CBA Celebrates 17 yrs
Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance Celebrates 17 years of Protecting and Restoring the Choctawhatchee Watershed and Installs its 2012 Advisory Committee
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College celebrated 17 years of protecting and restoring the Choctawhatchee watershed with its annual meeting on Thursday, March 8. During the annual meeting held at the Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College, a special presentation was given by Director, Julie Terrell, that presented a summary of the impact made by CBA programs last year and recognized volunteers, members, donors and sponsors that made these programs so successful. Some of CBA’s program accomplishments last year included the following:
- 143 water quality sampling stations
- Over 25, 000 lines of data; bringing our total data set to over 240, 000 data points
- The entire data set submitted to the state for the inclusion to the STOrage RETrieval (STORET) system
- Harnesses 45 dedicated volunteers
- Completed third year of sea grass monitoring in 2011
- Created oyster reefs that are being monitored for recruitment, growth, utilization and sediment retention.
- Established and maintained 9 salt marsh nurseries with a total of 4,500 plants
- Serve over 800 students monthly at 17 schools in Walton and Okaloosa
- Developed 8 Sunshine State Standards Lessons for 5th grade level students
- Began demonstration garden and trail at the South Walton Center
- Attended over 10 community events last year
- Continued to coordinate with various groups conducting research
- Water quality monitoring data presented at CERF (Coastal Estuarine and Research Federation) Conference
- Bagged 26,000 bags of oyster shell in 2011
- Created 12,600 cubic feet of oyster reef in 2011
- Completed 5 project areas—Cessna Park, Mattie Kelly Park, Legion Park, O’Conner Reef and Live Oak Point (phase 1 & 2) in 2011
- Developing 6 new living shoreline projects for 2012—Marina Cove, Freeport, Live Oak Point, Destin, Basin Bayou, and Rocky Bayou
- 1,100 restoration volunteers
- 700 alternative college break students
- 9 restaurants partnered with CBA for O.Y.S.T.E.R. Recycling (O.Y.S.T.E.R. is an acronym for “Offer Your Shell to Enhance Restoration”)
- 1,550 cubic yards of shell collected from the O.Y.S.T.E.R. Recycling Program
- Controlled exotic species on 4 coastal Dune Lakes, City of Niceville near Lions Park, East Bay Flatwoods area on Eglin AFB
The 2012 CBA Advisory Committee members were also installed Thursday night and include: Mark Shaeffer of Baskerville-Donovan, Inc. (Chair and pictured on the left), Mitch Shank (Vice-Chair), Ross Hamilton of Collegiate High School of NWFSC (Treasure), Tim Norris of Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. (Secretary and pictured on the right), Dennis Peters of Gulf South Research Corporations, James Ward of Fort Walton Beach Glass, Bill Schultz of Schultz and Associated, Ltd., Monica Autry of Destin Water Users, Inc., Alicia Keeter of South Walton Utilities, Inc., Dawn Pack of Okaloosa County Schools, Taylor (Chips) Kirschenfeld of Escambia County (Ex-Officio), Mike Flynt (Ex-Officio), and Dan Robeen of Eglin AFB (Ex-Officio). The new officers will be decided at the next CBA Advisory Committee meeting which is scheduled for April 4th at 4:30 pm at the Legendary Offices in Destin Commons. This meeting is open to the public.
Ms. Terrell commented that “CBA Programs are so successful because of all the various volunteers, members, donors and sponsors that work together to provide the largest impact possible. CBA facilitates partnerships from the federal, state, and local area to accomplish its program goals.” Some of CBA partners and sponsors that were recognized Thursday night included the Northwest Florida Water Management District, Walton County, City of Destin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, AmeriCorps, Eglin Natural Resources Branch, Jason Guard, Community Collaborations International, Gulf of Mexico Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Dugas Family Foundation, Elizabeth Dunn Foundation, Florida LAKEWATCH, University of West Florida, University of Florida, Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, Walt Spence, Douglas Buck, Destin Water Users, Inc., South Walton Utilities, Inc., Bluewater High and Dry, Boeing corporation, Norcross, MidBay Bridge Authority, Wal-Mart, Baytowne Marina, Ross Hamilton, Two Oaks Ventures, Inc. and the Town of Cinco Bayou.
Ms. Terrell also provided a financial summary of CBA’s programs Thursday night. “Ninety-four cents of every dollar received through memberships, sponsorships, or donations goes directly into one of CBA’s four program areas,” commented Julie Terrell. “By keeping our membership services low, we make every penny count!” We invite you to help support CBA’s programs by becoming a CBA member or volunteer. To find out about CBA memberships and volunteer opportunities, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, call (850) 200-4171 or email CBA@nwfsc.edu.