GTM Research Reserve Hosts State of the Reserve

sotr-logo-2014-compressed_original_cropThe Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted its third annual State of the Reserve on February 7, 2014 at the Environmental Education Center in Ponte Vedra Beach, focusing on research that examined water quality, habitats and species within estuarine and marine environments.

“The primary purpose of a Research Reserve is to support and conduct education, research, and stewardship for generating information and demonstration projects that can enable coastal communities to sustain natural resources,” said GTM Research Reserve Director Michael Shirley, PhD.

Educational living labs, oyster reef restoration and recycling, shorebird surveys, phytoplankton monitoring and sea turtle nest surveys emphasized the positive multidisciplinary accomplishments of the GTM Research Reserve team. Other highlights included presentations on education and stewardship programs. The dedication of the community, with over 400 volunteers committed to donating more than 10,000 hours annually to the Reserve, was also accentuated.

Moving forward, the GTM Research Reserve’s projected goals include the continuation and enhancement of existing research, reserve management and educational projects. New initiatives embrace supporting efforts to measure, assess and track changes in services provided by existing natural systems. There are also plans to designate Pellicer Creek as an official NERR Sentinel Site. Dr. Shirley thanked the community for its support; the Reserve’s volunteers and the Friends of the GTM Reserve are important components for any future accomplishments.

The GTM Research Reserve is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves around the nation focused on researching, educating, and protecting the natural biodiversity and cultural resources within the estuary. It is managed by Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Coastal Office in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Environmental Education Center is located at 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 32082. For more information about the GTM Research Reserve, please call (904) 823-4500 or visit our website at http://www.gtmnerr.org.

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