Thanks to the generous funding from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, the Healthy Pond Collaborative-Manatee (HPC-Manatee) just concluded Year One of the three-year grant with a record number of visited pond communities and newly planted shoreline with aquatic plants that help reduce unsightly agal growth and costly bank erosion.

The HPC-Manatee has been led by START’s new President, Lonnie Ready, in a partnership with the Manatee County Department of Natural Resources. Communities requesting help with their ailing stormwater detention ponds are visited for a pond assessment. The Communities that agree to adopt Healthy Pond Practices qualify for a grant up to $3,000 to cover the cost for the native aquatic plant stock that is necessary for a successful pond enhancement. At about $1.50 each for the plant stock, you can buy a lot of aquatic plant for $3,000.

Under Lonnie’s leadership, The HPC-Manatee in Year One visited 31 pond communities and reached nearly 16,000 County residents with advice about how to keep their stormwater ponds healthy. Ten communities have been awarded grants for plant stock that covers 5.62 miles of newly planted pond shoreline. With the bulk of the planting season before us, the number of additional grants and shoreline coverage will greatly expand as we move into Year Two of the grant this summer.

If your ponds have unsightly algal growth or are threatened by costly erosion, contact Lonnie for an HPC assessment in either Manatee or Sarasota County. If you think it would be helpful to screen our Healthy Pond PowerPoint presentation for concerned residents or your HOA Board, we can do that too. You’ll find Lonnie at

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