Escambia County's Urban Tree and Landscape Workshop

Friday, January 29, 2010

WHAT: Planning for the Future: Escambia County’s Urban Trees and Landscape Workshop
WHERE: Pensacola Civic Center Room C-1
WHEN: Wednesday, February 10th: from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Escambia Co Urban Tree flyer rev3 -


The Belmont presents “Fulfilling Lincoln’s Dream”

The Belmont Presents Sparky and Rhonda Rucker's “Fulfilling Lincoln’s Dream” on Saturday, February 13

PENSACOLA, FLA - In honor of Black History Month, the Belmont proudly presents internationally acclaimed artists James "Sparky" and Rhonda Rucker and their show “Fulfilling Lincoln’s Dream.”

The title is from Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Speech. This speech is considered by most scholars to be his best speech.... even surpassing his Gettysburg Address. Lincoln concluded his speech with these words, "With malice toward none: with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

James "Sparky" Rucker is recognized as a leading folklorist, historian, musician, storyteller and author. He has been singing songs and telling stories in the American tradition for over forty years. Sparky accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons. He has released over fourteen recordings. Rhonda adds sweet sounding vocal harmonies, a mean, gutsy blues harmonica, old time banjo and rhythmic bones to their music. The duo will be performing at the Belmont Arts and Cultural Center beginning at 7 pm on Saturday, February 13. Admission is $5 and all proceeds benefit the Belmont Youth Band.

Come join the Belmont in celebrating Black History Month with this unique and moving performance.

For more information, contact 429-1222 or visit


LuTimothy May video

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Please check out the video below from Pastor LuTimothy May about his exciting project in the Brownsville community. I have the deepest respect for LuTimothy May, his brother Lumon, and the entire May family. They are truly leaders in the community and I will do whatever I can to help them succeed.


Arbor Day activities

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as people, we must have trees."

I agree! Please see the flyer below about the City's Arbor Day celebration, which will be held beginning at 9:00 AM on Friday, January 15. Trees will be planted at Greenwood Park (next to the Garden Center at 9th/Fairnie/Mallory) and a reception will be held at the Garden Center afterward.

Arbor Day


Food for Thought: Stormwater

Friday, January 8, 2010

Please see this information on stormwater from Mary Gutierrez, Environmental Planner with the West Florida Regional Planning Council:

Before urbanization, water recharge happened when precipitation fell on pervious surfaces (including grassland and woods) and infiltration occurred. When cities developed and the amount of pervious surfaces decreased, leading to less ground water recharge and a huge increase in surface runoff.

Impermeable surfaces tend to become fully saturated very quickly and thereafter all of the precipitation becomes runoff, though some of that runoff may be absorbed by adjacent permeable areas and may not enter any drainage network. Once these impermeable surfaces have been wetted the percentage of runoff does not vary greatly. With the increase in impervious surfaces (roads, rooftops, parking lots and other hard surfaces that do not allow stormwater to soak into the ground), the rate of stormwater runoff increases. This means more water reaches the waterway faster and less water infiltrates into the ground. In streams, more erosion of stream banks and scouring of channels occurs because of runoff. This degrades habitat for plants and animals that depend on clear water. Sediment in the water clogs the gills of fish and blocks light needed for plants. The sediment also settles to fill in channels of streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

Rainwater will carry chemicals, nutrients, sediments and other substances into local streams (either directly or through storm sewers) if the water is not absorbed by soil and vegetation. The increased runoff can also carry along debris such as litter, cigarette butts, motor oil poured down the storm sewer, air pollutants that settle from car exhaust, and fertilizers, and pesticides from lawn care. The reduced amount of infiltrating water can lower ground water levels, which in turn can stress downstream environments which depend on steadier flows of water. New sources of groundwater can also develop in urban areas, although they are not from the most desirable places (septic tanks, percolation basins, industrial waste injection wells, agricultural and residential irrigation).

Once an area is cleared of vegetation, graded and compacted, and an impervious surface or partially pervious surface is constructed or installed, the area generally will not return to a naturally vegetated state. New impervious surfaces change natural drainage patterns and impact the environment by affecting the way that stormwater and, in some cases, tidal water moves over the landscape and through the soil. New impervious surfaces can affect the quantity, velocity, and quality of stormwater resulting in impacts to nearby land and water bodies.

Permeable surfaces react differently. As the storm progresses the upper layers of the soil become wetter and wetter and when the rainfall exceeds the rate at which it can soak into the ground the rainfall is turned into runoff. When the rainfall intensity drops below the soakage rate the runoff ceases even though rainfall may still continue. Therefore the percentage runoff varies throughout the duration of the storm.

One method of reducing stormwater runoff is to minimize the amount of impervious surfaces such as concrete sidewalks, roads, and asphalt driveways. These surfaces do not allow runoff to seep into the ground; they are not pervious. Use pervious surfaces instead. A paving surface that allows water to soak in may seem impossible, but there are many materials that provide the durability of concrete while allowing rainwater to filter down into the ground. If you are planning a new patio, walkway or driveway, there are several attractive alternatives to concrete such as wood decking, bricks, interlocking pavers, or flat stones. If used properly these can create a permeable paving surface that is not as harmful to the environment.

Stormwater flows into the stormwater system through storm drains, which are frequently located along the curbs of parking lots and roadways. The grate and holding tank that prevents larger objects from flowing into the storm sewer system are called a catch basin. Once below ground, the stormwater flows through pipes that lead to an outfall where the stormwater enters a stream, river or lake.

In some areas, the outfall may lead to a stormwater management basin. These basins control the flow of stormwater and can also improve water quality, depending on how they are designed.

In some urban areas, the stormwater and sanitary sewer systems may be combined (not here). In this situation, both stormwater and sewage from households and businesses travel together in the same pipes. Both stormwater and sewage are treated at sewage treatment plants except during heavy rains. During these occasions, both the stormwater and untreated sewage exceed the capacity of the treatment plant and this overflow is directed into local waterways untreated.


Message from Emerald Coastkeeper

Please see the following message from Emerald Coastkeeper regarding the recent report on ECUA water quality:

Dear Friends of Emerald Coastkeeper:

A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group revealed the Emerald Coast Utility Authority distributes to the citizens of Escambia County the worst drinking water in the nation. In response to this study and in an effort to shed light on this serious issue, Emerald Coastkeeper Chasidy Fisher Hobbs issued an opinion article which can be found on the Emerald Coastkeeper website, ( Additionally, Coastkeeper Hobbs has authored a viewpoint on this issue which was published by the Pensacola News Journal and the Indpendent News and can be found on their websites:, and

The Emerald Coastkeeper is committed to standing up for the citizens of Escambia County and to pursue the truth about our drinking water. The Coastkeeper will address this issue and other water quality issues at the Coastkeeper membership meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. to be held at Dharma Blue Restaurant at 300 South Alcaniz Street, Pensacola, FL 32502. The meeting is free and open to the public. We encourage you to bring friends, family members and interested neighbors.

If safe drinking water is an important issue for you, we encourage you to attend the City of Pensacola Citizens Advisory Board's Meeting on Monday, January 11, 2010, at 3:15 p.m. to be held on the second floor of the Pensacola City Hall, located at 222 West Main Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502. ECUA will be presenting a response to the EWG report at the meeting. Emerald Coastkeeper Chasidy Fisher Hobbs will address the Citizens Advisory Board and seek their support to encourage the Escambia County Utility Authority to improve the drinking water in Escambia County. Do not miss this opportunity to learn more from the Emerald Coastkeeper on how the City Council can encourage the ECUA to improve water quality. The meeting is free and open to the public.

The Emerald Coastkeeper is also planning a Drinking Water Forum on February 10th from 6 pm to 8 pm in the Hagler Auditorium at PJC (building 2A, room 252, adjacent to the Registration Center). Representatives from the United States E.P.A., Florida Department of Environmental Protection Agency, Emerald Coast Utility Authority, Florida Department of Health, Escambia County Commissioners and other elected officials have expressed interest in attending this forum and sitting on the panel. We are also waiting for a commitment from the Environmental Working Group. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the drinking water issues and will provide a time for questions to be answered by those who are responsible for the well being of the citizens of Escambia County.

The Emerald Coastkeeper has compiled the email addresses for those individuals who are responsible for safe drinking water. Go to our "Issues" page at and take a moment to email your concerns.

Elizabeth McWilliams
Director of Development
o: 850.429.8422


Bayou Blvd resurfacing to start as soon as weather improves

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The contractor responsible for resurfacing Bayou Boulevard has advised me that they have been delayed due to cold weather but will begin work as soon as it warms up a bit:

The project was scheduled to start this past Monday however due to the weather we have not been able to start. The FDOT specifications will not allow us to start paving until the temperature is 45 degrees and rising and if the temperature starts to fall below 45 we have to stop. The specifications also will not permit the contractor to place asphalt if it is raining or on wet pavement. Due to the current weather pattern I can not give you a definite start date at this time. We will start the paving at the first opportunity that we have a window of weather that meets with the specifications for a period of eight hours or more. I can assure you that we want to start and finish this project as soon as possible and will do so at the first opportunity.


Tree planting volunteer opportunity

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Those looking for volunteer opportunities can help plant trees in the Eglin Air Force Base area over the coming weeks. See the following email from Erica Laine of Eglin AFB Natural Resources:


Volunteers are needed to help plant trees!!! Every year community volunteers join with Jackson Guard to plant trees within our watersheds. The trees stabilize the soil and reduce the erosion that enters our streams and smothers fragile habitat. The trees also help restore degraded areas to natural, forested conditions.

What you can expect to do on a tree planting day:

  1. Plant 10+ trees each that come in 1 or 3 gallon buckets
  2. Spread pine bark mulch around the planted tree
  3. Walk over rough and uneven terrain
  4. Kneel and bend repetitively
  5. Lift/carry up to 25 pounds

What you will need to bring with you for the day:

  • Dress in layers (depending on the weather)
  • Long pants and close-toed shoes are required!!!
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Chapstick – you’ll thank me for this reminder!
  • Bug Spray (for the occasional gnat, mosquito or chigger)
  • Lunch
  • Water container (we will provide ice water)
  • Work gloves – if you have them, if not, you can borrow ours
Time: 0800 – 1400 for each planting

Friday – 15 January – Florida Arbor Day
Monday – 18 January – MLK Holiday
Friday – 12 February
Wednesday – 24 February

Where: Meet at Jackson Guard (directions will be provided upon request)

We need anywhere between 15 – 25 volunteers per tree planting. These plantings make excellent team building projects. You can volunteer for all or just one planting – your choice!

If you are interested in volunteering for this project, please email me at to sign up.


Roger Scott grand opening postponed

The grand opening of the new clay courts at the Roger Scott Tennis Center, originally scheduled for this Friday, has been postponed due to unseasonably cold weather.

See the following email from David Flaherty, Parks & Recreation Director:

We had scheduled to have a ribbon cutting ceremony this Friday for the new Clay Courts at the Roger Scott Tennis Center.

However, due to the unseasonably Cold Weather expected throughout the week, and with the daytime high for Friday predicted to be 32 degrees (which means it will be colder by 4 pm that day) the Grand Opening of the new courts is being postponed until Friday, January 22nd.

The event will still start at 4 pm.


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