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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
April 2014
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
News & Notes


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Our dedicated Board of Directors, members and allies are committed to guaranteeing the future of our economically-precious treasures that are in critical danger here in the Keys. Please join us as a member, renew your membership or volunteer with us.

Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here

Free Forums Scheduled for April 16 & 22

Everyone acknowledges that the interaction between water quality and coral reefs, seagrasses and marine creatures in the Florida Keys is a complicated issue. Climate-change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, and overfishing all contribute to the health of local waters.
Recognizing the importance of water quality, Last Stand and Everglades Law Center will hold two free forums in April, bringing together a panel of water quality, hydrology and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys.
Keys Water Quality Forum
The forum features the director of South Florida Natural Resources Center for Everglades National Park, Bob Johnson, and the director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation, Tom Van Lent, Ph.D. Also on the program are Andrew Baker, Ph.D., associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Jerry Lorenz, director of research for Audubon Florida, and Billy Causey, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
“We know how critically important water quality is to the Keys,” said Last Stand president Naja Girard. “That’s why we’re having two sessions. The people we’ve invited to speak are all renowned experts on the issue of Everglades’ water flow and near- and off-shore water quality.”
The Upper Keys Forum will be held at the Key Largo Public Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy., on April 16. The Key West forum takes place on Tuesday, April 22, at the Eco-Discovery Center, 33 E. Quay Road, at the foot of Southard Street in Truman Annex. Both forums run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Julie Dick at 312-399-4057.

Water Quality FAQ's

The following is an excerpt from the FKNMS Science Summary "Water Quality: Frequently Asked Questions." For answers to more questions, click on the above link to view the entire PDF document.
Water Quality Advisory SignWhat is water quality? A term used to describe the condition of water, including its chemical, physical and biological characteristics, usually with respect to its suitability for a particular purpose (i.e., drinking, swimming or fishing).
What factors determine water quality in the Florida Keys? Concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO); levels of fecal coliform bacteria from human and animal wastes; concentrations of plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorus; amount of particulate matter suspended in the water (turbidity); and amount of salt (salinity). In many bodies of water, the concentration of chlorophyll-a (a green pigment found in microscopic algae) is also measured to determine the amount of microalgae living in the water column. Quantities of pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and other contaminants may also be measured.
Why is good water quality important to people? Untreated or poorly treated stormwater and sewage can pose a health risk for humans and, at times, has resulted in beach closures. When present in certain levels, fecal coliform bacteria are indicators of untreated or minimally treated sewage. Fecal coliform bacteria are not usually harmful, but are easily detected and may indicate the presence of other disease-causing organisms carried in the human intestine such as cholera, diphtheria, E. coli and streptococcal diseases.
Why is good water quality important to marine life? Tropical marine hard bottom, seagrass and coral reef communities thrive in clean water that is relatively low in nutrients. Wastewater or stormwater containing high nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations promote growth of plants and animals that thrive in nutrient-rich conditions, and over time this can have a negative impact on marine life. A coral reef or seagrass meadow exposed to an overabundance of nitrogen may become covered with seaweed and other macroalgae, which can out-compete the living coral and seagrass for space and sunlight.
Why do our actions have such an immediate and direct impact on water quality? In the Florida Keys, groundwater and nearshore surface waters are closely connected. Wastewater from septic systems can seep into surrounding porous limestone and pollute groundwater. This fairly rapid exchange between ground and surface waters is driven by the pumping action created by the ebb and flow of the daily tidal cycle.
What is negatively impacting water quality in the Keys? Stormwater is a major source of pollutants in the Keys. Hard, non-porous surfaces like roads, bridges and most parking lots are contributors, but significant runoff also occurs from yards and other landscaped areas. Dead-end or poorly-flushed canals also contribute to poor nearshore water quality in the Keys.
What can my family and I do to help protect and improve water quality? Support and participate in advanced wastewater treatment programs that remove unwanted nutrients and harmful bacteria. For your vessel’s sewage, use “pump-out” stations and always observe the No Discharge Zone. Around the home and office, use as many “green” products as possible, such as phosphate-free soaps and detergents. Dispose of your household chemicals and hazardous wastes according to label instructions. On your property, reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizers, construct vegetation berms to reduce runoff of fertilizers or yard wastes and landscape with native plants. Do not throw fish carcasses or other organic waste into canals where they can reduce water quality and contribute to low oxygen conditions.

Shop to Support Sanctuary Friends
Merchandise Now Available in Our Online Store

Sanctuary Friends merchandiseWe know that you can't always catch up with Sanctuary Friends Foundation at the numerous events taking place around the Keys, but no need to worry. You can now find your favorite hats, shirts, books and bags on our newly launched online store. And, the best part is: we offer free shipping, so the price you see is the price you get! Click here to check out some of the items for sale, and if you see something you like for yourself or a friend, we can get it in the mail to you right away. Surprise your loved ones with a gift from Sanctuary Friends! Remember, delivery is free in the United States, and we can even add a note to the recipient for you. Thank you for supporting Sanctuary Friends!


New Farmers Market in Big Pine Key

GLEE is happy to announce a new weekly Farmers Market in Big Pine Key. The event will occur every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Good Food Conspiracy, MM 30.2. Buy fresh, local, organically-grown produce supporting your own health and local sustainable farming. All produce sold at the market is organically grown in Homestead or the Keys and picked fresh literally hours or just a day or two earlier. Hosted and Sponsored by Growing Hope Initiative and supported by Help YourselfIf you grow organic produce and would like to set up a table at the market, contact Come out and support this community event for all!

Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization (Tax ID# 59-2443959).
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In This Issue:
Water Quality Forums Scheduled
Water Quality FAQ's
Shop to Support SFFFK
Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Please add your upcoming events to our online Florida Keys Environmental Calendar. This community-wide resource allows any organization or group to set up an account and post environmentally-related events.

Bahia Honda Earth Day Celebration
April 12, 9 am-2 pm,
 Bahia Honda State Park,
 36850 Overseas Hwy., Big Pine Key
Live music, food, children’s activities such as face painting, fish printing and a sand sculpture contest, environmental exhibits and booths and a marine life touch tank. Regular park entrance fees apply; no additional charges for event activities. More information: 305-872-9807

Water Quality Forums
April 16, Key Largo Public Library
April 22, Eco-Discovery Center, Key West
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Last Stand and Everglades Law Center will hold two free public forums featuring a panel of water quality, hydrology and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys. More information: Julie Dick, 312-399-4057

Welcome! Thank you for your support!

New & Returning Members ($30-$199)

Richard & Angie Pontynen

Heather Carruthers



Joseph DiFilippo

Ocean Reef Community Foundation

The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory

Shirley Shumway

Charles Causey

Mike Klayman

Bruce Ferrer

Mr. & Mrs. Russel W. Fisher

Please support the companies that support the FKNMS and Sanctuary Friends.
Waste Management
Marathon Garbage Service
Keys Sanitary
Sunbelt Rentals
Little Palm Island Resort
Cressi International
Centennial Bank
The Weekly Newspapers
Hawks Cay Resort
Marathon Jet Center
Keys Acoustics Insulation
Tranquility Bay Resort
Meacham Electric
Marathon Boat Yard
Grader Mike Construction
First State Bank
Stephen Frink Photography
Marathon Chamber of Commerce
A Deep Blue Dive Center
Christina’s Boutique
Paver Dave
Keys Contracting Services
Florida Keys Contractor’s Association
CSA Coral Restoration
Bee Brothers
Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory 

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Our Mission
Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys supports the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in the preservation, restoration, and sustainable use of our coral reef ecosystem, from the uplands to the deep sea. We focus on development of community support and advancement of public awareness, education, outreach and scientific research.

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
Located at the at the historic Crane House at Crane Point Museum and Hammock
Mailing Address:
PO Box 504301
Marathon, Florida 33050
Tel: (305)
289-2288 Fax: (305) 289-2289

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Sanctuary Friends Foundation of the Florida Keys
PO Box 504301
Marathon, FL 33050

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