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Tampa Bay Water Receives Award for Environmental Rehabilitation

Tampa Bay Water has received the Florida Native Plant Society's 2011 Award of Excellence recognizing the Florida-friendly and native planting techniques used to create the "Outback," a two-acre wetlands habitat located at the agency's Clearwater office.

"In an industrial part of town, the Outback is an oasis of nature that provides food and habitat for wildlife," said Doug Keesecker, senior environmental analyst at Tampa Bay Water. "The Outback demonstrates Tampa Bay Water's dedication to conservation through Florida-friendly landscaping practices."

Five years ago, the land was home to a mixture of choking exotic and native trees and weeds. Tampa Bay Water rehabilitated the land and preserved the Cypress tree dome. The Agency used "Florida-friendly" and native plantings to conserve water and enhance the habitat for local wildlife and people.

Native plants are better for the environment and need less water. Through careful management, problem species have been curbed and native plants now thrive. The Florida Native Plant Society recognizes the conservation efforts of Tampa Bay Water in creating this wetlands habitat.

The Florida Native Plant Society is a state-wide organization dedicated to promoting the use of native plant species in Florida. Any non-profit, residential or commercial organization in the state that meets the eligibility requirements may apply for the landscaping Award of Excellence.

To be eligible for the award, project must have at least 75 percent Florida native plants; a two-year grow-in period; and include no plants listed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's List of Invasive Plant Species.

Tampa Bay Water received the award on Saturday, May 21 at the Florida Native Plant Society's annual conference.

For more information please contact Brandon Moore at 727.796.2355