Flooding, shoreline erosion and extreme weather negatively affect Florida’s natural resources, livelihood and the health of coastal and inland communities. Throughout Florida’s estuaries and rivers, polluted runoff has contributed to harmful algal blooms and threatened the quality of life of riverfront communities. Riverside Conservancy helps meet the need of providing vibrant/resilient communities, combating stormwater pollution, increasing coastal resource stewardship opportunities, and providing special places and living classrooms in which to share the benefits of coastal “green” infrastructure for years to come.
To create and expand sustainable living shorelines through educational outreach and land conservancy programs that utilize community-engaged design for the benefit of the Indian River Lagoon and for the greater public health and recreation of the surrounding communities.
RC recognizes that education is an important part of conservation. What they want to achieve is not only physical, but a change in mindset. They hope for future generations to understand that a healthy community relies on harmony between its citizens and the nature around them. Through the restoration and enhancement of lands and waterways they can help create a more prosperous and healthy society. Volunteers and program participants can learn in the field, getting their hands dirty in fun coastal activities and continue their knowledge through research opportunities, like attending RC’s Academy. Everyone will have the ability to internalize the core value of being good stewards of the environment, and hopefully can become ambassadors to inspire the people around them. As their knowledge and participation increases, there will be more people working toward healthy habitats, and benefiting our entire community.
RC’s goal is for the beauty around us to be conserved and used to educate future generations. Riverside Conservancy can help create community leaders, restore shorelines that bring back natural wildlife such as oysters, and create a more resilient community. We can be the future that leads to a sustainable balance with nature.
Riverside Conservancy Center
The Riverside Conservancy Center (RCC) in Edgewater, Florida, will be the science and research center for the Conservancy. There will be a living shoreline restoration area for research scientists and student education. The RCC will help fulfill the Conservancy’s goals of fostering community leaders, restoring shorelines, building a more resilient community, and creating harmony between citizens and the nature around them.
Thanks to the generous support of the Litowitz Foundation, this shoreline property in Edgewater, Florida is the science and research home of the Riverside Conservancy.
Park Shoreline Restorations
Last year, Riverside Conservancy identified three estuarine waterside parks within the city of Edgewater as high priority restoration areas. These public parks include Menard-May, George R. Kennedy Memorial and Veteran’s Memorial. This year, RC will continue facilitating the restoration by creating living shorelines, which are riverfront or coastal areas that are vegetated with native plants.
The restoration of shorelines (by planting aquatic grasses and mangroves and restoring oyster beds) filters pollution that would otherwise flow into waterways and ground water after rain storms. Because shoreline plants and oysters are nature’s water filters, living shorelines benefit the overall health of our citizens through cleaning our waterways and drinking water, creating habitats for wildlife, protecting our homes and businesses from storm surge, and best of all, making our parks beautiful.
These three highly popular riverfront parks are an important target for restoration, because they drain into the Indian River Lagoon. By restoring living shoreline to these and other highly visible areas, they will be able to demonstrate to all visitors the environmental, cultural, educational and economic value of living shorelines for our area.
Protect Our Lagoon Campaign
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is home to an incredible variety of life. As part of the Be Floridian Now campaign, and in partnership with Project H2O, along with some help from our caring locals, RC is striving to protect our lagoon and restore this ecosystem back to health.
But what exactly is the issue, you may ask? Too many nutrients! This excess within the IRL can lead to many imbalances in the ecosystem, including harmful algal blooms. Overabundant nutrients can come from many sources, such as lawn fertilizers, pet waste, lawn clippings, agricultural runoff and inefficient septic systems.
This is quite concerning. However, there is something YOU can do right now to help! Skip the fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides on your lawn and learn about your local fertilizer ordinances. You can even opt for native or Florida-friendly plants that require less watering. The less harmful run-off we have, the less contaminated the water will get. Oh, and be sure to pick up after young Fido. Pet waste also causes harm to the IRL with excess nutrients.
Want to be a part of the solution? Take the pledge now and get your very own Protect Our Lagoon yard sign.
YOUNG LEADERS PROGRAM
Are you a high school student who has a love for nature and a passion for creating change? Look no further, this is the program for you!
Riverside Conservancy’s Riverside Young Leaders in Conservation Program will provide two gifted high school students with the chance to experience and actively participate in the conservation of lands and shorelines in Volusia County, all while learning what it means to be a leader in our community. As part of the program, the students will be fully immersed throughout the school year in understanding their role as future leaders and as conservationists. They will understand the importance of healthy rivers, conduct shoreline restoration, and participate in hands-on classes and the Save our Rivers and Springs Academy to deepen their understanding of our county’s natural environment.
The students will conduct STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering & Math) projects including water quality monitoring, field biology and scientific excursions. During the year, the Young Leaders will attend extra-curricular training at local marine science facilities and universities to learn about aquatic ecosystems, water quality and healthy habitats. They will hone their research, presentation and leadership skills under the guidance of mentors and instructors, many of whom are experts in their fields. These chosen students will work alongside RC’s community partners and speak at youth events about water quality and conservation. They will also get the chance to talk to scientists and researchers, and even lead small groups in a project. They will learn the importance of preserving and enhancing their community and the environment, as well as understanding/planting “living shorelines,” which are riverfront or coastal areas that are vegetated with native plants. Additionally, these students will get to present their research findings to a local government or scientific symposium.
This immersive program will give the Young Leaders the opportunity to become experts in a field that is important to the economy and health of our community, and through their education, these exceptional students will use their natural gifts to become confident leaders.
The Goal of YLP
The overarching goal for this program is the education of future generations who understand that a healthy community relies on harmony between the citizens and the nature around them. Young Leaders will learn that the restoration and enhancement of lands and waterways help create a more prosperous and healthy society. The students in this program will learn in the field and at research institutions. They will have the opportunity to internalize the core value of being good stewards of the environment while learning job and leadership skills. The Young Leaders will be ambassadors to their peers and an inspiration to the people around them. As their knowledge and participation increases, there will be more people working toward healthy habitats, which benefits our entire community.
Want to become a Blue Spring advocate and help spread the word about solutions to water pollution? RC invites you to attend a free adult education course: Save Our Springs and Rivers Academy. The Academy will include classroom and field trip experiences, guest speakers and hands-on, learning to provide the ultimate citizen engagement experience. Those participating in the six-session virtual course will gain valuable knowledge and will pledge to educate others on behalf of Volusia Blue Spring after the course’s completion as “Ambassadors.” For more information or to register, visit GreenVolusia.org or call (386) 736-5927.
Senior/Student/Veteran Member $10
Your $10 donation will restore one square foot of oyster habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. Plus, you get a Riverside Conservancy bumper sticker and quarterly e-newsletters.
Individual Member $15
Your $15 donation will restore up to two square feet of oyster habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. Plus, you get a Riverside Conservancy bumper sticker and quarterly e-newsletters.
Associate Member $50
Your $50 donation will restore up to five square feet of oyster habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. Plus, you get a Riverside Conservancy ball cap and quarterly e-newsletter.
Your $100 donation will restore up to 10 square feet of oyster habitat in the Indian River Lagoon. Plus, you get a Riverside Conservancy ball cap and quarterly e-newsletter.
There are other levels of memberships available and more ways to get involved with this wonderful organization. Visit them online for more information.
Instagram: @ RiversideConservancyOrg