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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Innovative Floodplain Strategies for Coastal Areas: Application of Coastal No Adverse Impact Principles

To provide attendees with the floodplain management tools needed to
decrease the cost of natural disasters, increase community resilience,
and reduce negative impacts from flood events through the integration
of growth management with natural resource planning.

Who Should Attend

  • Building officials

  • Emergency Managers

  • Engineers

  • Environmental Nonprofits

  • Floodplain Managers

  • Local Elected Officials

  • Natural Resource Managers

  • Planners and Planning Commissions

  • Realtors and Developers

  • Stormwater Managers

Certified Floodplain Managers will receive 6 credit hours of Continuing Education.

Workshop Goals

  • Understand Coastal No Adverse Impact (CNAI) principles and applications to local floodplain management programs

  • Understand the unique hazards of Hillsborough and Pinellas County coastal areas and identify important resources and vulnerable areas on maps

  • Discuss how CNAI principles can be applied in the region’s coastal zone

  • Apply CNAI strategies for floodplain and wetland protection and hazard mitigation to conservation planning and development practices

Cost:$10 (include materials and lunch)
Where: Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Wedon Dr. N.E., St. Petersburg
11/9/2010, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Register Here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is My Seafood Safe?

By: Nan Jensen, Family and Consumer Science Agent

While the constant media coverage of the oil spill is behind us, questions still linger about the seafood that comes from the gulf. Consumers can be assured that a number of agencies are working in cooperation to monitor the safety of seafood and have made it one of their highest priorities.

These agencies include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, the Gulf Coast states along with FDA and NOAA have agreed on a protocol to determine when closed federal harvest waters can be re-opened.

  • FDA and NOAA are using sophisticated testing that can detect elements of concern to public health in seafood at extremely low concentrations.

  • Current data from these tests indicate that seafood from Gulf waters is safe.

  • To date, every seafood sample form waters that have been reopened passed the taste, smell and elements test.

  • Seafood monitoring includes the tests for the presence of oil.

  • Available information indicates that the dispersant used to combat the oil did not accumulate in the seafood and there is no public health concern from dispersants due to seafood consumption.

Safety of Gulf Seafood

Monday, October 11, 2010

Be a PEEPer!

By: James Stevenson, Extension Specialist

The Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project is in full swing with thousands of citizens receiving energy-saving devices and information on how to save energy and money in the home. Our next class will be held at the Largo Library on Wednesday, October 20th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. All of the classes are free and are offered as part of the US Department of Energy’s $3.5 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant awarded to Pinellas County late last year. Pinellas County Extension’s application included money to provide education and energy-saving materials to the community at-large.

We are excited to bring the citizens of Pinellas County the tools they need to make significant energy savings in their homes. We have especially been targeting those citizens who would not have ready-access to energy saving information and equipment. The goals of this project include:

  • Providing information and equipment to Pinellas County citizens to help reduce energy consumption in the home.

  • Promoting a significant and quantifiable reduction in energy consumption in Pinellas County Facilitating a significant and quantifiable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Pinellas County

Participants in this class will receive a free energy saving kit valued at $200 and will become part of a larger project. Participants will be contacted no more than three times to track the energy-saving measures they have taken.

Click here to register for this class. Remember that space is limited and registration closes 24 hours prior to class.

We hope to see you on October 20th!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are you an Eco Innovator?

By Guest Blogger:Marissa Segundo, Recycling Coordinator for the City of Largo

Eco-Innovators are challenged to construct useful creations from the contents of their trash can for the City of Largo's 2nd annual Recycled Innovations Contest.This online contest encourages innovators to go beyond recycling by re-purposing their waste.

All entries must be made of 75 percent or more recycled or material that would otherwise be discarded. Contrary to a recycled art show, Recycled Innovations are items that may be reused in daily activities. Accepted entries will be functional items made of materials that can be diverted from the waste stream.

The City of Largo's Recycled Innovation Contest will give participants the opportunity to get their designs noticed across Tampa Bay and beyond. Innovators will be vying for innovative prizes such as solar/wind powered chargers for cell phones, MP3 players and small electronics, environmental board games, and learning toys to name a few.

The winners will be determined by an online voting system where web visitors can select their favorite innovation within each category. Prizes will be awarded to the innovators receiving the most online votes in various age categories: Tiny Innovators, Junior Innovators, Tween Innovators, Techie Teen Innovators, and Macgyvers.

Deadline for entry including photo submission and entry description is Thursday, October 28.

Online voting is November 1-12 on website.

The winners will be announced on America Recycles Day, November 15.

Interested innovators can apply online or by calling (727)586-7424 for more information.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Energy-saving home design and décor tips from Progress Energy Florida

By Guest Blogger: Suzanne Grant, APR Spokesperson/Lead Communications Specialist Progress Energy

New window treatments, a few throw pillows and a fresh coat of paint can update a home’s interior by adding style and sophistication. According to Progress Energy Florida, some decorating changes can also help trim your electric bill and make your home feel more comfortable all year round.

“When considering a room makeover look for options that will improve energy efficiency while adding to the room’s look and feel,” says Kim Berghoefer, a Progress Energy energy-efficiency expert. “Upgraded lighting, appropriate window treatments and other small changes can add up to significant savings on electric bills.”

Progress Energy Florida suggests customers consider the following 10 tips when updating their home’s décor:

Dress windows to block the sun. Use curtains, blinds, shades or interior shutters to help block the sun’s hot rays during warmer months. Select a style that can be opened or pulled back to use the sun’s warmth during cold winter days.

Select seasonally appropriate bedding. Consider using multiple layers to allow yourself to adjust the covers depending on the room’s temperature. This will help you remain comfortable when the thermostat is set to the optimal temperature – 65 to 68 degrees at night and 68 to70 degrees in the day during the cooler months or 78 degrees or higher during the warmer months. Setting your thermostat appropriately can save you more than $300 a year.

Add cozy, warming winter touches during the cooler months. Drape snuggly, soft throws in rich tones accenting your color scheme on your favorite chair or sofa. Add plush area rugs to warm up cold tile, wood or laminate floors. Both ideas will help you feel comfortable in a slightly cooler room and save you money on heating all winter long.

Install ceiling fans in bedroom and living space. The average ceiling fan uses no more electricity than a light bulb, but can make a room feel three to four degrees cooler. Ensure the fan is the proper size for the room - the larger the room, the larger the fan. For a room up to 50 square feet, choose a 29 inch fan. Choose a 36 inch fan for a room up to 75 square feet, a 42 inch for a room 10 foot x 10 foot or 100 square feet, and a 50 to 52 inch fan for up to 400 square feet. Look for ceiling fan/light combinations that have earned the ENERGY STAR® label. According to the U.S Department of Energy, these units are about 50 percent more efficient than conventional fan/light units and can save you more than $15 per year on utility bills. But be sure to only have the fan on when the room is occupied. Fans cool people, not rooms.

Select efficient lighting. A typical household spends nearly 10 percent of its annual energy budget on lighting. When redecorating carefully consider lamp and lighting fixture placement and use. Add task lighting at the desk in the den or a reading lamp in the living room to concentrate the light to the area where you need it rather than continually relying on an overhead fixture lighting the entire space. Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent (CFL) bulbs that use 75 percent less energy. While CFL bulbs may initially cost a bit more, they last 10 times longer and don’t heat up like traditional bulbs and halogen lights. Replacing just eight frequently used blubs with CFLs can save you $140 per year.

Use sun-shading window film. Save your new furniture, wallpaper and paint from fading and keep your home cooler with window film designed to block UV rays. Window film can help you save more than $130 per year. Plus, Progress Energy customers can qualify for a rebate of up to $100.

Place furniture away from vents. When rearranging furniture don’t make your heater or AC work harder than it has to. Make sure drapes and furniture aren’t blocking any air vents.

Replace outdated shower and faucet fixtures. Low-flow showerheads not only save on water and the electricity used to heat water, but come in many stylish finishes to update your decor. Be sure sink faucets have aerators to use less water while maintaining standard water pressure.

Fix up the fireplace. Install glass fireplace doors to keep conditioned air from escaping out the flue and reduce uncomfortable drafts.

Choose ENERGY STAR-rated appliances and electronics. When remodeling a kitchen or laundry room, select energy-efficient appliances by looking for the blue ENERGY STAR label and saving hundreds of dollars on electricity per appliance depending on the unit selected and replaced. Look for ENERGY STAR-qualified televisions and other electronics when decorating plans include upgrading to a new unit. An ENERGY STAR TV uses about 40 percent less energy than standard units helping keep your electric bill lower.

Progress Energy offers a wide variety of energy-saving information and rebates to help customers with the cost of some energy-saving home improvements. To participate, the first step is to complete a Home Energy Check available at Customers can also call 1.877.574.0340 to complete an assessment over the phone or schedule an in-home visit by a Progress Energy advisor. Following a Home Energy Check, each customer receives an analysis of the home’s energy use and a list of customized, energy-saving recommendations.

Progress Energy has one of the nation’s leading energy-efficiency programs with more than 100 measures. Since 1981, our customers have saved more than $1 billion through our energy-efficiency programs – or enough electricity to power the city of St Petersburg for more than 5 years.

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's Energy Awareness Month!

This year's theme is POWERING AMERICA; We're On Target. The theme depicts how, across the nation, we continue to zero in on energy targets to stimulate the economy, lower operating expenses, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and achieve long-term energy and economic security.

Simple actions every day add up to big results:

  • Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and solid-state lights (SSLs)

  • Purchase ENERGY STAR® equipment

  • Turn out lights and shut off computers and TVs when not in use

  • Combine trips, share rides, and use mass transit

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle

Want to do More?

Save Energy At the Office

Save Energy At Home

Save Energy at your Facility

Even more?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Be Green and Buy Local

By: Mary Campbell, Urban Sustainability Agent

Fall begins the bounty of local fresh farmer’s markets and local produce from Florida. Eating local produce for Floridians could include our own gardens, our region or the entire state. Local is loosely interpreted as looking for those seasonal choices that are closer at hand. A good place to start with buying local is to look for seasonal crops that are grown within the region at a local farmer’s market. When we buy local products, they are fresher, have a lower carbon footprint from transportation and support our local economy. Getting our local produce from farmer’s markets also can involve less packaging and processing which further reduces waste and environmental impacts. Keeping our local food systems alive and well is part of a sustainable community. Choose healthy, local produce and you support all the pillars of a sustainable community: healthy people, healthy environment and healthy economy.

Here are a few local markets to get you started:

  • Clearwater: Wenesdays - Opens 10/20/10

  • Corey Avenue: Saturdays - Opened 10/2/10

  • Crossroads: Saturdays - Opened 10/2/10

  • Dunedin: Fridays and Saturdays - Opens 10/29/10

  • Heritage Village, Market in the Park: Saturdays - Opens 11/6/10

  • Largo Harvest Market: Thursdays - Opens 11/4/10

  • Pinellas Park : Saturdays - Opens 10/9/10

  • Seminole - Thursday thru Saturday - On going

  • St. Petersburg: Saturday - Opened 10/2/10

Florida Farmer’s Markets
Local Harvest
Florida Produce Availability(pdf)