Getting Involved with the Florida Bay Education Project
What you can do:
Remember that every personal action towards restoration of South Florida and Florida Bay counts!
The best place to help Florida Bay is in your home.
- Reduce water use
- Use drought resistant plants. These plants save water and reduce the amount of water that flows off your yard and eventually into the nearshore waters.
- When possible, use gravel, bricks or other porous materials when building driveways, patios, and sidewalks. These materials allow rainwater to seep into the ground. Paved surfaces speed the flow of runoff from your yard into the storm drains and on to the nearshore waters.
- If you use automatic sprinklers, save water by installing a rain gauge that prevents them from coming on during or immediately after rain.
- Use mulch around plants -- it's not only attractive, it also helps prevent runoff from your lawn, reduces evaporation, and helps hold moisture in the soil.
- Use native plants for landscaping- Contact Monroe County Cooperative Extension for more information- 305-292-4501.
- Look for environmentally- safe alternatives to pesticides. Contact the Monroe County Cooperative Extension Service for more information.
- Be careful with what you pour down the drain.
- Read the label. If you find any product that contains phenols, lye, petroleum distillates or trichlorobenzenes don't pour them down the drain, and find alternative products.
- Avoid pouring bleach, ammonia, oven cleaner or floor wax into a drain.
- Save toxic household products until they can be disposed of during the next toxic waste cleanup day in your community. Call the solid waste office for more information.
- Use only non-phosphate detergents to wash your car.
- Collect used oil and antifreeze and take them to a collection center, garage or recycling center.
When you're boating
- Practice minimal impact boating. Contact the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for more information at 305-852-7717 x 30.
- Pick up and dispose of any trash that you see in or near the water.
- Remember that the monofilament fishing line you toss out today can entangle and kill seabirds and wildlife for the next 600 years. Always make sure that the line is disposed of properly. Many marinas and bait and tackle shops now collect fishing line for recycling.
- Florida Bay wildlife can be fascinating, but please don't disturb or feed dolphins, pelicans, birds or other creatures. Feeding wild animals only encourages them to approach people, boats and highways -- often with fatal results for the wildlife.
- Become involved by contacting local elected officials or other governmental and non-governmental organizations.
- Get involved in exotic removal or plant restoration programs.
- Report any unusual ecological occurrences that you observe to the Mote Marine Laboratory Marine Observer Network at 305-745-2729 x 305.
- Join a community organization
- Attend local government meetings and workshops.
- Attend public hearings, make sure you have all the facts and make your opinion known. If you don't understand the rationale for a decision, ask questions. In many cases, your questions can help public officials clarify their thinking on key environmental issues.
- Join The Nature Conservancys Florida Bay Watch water quality monitoring program. Contact their office at 305-296-3880.
Portions of this page were adapted from Florida Sea Grant Publication SGEB-23, Florida's Estuaries: A Citizens Guide to Coastal Living and Conservation.