Panhandle Manatee

Partners: Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Florida Sea Grant

Panhandle Manatee is an outreach program that focuses on promoting awareness, education, and protection for manatees and seagrass in the Pensacola and Perdido Bays watersheds. The targeted audience includes anglers, boaters, visitors, and residents within Pensacola and Perdido Bays watersheds. Trained manatee ambassadors and interns visit boat ramps, fishing piers, marinas, schools, community events, and water-related businesses to distribute outreach material during the summer months.

Panhandle Manatee originated as a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Florida Sea Grant, and PPBEP. National Wildlife Federation, under the leadership of Jessica Bibza, set the foundation for this program and received Community Grant funding. The Panhandle Manatee program became a direct program of the Estuary Program in 2023. 

Reported manatee sightings have increased in our watersheds have since 2021 – the start of the Panhandle Manatee program. Increased public awareness about reporting manatee sightings is a likely factor for the recent increase in sighting numbers. Learn more at panhandlemanatee.org

 Two people holding manatee outreach materials at a table


Enhancing Community Resilience through Water-borne trash removal and reduction

Funding:  $297,220 EPA 
Partners: ECUA, Escambia County, Santa Rosa County
Years: 2022-2024

  • Funded 10,000 ECUA recycling stickers with for residential recycling cans
  • 45 new trash receptacles across the Jones Creek Watershed
  • 5 solar compactors for the Pond Creek Watershed
  • Production of educational video series  - videos coming soon!
  • Clean Campus Project High Schools received signage, litter receptacles, cleanup and outreach supplies

Educational recycling sticker on recycling bin


Resilience Readiness: A Community-Based Participatory Assessment in the City of Pensacola, Florida

Funding:  $28,496 NOAA & The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Climate Adaptation Grant
Partners: City of Pensacola, Escambia County Sea Grant, University of West Florida, PLACE:SLR
Years: 2022-2024

Informational mailer

  • Goal: Coastal communities use their knowledge of changing conditions and risks to become resilient to extreme events, economic disruptions and other threats to community well-being.
  • Engaged undergraduate UWF honors students to develop and administer a resilience readiness survey in the City of Pensacola’s Priority Planning Areas to determine Climate Change Perceptions, Community Needs, and Preparedness
  • Survey results indicated confusion and misconceptions about the need for flood insurance
  • Post card mailers on flood risk and insurance were distributed to 8,614 households


Sea Level Rise Education

Funding:  NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant to PLACE:SLR

The objective of this project, led by PLACE:SLR, was to produce a comprehensive, sustainable SLR education program that spans ages, locations, and demographics to generate better prepared nGOM coastal communities. The Estuary Program served as a local partner that facilitated educational dialogue sessions and hosted pop-in events at events and libraries. 

Community members sitting around a table with maps


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