Thanks to a very successful pilot pond program funded by a grant from Ed Chiles and Elizabeth Moore that helped enhance over a half mile of pond shoreline in Manatee County communities last year, START has been awarded a three-year $100,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to create the Healthy Pond Collaborative Manatee.
Modeled after the Healthy Pond Collaborative in Sarasota County, the Manatee version will be a partnership with START and the Manatee County Department of Parks and Natural Resources that will in combination with the Sarasota County effort now cover all ponds flowing into the Sarasota Bay Watershed. This is a major step forward in the attempt to reduce the flow of excess nutrients in stormwater into our waterways that lower water clarity needed to restore the health of our seagrass beds and feed harmful algal blooms like red tide.
With the continued funding from the Chiles-Moore pond grant and the substantial new funding from the Barancik Foundation, the Healthy Pond Collaborative Manatee will be able to assist a number of Manatee County communities with advice on how to cost-effectively maintain their stormwater ponds along with some funding to help cover the cost of buying the aquatic plants necessary for a successful pond enhancement program.
The planting season for stormwater ponds is already upon us and grants will be on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you need some help with your stormwater ponds contact Sandy Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org or (941) 217-5151 to learn how your community can become a part of the Healthy Pond Collaborative Manatee.