Protect Florida Springs Grant ApplicationIntroduction
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is seeking freshwater springs-focused projects in the two areas outlined below. Several priority needs within each area for the 2019 – 2020 grant cycle are also noted in boldface. Grant requests outside of these priority needs will also be considered, as funding allows.
1. Research projects that lead to better understanding of or directly address one or more principal threats facing Florida’s springs. This can be single-site research or involve more than one springs ecosystem. *(Examples: projects that identify the sources of stress for a particular spring; an innovative method of reducing nutrient pollution or controlling invasive species in one or more springs; research to ensure the continued survival of imperiled or declining spring species.)*.
**Current priorities: a) Quantification of the long-term economic benefits of springs preservation and restoration; e. g., nature tourism, ecosystem services (health of aquifer/clean drinking water, water for wildlife and agriculture, etc.) b) Development of local and regional watershed maps for springs to foster better land-use planning, guide springs- and aquifer-related environmental policy and educate the public. c) Start-up planning funding for communities and organizations working to preserve or restore springs. d) Research on native Florida species dependent on the springs ecosystems. e) Research on control and removal of non-native or otherwise invasive plants and animals that further degrade springs ecosystems.**
2. Community education and other outreach activities that foster adoption of best practices in the restoration, management and conservation of freshwater springs or alter public attitudes and practices detrimental to spring conservation. (Examples: community education projects that encourage landowners to reduce non-point nutrient flow into springs via vegetative buffers, promotion of improved septic systems or sewage treatment; fostering and organizing community or special interest group (e.g., divers) springs clean ups, bank stabilization, exotic species removal and similar on-the-ground stewardship work.)
**Current priorities: a) Proposals that address the disconnect between an individual’s actions and the large-scale impacts on springs and the aquifer (for example, that dumping chemicals on the ground can show up in surrounding waters within weeks with little filtration and consequent impacts on human and wildlife health). b) Creation of a best-practices manual of restoration and conservation strategies that have worked well at one or more springs. c) Effective strategies, based on current understanding of social behavior, to change behaviors by Florida residents and tourists that degrade Florida’s springs.**
The potential conservation impact of each proposal and its possible applicability to multiple springs will have strong bearing on the possibility of being funded.