Posts

Re-Blogged from the University of Florida, IFAS….

Today, like every June 8 since 1992, many people around the globe celebrate World Oceans Day. This event was created to advocate and inspire people, communities, and nations to take action on the sustainable use, protection, conservation, and preservation of the oceans and their inhabitants.

Every year, there is a theme for World Ocean Day. This year’s theme is “revitalization: collective action for the ocean.” This theme recognizes that people around the globe need to work together to protect our oceans. And we should be on it; after all, the oceans produce at least half of the world’s oxygen, feed billions of people, contribute to the world economy, and host the most biodiversity on Earth.

Therefore, I am challenging you to join me to help revitalize our oceans by being part of the solution to a global problem; the problem of marine debris, especially the problem of plastic pollution. Plastics are the most common form of marine debris.

Marine debris is defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned in the marine environment or the Great Lakes. In other words, products created by us that end up in the oceans.

Among the impacts of marine debris are damage to habitats, economic loss, damage to infrastructure, navigation hazards, facilitation of transport of invasive species, and negative impacts on human health and wildlife.

The great news is that there are many things that you can do from where you are to help and take action. Things that you can put into action at home, at school, at the store, on the water, and the shore, and that will make a big difference in our efforts to help our oceans, and to help ourselves.

Happy World Oceans Day. Say no to single-use plastic products. Do your part. And, enjoy the oceans.


Posted: June 8, 2022

Re-Blogged via the Florida Department of Environmental Protection……

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation declaring June as Great Outdoors Month in Florida. The Governor’s proclamation honors Florida’s abundant natural resources and the nation’s best recreational opportunities, provided by the state’s waters, trails, public lands and parks.

Great Outdoors Month is celebrated across the country each June to spotlight not only the beauty and wonder of our lands but also the health and economic benefits they provide.

From vibrant coral reefs and white-sand beaches to clear, natural springs, ambling rivers and peaceful pine forests, the state of Florida offers a myriad of opportunities to connect with nature and explore outdoors. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service and Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection are committed to providing visitors with unforgettable experiences and lifelong memories.

“This Great Outdoors Month, we welcome you to come experience …the Real Florida and see why Florida is the only recipient of four National Gold Medals for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “An adventure awaits you at any of Florida’s 175 state parks, 42 aquatic preserves and three national estuarine research reserves.”

With families preparing for summer fun, June is the perfect time to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida. Florida’s state parks, trails and aquatic preserves offer opportunities to camp, hike, paddle along pristine waterways, enjoy local flora and fauna, and more.

Activities during Great Outdoors Month in Florida include: 

Learn more about Florida’s state parks, trails, aquatic preserves and national estuarine research reserves at FloridaDEP.gov.

 

Danny Kushmer, Executive Director

July is Lakes Appreciation Month! Polk County, our 17 Municipalities, along with the Lakes Education Action Drive Board of Directors would like to encourage our residents and visitors to get involved and appreciate our beautiful lakes. LEAD is taking the lead (pun intended) here in Polk County to host a Lakes Appreciation Challenge. We want to invite you to participate in the “Show Your Lakes Appreciation Challenge”, social media lake selfie photo contest.

Between now and July 31st take a selfie while cleaning on one of Polk County’s lakes, tag the Lakes Education Action Drive on Instagram and use the hashtag #PolkLakeSelfie. One lucky winner will receive a $100 Gift Card from the Andy Thornal Company provided by Watson Clinic. Other entries may receive a gift card from Fred’s Market Restaurant and additional outdoor gift cards from Andy Thornal Company. For more information Follow Us on Instagram.

And, for more information on the origin of Lakes Appreciation Month, listen to our latest podcast on Podbean. On this podcast, we speak with Steve Lundt, the Senior Water Quality Scientist for Metro Water Recovery. Formed in 1961, Metro Water Recovery is the largest wastewater treatment provider in the Rocky Mountain West.

Steve has worked on lakes and reservoirs for the past 25 years as a Certified Lakes Manager. He has been on the board of the North American Lakes Management Society (NALMS), CLRMA, Barr/Milton Watershed Association, and other lake related organizations. Besides a background in lake monitoring, Steve has a long background in watershed management, public education, and outreach about water quality topics.

NALMS mission is simple, but a powerful one: to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs, for today and tomorrow. NALMS does not focus on professionals, academic researchers, or any small interest group alone; rather, NALMS is a melting pot, welcoming anyone interested in lakes.

Danny Kushmer, Executive Director

Content provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Signs of spring – balmy weather, blooming flowers and nesting birds – are occurring throughout Florida. Warmer temperatures also mean alligators are more active and visible. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recommends taking precautions when in and around the water and has expanded its safety materials to include a video and infographic in Spanish.

While serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, the FWC offers the following tips about how to safely co-exist with them:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator and never feed one. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge and never let them swim in fresh or brackish water. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286) if you believe an alligator poses a threat to people, pets or property and the FWC will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation. The FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas, while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur.
  • Find more resources about living with alligators and Spanish translation information tools at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

The American alligator, Florida’s state reptile, is a conservation success story. Florida has a healthy and stable alligator population, which is estimated at 1.3 million alligators of every size. They are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers in all 67 counties in Florida.

Lakes Education/Action Drive is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and quality of lakes in Polk County, Florida.

Established in 1985, LE/AD has taken an active role in the pursuit to preserve our lakes and environmental resources. Lakes are ecologically and economically valuable, and our lakes deserve our care and protection. In addition, LE/AD encourages residents to take advantage of the many excellent opportunities our lakes provide.

 

Over the years, the Lakes Education Action Drive has provided lakeshore signage educating visitors on Polk County Watersheds. Many of these signs have been updated by the County or Municipality where they are located. However, some of these signs have not.

Below is a list of the lakeshore signage, LE/AD has placed over the years. We last investigated the condition of these sign in 2014 and would like to once again, take stock of their condition.

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

 

Lake Name General Location Street Address Latitude Longitude Subject Material Photo Y / N Last Known Condition Current Condition
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Lake Blue connects to Peace River Good 9/5/2014
Blue Lake Blue Park @ pavilion N of Lake Dr NW and Lake Blue Dr 28.0488       -81.7709 Healthy Land and Water Good – Fair , crazing 9-5-2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Lake Bonney Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Bonny Lake Bonney Park trail at N end of boardwalk Bartow Rd Lakeland 33801 28.0376       -81.9341 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, E of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Paterson Park in Peace River Watershed Good 8/28/2014
Ft Meade SE Patterson Park, W of bridge 521 4th St Fort Meade, FL 33841 27.760         -81.802 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Stormwater Runoff Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Gibson At boat ramp W side of lake 4901 Lake Gibson Park Rd 28.1044        -81.0506 Lake Gibson Watershed Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Lake Hartridge Watershed Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Wading Birds Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.047          -81.748 Waterfowl Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Living in FreshWater Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hartridge Lake Hartridge Nature Park along path 0 Havendale Blvd Winter Haven 28.048          -81.749 Wetlands Fair – Poor, bottom mold 5/27/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr @ Mississippi Ave 18 Lake H Drive Lakeland FL 33803 28.028          -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.029         -81.949 Lake H Watershed Fair, crazing and faded 8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Aquatic Plants Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Wildlife Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.028         -81.949 Stormwater Runoff Excellent  8/26/2014
Hollingsworth S of Lake H Dr E of Johnson Ave 821 Frank Lloyd Wright Way  Lakeland FL 33801 28.0285       -81.9490 Welcome to Southern Landing Excellent  8/26/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park N of Lk Howard Dr 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven  28.015           -81.748 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Lake Howard Watershed Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Stormwater Project Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of parking lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Howard Lake Howard Nature Park S end of Parking Lot 0 Lake Howard Dr, Winter Haven 28.014              -81.747 Aquatic Plants Good – Fair 5/27/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @    Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Aquatic Plants Fair, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter E of Lake Hunter Dr @   Cresap St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.033         -81.962 Wildlife Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Stormwater Runoff Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
Hunter At  boat ramp north end of lake Sikes Blvd Lakeland 33810 28.036         -81.961 Lake Hunter Watershed Poor, crazing 8/26/2014
John Peterson Park, South side by boardwalk and playground 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960       -81.9430 Healthy Land and Water Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
John 150ft N of JOHN-1 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 27.9960         -81.9432 Lake John Watershed Good, a little mold on bottom 8/26/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by walkway S of parking area 0 7 th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.718 Lake Maude Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park next to pier to south 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.039          -81.719 Living in the Water Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park walkway to north 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.041          -81.719 Wading Birds Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Alligators Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park By walkway by swings 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.718 Wetlands Good 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Alligators Poor, broken plexi cover 8/22/2014
Maude Lake Maude Nature Park by north pier 0 7th St NW Winter Haven 28.042          -81.720 Watching Wildlife Fair – Poor, mold or dirt 8/22/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Birds of Lake Morton Excellent  8/26/2014
Morton E of Lake Morton Dr @ Palmetto St 0 Lake Morton Dr Lakeland FL 33801 28.037         -81.950 Healthy Land and Water Excellent  8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Healthy Land and Water Good 8/26/2014
Parker Near Gate 1, N of boat ramp on trail 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0786       -81.9456 Lake Parker Watershed Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Wildlife Good 8/26/2014
Parker On trail nr Gate 2, N of PARK-1&2 2001 Lakeland Hills Lakeland FL 33801 28.0815       -81.9457 Aquatic Plants Good 8/26/2014
Parker Sertoma Park near boat ramp 1800 E Memorial Blvd Lakeland FL 33803 28.0520       -81.9284 Lake Parker connects to Peace River Fair, crazing, scratched 8/26/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp Lake Shipp Park @ pier 1651 Lake Shipp Dr, Winter Haven 28.001          -81.737 Wildlife Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Stormwater Runoff Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Shipp W.G. Poe Park near pavilion 2403 7th St NW, Winter Haven 28.000          -81.737 Lake Shipp Watershed Good – Fair 5/23/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Stormwater Runoff Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Lake Silver Watershed Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Aquatic Plants Good 8/22/2014
Silver South end Martin Luther King Jr Park N of boat ramp 0 3rd St NW Winter Haven 28.051          -81.731 Wildlife Good 8/22/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Better Boating Excellant 9/2/2014
Somerset At boat ramp S of Glendale St 1605 Glendale St. Lakeland, FL 33803 28.0072       -81.9305 Lake Somerset connects to Peace River Excellant 9/2/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Aquatic Plants Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.9920         -81.697 Water Pollution Good 8/28/2014
Summit Lake Summit Park at boat ramp 0 Lake Summit Dr Winter Haven FL 33884 27.992         -81.697 Lake Summit connects to Peace River Good 8/28/2014
Twin Lakes Twin Lakes Park 535 N Rochelle Dr Lake Alfred, FL 33850 28°05’51.95”N
81°43’38.57”W
Twin Lakes connects to Lake Swoope New 1/20/22

 

For a Printable List, Click HERE

 

Lakes Education Action Drive

The Board of Directors of LE/AD wants to thank the Southwest Florida Water Management District for partnering with us in replacing educational signage at Twin Lakes in Lake Alfred.

Over the years, LE/AD has taken the er…Lead in placing educational signage at various lakes throughout Polk County. Many of these signs are in need of replacement and the Twin Lakes is where we started.

New signs at Twin Lakes

At the bottom of this post you can see the old signs and why they needed to be replaced. But, here are the graphics up-close.

Again, thank you very much Southwest Florida Water Management District for your generous support!

Old Signage

Danny Kushmer

 

 

join us for our February Podcast as we discuss “Direct Potable Reuse” in Polk County. Our guest is Polk County Utilities Director Tamara Richardson. Ms. Richardson is a Professional Engineer and has served as Director of Polk County Utilities since December 2017.  As director, She and her team are responsible for all functions of the Utilities Division, including water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, reclaimed water production and distribution, compliance and capacity, capital investments, maintenance and repairs, customer service and billing, and the financial management of these efforts.

Before coming to Polk County, Ms. Richardson served as the City Engineer and Utilities Director for a medium-sized Central Florida city with similar utility services for 15 years.  Prior to that, she was a consulting engineer for a design firm specializing in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering.

This is a fascinating conversation about Direct Potable Reuse and for more information, check out the links below.

 

LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE HERE

 

Polk County Utilities

Department of Environmental Protection, “One Water Florida”

 

 

Thank you Florida’s Horizon and the “Off-Bryan Studios” for your generous support!

 

May 18, 2021, Winter Haven. On Tuesday, the Lakes Education Action Drive (LE/AD) Board of Directors voted to approve new board member Hunter King. “Ms. King becomes the first board member to be added in several years and we welcome her to Polk County and to LE/AD” said, executive director, Danny Kushmer.

Hunter King is a regional invasive plant management biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She graduated in 2020 with her M.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Clemson University and in 2017 with her B.Sc. in Environmental Biology from Southwest Baptist University. She has spent the last three years working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a fisheries technician primarily conducting hydrilla management, and up until now has lived in Missouri for her entire life.

“We are pleased to welcome Hunter and know she will be a valuable addition to our Boards of Directors,” said Laurie Smith, President of the Board of Directors. Hunter has attended several previous boards Zoom meetings, her knowledge and background will be a great addition not only to the Boards of Directors but Polk County as well.”

Like Polk County and her 17 Municipalities, LEAD’s Fiscal Year runs from October 1st through September 30th. For more information on LEAD, please visit our website at www.lakeseducation.org, and visit and “Like” us on Facebook and Instagram.

– END –

P.O. Box 7607, Lakeland, FL 33807 863-221-5323LE/AD is a non-profit organization established in 1985 that strives to educate the public on lake water quality; the effects storm water runoff has on our lakes and how you can make a difference. Our organization is funded through your donations. Please join today to help continue to support this wonderful organization! Visit www.lakeseducation.org to learn mo

The Lakes Education Action Drive is happy to announce, the LEAD’r (our podcast) is now on Podbean. After seven episodes on our free site on SoundCloud it was time to upgrade to a professional presence.

Please follow us on Podbean and/or Apple today.

Water means different things to different people. Join Danny Kushmer as he and his daughter, Kaylie Kushmer have a conversation about water around the world on #WorldWaterDay. The Lakes Education Action Drive Podcast is designed to inform our members, residents, and visitors of Polk County the importance of our most precious resource, water.

Kaylie Kushmer

Kaylie is a 5th Generation Floridian with a passion for water. In her early 20’s Kaylie went on her first mission to bring clean water to the people of the Amazon. As Kaylie say’s “This trip changed my life”. Kaylie continued her journeys to the Amazon, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Nepal gaining a better understanding of the global clean water crisis.

Now, sit back and learn how we, in Polk County can apply Kaylie’s experiences to our everyday life protecting our most precious resource, water.

Podcast, Click Here: World Water Day 2021

Kaylie in the Amazon and Nepal…………

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/world-water-day-2021/id1559568771?i=1000513951679