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If you are like me you have some serious spring fever. There are several ways that you can appease that fever and make a difference in your community at the same time.
1. Communities along the Gulf are in the second phase of oil spill response, the damage assessment phase. It is a sad truth that oil continues to be found along the Gulf coast, including in NWFL. It is our job to be sure that all damages are accounted for, and that the Gulf is fully restored. You can help by adopting an area of shoreline and committing to monitoring that area as often as possible. As there are other threats to our water resources beside oil, all shoreline areas need monitoring, not just along the Gulf of Mexico. The process is simple and data is uploaded to this website: http://saveourgulf.org/observations There is even a youtube tutorial on how to use the site: http://saveourgulf.org/resources/observations/using_this_website Please adopt your area of shoreline today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know where you will be monitoring so we do not duplicate efforts. And remember! It is getting close to shoreline bird nesting season, so please be mindful while you monitor.
2. We already have some oyster reef restoration happening in NWFL. FLDEP Ecosystem Restoration division is working throughout the month of March in East Bay. They are in need of volunteers with shallow bottom boats and others who are willing to work hard and get dirty. If you would like to help with these projects let me know, or contact Dominic.Marcanio@dep.state.fl.us These restoration projects are essential to restoring the aquatic habitats in our bays which have been significantly impacted over the years, BP oil being only the latest threat.
3. Florida Wildlife Federation has a few work days planned in March at NWFl State Parks. Projects vary, for more info and to sign up visit: http://www.nwf.org/en/Volunteer/Find-Opportunities/Gulf-Coast-Surveillance/Sign-Up.aspx
4. Our fellow Waterkeepers in Louisiana are part of the communities hardest hit by the BP disaster. They believe the health effects of the Gulf Coast oil spill are only just beginning. They want to make sure that everything possible is being done to protect our health, whether it be long term or short term monitoring. If you believe this is important please sign their petition and help those communities with the worst impacts of this disaster: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/994/714/662/
Chasidy Fisher Hobbs