Innovative national conference to explore how communities solve waterfront challenges

photo of sailboats in biscayne bay

Situated on Biscayne Bay, the city of Miami experiences many of the issues that waterfront communities face each day. (Florida Sea Grant photo)

As urban, commercial, and rural waterfronts across the U.S. face challenges to their continued existence and development, community leaders are increasingly finding solutions by listening, learning and interacting with each other.

That’s the impetus behind the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium, which runs this year from Nov.16-19 in Tampa, Fla.

It’s the only conference of its kind to bring together planners, property developers, researchers, elected officials, attorneys, and other stakeholders from waterfront communities to learn about local, state and national initiatives, management approaches and tools to address issues of water access and water-dependent industries.

Attendees will hear about new approaches that increase the capacity of coastal communities to balance competing uses and plan for the future of working waterfronts and waterways, according to conference organizer Bob Swett, a specialist in boating issues and waterways planning for Florida Sea Grant.

“They are dedicated champions of local working waterfronts, and they come from throughout the U.S. to share ideas and solutions, and to learn about new approaches,” he said. “Being in the company of hundreds of such like-minded souls can be quite transformative.”

This year’s conference includes sessions on redevelopment of waterfront communities, marine industry sustainability, surviving commercial fishing declines, land-use issues related to waterway management, and preserving maritime culture and heritage.

Registration for the symposium is $425 until Oct. 19. For commercials entities and organizations wishing to engage with attendees, sponsorships that include display space are available through a range of packages on a first-come, first-served basis.

Complete symposium details are available at the conference website,

Oil Spill Science Seminar: Five years later, what have we learned?

On March 18, 2015, the Oil Spill Science Outreach Team will be holding a fisheries seminar, “Oil Spill Science Seminar: Five years later, what have we learned?” This seminar is free and open to the public. Scientists will present the latest fisheries-related research about the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and dispersant application on Gulf of Mexico habitats, communities, and individual species. For more information, please click here or email Larissa Graham with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant. Mar 2015 FIsheries Science Seminar

Cast Net Making Classes Scheduled

Louisiana Sea Grant’s Marine Education Program is hosting cast net making classes beginning Thursday, May 9, and continuing every Thursday for 12 weeks from 6:00 p.m. to sunset.

The classes will be held at LSG’s Oyster Hatchery Operations Center located at 135 Port Drive, Grand Isle, and are open to everyone. Registration is $50 and includes all materials needed to make a net. Registration is free for students in grades K-12. John Supan, director of Louisiana Sea Grant’s oyster hatchery, will conduct the classes. Evening commentary will be provided by Grand Isle native Ambrose Besson.

To register or for more information, contact Supan at 985-264-3239 or email

Ecotourism Workshop March 12 at Stella Plantation

Coastal landowners, farmers, charter fishermen, marina owners, swamp tour operators and others interested in income opportunities from nature-based tourism are invited to attend the Coastal Ecotourism Workshop, sponsored by Louisiana Sea Grant and the LSU AgCenter. The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 12, at the Stella Plantation, 4881 LA 39, Braithwaite. Registration is $20 before March 6 and $25 at the door. For more information, or to register, contact Twyla Herrington, Louisiana Sea Grant and AgCenter fisheries agent, at (504) 858-9826 or Or, contact Dora Ann Hatch, AgCenter agritourism coordinator, at (318) 927-9654 or

Dive into Florida’s scalloping season

thumbnail of taylor county scalloping mapScallopers, rejoice! Just in time for the start of Florida’s 2012 scalloping season, Florida Sea Grant has published the boat ramp and marina locator map, “Recreational Harvesting of the Florida Bay Scallop: Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach Areas.”

Inside, viewers will find a full-color map identifying access routes to the boat ramps and marinas in southern Taylor County near Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.

The recreational bay scallop harvest season begins July 1 and ends Sept. 24; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Comission decided to permanently extended the season by two weeks on June 28, 2012.

Free copies of the ramp and marina locator map for Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach are available in numerous marinas throughout Taylor County, the Taylor County IFAS Extension office in Perry, or by contacting Florida Sea Grant,, (352) 392-2801.