Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Southwest Florida Boating and Waterways Workshop

Attendees listen to Kevin Sharbrough
from the UF Levin College of Law
about non-economic tools to evaluate
marine infratructure

Last week my Florida Sea Grant Extension colleagues and I hosted the first annual Southwest Florida Boating and Waterways Management (BWM) Workshop in Punta Gorda, Florida. The idea for the workshop stemmed from feedback from stakeholders associated with BWM in the region over a year ago at a Florida Sea Grant strategic planning meeting in Cedar Key. Since it would be sometime before anotehr statewide BWM summit could be planned, a smaller, regional workshop would be an opportunity to keep stakeholders informed of current regulations, research, and funding opportunities of interest. It would also allow participants to network with one another on a regional scale. 
Thomas Ruppert, FSG Marine Policy
Specialist, talks about
waterfront community planning
Over 80 people representing local, state, and federal government agencies as well as private businesses, marine industries association, academia, citizen groups, and local advisory committees attended the day and half workshop. The goals of the workshop were to discuss innovative strategies to assist managers, planners, policy-makers, and other marine interests as they attempt to balance economic vitality with ecologically sound management practices along southwest Florida's waterways as well as increase professional networking opportunities among the participants.
The first day included a variety of oral presentaitons on topics such as FWC's statewide boating economic study,  non-economic tools to evaluate Florida's marine infrastructure, smalltooth sawfish management issues, permitting and regulatory considerations, derelict vessel management, infrastructure planning for sea level rise, Gulf oil spill response, waterfront community planning, and the Regional Waterway Management System. Day two  included a facilitated strategic planning session where participants had the opportunity to identify and prioritize waterway issues and discuss strategies to address them.( I have to give kudos to my colleague Joy Hazell, the Lee County Sea Grant Agent who did a fabulous job faciliating the session!)
Participants discuss key BWM issues
during the facilitated strategic planning
 session on day 2 of the workshop
We got an overwhelming positive response about the quality and value of the workshop from the surveys we distributed and it was clear the participants want to make the workshop an annual event. One of the initial impacts of the workshop is the development  of a regionwide network of boating and waterways professionals with similar interests and issues. Through the continued offereing of these workshop and other networking opportunities we are hopeful we (Florida Sea Grant) will continue to play an important role in bringing stakeholders together to collaboratively address and eventually solve some of Southwest Florida's most pressing boating and waterways management issues.

To learn more about the workhsop, click on the link below to see an aritcle written by Greg Martin of the Charlotte Sun.

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