlando, Orange Audubon Society, and Orange County Parks and Recreation.

On February 20, 2016, experience this unique wetland treatment system with the entire family. Event co-sponsor, Orange Audubon Society, will lead guided bird-watching excursions. The Florida Native Plant Society will lead native plant identification hikes; while, the Florida Trail Association will be providing wilderness hikes. Bring your camera and join guided photo hike led by professional photographers.

There will be many interactive children’s activities (like Out-On-A-Limb kids tree climbing), bounce houses and much more! So bring the whole family and invite your friends and neighbors to this fun, free educational festival. Please leave your pets at home; there are wild animals. Food will be available for purchase. Free admission and free door prizes! For more information: call Orlando Wetlands Park 407-568-1706.

For those who like to sit and ride, guided bus tours will travel along the wetland berms, giving riders a chance to experience firsthand, Florida’s wild wetlands. Hay rides will also give riders a chance to relax and take in the scenery. 

In addition to the numerous guided tours, there will be bird-banding and mist-netting demonstrations, as well as, live music by Homer Stiles. Featured in the various wildlife shows, many different live animals will be present such as alligators, snakes, birds and many others. Also, the City’s Families, Parks and Recreation Department will be giving away free backyard trees in celebration of Arbor Day.  


Directions: To get to the Park, take S.R. 50 to Christmas, Florida. Turn north onto 420, Ft. Christmas Rd. Continue north 1.8 miles. Fort Christmas Park will be on your left. Free parking will be located on your right across from Fort Christmas Park. The address is 1300 North Fort Christmas Road, Christmas, FL 32709.  


The Friends of the Orlando Wetlands have a website which provides updated information on activities at the park. Links to this page would be appreciated:    We are also on Facebook at:


The Ten Most Important Invasive Species or Invasive Species Assemblages in North America in 2015.

The North American Invasive Species Network (NAISN) was formed in 2010 by university and government scientists across North America.Once a year, NAISN identifies the ten most important invasive species or assemblages based on their ability to invade a wide geographice area of public lands and waterways, ecological or economic impacts and potential for human health impacts.

Click here to see 2015's top ten.


Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council Announces Release of the Water-CAT

Comprehensive, online catalog featuring statewide water monitoring efforts

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council has released  the "Water-CAT," an interactive, searchable, web-enabled catalog of Florida-based monitoring efforts which was developed under contract by the University of South Florida’s Center for Community Design and Research. The catalog was developed for resource managers, agencies, universities, policymakers, and members of the public to facilitate access to information on marine, freshwater, groundwater, sediment and biological monitoring within the state. The Water-CAT will expedite data sharing, increase the availability of information, improve resource management, and minimize duplicative monitoring efforts.

“The Water-CAT will be an invaluable resource for DEP and partner agencies,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “We are enthusiastic about employing tools like the Water-CAT that can help us coordinate and achieve water restoration more quickly and with more information.”

The Water-CAT allows both basic and advanced searches by organization, monitoring project, station location, monitoring frequency, time range, sampled parameters and other pertinent data. Searches are designed to be downloadable and can be exported to an Excel spreadsheet, or into a KML file to display information as geographic points on Google Earth. Currently the Water-CAT contains monitoring data from approximately 74 organizations and nearly 105,000 monitoring stations across the state. The Water-CAT will continue to add new organizations, monitoring stations and other data, as well as links to the data source moving forward.

The Florida Water Resources Monitoring Council, chaired by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, is a coordinating body of 21 stakeholders that participate in water resource monitoring and management. The Council is charged with informing, planning and coordinating water resource monitoring efforts at the state, local, and federal levels.

The Council strives to focus on pertinent, meaningful projects and products to advance high-quality, integrated water resource monitoring in Florida.



EPA Approves DO Criteria for Florida

On September 9, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the revisions to Florida's criteria for Dissolved Oxygen (DO) as part of the recent Triennial Review of surface water quality standards. As noted in EPA's approval letter, EPA approved the DO related provisions in Chapters 62-302 and 62-303, Florida Administrative Code, and nutrient related water quality standards for the Tidal Peace River. The remaining revisions adopted as part of Triennial Review are still under review by EPA and will be addressed under separate cover at a later date. The approval letter and EPA's Decision Document for their approval have been posted to the Department's website at In addition, the final Technical Support Document for DO has also been posted. The revised DO criteria are now in effect and apply to both fresh and marine waters.


DEP Submits Status Report on NNC to Governor

As required under Chapter 2013-71, Laws of Florida, and as Part of the "Path Forward" Agreement with EPA, the Department submitted a report to the Governor and Florida Legislature, titled "Report to the Governor and Legislature: Status of Efforts to Establish Numeric Interpretations of the Narrative Nutrient Criterion for Florida Estuaries and Current Nutrient Conditions of Unimpaired Waters," dated August 1, 2013. The report has been posted to DEP's website at Chapter 2013-71 and the report have also been submitted to EPA.


Criteria posted for Estuary-specific NNC's

The Department of Environmental Protection submitted to EPA the estuary-specific numeric interpretations of the narrative nutrient criteria for the following estuaries: Perdido Bay, Pensacola Bay (including Escambia Bay), Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrew Bay, St. Joseph Bay, Apalachicola Bay, Suwannee Sound, Withlacoochee River, Waccasassa River, Springs Coast (Crystal River to Anclote River), Loxahatchee River, Lake Worth Lagoon, Halifax River, Guana River/Tolomato River/Matanzas River (GTM), and Nassau River. The Department also submitted numeric nutrient standards for remotely-sensed chlorophyll a for coastal offshore waters. All of these criteria have been posted on our website at


University of Florida Hydrilla IPM RAMP

Learn about the research and control methods being developed to help fight hydrilla at UFs Entomology Department.  Visit the website at

Hydrilla is an invasive freshwater plant that causes serious environmental and economic problems in Florida. Hence, natural resource managers, research scientists, and extension specialists are evaluating new sustainable strategies for implementation in a statewide hydrilla IPM plan.

The USDA-funded project, Hydrilla IPM RAMP, is expected to reduce management costs and minimize the risk for herbicide resistance. By combining biological with chemical controls, the project will create more favorable recreational areas on lakes and rivers that have become almost unusable because of the dense surface mats associated with hydrilla infestations.


Volunteer with Aquiferwatch!

Do you have a well on your property?Do you live in Northwest Florida? Interested in volunteering?

A new group called AquiferWatch is looking for volunteers to measure ground-water levels in north Florida. Volunteers will use specialized equipment to take a measurement from their own well once a month. Training for this activity takes no more than one hour.

Data collected for AquiferWatch will supplement groundwater data already collected by the FL Department of Environmental Protection and the NW FL Water Management District. There is much less data from the panhandle than from the peninsula of Florida, so AquiferWatch is turning to volunteers for help.

If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more, please contact Sarah Kalinoski of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance at 850-517-6843 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . She will be coordinating individual on-site training sessions with AquiferWatch once they are able to gauge the level of interest in the NW Florida area.


Mobile Field Guide to Florida Invasive Plants

FLIP is a new mobile field guide that can be accessed by a computer, smart phone, tablet or other device with internet browser capability.  Developed by the University of South Florida, FLIP currently contains 20 plants:  19 of the 2011 Category I invasive species and one of the 2011 Category II invasive species as designated by the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council (FLEPPC), and will be expanded to include more. 

Check out the app at

While there, why not check out the whole atlas at


How much pollution can your lake handle?  Visit FDEP's interactive site "Basin411"


"The Economic Analysis of the FDEP Proposed Numeric Nutrient Criteria in Florida”, by Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, FL State University.  Jan 20, 2012.


EPA Response letter to DEP's Nutrient Criteria Petition.


Florida LAKEWATCH report on Florida lakes failing the new current numeric nutrient criteria. Read the report here.


Springer, the publisher of CERF's peer-reviewed journal Estuaries and Coasts, is providing free access ('Open Access') to the articles published on past oil spills affecting coastal environments, to increase the availability of information relevant to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

To access these articles, use the following link:


Coal Tar Sealant Largest Source of PAHs in Lakes: Read about this environmental health concern at USGS's newsroom at



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