Tuesday, January 12, 2021

DEP's Northwest District Recognizes Environmental Stewardship Award Recipients including Franklin County's Conservation Corp of the Forgotten Coast

DEP Press Release header


CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@FloridaDEP.gov 

DEP's Northwest District Recognizes Environmental

Stewardship Award Recipients 

PENSACOLA, Fla. - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Northwest District would like to recognize and award both Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field and Conservation Corp of the Forgotten Coast for outstanding environmental stewardship.

The environmental stewardship awards program recognizes businesses, professional and community organizations, and local governments within DEP's Northwest District for proactive, innovative and exceptional achievements that prevent or reduce impacts on the environment beyond measures required by permit or rule. To be considered for recognition, participants must demonstrate significant and measurable achievements above and beyond what is required by law.

“On behalf of DEP and the state of Florida, I am proud to recognize and award both Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field and Conservation Corp of the Forgotten Coast for their outstanding environmental stewardship,” said Elizabeth Orr, interim director. “Together, with outstanding community partners like them that go above and beyond what is required of them, we can better protect, conserve and manage Florida’s natural resources for future generations.”  

NAS Whiting Field's nomination highlights:

  • NAS Whiting Field reduced its water consumption by 22,0831< GAL through Fiscal Year 2019 as a significant water conservation measure. This reduction amounts to nearly 25 percent for the period. They reached this reduction by highlighting water conservation and decreasing irrigation. One measure included the compilation of an irrigation timer inventory identifying each irrigation timer's operation hours. The data was used in calculations that presented irrigation usage and reduction rates. The initiative led to an irrigation reduction of 90%. In addition, a study for water leak detection was performed on the potable water distribution system, resulting in the repair of leaks.
  • NAS Whiting Field used prescribed burning to maintain and enhance habitat health, prevent wildfires and control invasive species. Nearly 1,500 acres were managed through prescribed fire to aid in the revitalization of rare and endangered species, habitat recovery and training.
  • NAS Whiting Field conducts annual inventory investigations of the gopher tortoise and their burrow habitats at the facility and the 12 outlying landing fields. The field surveys indicate that gopher tortoise populations are constant and even expanding in many areas.

Read the NAS Whiting Fields nomination.

Conservation Corp of the Forgotten Coast's nomination highlights:

  • Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast is a comprehensive youth development program for young adults 18 to 25 years of age that provides participants with job training, academic programming, leadership skills, and additional support through a strategy of service that conserves, protects and improves the environment, as well as community resilience.
  • The initiative focuses on an array of specific habitat restoration projects throughout the region such as invasive species removal, living shoreline installation, oyster reef restoration, water quality monitoring and pine savanna restoration. Not only is the focus on coastal restoration, the young people tackle everything from assisting with prescribed burns, forest restoration, protection of the red-cockaded woodpecker and other activities intended to provide training opportunities.  
  • Conservation Corps empowers young people with the knowledge and skills to be good stewards of our environment and offers a way to both restore valuable coastal habitats and train young adults in marketable job skills.
  • Every year, thousands of people learn about conservation practices through community outreach programs delivered by Corps members. Corps members also attend local trainings and meetings such as the RESTORE Council and Panhandle Estuarine Restoration Team meetings to present a willingness to be active participants in Gulf restoration activities.

Read Conservation Corp of the Forgotten Coast's nomination.

The DEP Environmental Stewardship Awards are traditionally awarded during the Northwest District's Annual Open House. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Open House was cancelled and the award certificates will be sent to the recipients via mail.


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