WPS Train-The-Trainer Class

We will be having a WPS Train-the-Trainer Class in Bartow on November 8, 2010 starting at 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. If you have employees that need to be trained for the Worker Protection Standards then you will either need to be a licensed pesticide applicator or you will need to have a WPS Train-the-Trainer certificate. You can sign up for this class by clicking the link and registering online.
If you have trouble or cannot register online please call me at the office 813-744-5519 ext. 147.


Tampa's National Park(ing) Day

I participated in an interesting event in downtown Tampa called National Park(ing) Day. This is an event whereby the community re-imagines the utility of parking spaces in public areas. Click on the link to see a short video of what it was all about with viewpoints from Shaun Drinkard, Sarah Howard (the event coordinators) and collaborator Will Womack (FNGLA Tampa Chapter President). The public space is a reflection of the attitudes, values, and leadership of the local citizenry. Here is an event that will stretch your mind when it comes to questioning the use of public space in our community.


SWFWMD Plant City Freeze Management Plan

To minimize the potential harmful affects of pumping too much water during freeze events in the Plant City/Dover area SWFWMD has proposed new rules. Here is a list of the proposals for this area.

1. The management district will create a new water use caution area (WUCA) in the Dover/Plant City area. It will encompass a 256 sq. mile water use caution area from McIntosh east to the county line and bounded on the North at Knights Griffin and continue south to Keysville road. SWFWMD will put limitations on new ground water requests, and implement a strategy to minimize loss of the aquifer during a freeze event.

2. All new residential well consturction within the WUCA will need to be dug deeper and have a greater casing depth.

3. SWFWMD will communicate to residents before a freeze event using media, letters, and phone calls to alert residents to turn off their pumps.

4. SWFWMD will allocate dry well repairs in a more equitable fashion.

5. SWFWMD will expanding the FARMS Program and increasing incentives for alternative frost/freeze protection methods.

6. SWFWMD will increased groundwater monitoring through drilling new monitoring wells and putting meters on all existing wells in the area to record water use and temperatures during a freeze event.

Here is the SWFWMD website that has all the information and potential rules affecting the area.


If you would like to comment to SWFWMD about these rule changes 9/24/10 is the deadline. Send emails to Pamela.gifford@watermatters.org


Design Water Star Projects Seminar

The Southwest Florida Water Management District is offering this free program for landscape architects, designers, builders and other industry professionals involved in the landscape and irrigation design process of new construction projects. Participants will learn the techniques needed to successfully design and implement the Florida Water Star℠ (FWS) program into their projects.

During this 3-hour workshop, site considerations, tree preservation, plant selections and placement, using turf in water conserving landscapes and buffering stormwater runoff, as well as basic irrigation application will be covered. Attendees will learn the Florida Water Star℠ project design process and how to achieve points that will lead to FWS certification. Upon completion of the workshop, professionals will be featured on the District's FWS website as FWS landscape qualified partners.

Florida Water Star℠ is a certification program for builders that saves money and protects the environment through efficient water use and water resources protection in new home construction FWS aligns with other “green” certification programs, such as the Florida Green Building Coalition, EPA’s WaterSense, ENERGY STAR™, and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. This workshop will also demonstrate how getting FWS certification adds points to applications for certification in these other programs. To register for the October 20, 2010 workshop, go to: http://www.fwsdesigntampa.eventbrite.com/

October 20, 2010 9 a.m. to Noon
Hillsborough County Extension Office
5339 S. County Rd. 579
Seffner, FL 33584

October 26, 2010 9-Noon
Sarasota County Extension Office
6700 Clark R., Twin Lakes Park
Sarasota, FL 34241

For the October 26, 2010 workshop go to: http://fwsdesignsarasota.eventbrite.com/If you have any questions about the workshop, contact Angela Maraj at (941) 685-9397 or via email at Angela.Maraj@WaterMatters.org.


Another Reason in Favor of Environemental Horticulture

This article was posted on Science Daily. "Tranquil Scenes Have Positive Impact on Brain" Brain imaging software was used to look at the brain when shown environmental scenes such as the sea and man-made images such as roadways. Imaging showed that natural scenes induced feelings of tranquility and brain harmony. That might be one of the reasons why I like eat my lunch in the gardens. To read more here is the link to the ScienceDaily article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914095932.htm


Fusarium Wilt of Queen and Mexican Fan Palms

This disease affects queen and Mexican fan palms. The causal agent is Fusarium oxysporum (palmarum). The disease starts out on the older leaves first and only affects one half side of the frond at first. The palm dies quickly within a few months after the initial symptoms. Here is an updated Fact Sheet on Fusarium Wilt of Queen and Mexican Fan Palms.


USDA Incentives for Sustainable Producers

Here is the latest in government programs to help producers become more sustainable:

Opportunities Available Now for Conservation Assistance and Funding
Act now before October 29, 2010 cut-off date

GAINESVILLE, September 2, 2010 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida has set a cutoff date of October 29, 2010, to submit applications for several voluntary conservation programs that may help eligible participants pay for conservation practices to prevent soil erosion, improve water quality, restore wetlands and provide habitat for wildlife.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers who face threats to soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Through EQIP, NRCS develops contracts with agricultural producers to voluntarily implement conservation practices. Persons engaged in livestock or agricultural production and owners of non-industrial private forestland are eligible for the program. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland, and other farm or ranch lands.
The Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program for developing or improving high quality habitat that supports fish and wildlife populations of National, State, Tribal, and local significance. Through WHIP, the NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to private and Tribal landowners for the development of upland, wetland, aquatic, and other types of wildlife habitat.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture.
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a program for landowners and operators to protect grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrubland, and certain other lands.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.
NRCS encourages interested parties to visit with our staff as soon as possible. Applicants who apply early have more time to resolve any program or land eligibility issues.
Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, Florida NRCS has established a cut-off date of October 29, 2010 for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications for the 2011 program year.
For more information on conservation assistance contact your local NRCS Field Office listed in the telephone directory under “U. S. Government” or