Throughout the State of Florida, increasing nutrient levels in waterways are adversely impacting estuaries – reducing productivity while increasing the growth of harmful and toxic algae blooms. Shafer Consulting was selected by Gulf Coast Community Foundation to lead a unique community initiative to develop a playbook of actionable nutrient reduction strategies. The Community Playbook for Healthy Waterways will help focus, prioritize, coordinate, and fund activities of diverse stakeholders from government and non-profits to businesses and homeowner associations.
Shafer Consulting has been chosen from competing state-wide firms to assist the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program with the 5-year update of their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). Guided by research, writing, and facilitation by Shafer, the strategic plan to guide protection and restoration of Sarasota Bay will undergo a complete reorganization and rewrite to encompass recent progress and new strategies, including watershed habitats, fish and wildlife, water quality, and public engagement.
Working with Science and Environment Council, Shafer Consulting organized and delivered a successful 2-day Environmental Summit featuring over 70 speakers participating in panel discussions, invited viewpoint presentations, and rapid-fire lightning talks plus live audience polling throughout. Almost 350 registered participants attended, including scientists, educators, resource managers, non-profit leaders, students, business professionals, and community members. WATCH VIDEO from 2-days of sessions
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program selected Shafer Consulting to assist with strategic planning, facilitation, and writing for the update to the 5-year Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Additional tasks will include cross-walking MBNEP watershed management plans with coastal zone management regulations, assessing vulnerability of program goals to climate changes stressors, organizing a full-day CCMP workshop for 175 stakeholders, and developing a 5-year program finance plan.
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program hired Shafer Consulting to assist them in a 5-year revision of their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. As part of this process, Shafer will work with Estuary Program Staff to update, add or consolidate priority actions addressing a wide range of issues. The final Plan, slated for adoption in early 2019, will guide restoration, research and education efforts for the coming decade.
The Tampa Bay Estuary Program tapped Shafer Consulting to assist with updating their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. As part of this process, Shafer will work with Estuary Program Staff to update, add or consolidate priority actions addressing a wide range of issues. The final Plan, slated for adoption in late 2016 or early 2017, will guide bay restoration, research and education efforts for the coming decade.
Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida launched their new website July 1. Designed and built by Shafer Consulting, the site features the SEC’s impressive portfolio of work, an innovative live social media stream of Members’ Facebook, Pinterest and You Tube feeds, plus interactive maps, and exclusive member-only content and tools. The SEC is a collaboration of leading science-based environmental non-profit and government organizations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, formed to promote and advocate science, conservation, and environmental issues in Southwest Florida for maintaining and improving quality of life through education, public outreach, and special projects. Visit www.scienceandenvironment.org.
David and Jennifer Shafer were featured “Noisemakers” in Sarasota Magazine for their work on the Rising Seas initiative aimed at getting Southwest Florida thinking and talking about sea level rise. Acknowledging the difficulty of tackling such a complicated issue, the article also highlighted some of their previous work dealing with divisive problems and reaching beyond the confines of science to find common ground. Read the article HERE.
Dr. David Shafer was appointed to the Sarasota County Stormwater Environmental Utility Advisory Committee (SEUAC). SEUAC’s purpose is to support and advise the Stormwater Environmental Utility in the development of Stormwater related goals and objectives. Effective stormwater management can help improve water quality in our creeks, bays and the Gulf.
Shafer Consulting kicked off the Rising Seas Initiative with a successful lecture series by two Nobel Laureate Climate Scientists. Pier Vellinga and Henry Pollack spoke on the science of sea level rise, adaptation strategies and implications for Southwest Florida to 800 attendees at the Tiger Bay Club Luncheon, the New College New Topics Seminar and the Eckerd College Presidential Lecture.
If you missed the special engagements by Vellinga and Pollack or would like to see them again, you can watch the complete evening program recorded at New College of Florida.
Also, don’t miss the hour-long radio interview with the scientists on WMNF’s Radioactivity: Live Call-In Radio Show with Rob Lorei.
Shafer Consulting worked with Calvin Giordano and Associates on the Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan for Sumter County, providing GIS-based Hazard Vulnerability Analysis. The analysis modeled the risk of basin flood events, hurricane winds, wildfire and sink holes on the natural and built environments of Sumter County. The analysis examined vulnerability of structures, critical facilities, infrastructure, natural resources and socio-economic groups for under various hazard scenarios for post-disaster redevelopment planning.
Dr. Jennifer Shafer has been selected to provide professional scientific editing services to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Jennifer will specialize in reviewing FWRI staff research papers that include spatial and statistical modeling in order to prepare manuscripts for journal publication.
Dr. Jennifer Shafer and Dr. David Shafer of Shafer Consulting were appointed the new Executive Directors of the Science and Environment Council (SEC) of Sarasota County. The SEC was incorporated in 2001 as a collaboration of non-profit and government agencies with environmental missions. SEC’s mission is to promote and advocate science, conservation and environmental issues in Sarasota County for maintaining and improving quality of life through education, public outreach, demonstration, information gathering and analysis, and special projects.
Institutional members include the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Florida House, Friends of Myakka River, Friends of Oscar Scherer State Park, G.WIZ, Historic Spanish Point, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Myakka River State Park, Mote Marine Laboratory, New College of Florida, Oscar Scherer State Park, Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, and Sarasota County Government. SEC also has seven local affiliate members.
“We look forward to carrying on the productive tradition of education and policy initiatives by the SEC, while expanding collaborative research opportunities among members to advance our scientific understanding of our environment and its conservation” David said in a statement.
Shafer Consulting, together with 74 groups and organizations, is proud to sponsor Sarasota Bay Watch’s Second Annual Scallopalooza. The Sarasota Yacht Club will again host this special fundraiser this June 9th, dedicated exclusively to restoring scallops in Sarasota Bay.
Scallopalooza is a celebration of community-based “sea-grass-roots” efforts to restore bay scallops in Sarasota Bay. It features an evening of entertainment, presentations, silent and live auctions and food. This year’s program features colorful Master of Ceremonies Jeff Birnbach orchestrating informative presentations by invited speakers and live auction items.
Shafer Consulting designed and built the webpage for the 2012 Sustainable & Authentic Florida Conference. The Conference will be held October 17-19, 2012 on Anna Maria Island.
Shafer Consulting worked with Calvin Giordano and Associates on the Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan for Hernando County, providing GIS-based Hazard Vulnerability Analysis. The analysis modeled the potential effects of hurricane wind and storm surge and basin flood events in Hernando County. The analysis examined vulnerability of structures, critical facilities, infrastructure, natural resources and socio-economic groups under various hazard scenarios for post-disaster redevelopment planning.
Shafer Consulting designed and built a Scallop Blog for Sarasota Bay Watch. The blog provides updates on Sarasota Bay Watch’s efforts to restore healthy scallop populations in Sarasota Bay.
New College of Florida, in partnership with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, presented the Sarasota Bay Watershed Symposium February 17-19, 2012.The Symposium brought together 252 participants, including scientists (27%), educators (19%), policy makers (6%), business leaders (13%), students (15%), and the interested public (21%) to address environmental issues in Sarasota Bay and her watersheds.
Altogether, a team of 99 individuals from across the professional, citizen and academic community contributed their time, knowledge and creativity to plan and carry out the Symposium Program. Invited contributors numbered 74, including two keynote speakers (see Appendix A), a series of six discussion sessions, a visioning session, a science poster session (see Appendix B), native plant display, an art exhibit, and a synthesis and listening session with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Policy Board. Discussion sessions each featured a plenary roundtable discussion with invited experts, followed by concurrent breakout discussions lead by experts where participants could further explore and discuss sub-topics of the issues from the plenary.
Sessions on Day 1 focused on habitat connections, science-policy connections and socio-economic connections. Sessions on Day 2 were place-based, examining the dynamic complexity of topics identified during Day 1 through local case-studies. Lessons learned, solutions and next steps were identified. Locations included Palma Sola Bay Watershed, Bradenton; Phillippi Creek and North Roberts Bay Watershed, Sarasota; and the Sarasota Bay Watershed, Sarasota-Bradenton and the Islands.
Ten hours of plenary proceedings were video captured and live streamed to the internet and are available on-demand on the Sarasota Water Atlas. This video plus summaries of proceedings were uploaded to create 105 pages of new content on the Coastal Watershed Wiki on the Sarasota Water Atlas (http://www.sarasota.wateratlas.usf.edu/wiki).
Shafer Consulting led a month-long workshop at New College to complete a GIS-based analysis of historical land use in the Sarasota Bay Watershed 1948-2009.
Shafer Consulting provided scientific mapping and modeling services to Palm Beach County under contract with Calvin Giordano & Assoc. With the latest LIDAR elevation data, we used GIS to model the potential effect of sea level rise on the coastal community of Palm Beach County, Florida, under four possible future scenarios: 3 feet of sea level rise (SLR), and 3 ft SLR plus storm surge from Category 1, 3 and 5 hurricanes, respectively. Community vulnerability to the resulting inundation zones was evaluated along multiple dimensions, including: Critical Facilities, Ecosystems, Economy, Coastal Resources, Water Resources, and Population.
Dr. Jennifer Shafer and Dr. David Shafer were recently appointed Project Coordinators for New College’s Coastal Watershed Initiative. New College of Florida was awarded a New Florida Initiative Grant for integrated research, education and policy outreach for Southwest Florida watersheds. The project includes organizing and hosting the Sarasota Bay Watershed Symposium and developing science, management and education outreach tools through the Sarasota Water Atlas. Sign up to receive info and updates as the project unfolds.
Dr. David Shafer and Dr. Jennifer Shafer were recently appointed Adjunct Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Mote Marine Laboratory is a leader in marine research with seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division specializing in public programs for all ages. Shafer Consulting looks forward to collaborating with Mote scientists in Coastal Ecology, Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Marine Policy.
Shafer Consulting wrote another successful grant proposal for Sarasota Bay Watch. The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation has awarded Sarasota Bay Watch $15,000 toward funding an Executive Director position. Shafer Consulting contributes time and expertise providing grant writing and scientific and technical support for Sarasota Bay Watch.
Shafer Consulting wrote successful grant proposal for Sarasota Bay Watch. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has awarded Sarasota Bay Watch $20,000 toward funding an Executive Director position. Shafer Consulting contributes time and expertise providing grant writing and scientific and technical support for Sarasota Bay Watch.
Shafer Consulting conducted a survey and GIS analysis of the Withlacoochee River in west-central Florida. Understanding historic flows of tidal rivers can help re-establish appropriate levels after years of alteration. One approach to understanding historic flow is to analyze the community composition of shoreline vegetation, which shifts with tidal influence. Using GIS to identify and analyze these shifts in shoreline type in the context of river salinity signatures can provide insight into appropriate flow levels for maintaining river ecology. This work is in collaboration with Dr. Ernest Estevez, Center for Coastal Ecology, Mote Marine Laboratory.
Shafer Consulting joined Sarasota Bay Watch in their Second Annual Sister Keys Clean-Up on Saturday May, 8 2010. Over eighty participants gathered close to a ton of trash during the morning event. The volunteers were treated to a complimentary lunch by Ed Chiles and the Chiles Group, under the buttonwood trees bayside at the Mar Vista and Dockside Restaurant. Town of Longboat Key Public Works employees Curtis Vandermolin, Lloyd Hines, James Linkhogle and Dale Wyman provided invaluable logistical support while David Miller of Cannons Marina and Longbeach Village Association President Michael Drake provided transportation to and from Sister Keys aboard one of the Marina’s custom deck boats. Sarasota Bay Watch would like to thank Audubon, the Sarasota Bay Guardian’s, Around the Bend Nature Tours and the Snook Foundation for their support. A special nod to Officer Dennis Silvero of the Longboat Key Police, who stood guard along the intercoastal waterway.
New College Adjunct Professor Jennifer Shafer led a team of students in a spatial analysis of the potential impacts of sea level rise on Sarasota County. Using GIS to analyze new Lidar elevation data, the students evaluated the vulnerability of Sarasota’s natural, cultural and economic resources to a 2-, 4- and 6-foot rise in sea level, which could occur over the next century. A 6-foot rise in sea level would impact almost 12,000 coastal residences currently valued at $5.5 billion. Many of Sarasota’s cultural landmarks such as St. Armands Circle, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and Selby Gardens are also vulnerable to inundation. Pelican Press Article
Shafer Consulting joined the 2009 Myakka River Cleanup Event. Their efforts, led by Myakka River enthusiast Bob Richardson, cleaned litter and debris from the river along a four-mile reach between Border Road Bridge and Rocky Ford. While paddling furiously to keep up with Richardson, the group recovered a motley collection of river debris, including a paper plate, the sole of a shoe and a latex glove. Their targeted segment was mostly litter-free. The larger cleanup effort targeted 38 miles of the river, including 12 miles inside the Myakka State Park. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands.
Jennifer Shafer recently presented the final report of the Transportation and Redevelopment Action Committee (TRAC) to the Sarasota County Commission. Tim Dutton, Executive Director of the sponsoring organization SCOPE, praised Jennifer’s leadership: “Dr. Shafer stepped up as both a citizen and as a gifted professional to lead an innovative process of civic engagement. As chair of the citizen group, Jennifer was called upon to convey complex ideas generated through the many steps of the year-long process. Her understanding of the dynamics of development and the nuances of power and personality in the context of citizen ownership made a big difference.” TRAC chose Bee Ridge Road as a case-study for transforming Sarasota’s tired and sprawling corridors using TOD principles to achieve walkable mixed-use neighborhoods connected by multi-modal transit. By distilling hundreds of ideas contributed by citizens participating in Focus Groups, TRAC identified 21 guiding principles to serve as a road map for elected officials, county planners, businesses and neighborhoods. Link to video – Agenda Item 11
Jennifer Shafer lead a seminar and workshop featuring remote sensing and geographic information systems as tools for monitoring and modeling plant and animal populations and their habitats. The workshop was held at the Teachers Institute for Conservation Biology, sponsored and conducted by the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City, FL. “Her performance was outstanding,” said Dr. Mike Stuart, team leader and Professor Emeritus of Biology at UNC. “Dr. Shafer provided detailed instructions and information prior to the course and followed up with both an excellent presentation and hands-on instruction on how to use the technology. Dr. Shafer is clearly well versed in the biological science behind the technology, but she is also an outstanding teacher. Dr. Shafer and her company would be my first choice for any project involving complex data analyses of environmental issues or in teaching others how to understand the myriad issues in land use. I look forward to utilizing her skills and expertise again in future programs.”
Jennifer Shafer is active in a grassroots effort to start a community dialogue about Sarasota’s growth management strategies. The Sarasota citizen group is exploring how transit-oriented re-development could transform older, strip-mall laden commuter corridors to more pedestrian friendly mixed-use neighborhood centers connected to each other by transit alternatives such as safe walking and bike paths, buses or locally circulating trolleys. A community-wide Forum will be hosted by citizens next Friday May 1 from 1-4 pm at the Polytechnical High School on Beneva Road in Sarasota. Link to Herald Tribune Article