$10,000 Grants Help Protect Regional Drinking Water Sources

Tampa Bay Water is excited to announce that Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful have each been awarded $10,000 grants for their efforts to protect the sources of the region’s drinking water.

“Through the source water protection grant program, Tampa Bay Water partners with the Tampa Bay community to guard our most precious resource and to ensure that our ecosystems remain healthy and functioning now and into the future,” said Matt Jordan, general manager for Tampa Bay Water.

Since 2008, Tampa Bay Water has offered $20,000 in grants annually to fund projects and events sponsored by local community groups, non-profit groups, schools and universities that help promote protection of the region’s drinking water sources.

Winners received their awards at Tampa Bay Water’s December Board Meeting. In attendance to accept the grants were Craig Pugh, CEO of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, along with Debbie Evenson, executive director of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, and Patricia DePlasco, development and community relations director at Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.

“This grant helps Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo share a water conservation success story with almost a million visitors a year,” stated Craig Pugh, CEO of Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “Source water is a precious resource. This project helps the zoo manage it wisely, which is important because whatever we do in Tampa affects the water we drink.”

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo will use the funds to make source water protection a consistent theme in its education and outreach efforts. The zoo is in the early stages of planning initiatives that will shape its role in conservation and source water protection over the next quarter century. The grant funding will go to developing education materials, exhibits, signage, website content and other educational programming.

“Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful believes that protecting water at the source is an important way to ensure the health of humans, ecosystems and economies,” stated DePlasco. “Tampa Bay Water grants support our educational efforts, which engage bay area citizens and students to become lifelong stewards of our environment.”

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will use the funds for education initiatives, which include presentations to school and community groups. This also includes its annual Youth Environmental Education Conference that hosts high school and college students. While its programs focus on litter prevention, waste reduction, conservation and beautification, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful also works to cultivate and support environmental citizenship, draw awareness, understanding and appreciation to Florida’s fragile ecosystem.

To qualify for a grant, applicants provided a plan for a project or event related to source water protection in the Tampa Bay Water service area. The program grants funds from $2,000 to $10,000 for community-based activities including but not limited to: river clean-ups, storm water nature walks and educational field trips.

All mini-grant applications received were reviewed and screened against the program’s selection criteria. Funds will be granted in 2015.