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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

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

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.

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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.

Re-Blogged from the University of Florida

Whether you get your water from a public utility, a well or recycled water, the source will influence how much water you save, a new University of Florida study shows. Turns out, city water users tend to engage in more conservation practices than those who get their water elsewhere.

Just as important as who conserves water and why, researchers hope their findings give consumers more of a chance to reflect on how and why they save water.

Scholars have studied water conservation from many angles, but in this study, UF/IFAS researchers start to connect the dots between our sources(s) of water and how much we conserve it.

UF/IFAS researchers surveyed 3,310 Floridians though an online poll. Participants revealed whether they used city/public water, well water or reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is treated at wastewater facilities before residents use it to irrigate their landscapes.

Here are some findings:

  • Well water users are less likely to use recycled water, use a rain sensor, calibrate their sprinklers or use smart-irrigation controls.
  • Reclaimed water users are more likely to use recycled water and use a rain sensor. They’re also less likely to retrofit their landscape so they only irrigate some of it.
  • City water users feel the strongest personal and social obligation to conserve water.

“Our findings may provide a chance for people to critically reflect on water use and seek out more information,” said Laura Warner, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural education and communication and a co-author of the paper. “Households might take the opportunity to explore conservation strategies that best fit their water source or learn about the unique characteristics of each.”

These findings are critical as scientists and policy makers consider how to preserve water as the population of Florida and the rest of the United States grows.

Florida’s more than 20 million people use about 1,680 million gallons of water per day. So, it’s imperative that Floridians conserve the precious commodity, Warner said.

More than half of every household’s water goes toward irrigation. That’s 9 billion gallons of water per day to keep up lawns and landscapes nationally, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Water conservation behaviors could be influenced by perceived availability, perceived consequences of groundwater depletion and perceived value of the water,” Warner said. “These actions are informed by whether the water was intended for other uses, such as drinking and whether the household pays a fee for the water and so forth.”

For example, they might ask themselves:

  • How does city water get to my home?
  • How does recycled water affect water availability?
  • Are there nutrients in my recycled water?
  • Where does my well water come from?

Warner focuses her research and Extension work on helping Floridians adopt the most appropriate and impactful conservation strategies to benefit natural resources and households. She also helps identify strategies to better understand individuals’ perceptions and educational needs related to water.

“We suspected people had different perceptions of water use that would be associated with each water source,” Warner said. “This new evidence could help us understand those needs, including different advantages and disadvantages, along with different consequences of groundwater depletion.”

For the study, Warner worked with Lisa Krimsky, a regional specialized agent for UF/IFAS Extension who’s based in Fort Pierce and Anil Kumar Chaudhary, an assistant professor of agricultural and Extension education at Penn State University.

Chaudhary started helping with this research while a doctoral student majoring in agricultural education and communication at the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He finished his collaboration with Warner after graduating and taking his faculty position at Penn State.

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by Brad Buck 

Posted: August 27, 2020