2022-2023 Funded Project Summaries 

Project Name: EscaRosa OysterCorps 
Awardee: Franklins Promise Coalition 
Amount Awarded: $49,998.99

Oyster Corps members with Pace High School students in front of marsh grass planting

EscaRosa OysterCorps contributed to the protection and enhancement of coastal resources and improved water quality by collecting and recycling oyster shells, growing native marsh plants, implementing living shoreline and marsh restoration projects, and by educating participants through hands-on work experience. Corps members gained 3,726 hours of field and coastal restoration experience, collected 20.84 tons of oyster shells from local restaurants that will be used in restoration projects, constructed 215 oyster prisms to be used in local restoration projects, engaged 26 high school students in environmental stewardship, and grew 21,260 marsh plants.


Project Name: No-Till Seed Drill Rental Program
Awardee: Blackwater Soil and Water Conservation District 
Amount Awarded: $50,000

No Till Seed Drill

The Blackwater Soil and Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) No-Till Seed Drill Rental Program provides a low-cost option for farmers to implement no-till crop production systems, cover crops, and overseeded pastures. Blackwater SWCD acquired a seed drill for the rental program, developed the rental process and associated administrative requirements, and held a ribbon cutting to launch the rental program. During the grant period, two farmers utilized the drill to implement conservation practices, with many other farmers added to a waitlist. The rental program is anticipated to be utilized by at least 30 farmers annually and aims to increase 5,000 acres of cover crops and 1,000 acres of pasture overseeded with clover, resulting in 2.5-3 tons of soil per acre prevented from eroding and a reduction in 30lbs of nitrogen needed per acre. 


Project Name:Coastal Landscaping Workshop and Plant Giveaway
Awardee: Escambia County 
Amount Awarded: 

Plant Giveaway

Escambia County Natural Resources Management, in partnership with UF IFAS Escambia Extension, aimed to improve resident awareness and access to native coastal plant species, which can reduce the need for fertilizers and provide habitat for coastal species. Escambia County hosted four coastal landscaping workshops, gave away 1,200 native plants at two plant giveaway events, distributed 200 coastal landscaping guides, hosted two volunteer events at the Perdido Key Demonstration Garden, and worked with four local nurseries to stock more native plant options. 


Project Name: Empowering Students to Take Action: Aquatic Carem Team (ACT) 
Awardee: Navarre Beach Marine Science Station 
Amount Awarded: 

Students collecting water quality samples on dock

The Santa Rosa County School District's Navarre Beach Marine Science Station (NBMSS) promotes conservation of Gulf Coast marine ecosystems by empowering students to become ocean stewards through service, experiential learning, scientific inquiry, and innovative technologies. Dual enrolled high-school students led water quality monitoring at 6 sites and collected a total of 36 samples in Santa Rosa Sound and engaged 1,743 students in student led field trips. Student knowledge of water quality and watershed related topics increased by 20%.


Project Name: Manatees and Meadows: Protecting Manatees and Their Habitat Through Outreach 
Awardee: National Wildlife Federation 
Amount Awarded: $22,678.15

Manatee Intern speaking to people at boat ramp

Manatees and Meadows protects manatees and their habitat by educating waterway-users, coastal residents, and visitors about manatees and their primary habitat and food source, seagrass. The National Wildlife Federation conducted outreach at boat ramps, fishing piers, local business, classrooms, and more. The project team had a total of 938 direct and 4,800 indirect engagements through in-person and digital outreach, engaged 18 new volunteers, and led to the reporting of 93 manatee sightings.


Project Name: Peripheral Oyster Mapping in Santa Rosa Sound and Urban Bayous of Pensacola Bay 
Awardee: Northwest Florida State College 
Amount Awarded: 

Researcher using water quality sonde

Northwest Florida State College mapped the distribution of peripheral oysters to contribute to a better overall understanding of the abundance and population dynamics of oysters in Santa Rosa Sound and Bayou Grande inform future restoration efforts. Researchers determined relative abundance and condition at a total of 302 sites across Santa Rosa Sound and analyzed associated substrate and water quality data. The collected data was used to generate ArcMap GIS layers of the habitat type, relative abundance, and condition of the peripheral oysters.

 View the Findings

Project Name: Streambank Erosion in the Pensacola Bay and Perdido Bay Watersheds 
Awardee: University of West Florida 
Amount Awarded: $31,550

Reasearchers in creek measuring bank profile

The University of West Florida conducted a streambank erosion study in the Pensacola and Perdido Bays watersheds to inform future restoration projects and identify potential areas of concern. The project team collected data at 20 previously established sites in the Pensacola Bay watershed and established 10 new sites in the Perdido Bay watershed. Measurements were taken to develop streambank profiles that were used to calculate erosion rates for each site. Erosion rates were analyzed alongside other environmental parameters such as bank height, cover, stream order, and bank erosion hazard index.

 Read the Report

Project Name:Zooplankton Ecology and Water Quality Monitoring of Perdido Bay
Awardee: University of West Florida 
Amount Awarded: $39,326.75

Researcher using YSI off of boat

The University of West Florida collected monthly sampling at 20 locations throughout Perdido Bay and its tributaries to examine water quality and zooplankton abundance, size, and composition. Zooplankton can serve as important bioindicators of ambient water quality and researchers sought to address community members’ concerns about a decline in encrusting organisms that have a larval zooplankton stage. Monthly water quality and zooplankton samples were successfully collected across all sites and prepared for analysis.  The project team was able to leverage outside funding to continue sampling outside of the grant period to capture a full 12-month period of data.

Read the Report


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