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St. Joe Foundation Supports Coastal Dune Lakes Program

12/17/2004

Santa Rosa Beach, FL - Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Okaloosa-Walton College recently received another $5,000 grant from the St. Joe Community Foundation (STJCF) to support CBA's Coastal Dune Lake Program, marking the third grant provided to CBA by the group.

Joining with CBA to ensure the future of the globally rare and imperiled Coastal Dune Lakes, the St. Joe foundation initially bestowed a $5,000 grant in the latter part of 2001 to enable CBA to develop a Coastal Dune Lake Program. The program began as a modest monitoring effort with limited educational opportunities for the community. However, both CBA and the St. Joe foundation quickly realized the enormous task of ensuring the stability of these rare lakes. The STJCF awarded another $5,000 grant and watched the program grow to a monthly volunteer monitoring effort, an educational source for local students and a provider of restoration projects to enhance the lakes.

The latest grant will support the Coastal Dune Lake Program, the primary focus of which is to garner community involvement toward sustaining and providing optimum utilization of the coastal dune lakes. This is mainly accomplished through a volunteer water quality monitoring initiative with over 30 volunteers who annually donate nearly 1,000 hours of service to the community. The program also stresses public education on issues concerning the lakes through community outreach programs at various events ranging from homeowners' meetings to community festivals. A special emphasis is being placed on the children of the community by providing lessons on water quality issues to local classrooms. CBA involves the students in restoration projects and is currently developing a vegetation monitoring program to increase participation outside the classroom.

Originally named the Northwest Florida Improvement Foundation, the STJCF was created to "invest in community initiatives that pay long-term returns on the quality of life in Bay, Franklin, Gulf and Walton Counties;" creating partnerships with local groups like CBA which have the same interest in building better communities. Since its origination in 1999, STJCF has donated over $3million regionally, with over $1 million of that sum dedicated to Walton County organizations that promote teaching and learning and creating healthier communities. For more information on The St. Joe Community Foundation, please visit www.STJCF.com.

The CBA is a non-profit organization committed to sustaining and providing optimum utilization of the Choctawhatchee Watershed. CBA, under the auspices of the Okaloosa-Walton College, provides opportunities for citizens, educators and technical experts to promote the health of the Choctawhatchee Basin. It is an umbrella group that includes area residents, developers, educators, community groups and anyone else who wants to keep a healthy economy and be a good steward of the natural heritage of Choctawhatchee River Basin. For more information on how you can help, call CBA at 850-650-9330 or go to their website at www.basinalliance.org.